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Subaru forester 2011 2.0 fb20
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Hello, we have a subaru forester 2011 2.0 and when I was checking the levels, open the radiator cap and was full with the milk/chocolate mix of water and oil, the engine is working ok, no heat problems, the dipstick for the engine and A/T are clean of water, I'm worried because this car does not have engine oil cooler or I have not found it yet but does have A/T oil cooler, so I want to remove the radiator and Send it to check, can you help me with this problem?
 

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1999 A/T - 235,000 mi. WA state
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Hello, ... so I want to remove the radiator and Send it to check, can you help me with this problem?
Well, wait for other replies and consensus, but I'd save money and labor for what sounds like replacing head gaskets, which is expensive. I believe the 2.0 liter Forester isn't sold in the USA (I've no knowledge of engine), so my perception is based on my old 2.5 liter - and my headgasket failed at 90,000 km. Luck
 

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2001 Forester S, 4EAT
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IMHO I think it's the Head Gaskets. The AT Cooler inside the radiator rarely ever fails, if anything the radiator usually fails at the seam between the tank and the fins. And also if coolant is indeed mixing with the AT Fluid you would know it. Can you take a sample of oil and send it off to have it checked for coolant?

But then 2.0L engine head gasket? That's very very rare as well....
 

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Subaru forester 2011 2.0 fb20
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Well, wait for other replies and consensus, but I'd save money and labor for what sounds like replacing head gaskets, which is expensive. I believe the 2.0 liter Forester isn't sold in the USA (I've no knowledge of engine), so my perception is based on my old 2.5 liter - and my headgasket failed at 90,000 km. Luck
Thank you for taking the time to reply.

IMHO I think it's the Head Gaskets. The AT Cooler inside the radiator rarely ever fails, if anything the radiator usually fails at the seam between the tank and the fins. And also if coolant is indeed mixing with the AT Fluid you would know it. Can you take a sample of oil and send it off to have it checked for coolant?

But then 2.0L engine head gasket? That's very very rare as well....
Thank you for taking the time to reply.

You mean that it is rare for it to fail, or for the engine to be 2.0?
 

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MY05 Forester 2.5 XT 5MT
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Is your engine turbo or non turbo?

The 2.0 engines rarely suffer head gasket failure compared to the 2.5.

Does it say EJ20 or or FB20 on your VIN plate ?

The EJ series engines had an engine oil-Coolant cooler, known as a modine - It lives just above the oil filter. I'm not sure about the FB20 engine as it is newer....
 

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MY05 Forester 2.5 XT 5MT
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That is troubling to hear the newer FB20 engine suffering potential head gasket failure.

I see no oil cooler modine on the FB20 from pics online but perhaps a kind soul like @2.5x_sleeper who I believe has access to workshop manuals could see if there is a modine cooler on the FB series engines?

If there is no cooler modine and since no turbo, I'm unsure how else oil and coolant could be mixing without involving the head gasket. There has been some head gasket failures of the FB25. The older EJ25 suffered head gasket failure too. The EJ20 was far rarer to suffer head gasket failure and..... Yours would be the first I've heard of the FB20 suffering head gasket failure.

Have you had any cooling system problems previously? If not, I would put this down to bad luck but I would want to be looking for a reason why this happened before replacing the head gaskets, to lessen the chance this happened again.
 

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2008 LL Bean (4EAT)
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... I'm unsure how else oil and coolant could be mixing without involving the head gasket... Yours would be the first I've heard of the FB20 suffering head gasket failure...
Unlike the EJ, the heads of the FB do not receive coolant from the block through the head gaskets. The heads have their own coolant circuit.
 

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2007 Forester Sports XT 4EAT
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<snipped>The EJ series engines had an engine oil-Coolant cooler, known as a modine - It lives just above the oil filter. I'm not sure about the FB20 engine as it is newer....
I have to admit I've never hear of that engine oil cooler referred to as a "modine"! I had to use Bing to search for that term!

As far as I know, the engine oil cooler, here in the USDM, was removed... deleted in the '08 model year.

@Jpbo1 please complete your "Public Profile"! Not completing your Public Profile could result in your thread(s) being closed... locked or your thread post(s) being deleted!
Bobby...

['07 FSXT Member Journal] ['03 X Member Journal]
 

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MY05 Forester 2.5 XT 5MT
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@2.5x_sleeper I believe the term Modine is official Subaru speak as it isn't strictly an oil cooler in that it can also act as an oil warmer too. I've seen photos of them used on the FA turbo engine but it appears it wasn't used on all FA's I can' find a pic of one fitted to an FB but since the FA shares so much with the FB, I'm not sure if OP's FB20 would have got one.
FA shown having one here:
554127

For those unsure, it's the copper thing the oil filter is screwed into. This is how it looks removed from the engine: GENUINE SUBARU OIL COOLER MODINE FOR FA20 ENGINES 21311AA180 | eBay
1624167637462.png
 

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MY05 Forester 2.5 XT 5MT
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Unlike the EJ, the heads of the FB do not receive coolant from the block through the head gaskets.
Seems correct from what I know of the new engine and from engine tear down videos, yes
The head gaskets have no contact with coolant, and it is impossible for the head gaskets to be involved in mixing oil and coolant.
If this is not understood, I will start a thread on EJ vs FB.
That doesn't seem entirely possible, looking at the water jacket around the cylinders and the oil channels. Seals could fail and let the two combine.
Here's an engine tear down video of an FA engine, which as far as I know shares a very similar head gasket design to the FB. You can see below, where the head gasket doesn't let the coolant pass from the block to the head, oil channels still exist and the head gasket acts as a barrier for coolant, preventing the passing from head to block or vice versa, but still allows for the possibility of head gasket failure to result in coolant and oil combining
554129
554130


If you happen to have videos or photos of the FB engine tear down in regards to head gasket, cylinder head and water jacket cooling, then please do share as I for one would be curious to see (y)
 

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A relative of mine added power steering fluid to the radiator reservoir - could something similar have happened?
 

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2008 LL Bean (4EAT)
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... If you happen to have videos or photos of the FB engine tear down in regards to head gasket, cylinder head and water jacket cooling, then please do share as I for one would be curious to see (y)
Based on new explanations, I now think the published descriptions of the FB heads having their own coolant circuit were misleading, and led to people like me saying the coolant was piped to the heads.
The following post and its diagrams explain that the FB heads do receive coolant by a new circuit, but it is still through the head gaskets:

"The difference between E series and F series engine cooling is that in an E series engine the cooled coolant enters the block water jacket cylinder wall cooling area in the bottom half of the block, then goes into and across the head (lower to upper), and then back into the upper half of the water jacket, and then out to the radiator. In this design the water picks up heat from the cylinder walls before it enters the head, limiting its ability to remove heat from the head.
In an F series engine, the cooled coolant enters the head first, then into the cylinder water jacket, and then out to the radiator. This provides better cooling of heads."
 

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2012 Forester X Auto
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Jpbo1

Anything is possible, but the definition of a "rare" problem doesn't mean never.
As far as likely... I'd bet on the HG failure as the cause.
If the radiator isn't leaking, it just needs to be flushed after the actual problem is solved.

Probably time to do an assessment of value and do some shopping around for several estimates.
If you can't do the work yourself, it isn't going to be cheap, but might be worthwhile (or not).

If there is any good news, it's that coolant is going into the engine, which would be so much worse, but that can also still happen.
 

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2007 Forester Sports XT 4EAT
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@2.5x_sleeper I believe the term Modine is official Subaru speak as it isn't strictly an oil cooler in that it can also act as an oil warmer too. I've seen photos of them used on the FA turbo engine but it appears it wasn't used on all FA's I can' find a pic of one fitted to an FB but since the FA shares so much with the FB, I'm not sure if OP's FB20 would have got one. <snipped>
As I noted, I have never seen the engine oil cooler called a " Modine" in any of my Subaru Technical documents! I don't have pre '99 Forester documents...

Bobby...

This is for the '06-'08 - the oil cooler was deleted in the later '08+ models.
1624205000709.png
['07 FSXT Member Journal] ['03 X Member Journal]
 

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2010 2.5X Manual
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311 Posts
In the winter I thought the oil heater (cooler in summer heater in winter) on my 2.5 was an excellent item.

For the OP, since the ATF cooler in the radiator operates at approx zero pressure (after the cooler it just dumps into the pan) if the ATF cooler is leaking the ATF will look strange.
 

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2011 Forester X auto
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Wait....is this a 2011?
It's either a FB25 or EJ25 if its a turbo.

Nevertheless, coolant in oil is not good. Coolant will wash away oil from bearings and start breaking stuff.

STOP using the car. You have a head gasket issue for sure.
If the engine starts and you DONT have knock, you can walk away replacing bearings....if you hear knocking...prepare your pocket for some $$$$.

Keep us posted!
 

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2015 ; 2.5i ; 15,000 Miles (I drive a lot less than I used to !!!!)
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Hello, we have a subaru forester 2011 2.0 and when I was checking the levels, open the radiator cap and was full with the milk/chocolate mix of water and oil, the engine is working ok, no heat problems, the dipstick for the engine and A/T are clean of water, I'm worried because this car does not have engine oil cooler or I have not found it yet but does have A/T oil cooler, so I want to remove the radiator and Send it to check, can you help me with this problem?
Hello, we have a subaru forester 2011 2.0 and when I was checking the levels, open the radiator cap and was full with the milk/chocolate mix of water and oil, the engine is working ok, no heat problems, the dipstick for the engine and A/T are clean of water, I'm worried because this car does not have engine oil cooler or I have not found it yet but does have A/T oil cooler, so I want to remove the radiator and Send it to check, can you help me with this problem?
Coolant pressure is at-or-slightly-above 15# , while oil pressure is at or slightly above 30# : so the engine can easily push oil into the coolant system while running; but coolant into oil-system can only occur while it is cooling down after shut-off. Either way , you have a gasket problem .. somewhere; unless some &^^&&* put SOME-KIND-OF-OIL (??) into your coolant system !!!!
 

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2012 Forester X Auto
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....
Nevertheless, coolant in oil is not good. Coolant will wash away oil from bearings and start breaking stuff.

STOP using the car. You have a head gasket issue for sure.
Keep us posted!
Actually, it's oil in the coolant, not coolant in the oil... Still a likely HG issue, but not quite as bad...
 
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