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after a long 1200 mile road trip my car started spewing an orange foam from the radiator overflow i ended up stopping at a sketchy auto body shop in the middle of nowhere to drain my radiator, they really didn't do a good job flushing it but i had no tools on hand to do it myself. i ended up having the same issue about 800 miles later when the overflow turned from green to orange. I'm worried it could be oil in the radiator, i want to try and flush it with chemicals and use some repair fluid but not sure. but not sure any advice would be appreciated
 

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If this is an auto it could be transmission fluid leaking into the radiator; have you checked the trans dip stick? - some more info would be great please:

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2007 Forester Sports XT 4EAT
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Sahuarita, Arizona USA 2018 Forester Limited
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Almost sounds like rust? How old is the radiator?
 

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the radiator itself came with the car i bought it this summer so i dont know if it was ever changed judging by the guy i bought it from didnt know how to turn a screwdriver i doubt it was ever changed. ill check tommorow about the dipstick trans fluid
 

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'17 Impreza Hatchback CVT
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Pressure and frothing might indicate a head gasket breach? Hope you get to the bottom of it! (And tell us!)
 

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the coolant does seem kind of oily sadly i know i did not blow a head gasket the car still idles and runs the exact same, it might be a small head gasket leak. this weekend i plan on flushing the radiator out completely and running some sealant through it to see if that will help solve the problem.
 

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2011 Forester 2.5X Automatic
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after a long 1200 mile road trip my car started spewing an orange foam from the radiator overflow i ended up stopping at a sketchy auto body shop in the middle of nowhere to drain my radiator, they really didn't do a good job flushing it but i had no tools on hand to do it myself. i ended up having the same issue about 800 miles later when the overflow turned from green to orange. I'm worried it could be oil in the radiator, i want to try and flush it with chemicals and use some repair fluid but not sure. but not sure any advice would be appreciated
"...spewing an orange foam from the radiator overflow ....."

The only coolant that is colored "orange" is DexCool. This is the GM-spec, long drain interval coolant ...and it's actually "salmon-colored".

DexCool is not compatible with normal anti-freeze ...apparently the "green" stuff that came blowing out of your rad after your visit to the "sketchy" auto body shop must've been normal ethylene glycol coolant ...usually the stuff is blue or yellow but if there was some DexCool still in the system I guess you could mix blue and "orange" and come up with green.

Do yourself a favor and go down to the nearest well-regarded independent shop and have them do a complete drain and flush of your cooling system. Tell them you may have long drain interval coolant (DexCool) mixed with standard coolant. You didn't give us any info on the model year of your car but I'm assuming it's probably an older Forester. When the shop fully cleans out your cooling system you need to decide what type of coolant to install. Opting for long interval drain coolant is a good idea. Most shops will carry DexCool and that would be what I would use. I have it in my '98 GMC pickup and it keeps the cooling system clean and working great ...providing you check the coolant level regularly and you service it with DexCool spec coolant.

If you're gonna do this yourself then get at least two or three bottles of heavy duty cooling system flush. First drain the coolant from the car and flush it until the water runs clear. Don't forget to flush the heater core. Button everything up, add all the bottles of flush then fill the system with water. Drive the car for a few days with the water/flush mix then drain and flush the system again. Refill the system with a 50/50 mix of whatever type of coolant you want. Just be aware long drain interval coolants are *NOT* compatible with standard anti-freeze; DO NOT MIX THE TWO.

If you have a shop do the flush ask to have a cooling system check performed. This is a simple test where a hand pump is used to pressurize the cooling system. Prior to pressurizing the system a florescent dye is mixed in the coolant. If the system fails to hold pressure then there is a leak somewhere and they will trouble shoot the system to find where the coolant is leaking; the dye is a telltale when viewed under black light.

If there is a leak or, worse, if a cylinder head gasket has blown then the repair will run from "can be expensive" to "will be expensive". For a blown head gasket the solution is a gasket replacement; those "pour-in-the-radiator" head gasket "fixes" are nothing but trouble. The action of the repair fluid can screw up your radiator and not even fix the leaking head gasket ...or at least not for very long.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
i will look more into this dexcool option, i have not been able to do much work on the car. as of right now its just sitting in a parking lot for the next two weeks, as i am at college and luckily dont need to drive it until i go home. their was no smoke coming out of the exhaust and their was no vapors in the oil tank. the car is a 2003 forester with 120k on it well maintained. im really hoping it is this odd coolant, although my car did blow a thermostat
 

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2011 Forester 2.5X Automatic
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"...blow a thermostat."???

Huh?

T-stats are probably the most reliable part on an automobile; they are dirt simple and day long reliable. I've never heard of a t-stat "blowing".

Just some more food for the fodder: if you mix conventional anti-freeze with DexCool it will turn into a jelly-like mass and require a serious flush of the cooling system. You cannot mix DexCool with normal ethylene glycol coolant.
 

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after a long 1200 mile road trip my car started spewing an orange foam from the radiator overflow i ended up stopping at a sketchy auto body shop in the middle of nowhere to drain my radiator, they really didn't do a good job flushing it but i had no tools on hand to do it myself. i ended up having the same issue about 800 miles later when the overflow turned from green to orange. I'm worried it could be oil in the radiator, i want to try and flush it with chemicals and use some repair fluid but not sure. but not sure any advice would be appreciated
Did you figure this problem out? I have a '97 4Runner with 200k and this just started happening.
 

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2007 Forester Sports XT 4EAT
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@MAG03 welcome to the forum from Oregon!

Note that @03forester-noob last signed onto the forum 11 months ago. You might consider sending him a PM - Private Message... now called a "conversation" on this new site. He's optioned to receive an e-mail notification, so you could receive a reply.

Bobby...

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

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Did you figure this problem out? I have a '97 4Runner with 200k and this just started happening.
this is the same user and sadly it was the head gasket leaking i was able to travel 1000 miles while replacing coolant and oil. sadly the car still burns oil but no major issues from the ordeal
 
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