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2000 Forester S
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22 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Hi everyone,

I've been reading the forums for awhile in my preparations for buying a used Forester. Two days ago, I bought a used 2000 Forester S automatic. I took it for a test drive and everything seemed fine. Checked the engine over for tell-tale signs of problems and everything checked out. After signing papers, my wife got it out on the road. After about 15 minutes of driving, (a lot of stop n' go hwy) the AC quit and the engine started overheating. We pulled over and checked coolant levels and let it cool down. After blasting the heat and keeping it around 55 mph or less, I got it home. The dealership said they will help with the problems but I have virtually no money after dropping it all the car. Can anyone help me diagnose the problem? Short trips around town have had no overheating and we're taking it out on the hwy again today to see if the problem persists. No signs of coolant leakage or anything strange in the coolant; no bubbles/boiling either.
 

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2005 Forester X
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225 Posts
Hi everyone,

I've been reading the forums for awhile in my preparations for buying a used Forester. Two days ago, I bought a used 2000 Forester S automatic. I took it for a test drive and everything seemed fine. Checked the engine over for tell-tale signs of problems and everything checked out. After signing papers, my wife got it out on the road. After about 15 minutes of driving, (a lot of stop n' go hwy) the AC quit and the engine started overheating. We pulled over and checked coolant levels and let it cool down. After blasting the heat and keeping it around 55 mph or less, I got it home. The dealership said they will help with the problems but I have virtually no money after dropping it all the car. Can anyone help me diagnose the problem? Short trips around town have had no overheating and we're taking it out on the hwy again today to see if the problem persists. No signs of coolant leakage or anything strange in the coolant; no bubbles/boiling either.
Did you buy it from a dealership? If they value their reputation at all, they should fix it. Look in to Wisconsin lemon laws if you have any problems with them. The sooner the better in getting all of your problems resolved...you may only have 15 to 30 days to get everything fixed on the dealer's dime, then it is your problem.
 

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2000 Forester S
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22 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
Did you buy it from a dealership? If they value their reputation at all, they should fix it. Look in to Wisconsin lemon laws if you have any problems with them. The sooner the better in getting all of your problems resolved...you may only have 15 to 30 days to get everything fixed on the dealer's dime, then it is your problem.
I bought it from a dealership in Illinois. Illinois lemon law does not cover used cars. I will definitely be sticking the dealership with part of the bill. I can't get into my mechanic till Thursday. Just wondering if there were any simple things I could check myself.
 

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Premium Member
2008 Forester X Premium 5MT
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8,070 Posts
It does not appear that Wisconsin has a used car Expressed Warranty Law Problem used car*- Wisconsin Department of Transportation looks like you may be on your own. edit Illinois does but it only covers vehicles 4 years old and newer.

The overheating on a Subaru usually comes down to typically 5 things:

1. air in the cooling system. Burp the air out. Get it running with the rad cap off and work all the air out of the system and top off the coolant while doing so.

2. a bad/dying thermostat. Replace it and burp all the air out of the cooling system.

3. a bad/clogged radiator. With a warm car you may or may not be able to feel for cool spots in/on the radiator core. Replace it and burp all the air out of the cooling system.

4. fans not working, fans should come on as the engine reaches roughly 200 degrees. They should also come on any time the AC is turned on. Typically this is a bad relay.

5. the big one, head gaskets. A well known issue that has been around in the naturally aspirated 2.5L Subarus pretty much since they were released to the market. Search the forum for head gasket and you will get a bunch of hits.

Head gasket search results

http://www.subaruforester.org/vbulletin/f88/another-stinkin-head-gasket-thread-65495/

http://www.subaruforester.org/vbulletin/f88/2006-head-gaskets-problem-64464/

http://www.subaruforester.org/vbulletin/f88/headgasket-repair-checklist-70171/

http://www.subaruforester.org/vbulletin/f88/another-stinkin-head-gasket-thread-65495/
 

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2000 Forester S
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22 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
Thanks, I'm gonna check out these and see what I come up with. My instinct tells me it is not the head gaskets because I cannot see any external coolant leakage and the coolant looks fairly normal. From similar problems, it sounds like possibly a blocked radiator. I will get it checked out.
 

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2001 Forester "S" 4EAT
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315 Posts
Thanks, I'm gonna check out these and see what I come up with. My instinct tells me it is not the head gaskets because I cannot see any external coolant leakage and the coolant looks fairly normal. From similar problems, it sounds like possibly a blocked radiator. I will get it checked out.
you may not see a visable leak, when the head gasket went on my 1990 legacy ,it blew between the exhaust port and cooling port.

what mine did was back pressured the cooling system.

what mine would do is pressurize the cooling system after about 20 minutes of driving. the way I could tell is I would lose heat from the heater.

mine went bad in the winter. I would start out and have good heat,then I would just see the temp sky rocket and no heat from the heater.

I did the head gaskets my self on both sides in 2 days.

that was a 2.2 engine, the 2.5 may take more time to do.

I did pull the engine all the way out.

good luck and I hope ya get it fixed. I just got my 2001 Fozzy a few days ago and I am loving this car.
 

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none none
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With the A/C turned on get out and see if both of the fans on the radiator are spinning, if not thats your problem! I'd probably have the dealership just change the coolant and replace the T-stat if they will on their dime just to make sure theres no issues there.
 

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1998 Forester
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213 Posts
With the A/C turned on get out and see if both of the fans on the radiator are spinning, if not thats your problem! I'd probably have the dealership just change the coolant and replace the T-stat if they will on their dime just to make sure theres no issues there.
I agree it sounds like a flow problem. Also take a good look at the drivers side cylinder head at the back. This is the most common place for the head gasket to leak.
 

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2000 Forester S
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22 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
One more thing I forgot to mention is that the upper radiator hose did something I've never seen. I opened the radiator cap a bit and let off a little steam and the upper radiator hose seemed to suck in or collapse on itself. Later, when I opened the cap all the way, it went back to normal. To me that said, something is not flowing properly but, on the other hand, I've never seen that before.
 

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2008 Forester X Premium 5MT
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8,070 Posts
Classic sign of an air pocket. Air expands more when hot then water. As the engine heats up the air trapped in the cooling system expands and still vents out the radiator cap to the overflow bottle. However as the engine cools down and the air contracts it is easier to collapse the radiator hoses then to pull coolant in from the overflow bottle.

The question is why is there an air pocket in the system?
 

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2000 Forester S
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22 Posts
Discussion Starter #11
Classic sign of an air pocket. Air expands more when hot then water. As the engine heats up the air trapped in the cooling system expands and still vents out the radiator cap to the overflow bottle. However as the engine cools down and the air contracts it is easier to collapse the radiator hoses then to pull coolant in from the overflow bottle.

The question is why is there an air pocket in the system?
Well hopefully not a head gasket. I will try burping the system and get it to a mechanic.
 

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2007 Mitsubishi Pajero 5spd Automatic
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3,572 Posts
A bad rad cap can also make problems I read. It's cheap to replace anyway.
 

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2000 Forester S
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22 Posts
Discussion Starter #13
My father-in-law and I are going to check it out tonight. I will try burping the system, run it around a bunch and see if it happens again. Possibly just replace the radiator cap because that's easy. If it still is giving me problems, I'll take it to the mechanic.
 

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1998 Forester
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213 Posts
My father-in-law and I are going to check it out tonight. I will try burping the system, run it around a bunch and see if it happens again. Possibly just replace the radiator cap because that's easy. If it still is giving me problems, I'll take it to the mechanic.
Try a cap and a thermostat both are easy to change. For the thermostat just remove the lower plastic cover and look where your lower hose goes into the motor and right there is the thermostat it is just 2 bolts you need a 10mm socket.
 

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2000 Forester S
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Discussion Starter #17
My current plan is to replace the thermostat/cap and burp the system. I just keep hoping it is not head gasket. Like I said, I'm out of money! Thanks again everyone for your help.
 

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Try a cap and a thermostat both are easy to change. For the thermostat just remove the lower plastic cover and look where your lower hose goes into the motor and right there is the thermostat it is just 2 bolts you need a 10mm socket.
OP take note pulling the thermostat will cause all coolant to come splashing out. Make sure to have something handy to catch it.

I don't know how mechanically inclined you are but replacing head-gaskets is not as bad as people make it out to be. A do it yourself job replacing only essentials(2 head-gaskets, intake manifold gaskets, and exhaust manifold gaskets) will cost you in the ballpark of $200.
 

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03X MT
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846 Posts
Don't for get to use an OEM t-stat. Also, if you don't know the condition of the coolant do a flush and fill adding the Subaru recommended conditioner. Probably do the F&F after you get the over heating sorted out so you don't have to do coolant twice.
 
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