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2005 Forester Auto
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1 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
First of all I hope I'm in the right place, as far as I could tell I this is where I should post this.

Anyway, I've been having this overheating problem intermittently since I bought my Subaru. Its a 2005 Forester XS bought it with 103,000 +/-. The first time It over heated was shortly after I purchased it after 2 hours of driving. The temperature gauge went up into and past the last tick into the hot range, let off the gauge and it would fall back into normal range and babied it off the freeway. Only thing I could find at that point was an empty coolant reservoir. I chalked it up to me never buying a car before and failing to check all the fluids before signing the dotted line. Went had the coolant flushed refilled (Non-Subaru coolant and conditioner. I know for shame) everything went back to normal. Christmas that year on a 4 hour road trip home for the holidays about an hour into the trip it started overheating again. Like before let off the gas the temp drops and babied it off to a service station. Popped the hood look at the coolant reservoir it was low not empty. At this point I don’t care I just need to get the wife home and keep the in-laws happy. So I fill the coolant reservoir again with straight anti-freeze (again I know for shame this whole process has taught me to work on cars) mark the coolant bottle to check for leaks start babying it home. Check at 10 miles again at an additional 20 and once more 40 miles from the 20 mile point no change in level. Get it to In-laws drop the brush guard and start looking for any evidence of a leak. No such luck but everything I working as advertised. Fast forward a year down the road to family vacation Durango Colorado. Made the 4 hour trek up to Durango no problem however trying to get to a mining town further up the mountains resulted in an overheating condition. Just like before foot off the pedal temp goes down baby it to a pull off. I pop the hood this time to find the over flow bottle boiling. None to happy at this point since I'd been reading the forums and know the head gasket is a very real possibility. Anyway, baby it back to the cabin not quite overheating but not at normal either. It sits for 6 hours while we go play tourist and come back to the cabin. After that go to Oreilly's pick up a thermostat (not at all the same part but had the same specs figured it was okay. I know not the same thing at all) Drain the radiator, swap the thermostat, test run it, Op Chk good. Make it all the way back home everything works fine. Until one day the sneaky needle comes crawling back up. This time however the peddle dose not have the same impediment cool down response. I do some reading on the forums realized that I never burped the system so I burped it, no change. Loaned a tool from auto zone to pressure check the radiator and the radiator cap. Radiator checked good the cap not so much. Replaced the cap and started to the test drive. Temp rises to a certain level and then drops back down to the normal range rapidly. Like the thermostat is opening and then closing again. Now its heating up a lot higher and only dropping on occasion. Not anywhere near being comfortable. Also when I popped the hood the coolant reservoir was drained but not empty. So I serviced it back up, and drove to work about 5 miles away. Got there popped the hood and I had gained some coolant back but not nearly as much as I had started out with. I don't have any evidence of a coolant leak or at least anything I can find.

Some other useful information maybe helpful is I have a oil leak somewhere on the right hand side of the engine. It drips down the oil filter. I know I have bad seals around the spark plugs so I have the valve cover gasket kit ready to go just need time.

Sorry for the long winded post however in air craft maintenance the more information the better. I'm hoping the same is applicable in this situation. I'm stuck between going in replacing the thermostat since its not a genuine subaru part and seeing if that fixes it given the fluctuation or throwing in the towel and taking it into the dealership. At any rate thanks for reading look forward to the advice.
 

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Premium Member
2019 Crosstrek 2018 Forester XT
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14,932 Posts
Make sure you know how much if any coolant you are losing. I would use a genuine subaru cap...the after market again are different. Fill the radiator cold..run it a few miles then check it again and add coolant to the radiator. Do this a couple times. Then check the level in the bottle. Check the level on the bottle cold (in the morning) over a couple days to see what's going on.
 

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2001 Forester S Manual
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132 Posts
I am just starting to have this same problem. I drove to San Francisco for Thanksgiving (5 hour drive). I was doing between 75-80 the whole time and about 3 hours into the drive my temp gauge gets awfully close to the red. So, I pull off the freeway and it settles down. Check it out at the gas station and the reservoir is low. I add fluid and drive the rest of the way without any issue including the drive home a few days later. Then a week later at home I have to add fluid again. I could smell it leaking and I could see some splash on the front of the engine, but can't figure out where it's coming from. Suggestions on where to check for leaks? Thanks
 

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Premium Member
2019 Crosstrek 2018 Forester XT
Joined
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14,932 Posts
Check if there is a leak on top of the radiator (crack) this happens a lot.

Perhaps you are pushing it out the overflow and could have a HG leak.

Also if the top hose is hot and the bottom cold

Check coolant level in radiator when cold. (do this in any event)
Check T Stat
Could be a plugged radiator
Could be bad water pump

Other possibility is rad cap. Use genuine subaru
 

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Registered
2006 Forester Auto
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8 Posts
Had all most same issue..I had a miss fire upon every restart that would go away after about 15sec..same heating issue..for me it was a Head Gasket...I guess now I'm apart of the head gasket club..
 
G

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Im having a very similar issue with my 2005 forester. very curious what everyone says about this. So far I have replaced my t-stat and radiator, and the problem persists. It overheats on the hwy (over 2000rpm) and climbing hills. Im told that water pump issues are rare with Subarus (confirm?), but I think that may be the only thing it could be besides the head gasket.

Any knowledge on how to diagnose those issues? are they simply trial and error replacements? I dont want to repalce my head gasket on a 'hunch'

thanks!
 
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