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2004 forester automatic
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5 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a 2004 Subaru Forester XT with about 119,000 miles. I recently started to notice a heavy burning smell that was sweet after driving the car enough for it to warm up or inside when I use the heat. I've checked the oil and the coolant levels and neither are low and the oil doesn't have any coolant in it. I noticed some white smoke coming from under the hood but I really can't pinpoint exactly where a leak would be but when I turn off the car I can hear a few drops sizzle....does anyone have any ideas?
 

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Premium Member
2019 Crosstrek 2018 Forester XT
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14,922 Posts
Pobably a failure of the radiator. Very common in XT's. Plastic radiators FTL. I think it usually at the top.
 

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2017 VW Golf SportWagen 5MT
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10,784 Posts
1800-radiator. Good quality KOYO is just a bit over $200 and is easy to replace. Do not drive the car until you get it fixed.

Stan
 

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Premium Member
98 GM67 + 03 SG
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357 Posts
It is definitely coolant related, as it produces a white smoke and has a very sweet smell to it.

As for what has failed, it could be anything related to that system. A coolant hose, the radiator, overflow tank, and anything else related with the system. Your best bet is looking underneath the car for the drips that are hitting the hot exhaust pipe and creating the noise you are hearing.
 

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2017 VW Golf SportWagen 5MT
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10,784 Posts
You will most likely not find a leak until it gets so large coolant spills all over the place. Just be ready for it, I would not drive the car further than a few miles away from home. It is almost for sure your radiator leaking at the top where plastic separated from the core, look for white coolant residue.

Stan
 

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2004 forester automatic
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5 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thank you all for responding so quickly...Is it possible that it's a head gasket?
 

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'19 Forester LTD CVT
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3,248 Posts
Thank you all for responding so quickly...Is it possible that it's a head gasket?
Possible, but HG failures are rarer on the XTs. It's more likely the top of the radiator cracked, or a hose failed.
 

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2004 forester automatic
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5 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Okay thanks, the reason I ask is because I had it looked at by a dealership and they said my headgasket and valve covers need replacing soon but after doing research and looking at everything it hasn't shown any other signs.
 

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2017 VW Golf SportWagen 5MT
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10,784 Posts
I was smelling coolant for like 2 weeks and couldn't find a leak until one day I opened the hood and coolant was splashed all over the place and belts started to squeek. I still couldn'tsee a leak for a while, then finally noticed it bubbling where the plastic connects to the aluminum at the top. I was only taking 2 mile runs to take the dog to the beach, so I never got stuck with a fully blown radiator.

Stan
 

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2025 Foz xt 8 speed
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2 Posts
If you can't find the leak with the engine warmed up and pressurized. Try using a pressure tester, if you don't have one you can rent one from your local auto parts store. If you don't lose any pressure on the engine side, pressure test the rad cap as well.


Sent from AutoGuide.com Free App
 

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2006 Forester XT Limited 5MT
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230 Posts
Koyo's for the SG5's are running around $400 right now, FYI.
I got my mishimoto for this very reason, Black Friday deal at $252 with free shipping.

The difference between the koyo and mishimoto is Koyo has heli arc welds while koyo is brazed aluminum. For what it's worth I couldn't justify $150 for better welds when the replacement is 100% better than stock...no plastic, triple core and larger size. My OE cracked at top of the neck...wasn't much but I don't want to ever overheat my engine.

P
 

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2004 Forester 2.5 XT manual 5spd.
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116 Posts
Old thread but had the same problem and was headgusket,Smoke is from the oil leaking on the exhoust,and it was burned smell al over the car..;)
 

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2004 XT 4EAT
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18 Posts
Question about the aluminum radiators; do they require new hoses? I see most of them for sale with the option of new hoses for an extra $80. I also have a leaky rad, need to be ordering a new one soon, but don't want to find out my hoses don't fit while rad is out and car not drivable ya know...
 

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2002 ES300
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4,412 Posts
Question about the aluminum radiators; do they require new hoses? I see most of them for sale with the option of new hoses for an extra $80. I also have a leaky rad, need to be ordering a new one soon, but don't want to find out my hoses don't fit while rad is out and car not drivable ya know...
I'm not sure about Mishimoto, but Koyo does. Note location of hoses in the link and check the description. Member PrettyM1k3 installed a Koyo on his. Check his build thread. And you'll need to pick up an aftermarket transmission cooler, regardless of he 2 brands, being you have a 4EAT.

Subtle Solutions
 
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