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04 Forester X, MT
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i don't think this overheating is normal. pretty good thoughts as to what might be wrong ...

do you keep an eye on your coolant tank?
how full was it before you started your trip?

was the cooling system partially or completely drained recently?

when was the last time the coolant was changed and flushed?
i would be thinking about flushing and new hoses and thermostat as preventive maintenance with the age and miles sometime in the next year anyway. (don't forget the 2 small ones for the throttle body in addition to the heater and radiator hoses).

you may have a slow leak in a coolant hose. check all the clamps, especially the upper radiator hose where it attaches to the engine cast tube. it will leak more than you think it would before actually seeing coolant there.

consider a cold pressure test of the cooling system. if it's a hose it should show up then. The equipment I have is a "tee" with a flare fitting to attach to the radiator with a piece of tubing and that has a tire valve for pressurizing with a bicycle pump (NOT air compressor) and a gauge to show the pressure (about 15 psi or so).

i have an '04 with 86k that's getting ready for HG due to external oil leak getting worse. i believe 2003 and up were more likely to have this condition than earlier models which had either internal coolant leaks (earliest) or external coolant leaks (interim). someone else here can probably fill in the exact years or post a thread link.?
 

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04 Forester X, MT
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that amount of $ is not terribly bad for all that stuff.
if you go "all the way" on repairs also consider oil pump re-seal with o-ring too.

how good is it running now otherwise and how long do you want to keep the car? maybe consider a compression test to help determine engine condition before all the work?

i still wonder about the air bubble or slow coolant loss through hose(s) scenarios (maybe in combination with leaky radiator cap). unless the HG leak looks dire, I would keep close eye on radiator and overflow tank for a week or 2 and see how it goes with coolant levels and any overheating.

did they say if your HG leak is coolant or oil? and just external or internal too?

HG leaks can be unpredictable. I had small "seeps" on past 2000s involving both coolant and oil as near as I could determine. I change my own oil and cleaned the heads between changes. The first was totaled 120kmi and the second traded 135kmi before they got bad enough to be necessary to do HG.

now i have '04 that oil leak is bad enough to do HG at 86kmi (don't want to smell it on the exhaust). :icon_frown:
 

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04 Forester X, MT
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I'd like to see this car hit 200,000 miles, so many, many more years of driving. The shop said they'd do a compression test at half price for me ($60ish) before doing the work, if I want that peace of mind. They said the radiator leak isn't that common, but could have been caused by overheating. The HG leak is an external oil leak. I took a look at it under the lift and could see the oil is weeping out where the head and block meet...they didn't recommend waiting long to get it fixed.

If I go with this shop, all parts are non-OEM (although they will put in OEM if I insist). Minimum warranty is 24k or 24 months on all parts, and some are lifetime. Should I insist on all OEM parts? He said they've had great track records with all the aftermarket parts they use. That said, the car is at the dealership now for a second opinion.

Thanks for all the advice!
For that $ the parts should be OEM, and I would go with OEM timing belt.

So far my experience with Subaru Forester parts is they aren't as predictable $ as with Toyotas. Sometimes OEM parts are cheaper, sometimes only maybe 20% more and sometimes astronomical. Most of the OEM parts for HG and timing job shouldn't be much more than aftermarket. For parts for these jobs I would use "better" aftermarket parts if not using OEM. Like Car Quest or Napa instead of Advance or Autozone.

I tried aftermarket valve cover gaskets and washers on the first one I had and they just didn't seem to seal as good as OEM.

The shop I have lined up to do my HG said OEM is now multi-layer shim (MLS) design that should work better and longer than the one that came on the car. If I didn't have the extra warranty I might try to squeeze some months out of it and plan on renting a car for any long trips.

Best wishes and good luck on your decisions.
 

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Dealership replaced the radiator cap and said the car is good to go. They didn't notice an external HG oil leak. Arg...I want to believe this is it, but I saw the oil leak.

Will take and post pictures once I get the car back. In theory, is this something I can drive with for a while as long as keep an eye on the leak and temp gauge?
If the oil leak goes too bad too fast it should start stinking from oil getting onto hot exhaust. Keep an eye on it and check oil level more frequently. I have no idea the likelihood of sudden failure; it seems remote but possible. And remember if you ever see the oil pressure light, seconds count in getting the car shut off and avoiding or minimizing damage.
 
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