big time cooling dilemma - Subaru Outback - Subaru Outback Forums
 
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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-16-2017, 04:27 PM Thread Starter
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big time cooling dilemma

Okay, brief overview of why i am dealing with what i am dealing with. 1996 legacy outback. 240k miles, but maintenance has been tedious. Car is mainly used for the salt. when i say that i mean that i only use it to drive on the beach almost everyday during the summer to surf, and is brought upstate new york every weekend in the winter to snowboard. with that said, the car gets abused but it taken care of. a few ago i was driving upstate and as soon as i reached my destination the engine bay starts smoking and temp gauge shoots up. turn the car off and it is pissing cooling from behind timing cover.

fast forward i decided to just do an entire timing/water pump install. bought a gates kit, and new oem thermostat. installed everything, timed the motor, filled with coolant and started the car to burp the system. This is where it gets weird. i let the car run as per the manual instructs (rad cap off, front end in the air, blah blah blah). the car reaches operating temperature but the coolant DOES NOT go down in the radiator. along with that there is no pressure in neither the top or bottom radiator hoses. so pretty much it seems like the coolant is not circulating. BUT the car is not over heating and it is blowing hot air out of the vents.

i am currently at a complete loss at what to do next, and i can not find a single thread on the internet describing exactly what i am experiencing. it just doesn't make sense to me that the rad is filled with coolant but stays in the say exact spot, both hoses have no pressure, but the car is not over heating. someone please help before i put my foot through the windshield

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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-17-2017, 03:10 AM
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Hello

1st case
Have you enough coolant in circuit ? When you have not the total the circuit not working properly but the temperature jauge still ok.

Let the car COOL down and try adding coolant with motor on and bleed the ciruit

Dont drive like this or the motor overheat with the stupid temperature jauge indicating normal temperature.


2th case


On a cold start

Before the water temperature reache 85 degree the thermostat still closed. There is no pressure in the hoses.

If the heater work with full hotness the pump is bleeded and work.

If the heater work but not fully hot you have bubbles in pump... you should massaging the radiator hoses with motor on and adding coolant.

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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-17-2017, 11:09 AM
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First, I have to say that I never have a problem filling my 90's subarus with coolant, unlike the multi comments to the contrary about other years. I usually fill the discharge hose first before connecting it to the radiator and then fill through the rest through the cap. I don't know if its necessary, but that is what I recommend.

But the OP forgot the most important piece of data. When you stick your finger in the fluid at the cap after it's heated up, do you burn your finger? If you do then it indicates that it is circulating. If cold, then big problem. If so, refill coolant as I just recommended.
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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-17-2017, 12:27 PM
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was any service done to the car just prior to the first overheat event?

also, test the new t'stat in a pot of hot water. should begin opening at ~170*F

are the hoses original? maybe one has failed internally such that flow is blocked. ( lining delaminated and creating a flap/valve)

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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-17-2017, 01:08 PM
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Is there a problem? I might be misunderstanding the description, but pending correction/clarification, here's my thought:

Quote:
i let the car run as per the manual instructs (rad cap off, front end in the air, blah blah blah). the car reaches operating temperature but the coolant DOES NOT go down in the radiator. along with that there is no pressure in neither the top or bottom radiator hoses. so pretty much it seems like the coolant is not circulating. BUT the car is not over heating and it is blowing hot air out of the vents.
With the radiator cap removed, pressure cannot build up in the cooling system and therefore there would be no pressure in the hoses.

If the cooling system has been filled properly, it's not likely, as far as I know, for the level, as viewed in the radiator filler neck, to go down when the engine reaches temp. Rather, because the coolant volume expands when it heats up, it's more likely that the level will go up, leading to the already full radiator overflowing out the open radiator filler neck. (This is why, when the rad cap is on, the level in the external reservoir goes up.)

Also, if the heater delivers continuous hot air to the cabin, then the coolant is circulating through the engine because the heater core is supplied from the crossover pipe at the top of the engine ("out" from the engine) and returns the coolant to the pump ("return" into the engine). If the coolant weren't circulating, the heater output would tend to cool down.
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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-17-2017, 04:29 PM
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I'm thinking along the same lines as Plain OM. It doesn't sound like there is a problem. Pressure can't build up in the system if the radiator cap is off. In 20 years of driving Subarus (starting with a 96 Legacy Outback) I have always simply filled the cooling system very slowly through the radiator neck, put the cap on, start the car and either rev it to 2000 rpm in the driveway until warm or just simply drive it (takes a while to get up to temp. in the driveway, which is why I tend to just take it for a spin, just be careful and watch the gauge like a hawk so you don't overheat it). Turn engine off and let it cool for a few, remove cap, top off radiator and then fill overflow reservoir to the correct level. Repeat that process 2 or 3 times and you should be good. One trick is to get the rev.'s up to 3000 rpm or so briefly, and that is usually enough for the water pump to expel any air bubbles through the system and out the upper hose to the top of the radiator.

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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-22-2017, 11:42 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by plain OM View Post
Is there a problem? I might be misunderstanding the description, but pending correction/clarification, here's my thought:

Quote:
i let the car run as per the manual instructs (rad cap off, front end in the air, blah blah blah). the car reaches operating temperature but the coolant DOES NOT go down in the radiator. along with that there is no pressure in neither the top or bottom radiator hoses. so pretty much it seems like the coolant is not circulating. BUT the car is not over heating and it is blowing hot air out of the vents.
With the radiator cap removed, pressure cannot build up in the cooling system and therefore there would be no pressure in the hoses.

If the cooling system has been filled properly, it's not likely, as far as I know, for the level, as viewed in the radiator filler neck, to go down when the engine reaches temp. Rather, because the coolant volume expands when it heats up, it's more likely that the level will go up, leading to the
already full radiator overflowing out the open radiator filler neck. (This is why, when the rad cap is on, the level in the external reservoir goes up.)

Also, if the heater delivers continuous hot air to the cabin, then the coolant is circulating through the engine because the heater core is supplied from the crossover pipe at the top of the engine ("out" from the engine) and returns the coolant to the pump ("return" into the engine). If the coolant weren't circulating, the heater output would tend to cool down.
Everything seems to be working at the moment. Temp gauge is is good (I hope it's working correctly), pressure in both hoses, fans kicking on, and hot air is being blown out of the vents. There is only one thing that I am currently worried about. After letting the car get up to full operating temperature, the radiator cap stays relatively cool to the touch. Also, I can take the cap off of the radiator after the car has been running without any kind of pressure at all being released. On top of that, coolant in the filler neck is only warm, I am able to hold my finger in it without getting any kind of serious burn.
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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-22-2017, 12:08 PM
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Non OEM thermostat can cause flow problems and inconsistent over heats. Any idea if the waterpump has ever been messed with by a non Subaru specific shop?

Also it some what common to see old cruddy radiators causing cooling problems in the Subarus from about 2005 and older. We had a few threads surface last spring where replacing the cruddy old radiator was the right fix.
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