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Discussion Starter #1
Hey folks new to the forum here but hoping to get some advice... I have a 01' Outback 2.5L Limited with 138,000 on the ticker... Car is in pretty good shape except for that since I have moved to Southern NM and am commuting from 4,000 ft. up to ~9,000 ft I have started having problems with it overheating towards the end of the climb...

I have flushed the coolant (and been assured there are no air pockets since they are using a forced system?) ... When the car nearly reaches the town Im living in it goes from normal operating temp to red zone within the blink of an eye...

Tried turning on the heat full blast to bleed the heat but cool air comes out even though its at or near the red... fans are working and the car does fine down in town or on the highway... Ive been told that I need to headgaskets done...

Thinking about taking it to the dealer in El Paso to have the repairs done but know this will cost an arm and 2 legs... As 'Suub' experts what do you think?

Do I get the job done at the dealer and hope for the best over the next... 70,000-100,000...

Or do I look for a new vehicle? Can't really afford a payment right now and was hoping to get a couple years outta this ol' nag :confused:

Thanks for any insight... -Delbosque
 

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First off don't run the car hot or you might as well start looking for a new car.

No heat from the heater means your lacking coolant or coolant flow in the system. Are you adding coolant to the car? If yes then you probably have the external HG leak which you can spot by looking under the car, driver side from just behind the front wheel - looking forward and to the center you can see the back bottom corner of the engine driver side. This is where the leaky HG is spotted right after running the car you will see coolant dripping off the engine block onto the hot exhaust.

If you don't see any coolant dripping and your not adding coolant to the system - then your issue could be a fouled up radiator - a thermostat that is not working correctly etc. Only USE Subaru tstats!!! The cheap parts store thermostats will cause your car to over heat. They simply don't work with Subarus for some reason very well known issue with the cheap tstats.
 

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By the way the cooling system in the 2001 or gen 2- gen 3 cars are not super robust so doing long climbs while running poor quality oil in the engine can cause the car to heat up even if the cooling system is 100% working.

I switched my 01 to synthetic oil when I noticed this during the hot summers - the synthetic oil helped with the heat vs cooling issues. My car had the HG replaced at 65K by the dealer subaru chipped in and covered it. Original owners Subaru will share some cost if you ask. At 180,000 miles the car was leak free and ran great when we sold it. Proper HG replacement skill!!! Will determine how long the new HG lasts. I would never have a HG done by a shop that will not give me a 5yr warranty on it. My old Toyota blew three Headgaskets in 3.5yrs before Toyota finally flew in a top engine guy and had him do it right!
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Hey thanks for the input subiesailor... I guess I will see what the dealer says... unfortunately Im not in a part of the world (down here in SE NM) where there are a lot of options for Subaru mechanics... why didnt this happen when I lived in Bellingham, WA??

I have thought about the radiator as well... The only time I am losing coolant is if the temp spikes and some comes out of the reservoir (as I am screeching to a halt on the side of the road)...

I was told that the coolant is being forced out of the radiator by exhaust gasses coming out of the failed head gasket...

However, someone told me that a partially obstructed radiator could do essentially the same thing.... I can get around the basics of a car/engine.... but am absolutly no 'wrencher'....
 

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The 2001 rarely had internal HG failures (these cause engine exhaust gas being pumped into the cooling system). They had external HG leaks where the coolant leaked out externally. Which case high probability you have a plugged up cooling system if its doing what your describing.

Plugged up radiator
Tstat that is stuck closed or not a subaru Tstat
Water pump has stopped pumping water for some reason
Or blockage caused by a hose that is coming apart internally think loose flap of hose rubber folding across the flow and restricting it or cutting flow off.

Start there all those fixes are far far FAR cheaper than HG fix.

By the way internal HG failure ie exhaust gas in the coolant - they have a simple chemistry set test that simply tests for exhaust gas in your coolant. If a mechanic does a hard sell on the internally blown HG - go to a local parts store and get the test kit and do it your self. High probability you do not have a internally blown HG.

The externally leaking HG will not show any results on the test kit given you won't have exhaust gas in the cooling system.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
The local mechanic that I took it to (not necessarily a Subaru expert) said that they performed a 'block test' using I think the reaction for combustion gasses and said that it passed...

however, I am wondering if they did that in the shop when the engine was not overheating rather than up on the mountain would it show positive for combustion gasses regardless...

Just wondering if the engine would have to be under that same strain for it to start blowing exhaust and oil out of the HG and into the coolant...

That being said I am not seeing any white smoke out the tail pipe but I did notice some black greasy muck coating the inside of the coolant reservoir (another tell'tale so I have read)....

Thanks again for your input! Best- Delbosque
 

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No once a HG has failed regardless of it being big or small the exhaust gas will be in the coolant and register on the chem test kit. IF it is an internal failure. As I said external leak is exactly what the 2001's had issues with.

The reason for the blowing off coolant during the climb is due to the temp finally hitting a point the coolant is expanding and needs some place to go. From the sounds of it this has more to do with a lack of cooling ability or circulation than it does the cooling system being pressurized by a blown internal HG.
 

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A radiator packed full of bug carcases could even be the issue here - or something worse like an actual blockage in the radiator - or bad tstat - or failed water pump not circulating the coolant etc.

Also the over flow hose or nipple on the top of the radiator can be cracked allowing air into the cooling system causing it stop circulating etc.
 
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