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I recently purchased an 06 outback and had put several hundred miles on it before the engine overheated on the interstate. Was able to limp it to an autozone and found the radiator bone dry including the reservoir with steam pouring out of the cap. Bought an aftermarket cap and some antifreeze, filled it up and got it home. Figured I had a thermostat problem after looking through the forum. I replaced the thermostat with an oem and still have the same problem.

Once the engine heats up to about halfway steam starts to pour out the “ears” of the cap like it isn’t sealing. I am
Also not getting any warm air into the cabin on full blast and temperature maxed out. When I press “a/c” the passenger side fan comes on and the reservoir begins to fill up quickly before it all apparently boils off out the cap. I have purchased an OEM cap that should be here in a few days. Anyone else have any advice?

water pump, timing belt, and radiator were replaced a month ago, head gasket was replaced in 2015 with 122k miles on it. Currently has 156k miles.
 

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Outback 2011 3.6R Premium
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The clue to your problem is that you are not getting any warm air from the heater. This means there is a large air bubble preventing coolant flow through the heater core (and other parts of the engine)

You need to properly “burp” the air out of the cooling system. There are many posts on this forum about the correct procedure to do this. Some people suggest you need to repeatedly rev the engine from idle to around 4,000 RPM and others suggest the need of a “no spill funnel”. The main thing is that after filling the radiator you need to turn the heater on high and then idle/run the engine until the heater is blowing warm/hot air. After this top off the radiator and overflow and let the engine totally cool (an hour or two). Then before starting the engine again, remove the radiator cap and top off as required.

For the next few days check the radiator and overflow every day before starting the car and top off as necessary. This will ensure ALL of the air is removed from the system.

Seagrass
 

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Discussion Starter #3
we tried doing a “burp” but ended up not completing because we couldn’t ever get the steam to quit relieving from under the cap. Figuring this was a large part of the problem.

if we set up a funnel and do this should I feel hot air in the cabin and not have steaming out of the radiator?
 

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Today I burped the radiator with water for about an hour. Some air definitely escaped but after an hour I put the radiator cap back on and the same issue persisted.

what I don’t understand is why the fluid is pressurizing and steaming out the cap instead of cooling off in the radiator. Any ideas?
 

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03 H6 OBW & 06 WRX Sportwagon
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If the rad cap is sealing properly, gasses (combustion gasses or steam) should be streaming/boiling out of the overflow bottle.
 

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2006 Saab 9-2x 2.5i N/A M/T
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X2 on what seagrass and texan said. The proper purging procedure involves revving to enable the water pump to blast air pockets through the system, and as Texan said, there shouldn't be anything escaping from the cap. Sounds like there is an issue with the filler neck or cap. Pressure in the system is normal, but excess should be coming out in the expansion tank and NOT from around the cap.

Fix the cap issue first, purge, and see what happens.
 
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