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2001 Outball LL Bean H6
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My wife was driving our beloved Outback (176k) when she says she started to smell antifreeze and then saw vapors pouring from underneath the hood. Fortunately, she was less than a mile from home and was able to get it there. She mentioned hearing a grinding noise as well.

When I got home from work today and inspected under the hood, the upper radiator hose was completely disconnected. Going for the simplest solution first, I checked everything else that I could, reconnected the hose, and filled the radiator with a bucket of water to see if there were any leaks. Sure enough, a small stream of water was coming from somewhere above the drain **** (wasn't the drain **** itself). I started the engine but that didn't seem to make much difference in the flow of water - again, just a very small stream or dripping.

Any thoughts, folks? First thought was water pump. My understanding is that to get to the water pump is a pretty extensive job. Not sure I trust myself but also don't really have the cabbage to spend nor do I know a trustworthy, knowledgeable tech in 23112. Whatever the issue, if you know of a step-by-step guide, with images, or better yet, a video, of how to resolve it, I would greatly appreciate it! I am a detail person, so the more the better in my case.

Thanks!

Patrick
 

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(formerly) 03 H6 OBW , (presently) 06 WRX Sportwagon & 2021 Honda CR-V
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above the drain?




I dunno,

is the serpentine belt intact? The idler and tensioner pulley bearings are prone to failure and could - maybe - make a grinding noise, then throw the belt into the hose.....

Or could a fan blade get onto the radiator fins?????
 

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2001 Outball LL Bean H6
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Belt is intact and the engine runs. I replaced the pulleys, alternator, and belt within the last 2 months. My question is, what caused the hose to disconnect? Pressure in the system? I haven't pulled the radiator yet - will do that today. Never done that but it seems straight forward enough. I assume that once pulled I can fill it up and easily find a leak. Are there any DIY posts and/or videos for this?

Getting a water pump quickly was a challenge - none of the parts stores around here had one available except for one that specializes in foreign parts, so if it is the water pump I'd like to get on that NLT Saturday (today is Friday).

Thanks in advance for the help!

Patrick
 

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a small stream of water was coming from somewhere above the drain **** (wasn't the drain **** itself).
Isn't the water pump on the 3.0 H6 hidden underneath the sealed timing chain cover on the front of the engine and driven by the chain? If it were leaking, which I guess is a possibility, the water leak, if it showed at all, would be on the front and bottom of the engine, not above the radiator drain valve on the radiator's lower tank. So, based on the description, I'd discount the possibility of the pump leaking.

If the water was dripping from the bottom of the radiator, that's where it is coming from. Could be a crack in the core tubes, or in the clamped joints between the core and the top or bottom tank (not uncommon).

Not sure why the hose was off at the top radiator connection. Perhaps the clamp was loose. Was it the original clamp?

Did you wait some time to see if, after re-filling the radiator, the level dropped and the external dripping continued? It's possible that the dripping could be left-over coolant that was sprayed by the disconnected upper hose into the radiator and AC condenser fins -- it could take some time for it all to drain away -- and not be a leak in the radiator itself.

If the hose was off the upper radiator connector, coolant would have been pouring out of it and dropping onto the fans, which would have been running in order to try to control engine temperature. The effect of the coolant being flung around the engine compartment by the fan blades could sound like grinding inside the car.

Depending on when the hose actually came off, I wonder if the engine overheated due to the loss of coolant.
 

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06 OBW 2.5, 05 Forester, had 03 H6 OBW
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It is almost certainly not the water pump, unless the oil is now several gallons overfilled with water.

If it did not overheat, perhaps the clamp simply loosened or rusted away and let the hose pop off? Maybe the hose nipple on the radiator cracked?
 

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OBW H6 VDC, Tribeca, XT6
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Water pump is highly unlikely. I've actually never heard of an H6 water pump failure yet...it's just a mechanical part so it's obviously possible but it's very rare.

With the limited info we have, the leak caused the hose to blow off. Coolant got low enough to compromise flow and cooling - then coolant overheated - then the radiator hose blew off due to boiling, gases, pressure, heat.

The only part I don't get is the "grinding" noise...which may implicate the pump since it's timing chain driven...but I have a number of unrelated guesses. but without more information I'm not going to write a book of possibilities.

You mention you think it's the water pump but you're looking for a radiator leak?
Is the leak on the engine side or radiator side?

I don't know what you mean by "drain" - you mean the drain in the radiator?
Post a picture?

There are a couple (2 or 3) really nice threads on here about doing headgaskets (which requires the timing chains to come off) and timing chain components. They have some great pictures, you'll want to see those threads.

I'm not aware of any other resources for the H6 or "videos". You don't really need a video for anything, the timing chain job takes like 10 hours, that would be a long video to make. And the radiator removal is too easy to involve a video camera, editing, posting, hosting.

radiator - remove hoses - disconnect electrical connectors, unbolt 2 bolts up top and the entire radiator comes out. i believe you can even leave the fans on to remove it, but they're easy enough to remove anyway.

for water pump you'll be removing the radiator, pulleys on the front of the engine, and then the 110 (or whatever number it is) bolts holding the timing chain cover on. remove chain, replace water pump.
 

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(formerly) 03 H6 OBW , (presently) 06 WRX Sportwagon & 2021 Honda CR-V
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those guys have great posts^^^^^^


the last thing you want to do, is remove the timing chain cover until absolutely certain it is necessary. If the engine runs properly and as quietly as before this incident, the problem is extremely unlikely to be inside the TC cover.
 
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