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Discussion Starter #1
I know I am probably screwed because this is going to end up being a blown HG just from reading all the problems on here that ppl have with these cars. After I drive the my outback on the freeway for only 10 miles or so and then pull off onto a sidestreet, the temp. gauge shoots up and it starts overheating. If I only drive on the side streets, it never seems to over heat. I replaced the thermostat with a Subaru OEM part and also replaced the fluid. Both fans are coming on and seem to be working fine. I don't notice anything leaking. I do smell antifreeze when it overheats. I have notice that there are bubbles coming up from the overflow hose in the overflow tank when the car is running. I guess I should assume my HG is screwed and I am also. The temp. outside right now is in the low 30s so I am surprised it is overheating. What should I check first ? I really can't afford 1300 bucks to get a head gasket done !
 

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I simply cannot abide useless people.
2006 2.5i and 2002 3.0 wagons.
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Hate to say it, but those are classic signs of an internal HG failure.
 

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OBW H6 VDC, Tribeca, XT6
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The DOHC EJ25's aren't typically predictable - meaning that it never does it on the side streets is odd.

But everything else you said sounds like headgasket. Nice job troubleshooting the fans and thermostat first.

Make sure the system is full and there's no trapped air - burp the cooling system.
If it overheats and you get no heat out of your interior cabin (it'll be hot for a minute or two), then that also suggests headgaskets.

An EJ22 swap is a better solution. Often you can buy an EJ22 for as much as you can sell that Ej25 engine for - so you only have engine installation costs - $500 or so. I just did this for a friend - $350 for an EJ22, and I didn't buy the cheapest one I could find, I went for lower mileage - I'm sure I'll get that for his old EJ25 which I'm getting back friday. So he's only out installation costs.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Amazing, everywhere I search for information on this engine, it talks about head gasket failures. Wish I would have searched before I bought this thing! I have never seen anything like this on any toyota. Should have stuck with old reliable.
 

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Pair O' Beans
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I think what you're seeing is on the web is info about the 2.5 sohc. HG failures in the Dohc motors are very rare, certainly on par with non-subaru engines.

Bubbles in the overflow tank is almost surely a sign of combustion gases getting into the cooling system, which indicates an internal failure. Cylinder pressure in the water jacket can hold the thermostat closed, I've seen it happen. Try pulling the themostat and see if your situation improves.

If you had the SOHC motor, I would suggest spending the winter reading up on engine removal and HG replacement, it's really not out of the reach of most people with basic skills. Sadly, the DOHC motor is another kettle of fish. Maybe you could pull the engine and do the HGs yourself and hire someone to help time the cams once you're ready to reinstall. I'll help if you're anywhere near NE PA.
 

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Pair O' Beans
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If you do attempt an EJ22 swap, there can be issues with compatibility across model years. There's a vacuum solenoid on the passenger side inner fender that differs year to year, and you wind up with the wrong number of vacuum lines. Screws up the idle quality, if memory serves, which it (memory) probably doesn't because I can't remember how I fixed it.
 

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Amazing, everywhere I search for information on this engine, it talks about head gasket failures. Wish I would have searched before I bought this thing! I have never seen anything like this on any toyota. Should have stuck with old reliable.
*** Take note and I'll help you purchase wisely - every manufacturer has issues - Toyota is not immune. If you randomly buy Toyota's you will eventually have a bad headgasket too, they even had a headgasket recall from 1988-1995...and newer 2000+ Toyotas have had headgasket issues, just google it, there's more info available than I know about.

To be a smart used auto purchaser you don't want to make anecdotal, uninformed assumptions like "toyota is better than subaru". See the big picture so you can purchase wisely. What you want to do is find Toyota's best engines/trans or Subaru's best engines/transmissions. Google and forums like this make it really easy even for people not well versed in auto's.

You want to research the exact year, model, engine, and trans. It's easier with Subaru's since they're smaller and have fewer options, fewer variables.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
What is the most reliable test to do on an engine to diagnose a hg problem? So far we have done a compression check, ( is this the same as a leak down test?), exhaust gas test. All come back neg. But when I drive the car over 45 mph the gauge creeps up and it starts overheating. I just had the water pump replaced because it was shot. The car also has a new radiator.
 

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97 Outback 230000
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The two clues on my 97 when the headgasket blew were a CE light with a code indicating a misfire on cylinder 2 and the smell of roasted marshmallows. It cost me way more than $1300 to have it fixed!
 

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2013 OB 2.5i Premium/DDD Graphite Gray Metallic OP#2 Weathertec Window Deflectors
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Did you bleed the radiator, to get rid of the air bubbles?
 

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Discussion Starter #12
How do I go about bleeding the radiator? I have heard mention of this but I'm sorry, I just don't remember how.


Note: You guys must be so sick of hearing questions about overheating problems on these cars!
 

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Discussion Starter #14
I just got the my car back from my mechanic after paying him $600 for replacing the rotors, brake pads and calipers and doing the water pump. He did a leak down test and he said all cylnders checked good. I drove the car for about 15 miles, both highway and back roads. When I pulled into the driveway and was parking the car the temp. gauge started creeping up. I shut it off and noticed the level in the overflow bottle was way above the full level. My mechanic also said he tested the new subaru thermostat that I installed and it chked out o.k. The level in the bottle was at the low mark when I started driving the car yesterday. The outside temp. was only about 25 degrees for my test drive. I did add a bottle of subaru conditioner to the radiator before driving yesterday. I am thinking this is a blown hg and now I have air in the system and that's why the fluid level is so high now in the overflow. The fluid in the overflow did not get sucked back into the radiator after the car cooled off. I am thinking of trying some Bars stop leak in the radiator since I can't afford $1500 for a hg job right now! I stopped at NAPA and they wanted $45 for the kit for testing for gasses in the coolant. Should I go ahead and spend the $45 or take it to a dealer and have them test it? The shop said they would charge me $65, but then I would know it was being tested correctly. I am really stuck with this lemon now and don't know what I am going to do. I may be trying to trade it in and hope I can find an affordable truck that I will have to make payments on. :(
 

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1999 Outback Limited 5MT
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Last year I had a 97 outback (if you had the same design) and when I first got it it started to overheat as well and I was about to call the dealer back and tell them to pick it up the day that I had just got it. Well I toughed it out and went off and looked to see what's going on. Well I know I can keep the heat stable by turning the heat up at max. So I got a new thermastat went back to the house, undone the housing bolts and....there was the problem. Someone wasn't thinking and put the thermostat in backwards. The spring on the thermostat was facing the waterpump. I still put in the new one (spring facing down) and I didn't have a heating issue again.

It may not be your problem, but I figure I mention something little like that.
 

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Ok sorry, I got mixed up of what goes in first but I still knew which way it went in by looking at the valve. I do know that the car that I got from a used car dealer had put their thermostat in backwards.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
O.K. I have finally just accepted the fact that I am screwed and I have blown head gaskets or a cracked block. From spending alot of time reading threads about this it seems it would be a waste of money to even have this thing fixed because there is a good chance it will just blow another head gasket because it is so common in these engines. Should I even think of wasting more money on this car? I am already into it for more than 3 grand and I can't even drive the POS. Time to start thinking about declaring bankruptcy I guess.
 

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97 Outback 230000
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My head gasket hasn't blown after the first time BUT I am on my third radiator. I also do not climb the Sierras with the car loaded with gear in August with the air conditioning on to keep the dogs comfy. That is how I got there in the first place. I think it blew at around 77,000 miles and now I have 174,000. On the other hand I now cannot pass smog in California. If you don't have that issue then it is worth fixing.
 
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