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Bought this car about three months ago and has 119xxx miles on it. Yesterday I noticed some steam coming from the front, popped the hood and couldnt really tell where it was coming from. Temputure was fine. This morning my girlfriend was driving it and it overheated bad, gauge all the way up. She said that it was not blowing any warm air through the heater either. Im hoping its not the head gaskets. I checked the oil last week and saw no milkyness or bubbles, no leaks around the motor that i can see. My guess is that it could be one of two things

1. Fans not working: When i popped the hood the fans were not running and the car was.
2.Theremostat: If the theremostat was bad, it would not signal the fan control module to turn on right?

Any help on this would be awesome because we cannot be with out two cars. My girlfriend wont complain though cause she'll get to drive my WRX :)
 

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Bought this car about three months ago and has 119xxx miles on it. Yesterday I noticed some steam coming from the front, popped the hood and couldnt really tell where it was coming from. Temputure was fine. This morning my girlfriend was driving it and it overheated bad, gauge all the way up. She said that it was not blowing any warm air through the heater either. Im hoping its not the head gaskets. I checked the oil last week and saw no milkyness or bubbles, no leaks around the motor that i can see. My guess is that it could be one of two things

1. Fans not working: When i popped the hood the fans were not running and the car was.
2.Theremostat: If the theremostat was bad, it would not signal the fan control module to turn on right?

Any help on this would be awesome because we cannot be with out two cars. My girlfriend wont complain though cause she'll get to drive my WRX :)
Heater core must have coolant in it to produce heat. Fan switch ie sensor may need coolant over it to sense heat and kick on. You didn't mention anything about it having coolant in it.

A leak will cause steam - a leak will cause you to have no coolant, no coolant - no heat from heater core. No coolant engine over heats.

Thermostat needs to be stock Subaru the cheap parts store junk are famous for causing subarus to overheat given they don't open correctly with the odd cooling system subaru has.

Two things - first make sure it has coolant in it. Run it long enough to get the thermostat to open - check the rear left bottom corner of the engine ie looking from just behind the driver side front tire see if you have coolant dripping off the block/head gasket onto the hot exhaust. This is the classic HG external failure.

No coolant dripping off the back bottom corner - get a HG test kit which tests for exhaust gasses in your coolant. This will confirm that either the HG is fine or you have a failed HG internally which case your coolant is being drawn into the cylinder and messing up the engine and obviously exiting via the exhaust.

Water pumps rarely fail on Subarus but they still are a point of possible failure either no circulating the coolant or - leaking. So thats also on the suspect list.

A plugged up useless radiator can also kill your car and cause cooling system problems.

You now have a check list good luck

As for the fan's flip the AC switch on see if the fans kick on- it wouldn't be the first time someone has had their primary fan fail or even both the primary and secondary fans die.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I guess i should have mentioned that yes, it does have coolant in it. I added a little less than half gallon yesterday. Thanks for the quick reply, i will check these things as soon as i get home
 

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Be sure to burp it. Run it at idle with the cap off the radiator as the system cycles it will move pockets of air out of the system and you will need to top it off some more. An air bubble in the system could cause some problems though generally a leak or one of the above issues creates the air bubble to start with.

Also if the over flow bottle hose is damaged or has a hole or leak in it - the cooling system will suck air vs coolant from the bottle so check the hose and the nipple at the cap to make sure its not sucking air.
 

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Side note - City water systems generally run close to 80psi during the summer months and cities will drop them as low as 60psi in some places - either one is capable of damaging your cooling system in the car given its not designed to handle that much pressure. So don't get crazy pressurizing the cooling system with the garden hose.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks so much for your help. It turned out to be the thermostat, I am still gonna the the HG tested this weekend just to be sure. I drove it to work today and no overheat whatsoever, and the heat works better now than it did before, thanks again!
 
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