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2008 Subaru Outback
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Discussion Starter #1
Hello- 08 Outback, we just bought it, 65k miles, I don't have any history of the car except we are the second owners. I don't know what engine the car has and my wife has it today.


I'd like to do a coolant change this weekend. Do I need to use Subaru official coolant or is there anything (Pentafrost?) that I could buy locally that would meet the required specs? Thanks, Dave
 

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2008 Outback 2.5
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If you completely flush the system, most modern antifreeze mixtures will work fine. You could make yourself feel better if you bought the one formulated for Asian cars. Zerex and Valvolene sells it, yes Pentofrost claims it's good for 09+ Subarus. If you're really paranoid, you can buy the coolant from the Subaru dealer if money is no object.

Subaru used to use a blue colored coolant that they claimed is good for 100,000 miles. They've since switched to a green colored coolant which is good for half that much. In reality, it was said that 100k miles was really pushing it for the blue coolant. I changed mine when I did my timing belt at 120k miles and the stuff looked clean and fairly clear. I've since replaced it with one of the Asian antifreezes and it's been working fine since. I drained the old coolant, ran a couple of cycles through with tap water, drained/filled/drained with distilled water then filled with 50/50 antifreeze/distilled water. Yes you are not supposed to use tap water, but so little is left after the flush with distilled water that I'm sure it won't matter.

There is a conditioner sold by Subaru which is supposed to prevent the dreaded head gasket leak, but with our 3rd generation OB's (I also have on 08), the conditioner won't make a difference. That conditioner is supposed to stop coolant-to-oil or coolant-to-combustion chamber leaks, the typical mode of failure in 3rd Gen OB's is leaks from the oil passages to the outside, no coolant involved. I had this leak and had the HG's replaced. It's just a necessary evil with this car. Bottom line, you don't need the conditioner.

In reality, coolant is so cheap nowadays that it doesn't hurt to change it once every 2-3 years even if it claims to be a 50,000 mile product. The important thing is to make sure you get all the air out of the system when you do the change. I use a Lisle Spill Free coolant funnel and run the engine with the heater on until the thermostat opens up, run periodically at 2000 rpm to get the pump speed up and keep filling the funnel until there is a reservoir remaining in it.

After doing this, the coolant remains right at cap level whenever I check it so there's no air trapped in the system.
 

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2008 Subaru Outback
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Discussion Starter #3
RS- ok, sounds good on the coolant. I've looked at a couple utubes on using one of those special funnel kits, I guess I could get one of those. Kinda a lot of coin ($45!) for a bunch of plastic pieces.


By installing that big funnel, does that help release the air that typically gets trapped in the system? Cause I already have a big funnel (!) One video I saw a guy using one of those "spill free" kits and he slopped coolant all over the place!


On other cars I just give a few squeezes to the upper radiator hose to burp air out of the system. Is it more involved on this Subaru? Thanks, Dave
 

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2008 Outback 2.5
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The air can get trapped in places other than the top hose. No, you don't really need the funnel. On other cars before I got the funnel, I simply wrapped towels around the radiator opening and when the thermostat opened up, the towels kept the mini geyser from splashing coolant all over the engine compartment. Just be sure the towels are anchored properly. You don't want one getting caught in the drive belts or fan when it starts up :O

The Outback does have places for some air to get trapped, but it's not as bad as some other cars. On my PT Cruiser, the air gets trapped below the thermostat and when it opens, you can pour another 2 liters of coolant into the system. Running around when you're 2 liters short of coolant is not a good thing.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
coolant

You know I've made it 35 plus years without one of those funnel things, I think I'll just use the rag trick.


The thing I've always wondered is this: If I drain off the radiator and refill with water to flush (maybe 2 or 3x), to me that means that there is still water in the system even after the last radiator drain off. If I fill the radiator with 50/50, doesn't that mean that after driving the car for a couple of days or so the water still in the system has mixed with the 50/50? So my REAL mixture is more like 60 (water) to 40 (coolant). So how does one insure a 50/50 mix? Or maybe instead of filling with 50/50 I do my final fill with 60 (coolant) and 40 (water). I've never seen anyone account for this- they always just say refill with 50/50 and you're done.


Your car pictured looks just like the one we almost bought, but pulled the trigger on an all silver one with lower mileage. It's my wife's car and she wasn't really digging the blue. Dave
 

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The thing I've always wondered is this: If I drain off the radiator and refill with water to flush (maybe 2 or 3x), to me that means that there is still water in the system even after the last radiator drain off. If I fill the radiator with 50/50, doesn't that mean that after driving the car for a couple of days or so the water still in the system has mixed with the 50/50? So my REAL mixture is more like 60 (water) to 40 (coolant). So how does one insure a 50/50 mix? Or maybe instead of filling with 50/50 I do my final fill with 60 (coolant) and 40 (water). I've never seen anyone account for this- they always just say refill with 50/50 and you're done.
If you're really anal about this, you could fill your system with water, burp it, make sure all the air is out, then drain it and measure how much comes out. Then you know how much to refill and calculate half the capacity with 100% antifreeze, and the balance with DW. Of course you should mix it all up before pouring it into the car but I'll bet dollars to donuts, it won't matter because it will all eventually mix together.

Your car pictured looks just like the one we almost bought, but pulled the trigger on an all silver one with lower mileage. It's my wife's car and she wasn't really digging the blue. Dave
I saw another car that looked exactly like mine at an In N Out Burger parking lot in Oregon this past summer and asked the owner what year it was, he said "08". We bonded right there, but he and his wife were busy loading the kids into car seats
so I simply said "good choice, good taste, have a nice drive".
 

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Discussion Starter #7
RS- I think I'll just mix it up 60/40 and call it good. We can get pretty cold up here (with lots of snow) so I think a little bit of extra coolant would be fine. Probably will end up with 50/50 after we're all said and done.


ps- do you have the giant sunroof? leather seats? I personally was gunning for the blue/silver, I think it's a great looking color combination. D
 

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I think that's a good plan with the coolant mixture.
As for my car, no this is the plain-plain base model with no options. Not even tinted windows. Here is Sacramento the summer temps are 105-110 with bright sunshine typically from April through November and I wish it had tinted windows. I went so long without them that now I feel it would be a waste of money to have them tinted but now that I hope to keep it another 8+ years maybe I should reconsider.

We had a sunroof on our Odyssey and frankly almost never used it. When the weather is nice out here, the sun is typically very high overhead and we'd get sunburned when we opened it. There were a few times when it was nice to have like on our trips to Yosemite with the mountains rising straight up and screening the sun or during a late afternoon drive along the Pacific Coast Highway, but otherwise we never used it. It spent most of it's life as a "mom and dad mobile" shuttling kids back and forth to school and activities.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
coolant

RS- Good morning! I looked in the reservoir last night, and I think the coolant looks blue (the so called 100k coolant?). I have to suck a little out to be sure. With only 65k on the odo, maybe I can wait on the coolant job until next spring. We could get 10" of snow any day now so I'm trying to wrap all of the car projects.


We just replaced my wife's 03 VW New Beetle (215k) with the Outback. I think last winter we got 140" of snow up here (Syracuse, NY) she spun the bright red Beetle around a couple times and it really freaked her out. So we got the AWD Outback for this season. It doesn't have snow tires but we're hoping the AWD helps with her commute.


Our Outback has the basic engine, basic seats and no sunroof. So I guess it's a base model too. I think the former owners were an older couple (9 year old car with 65k), I popped the hood and it looked (even smelled) like it was new.


Guess my only gripe is that the seats aren't leather and seem kinda narrow and hard. But I'm used to the wide leather seats of my Volvo XC70- it's like driving while sitting in a La-Z-Boy. We love heated seats up here, and I love the sunroof in the XC.


Guess I need to get to work over here... See Ya! D
 

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RS- Good morning! I looked in the reservoir last night, and I think the coolant looks blue (the so called 100k coolant?). I have to suck a little out to be sure. With only 65k on the odo, maybe I can wait on the coolant job until next spring. We could get 10" of snow any day now so I'm trying to wrap all of the car projects.
with the blue subaru OEM super coolant:

"The color of this coolant is blue and the first replacement interval is 11 years/220,000Km (137,500 miles).
The second replacement interval after that is 6 years/120,000KM (75,000 miles). "

as per
Subaru maintenance schedules and new car break-in period- 2000 through 2009, links for 2010, 2011...

and if swapping make sure to use a OEM stat and new OEM rad cap. (every other day there is a post here about aftermarket stats, and aftermarket rad caps,....the OEM cap measures in KPA, and like all aftermarket ones measure in PSI).
 
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