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It is the JOB of the radiator-cap to allow air to escape during warmup (into the overflow-tank and out into the atmasphere).... and allow fluid to be sucked into the system during cooldown.

From your description of the overflow-tank NEVER getting suction during cooldown, I would HIGHLY advize replacing that cap. (I realize others have suggested this several times before)

If a new cap does not allow the suction to happen during cooldown, there is likely a pinhole leak which is allowing air into the system during cooldown (bypassing the cap's function)
 

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Discussion Starter #23 (Edited)
Still overheating. Where can I take it?

OP here again. Problem still exists and I want this thing resolved. I replaced the radiator cap with another OEM cap, but no change. This thing will run for weeks with no problem and then it pukes fluid out of the coolant overflow bottle. It will literally empty the entire bottle, almost a liter of coolant expelled.

Here is my dilemma - I'm in Birmingham Alabama. There is only one Subaru dealer here (Jim Burke Subaru). I have taken it there 3 times and they can't fix it. On the first visit they told me my radiator was cracked and they replaced it. 2 more visits and they can find no problem. I just don't want to take it back there. I feel like they ripped me off the first time with they radiator replacement as the problem has never changed. They tell me they pressure tested the cooling system and the block but could find no issues. I KNOW there is a leak somewhere. I just feel like I'm wasting my time taking it back there. I think the last time I was there I asked about a coolant hydrocarbon test but the service manager just gave me a blank stare.

I'm sure I have let this go too long. The last few times it has overheated I just bled the air out of the system and topped off the coolant. And I'm getting tired of buying that expensive blue coolant (available ONLY at the Subaru dealer) I tried calling the Subaru national customer service # this morning but only got pissed because they are closed on Friday (what?!?)

Any of you gurus got any more advice for me? Thanks in advance
 

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I'd have to say that it's time to get it to another shop.

It would be worth following up on subiesailor's suggestion to trim the overflow hose- kind of a long shot but worth doing all the same.

Since a general repair shop is not going to have an SSM system to communicate with the car, you may need to invest in an interface cable so that you (or the shop) can connect to it with an ordinary laptop or tablet to directly read status from the car. Better than flying blind and wasting time.

While there are a few oddities about the Subaru cooling system, they aren't that weird on an absolute scale. Ask family/friends/co-workers for a recommendation on a quality general purpose mechanic in your area.
 

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No having read every post in the thread, but the first and a few followups, it sure sounds like you have a head gasket leak especially with the number of overtemp issues you've had. May not have been the original problem but it is likely now. Sorry...
 

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It's time to follow the suggestion already made a few times on this thread. Test the coolant for hydrocarbons. An internal HG leak would seem to be unusual for an 2011, based on the lack of complaints on these forums, but anything is possible.
 

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Discussion Starter #27
Final Update - Problem solved

After dealing with this issue for months, and searching for the mysterious cause of my problem, the issue is now fixed. Even though all symptoms indicated a blown head gasket, I thought there just had to be another answer. This is a 2011 4-cylinder Outback, bought brand new, that has never had a single issue. And it only had 70K miles.

It was indeed a blown head gasket.

With no definitive answers (especially from the local dealer) I just had to go through all the stages: shock or disbelief, denial, bargaining, guilt, anger, depression, and acceptance. I took it to a local reputable mechanic and told them I suspected a head gasket and for them to prove me wrong. They didn't.

This was a painful and expensive repair. $3500 dollars. Sure, I probably overpaid, but I just wanted the dang thing fixed and I knew these guys did good work. Once they diagnosed the problem, I was initially concerned with how they were going to determine which cylinder head needed removal. They eventually replaced both head gaskets, telling me that it's just standard practice to do each. I didn't object as it seemed better to be safe than sorry. Of course they also replaced the water pump and timing belts while it was apart which added to the final cost.

I'm still a bit pissed that this happened. This car has been well maintained and never abused. I'm just going to chalk it up to bad luck. Everything I read here stated head gasket problems didn't exist on this generation of Outbacks. Maybe it is truly rare and I just drew the short straw.

Thanks to everyone on this forum who offered advice. I hope I can return the favor someday.
 

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Sorry to hear it ended up being a head gasket. Really all we EJ owners can do is change our fluids often and hope for the best.
 

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After dealing with this issue for months, and searching for the mysterious cause of my problem, the issue is now fixed. Even though all symptoms indicated a blown head gasket, I thought there just had to be another answer. This is a 2011 4-cylinder Outback, bought brand new, that has never had a single issue. And it only had 70K miles.

It was indeed a blown head gasket.

With no definitive answers (especially from the local dealer) I just had to go through all the stages: shock or disbelief, denial, bargaining, guilt, anger, depression, and acceptance. I took it to a local reputable mechanic and told them I suspected a head gasket and for them to prove me wrong. They didn't.

This was a painful and expensive repair. $3500 dollars. Sure, I probably overpaid, but I just wanted the dang thing fixed and I knew these guys did good work. Once they diagnosed the problem, I was initially concerned with how they were going to determine which cylinder head needed removal. They eventually replaced both head gaskets, telling me that it's just standard practice to do each. I didn't object as it seemed better to be safe than sorry. Of course they also replaced the water pump and timing belts while it was apart which added to the final cost.

I'm still a bit pissed that this happened. This car has been well maintained and never abused. I'm just going to chalk it up to bad luck. Everything I read here stated head gasket problems didn't exist on this generation of Outbacks. Maybe it is truly rare and I just drew the short straw.

Thanks to everyone on this forum who offered advice. I hope I can return the favor someday.
Even with the t-belt repair it seems overly expensive to me. Also, Did you get SOA involved? 70k hg repair are not common with 2010/12 EJ'S . I know of one other person on this site that had the same issue at 60k. I can see abuse- running hot / not maintaing the car could create this issue. This seems like a defect from the factory
 

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My 01 EJ 2.5 started loosing about 4oz of coolant every 200 miles no over heats at 64,000, it was external leak driver side head at the Head gasket. Subaru called me 8 minutes after I had dropped it off. Told me they were covering it and having the dealer start on it right away.

Car only had the standard 36k warranty.
Subaru simply told me it shouldnt happen they are fixing it.

At 180,000 hard miles it was perfectly fine when we sold it. The dealer told me his cost is $1500 per side charged back to Subaru.

I think that price is exactly the same today regarding Dealer cost.

They only did one head thats all it needed. Each head is its own thing on these engines.

If I were you I would contact Subaru, tell them what happened and that you really do like the car. I bet Subaru sends you a gift card with some cash on it. They really do stuff like that. No joke. Thats why I bought another Subaru, the company really does try pretty hard to do the right thing. Which is pretty refreshing after owning a Ford in the late 80s and early 90s where I had a Ford rep actually tell me to go screw my self when I asked if they could share the cost on a faulty AT fluid seal that was dumping ATFluid out of the bell housing on my truck.
 

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Discussion Starter #31
I did give Subaru USA a call today. I figured what the heck, why not? I didn't expect too much and I was right. She told me that since the repair was done at an independent shop they wouldn't be able to provide any assistance. She did offer a $150 voucher for parts and or service at the local dealer. Since I feel like they previously ripped me off on a radiator replacement (unnecessary IMHO) and could not properly diagnose a blown head gasket, I'm not very inclined to patronize them again. She did say they would document everything, for what that's worth. All I'm hoping for now is no more issues.
 

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If the shop you went to prepared the surfaces correctly and had the heads machined, the repair should last the life of the car.

It's also important they used the correct coolant (subaru super coolant), and the cooling system additive.
 

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Maybe. No one really knows.
When I went through this with the 01 2.5. I talked with a family friend a big time Drag funny car and top fuel drag boat builder. He later managed a Subaru shop for a family getting their Subie dealer up and running. He said "if" the person doing the HG work knows his stuff and the car sees standard oil services and doesnt get run hot, the HG should never be an issue again.

He also followed that up with the comment that 40% of the mechanical issues often seen are the result of shoddy work done prior to the issue happening. Funny enough he was in the middle of replacing a cracked oil pan caused by over torquing the drai bolt on a 4runner with documented oil services at a major local Toyota dealer. Hmmm...
 

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"if" the person doing the HG work knows his stuff ..........., the HG should never be an issue again.
That's partly why I said "maybe!" The point is that we should not be assuring novice posters that they won't have a second HG failure after replacing the HG. First, it's not like replacing shocks. It's a repair where serious mistakes can be made. Second, the EJ 2.5 engine is just very prone to HG failure. One mechanic said that all the EJ 2.5 engines will have HG failures. I don't know if he's right but I do know, as an engineer, that the initial factory installation should be better then any after shop repair. In summary, there should be no confidence in the repair, despite anecdotal experience to the contrary.

The prudent advice then is for anyone with a HG repair is to tell them to trade it in before the guarantee expires. Usually 12 months. There is one exception to that advice. If the car is so old that it only worth a few thousand, then drive it until, when or if, it spots the driveway completely black and then junk it. This is what I'm planning on doing with my 02.
 

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Im having same issue with my 2011 OB. same thins radiator etc now they are replacing Head Gaskets as they feel was leaking exhaust into the system. so we will see. Have not got it back yet
 

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Im having same issue with my 2011 OB. same thins radiator etc now they are replacing Head Gaskets as they feel was leaking exhaust into the system. so we will see. Have not got it back yet

they feel?

I sure hope they did a chemical test proving that exhaust gases were in the coolant. Otherwise you are simply helping make their next boat payment without them solving your problem. :wink2:
 

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I'm having exactly the same problem...could've been me writing the dang thing! Our 2011 2.5 CVT Outback had a minor accident to the front end. Bodyshop replaced and plumbed a new radiator. Ever since then we've had exactly the same issues as thread-starter. We have at the dealer now...they put a new radiator in, new cap, new thermostat and still can't figure it out. Any more suggestions or anyone know of any qualified Subaru service techs in northwest Ohio area?
 

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Did they replace the hoses and the hose to the reservoir?
If the system cannot suck the coolant back from the reservoir because of either a collapsed hose or because of a pin hole air leak in the hose, you'll be pushing fluid into the reservoir as the engine heats up and at some point while the engine is cooling, sucking air back into the system rather than coolant.

If they replaced the radiator, I hope they also checked the operation of the fan to make sure it turns on when it's supposed to.
 

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Hi. I might have missed it in the thread, but was your water pump replaced?

I recently had a head gasket replaced and they didn't replace the water pump. If my engine was continuing to overheat, that would be my next suspect. So far so good. *knock on wood*
 
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