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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
EDIT: Head gasket issue with 2.2L engine? Or other problem?

Note: I changed the title since I thought there's a chance my situation might be a little different than the average busted head gasket. My original post is below.

Also, I thought I should add that my car has over 205,000 miles on it. It does not seem to be leaking oil, and it's not milky-looking, the oil appears normal. It's a 2.2L engine and otherwise reliable. I've also never let it get pinned or any hotter than maybe 2/3 high on the temp gauge, then I've pulled over immediately. But they've said the radiator's not clogged, so I've ruled out almost everything else so ... radiator cap? Battery corrosion?
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I'm still hoping I'm wrong, and that maybe I'm the special, lucky one who won't have the dreaded HEAD GASKET misadventure. Still hopeful though, since my situation is a little different.

I have a '96 Legacy wagon. It's a 2.2L, so from what I've heard these HGs don't usually fail like the 2.5s do. I'm not getting the random up-and-down overheating on the temp gauge at intermittent times. Temp is good under most driving conditions, but will start to overheat after longer periods of driving, if going uphill at slow speeds (think long gravel driveways up the mountain for camping, etc).

So far, I fixed a fan that had a broken fuse, and last summer I had timing belts and the water pump replaced. Last month, I had a couple small oil leaks repaired along with an oil change (routine maintenance) and was told there was "debris" in front of the radiator, so that was evidently cleaned out. Then it was all smooth sailing! Until last weekend, when after a LONG drive slowly uphill it finally started to heat up, so I pulled over to let it cool.

Then I saw some bluish? smoke coming out from under the hood..is THAT a head gasket problem? I'm not smelling anything sweet and I'm not losing any coolant. So there's my story.
 

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As you surmised EJ22's don't have headgasket issues.

If it overheats check to see if fans are coming on, if radiator hoses are both hot (be careful), and if the heater will continuously blow hot air (it's always hot at first).

Was the A/C on - if so, turn it off when it starts to overheat and then what happens?
Turn the heat on high (A/C off) - does the temp go down?

If it does happen to be a headgasket issue then it was likely 'caused', not a typical headgasket issue as seen in the EJ25's.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Hi Grossgary, thanks for the reply.

It's possible one or both of the fans isn't working, despite the fuse being fixed. The a/c was not on, and I did put on the heat and it did go back down - temporarily. After a couple minutes it started creeping back up again (I was still winding slowly up the hill).

I haven't ever let the car fully overheat, so I'm really hoping I wouldn't have caused any head gasket-warping. The heating and a/c all seems to be operating normally. I'm not getting a sweetish smell or white smoke. I might check the radiator hoses. Hopefully it's nothing major and fixable... thanks again
 
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