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2004 Subaru OBW L.L. Bean H6. 2003 Subaru OBW L.L. Bean Former 2001 Subaru OBW VDC owner.
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Discussion Starter #1
Overheat after work tonight. I revved a little and it went away, but the telltale signs of a blown head are there. It couldn’t have come at a worse time, I’m still not done with the 04 Subaru Outback. I need just one more month. I got to get up at 4 AM, I’m working overtime like crazy, so I hope when I get to work tomorrow my car is not overheating...

even though I know the head gasket is going on me, I want to believe that maybe the cheap coolant I’ve been using in the car or maybe just an undigested crumb of cheese in the gas tank, or a bad gas fluke, could be the cause of this. The steaming coolant reservoir says that’s probably a nope. It’s been steaming like that for a while after long drives, so I know this has been coming.

oh Lord please just give me one more month...
 

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2000 Subaru Outback Limited Sedan, 2.5L
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I was able to nurse my blown head gaskets for months by adding at least a quart of coolant daily. One day on my way to work I still had 50 miles to go and the engine overheated severely. I told myself I was going to keep driving; the car was either going to get me to work, or the engine was going to explode trying. The temp gage would hit the red, then back off, hit the red again, then back off. I believe this was because of air in the cooling system. Anyway, I pulled over just to see if I was out of coolant. The coolant geyser let me know there was still coolant being circulated, so I filled the radiator and kept going (I always carry extra coolant). Strange thing was I ran the car another week or so adding my daily quart, but it never overheated again. Didn't want to keep pressing my luck, so I broke down and finally replaced the head gaskets.


Bottom line; you might be able to keep it going another month. Top off your coolant and expansion tank daily and hope for the best. You already know what the worse case will be...a tow and a head gasket job!
 

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2015 3.6 Premium
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Keeping adding water not coolant. Water has better cooling efficiency than glycol and cheaper. Not to be used long term though without coolant.
 

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2004 Subaru OBW L.L. Bean H6. 2003 Subaru OBW L.L. Bean Former 2001 Subaru OBW VDC owner.
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Discussion Starter #5
Crossing fingers.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
I was able to nurse my blown head gaskets for months by adding at least a quart of coolant daily. One day on my way to work I still had 50 miles to go and the engine overheated severely. I told myself I was going to keep driving; the car was either going to get me to work, or the engine was going to explode trying. The temp gage would hit the red, then back off, hit the red again, then back off. I believe this was because of air in the cooling system. Anyway, I pulled over just to see if I was out of coolant. The coolant geyser let me know there was still coolant being circulated, so I filled the radiator and kept going (I always carry extra coolant). Strange thing was I ran the car another week or so adding my daily quart, but it never overheated again. Didn't want to keep pressing my luck, so I broke down and finally replaced the head gaskets.


Bottom line; you might be able to keep it going another month. Top off your coolant and expansion tank daily and hope for the best. You already know what the worse case will be...a tow and a head gasket job!
Keeping adding water not coolant. Water has better cooling efficiency than glycol and cheaper. Not to be used long term though without coolant.
Thanks for the support. I’ve been adding a little bit of coolant once every two to three weeks. I was adding it without even knowing if I was Burning it up. When I noticed the reservoir empty I’d just go ahead and add, and a couple times I even overfilled it. I never added to the radiator, just the overflow tank. I guess I was nursing the head for a while. I’m not burning coolant excessively, like a quart a day, and I hope not to be at that point before garaging. This car has a JDM and trans on standby that are going in it.

Anyway, hooray, I made it to work with no overheating. I added some coolant last night. No overheat at the stop light either.
 

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I simply cannot abide useless people.
2006 2.5i and 2002 3.0 wagons.
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Stock up on a couple jugs of distilled water at your local grocery, keep them in the back.

Don't let it get low and too hot. It'll limp along like this for a while.
 
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03 H6 OBW & 06 WRX Sportwagon
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do not trust the overflow tank to accurately reflect radiator level.

you could take the thermostat out - maybe get a slight edge on better flow/cooling.
 

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'03 outback limited, '01 Outback Limited, '01 Legacy L wagon, '96 Legacy Brighton wagon
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do not trust the overflow tank to accurately reflect radiator level.

you could take the thermostat out - maybe get a slight edge on better flow/cooling.



Generally, that is not a good thing to do. The cooling system relies a little bit on restricted flow ( the thermostat) to keep coolant in the heads long enough to actually pick up heat. If you remove the thermostat, replace it with an orifice plate with about a 5/8ths hole.
 

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I concede in a normal car, it may be an issue - but suppose flow IS restricted elsewhere in his car? removing the t'stat may bring it back to a 'normal' range as per desired time 'loitering' in the heads.

just guesswork of course. Easy enough to put the t'stat back in if the issue seems worse.

it's a suggestion, not a mandate lol!
 

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2004 Subaru OBW L.L. Bean H6. 2003 Subaru OBW L.L. Bean Former 2001 Subaru OBW VDC owner.
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Discussion Starter #12
@AWDFTW @idosubaru @1 Lucky Texan @Richard Pare

Appreciate all of your support. I’ve been getting away with guess filling the expansion tank. I’ve been doing that for 6 months about once every 1 to 2 weeks. This time i went about a month without filling it up and it got too low. I’ll add to the radiator from now on. I’m guessing I’m still in the range of only having to do it once every 5 days or so, but I’ll keep an eye on it.

I’d like to maybe remove the trans and engine altogether without separating them when I roll this car in for repair. I never tried that, and would love to hear how it’s done and with what ease or difficulty I should expect doing it that way.
 

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I’d like to maybe remove the trans and engine altogether without separating them when I roll this car in for repair. I never tried that, and would love to hear how it’s done and with what ease or difficulty I should expect doing it that way.
Easy. yank the lump and hit the engine/trans bolts/nuts with an impact and you'll be having a party at how easy it was and no dorking with two stubborn//rusty lower nuts or separating/mating the engine/trans.

i guess space constraints could get in someone's way. gotta pull the lump up pretty high and back to clear everything, and at a substantial angle (it almost feels like it's vertical, although clearly it's not). but yeah other than that just unbolt it all and have at it.
 

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One thing you can try to reduce the amount of coolant being leaked out after the engine is shut off ( assuming that that is happening), is to crack the radiator cap to release the pressure. On my '03 with it's leaking water pump, I have been doing that for the last 3 or so weeks ( no time to fix it right now), and it has helped a lot.
 

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2004 Subaru OBW L.L. Bean H6. 2003 Subaru OBW L.L. Bean Former 2001 Subaru OBW VDC owner.
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Discussion Starter #15
Blue Devil

I think now would be the time to ask. Does anyone recommend or have any experience with Blue Devil Head Gasket sealer? I think I've heard it ruins a lot of stuff in your car. I'm not too keen on the idea myself. I think someone would have to try an convince me to use it.

I topped off my radiator today, and didn't have any trouble at all driving hoe from work last night or since my last top off. I don't know how much coolant I'm losing per day, but I can start checking now because I know now that I'm full as of today.

To add to that Blue Devil idea, I don't plan on doing gaskets on this engine, and when it dies I have a replacement engine and transmission that will hopefully successfully go in without any issues. Although, with this heat right now, I don't want to even be outside long enough to check my tire pressure.
 

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I have no experience with it, but, seems like, pressure differential is in the wrong direction to even begin to move a sealer into the correct area. BD -'might'- help if you were blowing coolant out the tailpipe?
 

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Well, there is the tale of the guy that filled the cooling system with brake fluid and let it vent...
 

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2004 Subaru OBW L.L. Bean H6. 2003 Subaru OBW L.L. Bean Former 2001 Subaru OBW VDC owner.
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Discussion Starter #18
I’d like to maybe remove the trans and engine altogether without separating them when I roll this car in for repair. I never tried that, and would love to hear how it’s done and with what ease or difficulty I should expect doing it that way.
Easy. yank the lump and hit the engine/trans bolts/nuts with an impact and you'll be having a party at how easy it was and no dorking with two stubborn//rusty lower nuts or separating/mating the engine/trans.

i guess space constraints could get in someone's way. gotta pull the lump up pretty high and back to clear everything, and at a substantial angle (it almost feels like it's vertical, although clearly it's not). but yeah other than that just unbolt it all and have at it.
Gary,Where is the best place to anchor the chains when removing the whole “lump”? I had it pretty cockeyed the last time I lifted out the motor. I had one chain Hooked to the eye it was made for towards the passenger firewall side, and the other was around where the ac compressor is .... somewhere.. are the anchor points gonna be critical? Thanks
 

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2000 Subaru Outback Limited Sedan, 2.5L
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Just curious; maybe I missed the reasoning, or just color me stupid, but why distilled water instead of coolant? Water boils at 212 degrees. Surely with a head gasket issue (even without a head gasket issue) you'll hit 212 rather quickly. I understand by increasing pressure you increase the boiling point, but doesn't the coolant itself have a higher boiling point than water?
 
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