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2009 Outback XT Limited MT
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9 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Hey folks,
Just bought an ’09 Outback XT manual trans. It was relatively cheap; advertised as needing head gaskets. Just built an engine for my ’05 FXT, so no big deal. But I see no external leakage of oil or coolant, so I suspect the diagnosis is inaccurate. The symptom is overheating.

Got it home, filled and bled cooling system. Ran the engine until upper and lower radiator hoses are hot, fan cycles a few times, temp gauge right in the middle. I go out to drive it, within a few blocks the temp starts to climb toward the red. Got it back home and found the lower rad hose cool. So, I suspect a wonky thermostat.

Replaced thermostat today, filled and bled cooling system. Drove three miles on surface streets to fuel up, all is well. Got on the expressway to head home, cruise set to 70. After about a mile the check engine light comes on and temp begins to climb quickly. Coming up the side streets to my house I see I’m leaving a trail of coolant on the street. At home I find the plastic overflow is filled and boiling. I also hear a rattly “rice in a jar” sound from the front of the engine when I rev to 2500-3000 rpm, like an idler bearing of some sort going bad. The codes were P0011 and P0021, the over advanced cam codes.

The rattly sound I’m pretty sure is something belt driven. Not sure if serp belt or timing belt. Car has 120k on the clock. I have zero service history; don’t even know if it got it’s timing belt at 105k. I feel like I can’t go wrong to do the t belt, water pump and rollers just to make sure all of that is up to snuff, but this cooling system behavior is kinda weird. Anyone have any insight or suggestions?
 

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2005 Outback VDC limited 3.0r
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796 Posts
Exhaust gasses in the coolant, have you checked for that yet? Could be why the previous owner said head gaskets.
 

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2009 Outback XT Limited MT
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9 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
Exhaust gasses in the coolant, have you checked for that yet? Could be why the previous owner said head gaskets.
Research since my initial post has led me to think that’s a possibility. Makes sense in many ways. I‘m used to the more familiar mode of Subie head gasket failure being oil puking everywhere.
 

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2012 OB , 2017 Impreza
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3,219 Posts
Is not the XT a TURBOCHARGED engine? This engine has VERY different block and head-gaskets. It is rare that the head-gasket blows unless someone messes with the boost-pressure.

Are you sure the 2009 XT even has a "serp" belt? (I thoiught it had V-belts)
 

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2009 Outback XT Limited MT
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9 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
Is not the XT a TURBOCHARGED engine? This engine has VERY different block and head-gaskets. It is rare that the head-gasket blows unless someone messes with the boost-pressure.
Yes, turbocharged. Entire car is box stock.
 

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05 GT wagon, 09 Spec B, 18 3.6R Outback
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488 Posts
Those two CEL codes are know to be the death codes for the turbo.

I'm guessing your in for a list of new parts. May be you'll get lucky.

You need to start removing things and checking... you've rebuilt a engine, so I think you know what you need to do...

A pressure test of the cooling system may help.
 

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2012 OB , 2017 Impreza
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3,219 Posts
Good point on the CEL codes (P0011 , P0021) I believe this is tracable to the 'filter screen' within the oil-feed to the turbo bearings.

Long story short: If engine-oil is not changed VERY frequently on such an engine, there is a tiny screen filter which can plug up and lead to oil-starvation to the turbocharger bearings.

More details ==> The Dreaded Subaru p0011 and p0021 DTC Codes, Don't Let Them Wreck Your Turbo! - MotoIQ

It is not clear to me how this relates to engine overheating... ?

When I owned my Baja Turbo, I took precautions such as:
*)Frequent oil changes
*)High-quality synthetic oil
*)Check/clean the filter-screen occasionally
The engine outlasted the frame on my Baja :)
 

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2009 Outback XT Limited MT
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9 Posts
Discussion Starter #8
I’m generally pretty familiar with these engines. I believe by 2009 they had quit putting the screens in the oil feed lines, but don’t quote me. I think that the overheating may have thinned the oil enough that the AVCS solenoids malfunctioned, throwing the codes. Anyway, the engine will come out and come apart, and we’ll see what’s up. Thanks all.
Good point on the CEL codes (P0011 , P0021) I believe this is tracable to the 'filter screen' within the oil-feed to the turbo bearings.

Long story short: If engine-oil is not changed VERY frequently on such an engine, there is a tiny screen filter which can plug up and lead to oil-starvation to the turbocharger bearings.

More details ==> The Dreaded Subaru p0011 and p0021 DTC Codes, Don't Let Them Wreck Your Turbo! - MotoIQ

It is not clear to me how this relates to engine overheating... ?

When I owned my Baja Turbo, I took precautions such as:
*)Frequent oil changes
*)High-quality synthetic oil
*)Check/clean the filter-screen occasionally
The engine outlasted the frame on my Baja :)
 

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2009 Outback XT Limited MT
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9 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
Yes Bruce, after 40 years as an ASE certified master tech, I am certain that my ‘09 Outback has a serpentine belt...two in fact. My first gen Forester even did.
Is not the XT a TURBOCHARGED engine? This engine has VERY different block and head-gaskets. It is rare that the head-gasket blows unless someone messes with the boost-pressure.

Are you sure the 2009 XT even has a "serp" belt? (I thoiught it had V-belts)
 
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