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Subaru Outback Wagon Auto 2.5MPI 1997
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Discussion Starter #1
Hi, I'm a new member trying to get some help with my 1997 Outback wagon. I know it's old and I know there have been many discussions about HG and overheating but this is my story so far.
I just bought this car about 3 months ago. Had water gurgling in heater core, went to mechanic he suspected HG went back to 2nd hand dealer and got $800 back in order for me to use my mechanic to make repairs. My mechanic replaced thermostat, rad cap, core cleaned rad and flushed system, replaced HG, timing belt and tensioners, water pump, couple of other oil seals. Pressure tested heads and shaved heads. Also replaced top radiator hose and cap several times now. I have spent over $3000.
Car can run great for miles and then start to overheat. Seems to dump coolant in to reservoir and that then overflows, then when it cools sucks reservoir dry and rad needs coolant as well.
Also top hose is collapsing sometimes even while engine running, but I have replaced it and replaced the radiator cap 3 times, overflow tube is clear of obstructions.
May be related to air conditioner as I have only managed to replicate symptoms in garage while A/C is on.

Please help. At the moment I have lost all faith in Subaru and my mechanic
 

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2002 Outback Wagon 2.5
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94 Posts
Does the coolant fans work? If it overheats with the AC on, I would suspect that the fans are not working properly, as they are needed to bring the AC pressures down, by cooling the condenser.
 

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'04 Outback Base, 146k miles
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20 Posts
Well usually collapsing is a symptom of a bad cap not allowing vacuum from the overflow tank. Sounds like you've eliminated that through replacements. How is the passage from the rad cap to the tank. Maybe try replacing that hose.

And I have to ask, coolant being bled with the heater on full blast?
 

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51 Posts
My car is doing the same exact thing! It's a 99... At shop think its a waterpump... They will probably do timing to... So Idk
 

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Subaru Outback Wagon Auto 2.5MPI 1997
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18 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
Yes the fans are working, one fan will cycle on and off with no air con on, and both fans when A/C on.
 

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Subaru Outback Wagon Auto 2.5MPI 1997
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18 Posts
Discussion Starter #7 (Edited)
Rad caps replaced 4 times and pressure tested by mechanic. Overflow hose tested and clearly works. Also not sure why to have heater on full as coolant flows through heater core all the time it is only the air flow over the core that changes.
 

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Subaru Outback Wagon Auto 2.5MPI 1997
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18 Posts
Discussion Starter #8
I removed the thermostat to check what the mechanic ad installed. He told me it was genuine and it does appear from your picture and from the none genuine replacement I had on hand to compare that it is. I also tested it and appears to open at the correct temp.
 

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Subaru Outback Wagon Auto 2.5MPI 1997
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18 Posts
Discussion Starter #10
This didn't work please continue to help.

I have found what I think has been the problem all along. Currently testing car to prove no other problems, but I found a split in the heater/bypass hose coming off the water pump. It doesn't leak all the time in fact after an hour of idling/revving I found 1 drop of coolant on it and nearly dismissed it as a spill from above until I wiped it and more came out. Replaced hose and just trying to burp system now (why are they so hard).
I think this has probably been the problem from the start and I have wasted over 3 months and $3000. NOT HAPPY.
Thanks everyone for your replies. I will let you know if it definately works. IT DIDN'T!!!!
 

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Subaru Outback Wagon Auto 2.5MPI 1997
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18 Posts
Discussion Starter #11
The radiator I'm pretty sure has been replaced in the past, however it was removed and professionally core cleaned.
 

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Subaru Outback Wagon Auto 2.5MPI 1997
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Discussion Starter #13
I still need help. I still have the problem. Car drives fine for 40-50 km's and then starts to overheat especially at slower speeds. If I come off the highway and slow down on a side road thats when it starts. The only thing I can see is that the overflow bottle has overflowed and when the car cools down the radiator sucks the overflow dry. So for some reason the pressure is getting too high and pushes all the coolant out not leaving enough to keep the car cool. I'm really at a loss now.
 

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Subaru Outback Wagon Auto 2.5MPI 1997
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18 Posts
Discussion Starter #14
To Tibitner95.

There are only 2 hoses connected to the thermostat housing/pump, the bottom hose from radiator and this smaller bypass/heater hose. It goes in a right angle up towards the top of the engine.
 

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My car does the same exact thing.... No different. Talked to professional Subaru mechanic that is workingoon it right now. He said its my heads... So we both bought a lemon because I haven't even put. 900 miles on my car and didn't have it for 2 weeks and it had no warrenty.
 

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Subaru Outback Wagon Auto 2.5MPI 1997
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Discussion Starter #16
My car does the same exact thing.... No different. Talked to professional Subaru mechanic that is workingoon it right now. He said its my heads... So we both bought a lemon because I haven't even put. 900 miles on my car and didn't have it for 2 weeks and it had no warrenty.
Best of luck tbitner95 I hope your mechanic fixes it. Mines back at the mechanics, they've given me a loan car (Toyota Camry) I think I'll just keep that and not answer the phone when the mechanic rings :). I think they're going to try and tell me it's the engine block now, I don't know if that is even possible but it's a bit late to tell me now, I could have put a Jap engine in it and be happily driving, who would rebuild an engine at a cost more than the car when it is 16 years old, and not that special.
 

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Subaru Outback Wagon Auto 2.5MPI 1997
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18 Posts
Discussion Starter #18
They think its the engine block on my car to... They think the actual heads could be warped.
Let me know what happens. My mechanic had the car for another 2 days, tried a few other things and couldn't solve it. They are going to pull the engine back out and start again. Hopefully it is a cracked head that failed to show up in the first pressure test and the engine rebuilders will have to repair or replace it at their cost.
 

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01 Outback LL Bean
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2,439 Posts
The only reason the car will overpressurize the cooling system is if there is exhaust leaking into the cooling system.

If you have bubbles in your overflow you have a leak. Either HG, cracked head, or cracked block.

Use a block leak detector from Napa to test for the presence of exhaust gases.
 
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