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Discussion Starter #1
So, I'm ready to restart my Gen 2 after a head gasket replacement. The motor won't have any oil except in the sump, and there's no coolant in there. Is there a way to get coolant into the block before I start it up, or is that necessary? I thought about turning on the heat, running the motor and just adding coolant to the radiator. Could I "prime" the block by pouring coolant in through the upper radiator hose before I start? How do I ensure that there are no significant air pockets in the system?
As for oil, for my other car ('72 Triumph TR6), if I've changed the oil or if the car's been sitting for longer than a few weeks, I'll turn the motor over on the starter with the ignition disconnected until the oil pressure gauge comes to life. Usually takes 10-15 sec of cranking. I thought about doing the same with the Outback - either disconnecting the plug cables at the coil end or pulling the fuel pump fuse, and cranking the motor for 10-15 to get oil out to the valves and cams before I actually run it. I did squirt some oil around the heads before I reinstalled the rocker covers, but that was weeks ago.

Thanks in advance.
 

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Outback 2011 3.6R Premium
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Modern oils circulate very quickly so there is minimal risk, even though there is some risk. You could try removing the fuel pump fuse but any residual fuel may still allow the engine to start.

As far as coolant is concerned, if you have filled the radiator/engine with coolant there should be enough coolant around the engine that there is no risk of any damage. Make sure you have the heater on high when you start up the engine to allow the coolant to circulate through the heater as well as the engine.

Seagrass
 

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1999 30th Anniversary Legacy Outback DOHC 2.5L 4EAT, 2008 Impreza WRX 2.5L 5MT, 2008 Impreza Wagon 2.5L 4EAT
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Fill the block with coolant through the top radiator hose. You can pull the fuel pump fuse to disable start and turn the car over until the oil pressure light goes off then put the fuse back in and start the car. You may get a check engine light but should go away once the engine starts
 

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2010 2.5 CVT Premium
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It is more important to get oil pressure going than getting the coolant burped.
Your idea to run the starter to get oil presure is the best thing to do next. Sometimes new oil pumps do not self prime well and need more coaxing. Be careful about running the starter too long. If it takes more than a few bursts, let the motor cool in between additional attempts. That little motor can get quite hot when run for extended periods.

So long as you have poured in coolant, it will be enough for the initial start. You can finish bleeding or burping the air out later.
I remember the anxiety of a first start on a fresh engine. Hope it fires up for you on the first try!
 

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2001 2.5 RS & 2000 OB
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This might be a tad late, but you can also remove the spark plugs so you don't get compression working against the bearings until oil is circulated around.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks folks - I filled up the block through the upper rad hose, and then filled the radiator itself. Pulled the fuel pump fuse and cranked the motor until the OP warning light flickered and went out. Replaced the fuse and the motor started up after a few seconds cranking. I let it warm up a bit while topping up the rad. Idle was a little variable - tended to hunt between ~800 and ~500, but I’ll deal with that once the car is rolling again. Right now, on to new brakes, struts and some miscellaneous suspension fixes
 

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4, Gen 2 H6's: 2001 LLBean, 2002 LLBean, 2002 VDC, 2003 Plain...I love the H6's!
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On the topic of struts, I recommend you reuse your coil springs and "build your own" struts instead of buying an off-the-shelf "complete" strut setup. Check out these videos:
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks Berto - that's my plan - I bought KYB struts and Moog tops, and plan to reuse the springs. Not wild about disassembling the old struts with a loaner spring compressor set (I loaned one and the threads were well worn), but none of the local garages (so far) are willing or able to do the job, so I'll probably buy a new compressor set, grease the **** out of the threads and be careful.
 
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