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Discussion Starter #1
I have an OB 2000 Limited, 2.5 engine and my temperature gauge started going up very quickly when heated up (after around 10 minutes) and esp. when idling. Turning up the heater didn't help (or just a little). And this seems very strange to me - I was idling on a crossing, heater all the way up (both heat and wind) and left signal light turned on - at the same time I observed faster frequency of the signal light/sound, the heater kicked in with extra power and the gauge literally went up during 1-2 seconds (from 10 oclock to 11 oclock). The change in the frequency of the signal light is quite common, but this time it was accompanied with the gauge. I also noticed that the gauge moved (but just once) when the AT changed gears. I've experienced spiking temperature gauge before, but it was 1 in a month or so for just a few seconds or so, so it faded out of my memory every time. Today it happened 3 times. Riding on a flat highway seems OK (30 minute with gauge just a bit under 9oclock), idling seems to cause the most trouble.

I'll provide some more information for a better overview.
The car has 152K now, it is a 2000 OB Limited, 2.5 engine.
Ignition and spark plugs replaced at 115K (previous owner).
HG, waterpump, thermostat, timing belt and transmission done at 116K (previous owner).
Alternator replaced at 139K (previous owner).
Thermostat replaced again at 144K (previous owner).
Radiator replaced at 146K (previous owner).

Recently I've had the radiator flushed (gurgling sound didn't disappear), two general inspections done (with OK results), but then I noticed the coolant disappeared and I've found coolant dripping under the car. My mechanic examined it told me it is probably the waterpump (was not sure about the HG) and told me to use stopleak before it will need replacement. He also noticed collapsed upper radiator hose (when engine cooled down) and a little loose timing belt (to be replaced with the waterpump). 2 days after adding the stopleak and driving 60miles from home the upper radiator hose blew. I suspected that the collapsing might have been happening there for a while and the hose might have been damaged. I had my car towed to a service and replaced the upper radiator hose and refill the radiator. They noticed that the hose is very hard once the engine heats up. I was riding carefully home, stopping every 10 miles. When the car cooled down I could see the collapsed hose again. My mechanic suspected the radiator cap, so I changed it that day, but still hose still collapsing. I was digging the whole time here on these forums, but nothing seemed similar. I tried to check the overflow hose and it seems like the output from radiator to the overflow hose either clogged up or was badly manufactured from the beginning (replaced just 6K ago) - there was no hole and I had to drill the hole there. Bought a new overflow hose as the old one was leaking and finally saw the coolant go up and down in the overflow bottle and the radiator hose is not collapsing.

But I am getting the ridiculous temperature gauge.
I am hearing gurgling sound (like water dripping, water flowing) when the engine heats up and I press the gas pedal.
If the heater is on, it consistently delivers hot air.
I can't see any oil on the coolant and the oil in the engine doesn't smell of coolant.
There are no leaks anywhere visible in the engine or under the car. There is a smell of coolant around the car when it heats up, but this is probably due to the blown hose couple of days ago - coolant was all around. Exhaust gases invisible.

I will check the fans again (I've checked them recently and they were working fine) and will try to burp the system when it is finally set up properly and not leaking anymore. But I wanted to ask you, what do you think about it and if there might be any coincidence between the signal lights frequency, heater fans speed and temperature rise.

Thanks for any ideas.
 

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03 H6 OBW & 06 WRX Sportwagon
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wouldn't hurt to have the charging system checked out.

gurgling is a concern, less so I guess if there's no pushing of coolant out the overflow and no overall loss of coolant - still weird. The Gauge Sensor sits up high and, any combustion gasses or steam could cause it to read oddly I guess. Um, you are running 50/50 water and coolant right? not just water? Also, you are using a genuine dealer-supplied OEM thermostat or a Stant Exacstat right?

is the CEL on?


 

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Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)
I am running 50/50. I don't know which thermostat was used. Is there a way without dismounting it? It was $28 in an relatively unknown auto service.
 

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If you didn't buy it from a Subaru dealer, there is a high probability that it is wrong. Even the best quality aftermarket brands of stats for subarus are not really the right part. They happen to fit, but they don't perform correctly.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Both fans are working, I burped the system and there were no bubbles coming out. Will watch coolant levels few more days and carefully watch the gauge. Checked the oil, looks and smells oily, and there seems no oil in the coolant.

I noticed during burping, that the gurgling sound (started after few minutes in 2.5K RPM) is accompanied with coolant level rise in the funnel. That means the water pump is doing funny noises?

I will also order a OEM thermostat and get it replaced. Or is it something I could do myself and save $100 on work? I do not have any proper tools (the torque wrench).

What does "check charging system" mean? Can i do it by myself or do i need to get this checked in a auto service? (And how much would you expect?)

Thanks a lot.
 

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2005 3.0 R n totaled
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Rasterman is right - OEM thermostat is a must!
 

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If you have any experience wrenching on cars, you won't need a torque wrench for the thermostat. The difficulty is about the same level as an oil and filter change. Just dealing with different parts and fluids really.

this might help (the way they show the gasket in the drawing may be confusing - mine had a split and fits around the edge of the t'stat);http://www.subaruoutback.org/forums/99-do-yourself-illustrated-guides/26238-draining-replacing-coolant-thermostat.html



I was concerned your alternator may be over-voltaging your car. Unlikely but, you could have a shop check that system fairly inexpensively.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Can I measure the alternator by myself? (Ie plugging something in the 12V socket, connecting to the battery, etc?) I am not sure when exactly the change in frequency of signal light happens, so a short measuring in a shop might not go into this situation. By the way I recalled that the frequency of the signal light, rise of the temperature gauge was also accompanied with revs going higher (idling on P) - from around 1.2 K to 1.5 K (and was audible).
 

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well, you won't see ripple but, of course you can measure voltage. Should not be more than - say - 14.4 volts or so ??? (anyone?) And that would be at the battery terminals or alt. Probably expect a coupla tenths drop at a power socket inside the car.

your car seems to be idling high . wonder what's up with that?

the most common thing that makes the light flash quickly, is when one turn signal bulb is out so, perhaps you have an intermittent connection to a TS socket or a bad bulb?
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Normally the car is idling nice low (700 just after start), but this was when it was overheating, all fans on, heater up and just came to a stop.

All bulbs are OK, I'd expect broken bulb cause constant change in the speed, but it goes sometimes faster, sometimes slower, on both sides, and the speed may sometimes change every 2 seconds.
 

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2001 VDC/SC One of a Kind
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I have been waiting.

You need to check the amperage output of the battery and check/clean all the grounds in the engine compartment starting with the battery cable running to the block. Also make sure the positive cable is clean and attached tight. Then check the output of the alternator with a good battery; one that is putting out 550 amps or better. Not what its rated at, what it is delivering from the post.

Bad grounds make cars act stupid. Its highly likely the car is not overheating and its just poor conductance or spikes from the alternator.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
You will probably laugh, but i was checking the voltage on the battery with a multimeter and it looks OK, no spikes or big changes at all. But I figured out, that the speed of the fans and signal light increases when I depress the brake pedal. Yesterday I also noticed, that the remote control to the outside mirrors stopped working (fuse i hope, will check). Sorry for posting everything unrelated, maybe I thought it might be related in a way...

I am having water pump, timing belt and thermostat replaced next week (that is for the overheating and gurgling issue).
 

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Its all related. Electrical. Did you check and clean all the grounds under the hood? You could also add a 4 gauge cable with eyelets on both ends from the battery ground to the block, somewhere like the AC/Alt bracket, then add an 8 or 10 from the battery to the firewall. The more electrons are freed up to move the better.
 

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i was checking the voltage on the battery with a multimeter and it looks OK
Meaning . . .?

What voltage did you find on the battery with the engine idling, and when revved up (above 1000 rpm)? Were you measuring at the battery cable clamps, or on the battery posts themselves?

Also, if you're using a digital multimeter, measure the Voltage between the battery negative post and the alternator case. It should be well below 0.1 Volt if the grounds are all in good shape. Also check between the battery negative post and the engine block, and between the battery post and a clean metal spot on the car body.

There shouldn't be a significant change in the speed of the fans or the turn signals when the engine speed is varied. I'm wondering if the alternator isn't regulating properly, and the power generated is changing far more than it should.
 

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inspect the brake bulbs and the bottom of the sockets.

also, test with the hatch up and while someone moves the boot/harness cover around.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
When I was measuring the voltage it was on the battery clamps. I do not remember the exact voltage, but I remember it was not changing very much. It went down 1-2 V when starting the engine, then it was pretty stable, I'd say it fluctuated 0.5 V.

So, I'm back after few more attempts. My mechanic changed waterpump (had signs of leaking), timing belt, oem thermostat and cleaned all grounds and electric related sockets. Noticed, that the alternator and the cables around look weird (and the alternator is not OEM). He drove the car for one hour without any trouble.

I picked up the car and drove home yesterday and when driving up a small hill on the high the temperature started rising again (heating worked fine). It fell down when I was going down. After few minutes on a flat area it started spiking again, I pulled over, turned off the engine and opened the hood. Lower rad hose cold, upper rad hose soft and warm. Opened the radiator cup and filled around 8 oz of water (didn't even need to wait for the engine to cool down). Started the engine again and drove around half a mile and it started spiking up again. I had the mechanic on the phone and he told me to shift gear to N and rev up to 4500. I heard a sound like steam/air escaping from pressure cooker (but no interruptions), the temperature went down immediately. I was now driving on a regular road and had to do this after stopping on every intersection. Got back to the highway and it was good for 8 miles. Then I quit the highway and headed home. Had to rev up the engine once more to get home safely (just a couple of miles).

Usually the need to rev up the engine and let the air go was accompanied by very fast signal lights (2-3 times faster than regular). All bulbs are OK, both signal lights do it at the same time, but the speed of hazard lights is normal at any time.

I'm probably driving the car back to the mechanic, he's trying to wrap his head around this. Any ideas? Should I just get rid of this car or try to get it fixed? It's been a lot of money recently (spending on something that doesn't seem to be fixing instead of saving for a different car).

Thanks for any response, very much appreciated.
 

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2000's first thing if your not getting cooked out of the car running the heater on full with the temp gauge jumping over mid range then its a coolant flow issue. #1 culprit is non OEM thermostats probably one of the leading causes of damaged subarus which have been worked on by non subaru mechanics etc. They just do not work correctly in the subaru engines and cause them to over heat.

#2 - radiator could be full of muck and more or less not capable of doing the job.

#3 the classic leaky HG causing coolant flow issues easily spotted by peaking up under the car from the driver side just behind the front wheel looking forward at the bottom, back left corner of the engine with the car running or right after you shut it off. The leaky HG's would leak coolant and then it would be evaporated by the hot exhaust at the rear corner of the engine leaving very little evidence of the leak after a few minutes.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Absolutely clueless.

I got changed both headgaskets and the whole radiator (they told me also new oil, new coolant, heads machined). Riding home happy, after 20 miles / 35 minutes (mixed highway and local traffic, almost at home) overheating again. Upper radiator hose soft and hot, lower radiator hose very soft and just a bit warm. Revs around 3K and higher drop the temperature immediately. Opened the radiator cap (didn't even let the car cool down) and added around a pint of water. Added a small funnel and squeezed the upper radiator hose - some bubbles went out. Revved the engine to around 2K and the coolant level rose to the top of the funnel (so I couldn't rev more) and kept it there for a (20-30 secs). There were some bubbles (rather big ones) going out when the level of coolant was rising (and almost none when it stayed high for a while), squeezed the hose again to get all air out. Did this couple of times and it needed another 1/3-1/2 pint of coolant.

Even if it had air in the system after putting in the new coolant, is it possible that it could be as much as 1 1/2 pints?

There is still the gurgling sound under the dash and signal lights are still fluctuating (this happens only when the car is heated up and I notice it always only around overheating).

Waterpump, OEM thermostat, radiator cap, radiator, both head gaskets. All new. No idea.
 
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