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Looking....and looking....and looking...and found! 2011 Outback 2.5i, 6-speed manual.
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20 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Was randomly overheating every 3 to 6 months, no real pattern. Temps from 90's down to lower 40's, stuck in traffic once, commuting (backroads to small town roads 30-50mph, no long hills or extended stops) the rest of the times. Now it happens every time I drive it.

Symptoms:
No leaks I can see as car warms up. No apparent coolant in oil, no apparent oil in coolant. No bubbles showing when looking in to radiator while warming up. No steam out the tailpipe beyond what is normal when warming up. Bottom radiator hose remains stone cold, even as car overheating. No weird noises coming from anywhere.

When overheated the coolant is being pushed out through overflow tank and radiator cap.

Over the last three days I have replaced the radiator cap and thermostat, both with Subaru parts, no change to problem.

Refilled system twice over the last couple days, front end up on ramps both times, filled block through upper hose both times, before filling the radiator. Ran the car for 10 minutes and let sit overnight. In the morning I stopped off both radiator and overflow, only to have it happen again.

Radiator does not appear to be clogged, as water flows through it just fine.

Next steps: Chem test for exhaust gases in coolant systems, pull front timing belt cover and have a look.

What else? Clearly coolant is currently not circulating at all.
An I missing something?
 

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2013 3.6R limited. 2006 Wrx Limited
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82 Posts
Every time this has happened to me, it's been head gaskets. My 99 forester let me know in a slow and boring way. My WRX let me know in a pop and a bang. BUT.... it could also be your cooling fans. If it seems to be ok while at highway speeds, fans or fan relay may be your culprit.
 

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Looking....and looking....and looking...and found! 2011 Outback 2.5i, 6-speed manual.
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20 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
Fans seem to operate as they should..
 

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Looking....and looking....and looking...and found! 2011 Outback 2.5i, 6-speed manual.
Joined
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20 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
I'd think gaskets too, but for the clear lack of circulation in the system.

Lower hose from radiator to thermostat housing isn't just cooler than the upper, it's COLD. As in environmental cold. It felt like somewhere near 50 degrees at best, not long after being doused with the coolant coming out of the overflow tank.
 

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Outback 2011 3.6R Premium
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976 Posts
I am going to suggest your radiator is partially blocked. I had this happen to a 2000 Legacy and was certain it was head gaskets BUT it turned out to be a partially blocked radiator.

New radiator and the car is still going strong (two more owners and many miles travelled)

Seagrass
 

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Mine was doing similar. No symptoms other than overheating. I could hear the "waterfall" in the heater core, but no leaks. No tailpipe steam. No oil in water. No water in oil. I decided to do the head gaskets at 191000 miles. Been perfect now for 2500 miles. I used a Fel-pro Perma Torque gasket set. I had the heads milled (decked) and valve seats redone and new valve stem seals done.
 

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2006 OutBean, 2005 LGTW
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1,166 Posts
I am going to suggest your radiator is partially blocked. I had this happen to a 2000 Legacy and was certain it was head gaskets BUT it turned out to be a partially blocked radiator.

New radiator and the car is still going strong (two more owners and many miles travelled)

Seagrass
Seconded for radiator. It's not clarified above but I'd suggest it may be blocked externally. Pull the two radiator supports and push the radiator forward. Use a flashlight and a mirror if you have to.
 

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2011 Outback Limited 2.5i/2018 Crosstrek limited
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4,514 Posts
Our ‘11 outback is like someone going through menopause...big temp swings...especially in cold weather. Normal running temp is around 190f to 194f. It will fluctuate from 190 to 197..8. In real cold weather it has gone to 206f. I think that the colder it gets the bigger the fluctuations. This morning it was -18c or 0f. Until the car really warmed up...I mean full engine warm up the temp went as high as 204f. Oh...I have an ultraguage which gives me coolant temp.
 
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