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2001 Forester, 1997 Legacy wagon, 2.2
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123 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
There is a 1997 Legacy wagon for sale. Low price. Water pump leaks.

Has 2.2 engine. 130K miles. Starts, runs and drives great. Looks good inside and out.

Seller needs it to go away. Seller has been running with water not coolant.

My concern is I dont know what damage if any, could be due to running water not coolant

The thing is I would drive it only a day or two monthly. Mainly use it for storage of equipment and boat stuff.

Also, never hurts to have a spare car. Maybe someday replace pump and T-belt. Or sell it, someday....But not good if has major problem from water not coolant.

Thanks !!
 

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On the Super Mod Squad
2002 3.0 VDC Wag + 2018 2.5 Leg Ltd
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26,308 Posts
buy it.

if it is still running and not overheating,...its fine.

I would buy Aisin timing belt kit and water pump. should be TKF-003 (listings say that is to Jan/97? )

(rest of the aftermarkets are chinese junk in nice boxes,

, Aisin = made in japan, ...I think part of toyota still).

____

get a OEM thermostat/ OEM rad cap, and some new rubber coolant hoses too. (subaru OEM not bad in price,...and are shaped exactly).
 
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On the Super Mod Squad
2002 3.0 VDC Wag + 2018 2.5 Leg Ltd
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26,308 Posts
the only 2 problems with running water: (edit: at least temporarily)

1) freezing = broke items from the ice breaking them.

and 2) garden hose water has silt/ rust. vs. distilled water.

____

but plenty of cars that have cooling problems when sold have plain water in them, without coolant mix.
so if it leaks anything on the ground there is nothing to clean up. (.. no: dead grass/ dead pets/ dead wildlife).

____

if its got no rust, its a good buy. (you can round up another EJ221, or a outback/LGT parts car for better brakes)
 

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Premium Member
2007 2.5 L Obsidian Black Outback XTL
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603 Posts
Water has no corrosion inhibitors and the boiling point is much lower than coolant. Hence the current owner has been topping it off with more water was what is inside of the engine has boiled off.

It's like a tea-kettle, likely filled with calcium and magnesium deposits and rust.
 

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On the Super Mod Squad
2002 3.0 VDC Wag + 2018 2.5 Leg Ltd
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26,308 Posts
if it needs a new rad:

CSF makes nice ones that accept the important OEM rad cap.

$85-100,...(found in catalogs, like Summit/ Rockauto/ ...amazon).

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sad the AWD don't work. maybe you could fix that.

_____

when you look at it: see if it has a EGR, (a pipe going into the driver side head from the cat converter area).

if it has it, you could potentially use the engine on a EJ25D car with a dead engine in it.
(a 1996-99 outback, LGT, or 98 forester.....swap needs a EJ221 with EGR).
 

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2017 2.5i Premium Lapis Blue
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4,285 Posts
I wouldn't worry too much about the water being in it unless it has been run like that for years. It would probably be a good idea to run it for a while with fresh coolant and then drain and refill it again.

My only concern with the leaking water pump is if they ever ran it too long before topping off the radiator with water and let it get too hot.

Heck, if I found one that clean up here in rust country I would pay that much for it with no engine in it.:laugh:
 

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2008 OB Limited 2.5i, Portland OR USA
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6,338 Posts
Coolant also contains lubricants that help sustain the life of the front bearing on the water pump - which, in this case, appears to already be gone anyway.

A bad enough bearing here could also affect the timing belt integrity, long term. Depends on how much movement there is.

But hey, for $700, you get a car that runs. I'd go for it, and do the work suggested in this thread.
 

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'03 outback limited, '01 Outback Limited, '01 Legacy L wagon, '96 Legacy Brighton wagon
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2,251 Posts
In running just water, there is also the issue of more electrolysis , especially with an all- aluminium engine - and accelerated wear of the already leaking water pump.


It will be well worth it to you to change out the pump as part of a timing belt job - it will take you all of one afternoon to do so. You may need a special tool to hold the damper pulley while you break the bolt loose.


If you decide to run it as is for a while, at least pour in the liquid from a bottle of Barr's Leak to help lube things a little.
 

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2016 WRX, 2017 BRZ, 2017 Legacy
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366 Posts
Water has no corrosion inhibitors and the boiling point is much lower than coolant. Hence the current owner has been topping it off with more water was what is inside of the engine has boiled off.

It's like a tea-kettle, likely filled with calcium and magnesium deposits and rust.
Yep, the lack of corrosion inhibitors would be my biggest concern - and HG's on these MY's. But i would still consider it, depending on how much I'd want AC.

If you only need a car 1-2 times a month, use uber/lyft or rent a car. That would probably be cheaper than owning, storing, repairing, registering, and insuring your own. There has to be a better way to store stuff than to buy a car to put it in.

Price in a full TB+WP kit and a serious cooling system flush. Since they used tap water ... I'm wonder if a vinegar / CLR flush would make sense, or perhaps there is already a dedicated product on the market for that?
 
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