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2000 Subaru Outback Limited Sedan, 2.5L
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163 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Knowing how temperamental (no pun intended) Suby engines temps can be, I was curious to know what your temp gage reads under normal conditions. For me, the needle on my 2000 Legacy Outback Limited usually sits steady about the middle of the gage, with the needle almost horizontal. Any higher deviation gets me nervous since the only time I've seen it higher was during my head gaskets issues.
 

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Registered
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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1,224 Posts
That's exactly where mine sits on my 03 Forester
 

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Brucey
'17 3.6
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11,294 Posts
That gauge is basically useless.

If it says it's hot it's already too late.

Temps according to my scan gauge would average from 181-212F on my Gen 2. Usually below 200.

Went above it a few times but pretty rare.

The needle never moved
 

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2000 Subaru Outback Limited Sedan, 2.5L
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163 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
Definitely a lame gage; should have actual temperature values instead of a huge, useless range.
 

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Master Caster
2005 XT, Mildly Modified...2006 XT Limited, Highly Modifed
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16,120 Posts
My gauge will sit at 9 0'clock.

At the same time, my aftermarket gauge (with numbers) can read form 130* to 170* and the dumb gauge just sits at 9 o'clock.
 

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I simply cannot abide useless people.
2006 2.5i and 2002 3.0 wagons.
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12,306 Posts
What Brucey said. The dash gauge...well, if it shows Hot you're about borked.

Many Bluetooth apps now display info. I'm an old fogey and have a Scangauge II, but I doubt they're really worth their price tag anymore.
 

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Master Caster
2005 XT, Mildly Modified...2006 XT Limited, Highly Modifed
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16,120 Posts

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2014 OBW Premium (Ice Silver Metalic)
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309 Posts
My '14 has only an idiot light. Mrs. Chili's '08 H6 has a gauge. It's at 9 o' clock after reaching operating temp. (Not much better than the light.) I so wish they would have put in a true temperature gauge instead of the useless fuel economy gauge.
 

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I simply cannot abide useless people.
2006 2.5i and 2002 3.0 wagons.
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12,306 Posts
Funny how it's late to the party.
Yup. Mal blew a coolant hose about a mile from home, watched the gauge peg and my SG2 read 240F+ reeeeeeeeeeeeeeally quick.

That was not good for my blood pressure.
 

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215 Posts
I've owned 4 different models, all seem to have 9 o'clock as the normal range.
Unfortunately, it really isn't a true temp gauge. In my experience, it seems to just stop at 9 until you get far overheated. Then it just pegs.
 

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2000 Outback Limited, Dual Range 5 Speed
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904 Posts
Mine sits there too, but when one of my cooling fans what itself the gauge didn’t peg it actually moved to around 10:00 to 10:30. When stationary on a 42c day.
 

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I've owned 4 different models, all seem to have 9 o'clock as the normal range.
Unfortunately, it really isn't a true temp gauge. In my experience, it seems to just stop at 9 until you get far overheated. Then it just pegs.
Subaru, among others, builds a "flat zone" into the way the temperature gauge pointer works, basically keeping the pointer at 9 o'clock (or a tiny bit below) when the coolant temperature is in the normal range, namely 85 to 100°C (158 to 212°F). If the gauge is a pointer width higher, it's already over 212 F, and the fans should be on. I guess what this avoids is uninformed drivers becoming concerned about the variations in the gauge position if it were to indicate actual current temperature, because they don't know what's "normal". I'm not certain if this has been carried over into the 4th and 5th generations that have temperature gauges, but I would imagine it was.
 

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2003 Outback, 2.5L EJ251 engine, 193K miles
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27 Posts
Mine sits in the middle of the guage
 

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'03 Outback H6-3.0 Black Granite Pearl, base model with cold weather package and cloth seats.
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1,061 Posts
I recently completed a trip of about 250 miles in each direction. Temperatures monitored with a ScanGage II, set to monitor Voltage, Intake air temp, Water temp, and MPG.
Vehicle very lightly loaded.
I run Mobil1 high mileage, and subaru green coolant and ATF-HP. Synthetic lube in the diffs.

Running at 70-71 mph on the interstate. Cruise control on most of the time. AC on most of the time too.
Outside air temp 79-82F.
intake air temp ran 106 to 111F for most of the trip.
Coolant temp ran 186-194F for most of the trip.

Times temperature changes (higher):
-Acceleration
-Up hill
-Off the throttle (lower rpm), like coming into town from the highway.
-Slower traffic thru town.

Steady state conditions pretty much the same on the interstate (70 mph) vs state highways (60 mph).
Higher temperatures in town.

Voltage ran 13.7-14.1V pretty much the whole time. Couldn't correlate travel conditions with voltage swings.

MPG is very sensitive to load, acceleration, elevation changes. Saw from 9999 (coasting) down to about 14 (acceleration from a stop).

Regards,
 

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Premium Member
2001 Outback VDC Wagon
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65 Posts
My experimental knowledge from owning a sickly 2001 Outback VDC Wagon

Yeah, echoing what others have said, that gauge is literally useless. It really only tells you one of three things:

Below flat - your car is warming up (<160F)
Flat - your car is OK (160-212F)
Above flat - your car is close to being screwed (>212F)

As someone who with a 2001 Outback VDC that has had cooling issues for awhile (turns out, as I discovered this past weekend, it was indeed the head gasket, :frown2: uncommon albeit not impossible for the EZ30D), I have had QUITE the experience with basically everything surrounding the cooling system, and here are my findings thanks to my trusty Scangauge II:

Water Temperature - Description

< 160F - Warming up to normal operating temperature. It will never go below this when the engine is on for a decent amount of time

160-170F - Uncommon during normal operation. When on the highway, the temp can dip down into the mid 170s occasionally when coasting down a hill.

179-181F - 60-70MPH highway driving with around 30% engine LOD. Usually fluctuates back and forth between here for a majority (70%) of the time.

182F - Hill climbing on highways with 50%+ LOD will cause the temp to briefly increase to 182F as the cooling system begins to compensate (my hypothesis)

188F - Temperature where the main fan will shut off if previously on

189-198F - Typical Idle temperature. If the main fan is on, this number decreases, if it's not it increases (fan hysteresis).

198F - Main fan (driver's side) turns on, depending on outdoor conditions, temperature will decrease (or maybe still increase if it's hot). The main fan will always remain on until the temperature reaches 188F however.

200-212F - Somewhat common at idle. The second (passenger side) auxiliary fan turns on at 212F(?). If the temp goes above this, I start to sweat, because that means I am most likely about to have to stop my car. Above 212F is where the temperature gauge begins to move past 9'oclock (hence why it is useless as a gauge).

218F - Both fans are now running full speed if they were not before (I think each fan has a LOW/HIGH mode, correct me if I am wrong)

222F - The car begins to disable non critical systems in a (sometimes futile) attempt to cool itself off here, i.e. VDC OFF etc.
 

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2004 Subaru OBW L.L. Bean H6. 2003 Subaru OBW L.L. Bean Former 2001 Subaru OBW VDC owner.
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1,138 Posts
Knowing how temperamental (no pun intended) Suby engines temps can be, I was curious to know what your temp gage reads under normal conditions. For me, the needle on my 2000 Legacy Outback Limited usually sits steady about the middle of the gage, with the needle almost horizontal. Any higher deviation gets me nervous since the only time I've seen it higher was during my head gaskets issues.
That gauge is basically useless.

If it says it's hot it's already too late.

Temps according to my scan gauge would average from 181-212F on my Gen 2. Usually below 200.

Went above it a few times but pretty rare.

The needle never moved
My 04 Bean, with 209k miles, and runs like a dream with the Coolant levels staying perfect with the coolant still and cool in the reservoir after long drives, but yet my needle rests right here. Anyone seen this before? I was going to start a thread about it, but thought I’d do a search first. ?
 

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