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Guest Message by DevFuse

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94 legacy overheating

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11 replies to this topic

#1 J-roo


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Posted 27 February 2004 - 01:09 PM

i'm truly sorry if this has been addressed already, but i've tried to find a thread on it and haven't been successful. :cornfuzz:

my 94 legacy L wagon (no turbo, 107,000 miles, automatic) has been overheating occassionally during drives in normal city traffic. when i look down, the needle is high, but not quite in the red. when i check the coolant and oil levels, both appear normal.

here is my time line:
got radiator flush & fill in fall of 2002.

1st overheating, december 2002: was close to home when i noticed temperature gague was high. drove the last few blocks til i got home. checked fluids, no problems there. took it into the shop next day ('roos only', in denver) and gague was high (not into red) only when close to the shop, so i drove it all the way in. they topped off fluids, said no problem, drove it home and for next few weeks without problem.

2nd overheating, january 2003: drove to salt lake city without incident. noticed gague was high again while driving in the city. stopped, check fluids, & i decided the coolant reservoir looked a little low, let the car cool down, added 1/2 liter of coolant directly into the radiator, then jumped out of my skin as my car burped at me. then she took another 1/2 liter. no other overheatings while there, drove back to CO, no problems.

*no problems for 1 full year* :D

3rd overheating, january 2004: last month when i was back in SLC. checked all fluids, didn't have another problem while there, drove home, no trouble.

since then, i've seen the needle riding high twice. it just rides high, never reaches the red. both coolant & oil are OK. last time this happened, i was in a big hurry (shame on me!) and let her drive hot, but after 5 minutes in city traffic the needle just went back down to normal. what gives??

the other 2 issues she's been having: (1) a mild smell of gas when i start up, but that disappears pretty quickly and i wasn't even the one who noticed it. (2) sometimes my heater doesn't work well & when it's on 'vent' cold air comes out despite being on 'hot'. i never noticed this before.

this site (http://autos.msn.com...px?modelid=2622) says the coolant temperature sensor might go out on 94 legacies. is that all this is? sure sounds right. should i be worried about the head gasket? is this just a cold weather problem? any other issues i should bring up with my mechanics? is it as simple as *not* going to salt lake city? :)

thanks very much for any input you have and please be gentle with me and sparing with the technical speak. checking coolant and oil is about all i know how to do. thanks again!

#2 Nuwan


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Posted 27 February 2004 - 02:04 PM

that's pretty wierd, due to the inconsistency of the problem i'd say it was electrical and probably your temp sensor. However if you are getting cold air through the vents when set on hot on occasion i'd say you have air trapped inside the system somewhere. Also i'd check your thermostat and rad cap while your in there.

#3 jimmyberka


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Posted 27 February 2004 - 02:40 PM

My problem was more consistent, but when my blown head gasket was leaking air into my coolant system, the heater would start blowing cold. The radiator was also cold due to the air in the system keeping the coolant from returning to the radiator via the lower rad. hose and thermostat.

#4 4FOR4


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Posted 27 February 2004 - 02:45 PM

'94 sounds a bit early for the head gasket problem in the 2.5 liter engines. Is your '94 a 2.2?

Symptoms are that of the head gasket. Could be a thermostat sticking occasionally, which would explain overheating and no heat coming out the vents.

Also, if its only happening in city driving maybe, the temp sensor controling the cooling fans.

If you have a slow leak in the coolant system, fluid could get low. On the legacys when you fill there is a plugmon the left side of the radiator that has to come out to filll top of engine. If you fill just from the cap side you could develop a bubble.

#5 lmdew



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Posted 27 February 2004 - 08:57 PM

This happened to my son's 93 Legacy, 2.2. It was a combination of the cooling fans going out and a HG leak. Being a new driver, he didn't notice the fans were not working properly. This caused a minor overheat, resulting in a head gasket leak. It was minnor and did not cause problems all of the time and the overflow bottle was never low as the coolant was not being pulled back in to the engine as it cooled.

Have a shop check the coolant for exhaust gases. That will confirm the HG leak.

Good Luck. COS

#6 DerFahrer


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Posted 27 February 2004 - 11:36 PM

Unfortunately, any and all Subarus are susceptible to a blown HG. EJ22's can and have blown them, EJ25 DOHC's are the most notorious, and EA82T's will also blow them under hard boost...

I have yet to fall victim to one, but my future Subaru endeavors will increase my chances... :(

#7 Setright


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Posted 29 February 2004 - 01:55 AM

It's a headgasket. My EJ22 behaved like this at around the 120k mile mark. The overheating will happen more and more often as time goes by. Start saving for a new set of gaskets.

Stuck thermostat will not affect cabin heat.

#8 J-roo


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Posted 03 March 2004 - 06:36 PM

well, i had a big unpleasant experience yesterday.

driving down the highway i notice my heat gague creeping up. it finally got too high for me to do nothing, so i pulled over. to make a long story short, the gague would read 'HOT' whenever i started moving, though after sitting for a few minutes, would cool back down. the needle would also go up even if i just revved the engine -- not driving. after filling the radiator with all the coolant and water i had and going and stopping and achieving about 5 miles in 1 hour, i called a tow truck.

i just heard from the shop. the guy said "the radiator was low, we filled it, pressure tested it and road checked it and put a new, tighter fitting radiator cap on". could this have all been only due to a loose radiator cap? i will wait and see if this all happens over again, as it was sporadic before.

i hope (against hope) that it is all over...

ps-- to answer at least one question: i think it's a 2.2 liter engine.

#9 1 Lucky Texan

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Posted 03 March 2004 - 07:23 PM

Not only could it be a bad rad cap - it most likely was.
I just had an issue like this in my daily driver Dodge Avenger. It would bubble and boil into the o'flow bottle because the rad cap was not holding pressure. Subarus tend to exacerbate any issue with slightly low coolant due to the 'reverse' coolant flow out the top of the radiator - making sucking a big air bubble into the engine to hang around the TB or heater core more likely - and leading possibly to localizzed overheating, causing more pressure, more coolant loss, worse problems,etc. Soob owners should watch their coolant like a hawk. If the mech. did a good job 'burping' the system I bet you're OK. Still, watch the o'flow carfully for the next few hubdred miles. Triple check it.

#10 J-roo


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Posted 23 September 2004 - 10:38 AM

it's 7 months out and i have not had a temperature problem since the radiator cap has been replaced. awesome!

my NEW problem is that when ever i make a turn hard and/or with some speed i hear a rapid clunk clunk clunk noise which keeps up until i straighten the wheel out. i had this happen a while ago, and mechanic made it sound like it was because i had ripped open a front CV joint cover. well, i had that replaced, the clunking stopped, but now it's back. 1st of all, i have no idea how i ripped the cover off, but i wasn't off-roading. must be all those pot holes. 2nd, i have not been off-roading so it's odd that the noise came back, if it's because of the CV joint. :banghead:

anyone else have a wierd clunking that seems to be coming from the front when you turn hard or with speed? it makes me avoid those unsafe u-turns, at least.

thanks for your input everyone! :banana:

#11 DerFahrer


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Posted 23 September 2004 - 11:23 AM

1. CV joint is bad
2. Don't bother fixing it or repairing the boot
3. Wait until it clunks going straight, then it's gone for good
4. Replace with rebuilt unit from www.cvaxles.com for $55, lifetime warranty
5. Stir and enjoy!


#12 coloradosubarules



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Posted 23 September 2004 - 09:39 PM

I have 233K on my Roo, what should I replace in the cooling system so I get another 233 out of her. I replaced the fans out of a rebuilt, resmashed insurance wreck. (also got the under 5K mi injectors from same vehicle 2 of which went to a fellow board memeber)

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