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99 Outback overheating


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33 replies to this topic

#1 skiu4ikjames

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Posted 21 August 2012 - 05:33 PM

My 99 2.5 outback has been in my local shop since friday for overheating. It has a new thermostat and holds good pressure, no milky oil, no funky exhaust, and an operating water pump.

Any suggestions or leads on a good thread to read would be extremely helpful.
Thx

JO

#2 davebugs

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Posted 21 August 2012 - 05:47 PM

Welcome to the USMB

Search for "head gasket failure" and similar and be ready to read.

Subaru HG's fail in a way that others don't so most "normal" mechanics don't knwo what's happenning.

They will pass a compression test, won' tblow white smoke.

They WILL after a trip of lets say 45 minutes blow your coolant out of the rad and into the overflow bottle. Classic 2.5 HG issue!

#3 cal_look_zero

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Posted 21 August 2012 - 05:49 PM

Well the least painful answers are that you have the wrong t stat, or that the system isn't bled right. Subarus are finicky about parts store t stats....

#4 ShawnW

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Posted 21 August 2012 - 05:51 PM

Start with the ones at the bottom of the thread here. It shows a "related threads". From those look at other related ones.

#5 Rooster2

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Posted 21 August 2012 - 06:51 PM

If your car has been driving fine for thousands of miles, and now decides to over heat, I can assure you that it is a blown head gasket. All 96-99 model Legacys have an engine design weakness that eventually will blow the head gasket. I know this is not what you want to hear, but it is just the sad truth. There is lots written on this subject on this forum, which you can access with the forum "search" section. Just type in "head gaskets," and your monitor will just light up with info.

I just got my 99 OBW out of the shop last week from head gasket repair. My wife has a 98 OBW, it blew its head gaskets last year. It came as no surprise.

Hopefully, you have not driven with the motor over heating for very long to cause engine damage.

#6 skiu4ikjames

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Posted 21 August 2012 - 08:52 PM

Thank you all for posting. I'm embarrassed to have jumped on the posting "wagon" before reading any of the perfectly relevant info already here. The thread about overheating with 30 replies just this month was particularly helpful.

I'll get on the profile update ASAP.

My shop has a 4 gas test set for tomorrow. I'm sold that the HG is failing. I've been wondering why the coolent was dirty since the middle of last winter. On the upside, the temp has only hit "H" once and I stopped driving immediately. that was this past Friday.

Thanks again
JO

#7 Durania

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Posted 21 August 2012 - 09:00 PM

I would check with your mechanic if he is confident working on Subarus, better yet ones with head gasket failures. I would imagine there being a few independent shops in your area.

#8 ShawnW

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Posted 21 August 2012 - 09:41 PM

I wouldn't even spend the money to have a gas analyzer put in the tailpipe. Its almost 100% certainty. Make sure the shop is qualified to do the repair too. Lots think they can or "need the money" but you need it fixed right.

#9 Rooster2

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Posted 21 August 2012 - 10:42 PM

I wouldn't even spend the money to have a gas analyzer put in the tailpipe. Its almost 100% certainty. Make sure the shop is qualified to do the repair too. Lots think they can or "need the money" but you need it fixed right.


+1 on don't spend the money on having a gas analyzer put in the tailpipe. Suggest you do this........................

The simplest way to see that the head gasket is bad is to let the car warm up, (but not yet over heating) and with engine running at idle, open the cap to the radiator overflow plastic container. If there is coolant in the overflow, and you see bubbles of air rising to the top of the overflow coolant, then it for sure is the head gaskets. I saw this precisely first hand on my 99 to know the head gasket was bad. The bubbles are exhaust gas leaking into the coolant system through the bad head gasket. Thus the motor over heats. This is not a common way that head gaskets break in most cars, but it is the very common way that a head gasket breaks in a Subaru.

#10 mikaleda

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Posted 21 August 2012 - 10:45 PM

+1 on don't spend the money on having a gas analyzer put in the tailpipe. Suggest you do this........................

The simplest way to see that the head gasket is bad is to let the car warm up, (but not yet over heating) and with engine running at idle, open the cap to the radiator overflow plastic container. If there is coolant in the overflow, and you see bubbles of air rising to the top of the overflow coolant, then it for sure is the head gaskets. I saw this precisely first hand on my 99 to know the head gasket was bad. The bubbles are exhaust gas leaking into the coolant system through the bad head gasket. Thus the motor over heats. This is not a common way that head gaskets break in most cars, but it is the very common way that a head gasket breaks in a Subaru.

thats not a for sure way of telling though, i have seen that in subies that didn't have a blown head gasket. that can be caused by bad radiator cap

#11 CrownLoyale

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Posted 22 August 2012 - 01:14 AM

They won't fail an internal combustion leak test either. Best way to see is bleed the cooling system, run up to temp and make sure the t-stat opens and fan operates, next drive it. If it over heats and pushes out the overflow, its failed HG.

#12 GeneralDisorder

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Posted 22 August 2012 - 01:19 AM

It's head gaskets.

If the shop has to do a "gas test" to determine this then they don't know this engine well enough to be doing HG's on it. They will not do the job right. I have seen this repair screwed up so many times its embarrassing to the mechanic community. Subaru's are not like other cars in too many ways for a generic shop to effectively perform a significant and expensive repair such as this. Seek an expert.

GD

#13 rxleone

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Posted 22 August 2012 - 02:47 AM

thats not a for sure way of telling though, i have seen that in subies that didn't have a blown head gasket. that can be caused by bad radiator cap


Or a split side tank in the radiator. Don't know about that late a model, but the older BC/BF Legacies have plastic side tanks that tend to split where the hot water comes out of the hose on the engine outlet.

Just about pulled down an EJ22 once because of bubbles in the coolant once, lucky I saw the big crack in the rad.

Probably not your problem, but yeah, I'd inspect it as you pull it out to do HGs.

#14 ivans imports

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Posted 22 August 2012 - 09:25 AM

Most important thing must have more than ten psi oil preshure hot at idle to have good enuff bottom end to be worth doing heads on should be 15-25 10 is min

#15 themoneypit

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Posted 22 August 2012 - 09:11 PM

another option (and usually cheaper) is to do a 2.2l swap. theres tons of info o here, and those arent prone to hg failure like the 2.5l. if your car has egr, make sure the donor engine does too!! 95w/egr is a direct plug and play swap. 96-99 you would need the front y-pipe single port exhaust manifold, and otherwise is also plug and play. ive seen way to many of the 2.5s have repeat failures, thats why i always go this route...

if you decide to fix it, take the advice here and have a subaru specialist do the job!! ive heard of prices from 1500-2500 for a hg job. a 2.2 should cost less than 1000 from a j/y, and a shop should be able to swap the engine in 5 hours or less. so IF labor was 100/hr, plus 1000 for an engine, you'd be on the lower end of cost for a hg job, but end up with a MUCH more reliable engine that will run 300k miles.

#16 cal_look_zero

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Posted 22 August 2012 - 09:18 PM

It's head gaskets.

If the shop has to do a "gas test" to determine this then they don't know this engine well enough to be doing HG's on it. They will not do the job right. I have seen this repair screwed up so many times its embarrassing to the mechanic community. Subaru's are not like other cars in too many ways for a generic shop to effectively perform a significant and expensive repair such as this. Seek an expert.

GD


Posted Image

I don't get why people think that the HGs are some mythical entity of which there is no understanding. I have done probably 2 dozen now, and the first one I ever did is still on the road to this day. Maybe the shop wants to perform an HC test to make sure it's that and not something else; nothing wrong with that.

#17 mikaleda

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Posted 22 August 2012 - 09:21 PM

lol i like that pic ^

#18 skiu4ikjames

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Posted 23 August 2012 - 05:35 AM

A friend of mine has had, and done a lot of work on, this generation. He thinks I should rule out the coolent pump first by replacing it. I asked the mechanic here in town to rule it out early on. His response was, you know they're gone when they leak or make a terrible racket. Mine does neither but does anyone know a real test? Seems like if coolants not circulating, the pump would be first culprit to look at right?

-JO

#19 davebugs

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Posted 23 August 2012 - 07:22 AM

99.9% it's the head gaskets.

You can kid yourself and throw money at "easy stuff" all you want.

It'll just be money pissed away in the end.

I'll go back and look at the miles. But if between 110 and 180 it's the HG's.

Only time it's the WP or anything is if someone already was in there and put CRAP parts on it.

So we're back to maintenance history.

Edit: miles and maintenance history not listed that I can see.

If it's been overheated while you attemot fixes that don't/won't work go straight to a 2.2 - that's what most of us do.

No since in fixing HG's then needing rod bearings in a few months.

#20 skiu4ikjames

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Posted 23 August 2012 - 07:47 AM

Thanks. I guess I'm just a half-full kind of guy. Sounds like good advice.

#21 davebugs

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Posted 23 August 2012 - 08:17 AM

A LOT of us have been there, repeatedly.

Figure 1k or so, do it right with OEM head gaskets, idlers, crank & cam seals and be done for another 100k.

Or 2.2 it often for similar money and have a much more reliable engine.

MUST BE DONE BY SOMEONE THAT KNOWS SUBARU's.

If the garage you're using doesn't realize how Subaru HG's fail YOU DON'T WANT THEM DOING THE WORK!!!

A VERY common problem. The usual attempts including putting crap in the cooling system have been beaten to death.

Fix it right, be happy for another 100k.

Many good threads here.

#22 Rooster2

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Posted 23 August 2012 - 09:07 AM

A LOT of us have been there, repeatedly.

Figure 1k or so, do it right with OEM head gaskets, idlers, crank & cam seals and be done for another 100k.

Or 2.2 it often for similar money and have a much more reliable engine.

MUST BE DONE BY SOMEONE THAT KNOWS SUBARU's.

If the garage you're using doesn't realize how Subaru HG's fail YOU DON'T WANT THEM DOING THE WORK!!!

A VERY common problem. The usual attempts including putting crap in the cooling system have been beaten to death.

Fix it right, be happy for another 100k.

Many good threads here.



+1 on Davebugs advise. He knows what he is talking about. Any garage can change a water pump, alt, or starter, on a Subaru, but don't have them do the work replacing the HG,s unless they have a reputation of doing serious tear down and repair work on Subarus. You don't want your mechanic learning how to do serious Subaru repair, by working on your car.

As stated, it is a 99.9% statistic that you have a bad HG. Everyone likes to keep repair costs low by first trying to fix this problem by replacing the water pump, or radiator, or cooling system additives, but they won't solve your bad HGs. It isn't easy to say, but you need to find an experienced Subaru mechanic to replace your HGs to successfully put your car back on the road.

#23 mikaleda

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Posted 23 August 2012 - 09:22 AM

a lot of us have been there, repeatedly.

Figure 1k or so, do it right with oem head gaskets, idlers, crank & cam seals and be done for another 100k.

Or 2.2 it often for similar money and have a much more reliable engine.

Must be done by someone that knows subaru's.

If the garage you're using doesn't realize how subaru hg's fail you don't want them doing the work!!!

A very common problem. The usual attempts including putting crap in the cooling system have been beaten to death.

Fix it right, be happy for another 100k.

Many good threads here.

+1

#24 GeneralDisorder

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Posted 23 August 2012 - 09:29 AM

A friend of mine has had, and done a lot of work on, this generation. He thinks I should rule out the coolent pump first by replacing it. I asked the mechanic here in town to rule it out early on. His response was, you know they're gone when they leak or make a terrible racket.


Your mechanic is absolutely right and your friend has no idea what he's talking about. Water pumps fail by leaking or by seizure. They do not cause overheating without other obvious signs of failure.

GD

#25 Durania

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Posted 23 August 2012 - 03:58 PM

The usual attempts including putting crap in the cooling system have been beaten to death.


Agreed. Here is what stopleak does to a Subaru

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