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Guest Message by DevFuse
 

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I really don't think it's a thermostat issue in my 96 Legacy 2.2


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25 replies to this topic

#1 darsdoug

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Posted 16 December 2012 - 03:44 PM

Heater/defroster is only blowing cold air until I drop it down into a lower gear and get the RPM's up above 3500 or higher. I get normal hot air coming through the duct's then. I stopped and popped the hood while in park at an idle and looked in the coolant tank and low and behold I see air bubbles coming up at about the same rate as a goldfish aquarium. :horse:

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#2 lmdew

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Posted 16 December 2012 - 06:18 PM

Sounds like headgaskets. Let it cool, Jack the front as high as you can or put it on a hill. Fill the radiator and overflow bottle. Start the car and burp the coolant by squeezing the upper radiator hose until the bubbles stop coming out and then put the radiator cap back on.

Now if you blow coolant out of the overflow bottle you most likely have a HG leaking. You can check it with a chemical tester as well. NAPA has them if you want to do it yourself.

#3 Rooster2

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Posted 16 December 2012 - 06:36 PM

+1 on head gasket trouble. I had the same trouble last Fall. Once my temp gauge shot up to hot, I pulled off the street, shut off the motor, opened the hood to look for bubbles in the over flow tank. Sure enough it was bubbling like an aerator in an aquarium. The bubbles is/are exhaust gas blowing by the bad head gasket to enter the cooling system. The water pump can't pump an air bubble, so the heater/defroster reacts by blowing cold air.

Don't let your motor over heat, or you will ruin the motor.

#4 darsdoug

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Posted 16 December 2012 - 08:22 PM

I'm going to burp the old girl and do a compression test and take a look at the spark plug's this week. At least there isn't evidence of water in the oil at the moment and I have not done any work on any of the cooling system component's, thermostat, etc. I did notice today that when the heater isn't working only one heater hose at the firewall is hot and the other one on the other side is cold. Airlock in the heater core possibly? Both hoses do get hot after I run it at high RPM's for a couple minute's though.

#5 3Pin

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Posted 16 December 2012 - 09:37 PM

Sounds like a headgasket to me as well,however i would check the basics though.

Is the radiator full?

Is the radiator circulating properly?

Is the radiator cap functioning properly?

#6 Fairtax4me

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Posted 16 December 2012 - 10:18 PM

These almost never mix coolant and oil. Head gasket leaks are either external or through the fire ring into the cumbustion chamber.

A leak down test will tell you much more than a compression test.

#7 grossgary

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Posted 17 December 2012 - 08:58 AM

I'm going to burp the old girl and do a compression test

compression tests are useless on that engine, they'll pass a compression test every time on an initial headgasket breach.

At least there isn't evidence of water in the oil at the moment .

there never will be on these motors, they don't fail that way unless it's abused.

as lmdew mentioned in the first response to this post, test for exhaust gases in the coolant, since they blow by pushing exhaust gases into the coolant.

I did notice today that when the heater isn't working only one heater hose at the firewall is hot and the other one on the other side is cold. Airlock in the heater core possibly?

that's what happens when the exhaust gases get pushed into the coolant, it stops circulating properly, one of the radiator hoses will be cool as well.

that engine doesn't blow headgaskets so it was most likely overheated sometime prior in it's life. make sure the cooling system is properly working.

#8 darsdoug

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Posted 17 December 2012 - 11:18 PM

I'll go to Napa and get a tester after I burp it and get that big air bubble out of there. Perhaps that's the main cause of the bubbles coming up in the coolant tank? I know the previous owner said he had to refill the radiator about every four hundred miles or so because it was losing coolant. I'd found the source of the coolant loss he mentioned very quickly after I'd driven the car home from Ballard last summer. It was just a leaking plastic burp screw on the top passenger side of the radiator. I replaced it with a new one and haven't had to add any 50/50 ever since. The old girl has probably had a bunch of air in her all along? Ha Ha. I'll find out here shortly. Thanks for the help people. I appreciate it.:banana:

#9 grossgary

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Posted 18 December 2012 - 08:53 AM

hopefully just needs the burp. lots of info on here about that, they can be tricky and need to be properly bled, some years worse than others.

the more ominous possibility is headgasket. the prior leaking leads to possible overheating and as i already said before you mentioned the leak:

that engine doesn't blow headgaskets so it was most likely overheated sometime prior in it's life.



#10 voodoo

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Posted 18 December 2012 - 05:48 PM

Probably just your heater control valve not opening completely. The extra revs give the water pump a boost and push hot water past the valve. Also will cause a perfectly good head gasket to pass an occaisonal air bubble from the hydraulic back pressure you're building up. All gaskets leak - it's just a question of whether or not it is an acceptable quantity.

#11 johnceggleston

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Posted 18 December 2012 - 07:26 PM

Probably just your heater control valve not opening completely. The extra revs give the water pump a boost and push hot water past the valve.


subarus, 90 - 04, do not have a heater control valve. heater core always has flow. the hvac controls inside the car just directs the air flow over the core when heat is needed.

#12 voodoo

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Posted 19 December 2012 - 08:47 AM

Sorry, been a long time since 90-94. Should be easy enough to check flow by cutting the heater core out of the loop by disconnecting the hoses at the heater core nibs at firewall and tying them together to complete the coolant circuit. Clogged heater core would create the same symptoms.

#13 darsdoug

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Posted 20 December 2012 - 12:29 PM

I have a compressor. Would forcing air backward's through the heater core clear it (if it's partially plugged) or damage it? I don't know if the previous owner had dumped any stop leak additive's into it when he was experiencing his mindboggling coolant loss? That may be a possibilty.

#14 Fairtax4me

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Posted 20 December 2012 - 03:40 PM

A back flush with water will work better than compressed air.
If you still have a coolant leak a low coolant level will cause the same kind of problems.

When you refill the cooling system, fill the engine through the upper radiator hose first, then fill the radiator.

#15 darsdoug

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Posted 21 December 2012 - 06:40 PM

I must fess up that I haven't checked the radiator since last summer. It took almost an entire gallon of 50/50 just to top off the radiator. I put the front of the wagon up in the air and let it run for about a half hour and watched air bubble up out of the radiator. I took it for a forty mile trip on I-5 and the heater works better now but still blows much cooler air at an idle.
ALSO:The plastic coolant tank is bubbling worse than it was before. My best hope is a bad seal on the water pump as the culprit but I have a feeling it's the HG's?:( I'll put some of that combustion leak detector in the overflow tank and see if it change's color. I can do it that way right? 96 2.2

#16 Fairtax4me

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Posted 21 December 2012 - 09:42 PM

If you mix block test liquid with antifreeze it won't work.
Probably don't need to bother at this point. Sounds to me like the head gaskets are cooked.

#17 Gloyale

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Posted 21 December 2012 - 10:21 PM

I'd found the source of the coolant loss he mentioned very quickly after I'd driven the car home from Ballard last summer. It was just a leaking plastic burp screw on the top passenger side of the radiator.


Ironically, that was probably helping the situation. Because it leaked there, Exhaust gasses and bubbles in coolant escaped, and no pressure built up, so coolant still circulates.

When you close the system, the pressure builds, the bubbles are trapped, and the coolant stops circulating when too big an air pocket builds up.

I've loosened that screw a hair to limp home severely blown headgasket cars. It works, until you need to fill the system again.

#18 darsdoug

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Posted 22 December 2012 - 11:18 AM

I was waiting for this issue to come up. 273,000 miles with no documentation of the HG's ever being replaced seal's it. Are Six Star headgasket's the best?

#19 darsdoug

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Posted 23 December 2012 - 07:25 PM

The evidence of an internal combustion leak?

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#20 darsdoug

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Posted 26 December 2012 - 01:35 PM

Upper radiator hose blew up last night while driving back from town . Luckily I was only a quarter of a mile from my driveway when it went. It's obvious what contributed to that. Temp gauge never reached the half way point.

#21 darsdoug

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Posted 30 December 2012 - 09:16 PM

I put on a new radiator hose along with a gallon of Prestone antifreeze. I added the antifreeze via the upper radiator hose and I burped it good and drove around for a half hour without it getting hot but I'm still getting alot of persistent air bubbling up at the filler neck of the radiator when it's idling.
It's a no-brainer.

#22 Fairtax4me

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Posted 31 December 2012 - 01:18 AM

Felpro head gaskets at autozone were $20 each last time I checked. Exact same parts as you would get from a dealer, 1/3 the cost.

#23 darsdoug

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Posted 01 February 2013 - 12:54 PM

Autozone in my area want's $23.99 for the Felpro headgasket but their website doesn't specify if that's the price for one or both? And they state that new replacement head bolts are recommended. If I order the complete head gasket kit with new bolts I'll be packing a thin wallet for awhile. Is there an economical way of replacing the head gaskets and still getting a quality result?

#24 Fairtax4me

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Posted 01 February 2013 - 01:11 PM

Head gaskets come one to a pack. So that's $ 23.99 each.
You DO NOT need new head bolts. Subaru head bolts are not stretch type. Don't let the parts person talk you into buying them.
You will want new intake manifold gaskets, usually exhaust manifold gaskets can be re-used. Single port exhaust gaskets are hard to come by in parts stores. They're $8-10 each at a dealer.

#25 darsdoug

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Posted 03 February 2013 - 06:41 PM

I've decided to go with OEM head gaskets from the subaru parts dealer in my area. I sure don't want any issue's coming up from using aftermarket one's.




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