I know the head gasket topic is huge on here, I just can't seem to find exactly what I need so maybe someone can help me out here!
I have a 2002 outback 2.5 that I first notices overheating (not redline) when the outside temps where higher then normal and while pulling a raft, just figured the circumstances would cause this. Didn't notice any substantial rise in the temp gauge while just cruising normal until the next time i drove under load, again not red line and I turned the heat on etc. Then one day the thing wanted to overheat at low speeds,not high speeds, seemed like it wasn't getting coolant, checked it out and all the coolant flowed into the overflow and the radiator hoses were smashed (sucked in). I replaced the radiator cap, bought a new thermostat just in case (didn't install it) before a big trip with raft and gear. It wanted to heat up on big climbs but everything was normal while driving in normal conditions. (I was loaded, 2 adults, 2 dogs, gear for 5 days on the river), Coolant cycled back through ok. I have't noticed the usual signs of a blown head gasket as the heater always would blow hot air, no bubbles in overflow/radiator a small discoloration in the coolant but that could be from the conditioner, no other spikes in temp. However, after the trip i checked the oil and it seemed really high and sort of frothy and I was getting some oil leaking on the exhaust after long hauls (looked to be leaking towards the rear), I added oil before our trip but was pretty certain I didn't overflow I also didn't notice anything near the fill cap or any sort of white residue. since then a couple days ago I changed the oil/filter and have been monitoring things and haven't noticed a change in oil level but it almost looks like a hint of green coolant, can't really smell it I did a crude test dripping oil from the dip stick over a heated soda can and didn't get any signs of water, I have a coolant compression test on now and it hasn't moved in a couple hours and I did a block/gasket leak test that came up negative. (the test was super difficult because I couldn't keep the coolant low enough and it wanted to get sucked into the test tube after a minute or so) I did try through the overflow not knowing how accurate it would be from there with negative results.
At this point I'm looking for advice on how to confirm if this is actually a HG leak or something else and how can i check for sure if coolant is in the oil and not my imagination? Couple things I've done in the past few weeks are: New valve cover gaskets, pcv valve (subaru), radiator cap (subaru), fuel filter, air filter, spark wire and new spark plugs.
Sorry its so long, trying to streamline this to make it easier on folks trying to help. Thanks a ton,this forum has saved me on a few other issues!