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1996 Legacy LS Sedan, purchased, repaired, still overheating

legacy water pump engine

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21 replies to this topic

#1 cymbri

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Posted 01 August 2013 - 09:18 PM

It's has over 200,000 miles on it, it has the 2.2 SOHC, paid $500 for it knowing it had a bad water pump and is stuck in front wheel drive.

 

It was a gamble I know... So I replaced the water pump, thermostat, timing belt, some bad gears, the spark plugs and the wires.

 

It's still overheating, only takes a minute or so to overheat, there's no external coolant leaks, no white smoke. No coolant in the oil. It has the standard head gasket leak, so some oil burns off the engine which is expected because it's been sitting a while.

 

I understand that there could be air in the coolant system, so i am going to try "burping" it... I'm also getting a new radiator cap. Then if that doesn't work, I'm going to try draining it and adding the coolant more slowly and carefully. Then, I'm going to see if the new thermostat works by putting it in hot water, and I am going to make sure it was installed correctly.

 

If that doesn't work, I can purchase a replacement engine for $500, and I have low labor costs so that's not too much of an issue. 

 

There doesn't seem to be any problems with the tranny, besides the front wheel drive issue that a transfer case should fix, but I haven't driven it over 10 mph yet because of the overheating.

 

So essentially, I was wondering if there was anything else I can do/check for before buying an engine. (It'll cost less in labor to buy a new engine as opposed to replacing the head gaskets)

 

I'm also considering saying screw it and buying another Subie, but we shall see where the wind blows on that one.



#2 MilesFox

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Posted 01 August 2013 - 09:26 PM

Check that the head gaskets aren't already blown. , Yours may need a HG and if the labor costs are low, just fix what you have. It would be more work to swap the engine and swap all your new parts than to just eat it and do HG's and be done.

 

if you have any leaks fro the HG replace them, as the ej22e is not prone to external leaks like the MLS gaskets, as this one has composite gaskets, and if they are leaking, they are done.



#3 Fairtax4me

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Posted 01 August 2013 - 09:31 PM

Did you fill the engine with coolant through the upper radiator hose before filling the radiator? Should have poured in at least 1.5 gallons. If not you need to add more.

Did you install a Subaru thermostat or similar aftermarket design such as the Stant Xactstat?

Only takes a minute to overheat? A minute while sitting still idling? Or a minute driving down the street?

Are you sure it's overheating or does the guage just say its overheating?

Edited by Fairtax4me, 01 August 2013 - 09:32 PM.


#4 cymbri

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Posted 01 August 2013 - 10:00 PM

As far as I have been told, replacing the head gaskets is a very time consuming job, the brains of the operation behind the work in my car has replaced 3 subaru engines in the past few months for himself and a friend of his, so he can almost do it in his sleep. He's very very busy, and doesn't have as much experience with replacing head gaskets. So I can have the head gaskets replaced, but if it's not certain that that will fix it, then a replacement engine seems to be ideal. I know it's leaking oil from the head gasket, there's a small amount of it on the engine from sitting for months.

 

It took about a gallon and a half of coolant, maybe more, and the upper radiator hose was filled and squeezed repeatedly. It was an aftermarket thermostat, I don't remember the brand, but I bought it from an awesome Subaru mechanic with a shop that only works on subarus, whom I know sells good parts.

 

We ran the engine while parked until the fan kicked in, then topped off the coolant. Drove it 50 ft to put air in it, and it over heated. Opened the radiator cap, and coolant the coolant shot up a few inches escaping from it.

 

Turned it off, added more coolant. Started it again, same thing. After a minute or two of idling, you could turn it off, open up the radiator cap, and the coolant would overflow out of it, shooting up a few inches. The thermostat did reflect that it was overheating.



#5 Fairtax4me

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Posted 01 August 2013 - 10:29 PM

Head gaskets on the 2.2 are incredibly easy to replace, and if your Subaru mechanic is any kind of Subaru mechanic he should know how easy it really is.
With it overheating that quickly I have to wonder if the thermostat is opening at all.
It's also possible the heater core is plugged and is preventing flow of coolant through the bypass route which is imperative to proper cooling system operation.

#6 cymbri

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Posted 01 August 2013 - 10:43 PM

the actual mechanic would charge me $70/hr, my friend who works on cars and provides cheap labor is the one who said it would take a long time. He is knowledgeable enough to do the work, and when stuck on something he'll ask the people who work on Subies everyday for their input. i'll talk to him about the head gasket replacement again, thanks for the info!

 

I was also planning on checking to see if the thermostat opens by putting it in hot water before I have any engine work done.

 

If it's not the thermostat or air bubbles, I will have the heater core looked into, thank you for that knowledge as well!  When replacing head gaskets, is there anything to look for that would indicate more serious problems? 



#7 grossgary

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Posted 01 August 2013 - 11:49 PM

clogged radiator?   radiatorbarn.com has great prices if you need a new one.  $89 shipped to my door last one i got.

 

the head gaskets on that engine are insanely easy to replace.  the other EJ engine in 1996 is a complete pain to replace, so he may think it's one of those.

 

i'd look to see if any of the timing covers are melted.  that would indicate significant overheating and you might want to move on from that engine anyway. overheats compromise oil and eventually rod bearings.

 

$500 is steep for an EJ22, check out www.car-parts.com for better prices.  $500 might tempt me to yank the EJ25 in one of my running vehicles i have on hand. lol



#8 cymbri

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Posted 02 August 2013 - 12:30 AM

He probably does have it confused with a different 2.2 he replaced head gaskets on. The radiator was taken out and flushed with a hose, so I know it passes fluids. There's not that much of a savings on engines on the car parts website, and the engine on there are all 30-60 miles away from me, but I appreciate the link. The person I'd buy an engine from will warranty it for 30 days, even with my friend installing it. 

 

If by timing covers you mean those plastic cover things that go over the gears that the timing belt rests on, then those show no sign of melting, and almost look new on the inside.



#9 grossgary

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Posted 02 August 2013 - 07:41 AM

yes - those covers are exactly what i mean.  if those don't show signs of melting then that's a good sign.  can't say %100 but a good sign.  i advised a friend not to use an EJ22 with melted covers a few years ago and it had rod knock shortly after installing it.

 

many of the larger yards give warranties as well, the one i bought had a warranty. though an EJ22 from a wrecked car hardly needs one. they're so robust if it was running at the time of wreck it's good for another 100k when i'm done with new timing belts and seals.

 

bare minimum you'd need headgaskets and intake manifold gaskets which would be roughly $100 in parts.



#10 cymbri

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Posted 05 August 2013 - 05:50 PM

The overheating problem magically disappeared, so I assume it was a big air bubble in the coolant system. It purred like a kitten, and drove great locked in FWD via the fuse. Drove it 130 miles or so, and now now my engine is dripping oil, out of the left side of the front of the engine as far as I can tell. (left as in, your left when you stand in front of the front bumper and are faced toward the car)

 

Darn it :( Under the car in that area, there's a layer of caked on sludge... So it looks as if it had leaked for a while, but it just started leaking on me after I drove it for 3 days, I've been checking the fluids like a maniac, and it didn't lose any oil until just now after a small puddle of it appeared on the ground.



#11 Fairtax4me

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Posted 06 August 2013 - 12:40 AM

That's either a cam seal or the valve cover. Did you not replace the cam seals when you replaced the timing belt?

#12 grossgary

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Posted 06 August 2013 - 05:29 AM

what he said - probably cam seals.  we generally replace those when replacing a timing belt.

 

timing belts are easy to replace and you've already done it so it's only one more bolt and a few minutes to replace the cam seals.

 

best to replace both cam seals, crank seal, and cam oring(s) as well while you're in there.



#13 cymbri

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Posted 06 August 2013 - 01:09 PM

No, didn't replace any seals while we were in there. My friend who works on cars said that it might be the valve cover gasket, after I explained it to him. I'll clean the engine to find the source of the leak. If it's either the  cam seals, crank seal,  or and cam oring(s), replacing all of them will be my next step. And if if have to I'll just take it to a mechanic to have it completed. It could be a month or so until I can have more work done to it. Would it be advisable to avoid driving it altogether until this is figured out?



#14 Fairtax4me

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Posted 06 August 2013 - 10:18 PM

If its the cam seal, chances are it has alread soaked the timing belt with oil.
If the leak is as large as it sounds, you shouldn't drive it at all since you will be losing so much oil. If the oil level gets too low you risk severe damage to the engine.
It's also possible the leak is from the pressure galley behind the oil pump, which would mean low oil pressure for the entire engine. If thisnis the case you, again, risk serious engine damage by driving it.

Best to not drive it until you've found and repaired the leak.

#15 Gloyale

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Posted 07 August 2013 - 11:32 AM

Keep it topped off and your are fine to drive.



#16 gunner

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Posted 18 August 2013 - 10:01 PM

hi. I am new to this, and to working on subarus. we have had our for 4 yrs, now has 170xxx miles. recently overheated- radiator fizzling near top seam. eased it home, ordered new radiator, had a new timing belt and water pump. stripped er down, found oil in spark plug wells.

my chilton guide said to remove the fuel pump relay but it was too hard to get to, so did not.

chlton also indicated an interference engine, but mfgr of timing belt kit said it was not.

old TB looked good but did not know condtn  of water pump so took it off to replace both. did so.

turned it over with wrench on crankshaft  and timing marks did not align after two revs, but maybe three.  reassembled,(with new valve cover gaskets)   but did not start.

so...stripped it down again, noticed that first time i missed changing the timing mark on crank sprocket to the "other" setting (not the TDC mark),.   checked timing- it looked OK. still does not start. cranks like a champ tho. noticed that the marks on the new tming belt did not seem to align with timing marks on cam and crank, but finally got it close

what did i do wrong? should i have undone the fuel pump relay? should i have ??? new to all this. thanks for your advice. t

 

 

Welcome to USMB--you'll find a lot of warm, friendly help here.  But you've got to post in the right place! 

 

Go to the "New Generation" forum and post the questions.  Oh, and add what year and model your Subie is--it can make a difference.

 


 

It's has over 200,000 miles on it, it has the 2.2 SOHC, paid $500 for it knowing it had a bad water pump and is stuck in front wheel drive.

 

It was a gamble I know... So I replaced the water pump, thermostat, timing belt, some bad gears, the spark plugs and the wires.

 

It's still overheating, only takes a minute or so to overheat, there's no external coolant leaks, no white smoke. No coolant in the oil. It has the standard head gasket leak, so some oil burns off the engine which is expected because it's been sitting a while.

 

I understand that there could be air in the coolant system, so i am going to try "burping" it... I'm also getting a new radiator cap. Then if that doesn't work, I'm going to try draining it and adding the coolant more slowly and carefully. Then, I'm going to see if the new thermostat works by putting it in hot water, and I am going to make sure it was installed correctly.

 

If that doesn't work, I can purchase a replacement engine for $500, and I have low labor costs so that's not too much of an issue. 

 

There doesn't seem to be any problems with the tranny, besides the front wheel drive issue that a transfer case should fix, but I haven't driven it over 10 mph yet because of the overheating.

 

So essentially, I was wondering if there was anything else I can do/check for before buying an engine. (It'll cost less in labor to buy a new engine as opposed to replacing the head gaskets)

 

I'm also considering saying screw it and buying another Subie, but we shall see where the wind blows on that one.



#17 Valgoak

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Posted 19 August 2013 - 11:37 AM

I had the same issue with 1991 legacy - it turned out that my brother removed the overflow tank.  It cost me a boat load of money until I finally said 'let's put the overflow tank on anyways'  ... 



#18 Terry in Australia

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Posted 19 August 2013 - 06:16 PM

I bought my '95 Liberty (Legacy) on July the 28th for $450, as a registered and insured non runner. The PO had a "Mobile mechanic" come out and fix an oil leak (crank seal) and he replaced the timing belts and pulleys, but muffed the valve timing. With advice gleaned from the experts here, I re-timed it, and it runs like a champ. Sadly the water pump was shot so I replaced that last weekend, and using several methods (once again suggested by the collective genius of this site) to "burp" the cooling system, I think I've now got it right. The problem was that there was so much air in the system that the thermostat just wasn't opening, so the water in the radiator was cool, whilst the water in the engine was boiling. It wasn't until I stood over the radiator and watched the coolant level drop every time the thermo fans came on that I knew that the thermostat was finally opening and that the coolant was being circulated. I've driven it now for 2 days in "Peak Hour" Melbourne traffic, and the temp gauge needle hasn't moved above the half way mark on the gauge. It was really frustrating, but now that it's OK again, I'm enjoying driving my Subaru again, and looking forwards to my next project, replacing my rear wheel bearings. Cheers, Terry.

#19 LosDiosDeVerde86

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Posted 26 August 2013 - 01:18 PM

It's has over 200,000 miles on it, it has the 2.2 SOHC, paid $500 for it knowing it had a bad water pump and is stuck in front wheel drive.

 

It was a gamble I know... So I replaced the water pump, thermostat, timing belt, some bad gears, the spark plugs and the wires.

 

It's still overheating, only takes a minute or so to overheat, there's no external coolant leaks, no white smoke. No coolant in the oil. It has the standard head gasket leak, so some oil burns off the engine which is expected because it's been sitting a while.

 

I understand that there could be air in the coolant system, so i am going to try "burping" it... I'm also getting a new radiator cap. Then if that doesn't work, I'm going to try draining it and adding the coolant more slowly and carefully. Then, I'm going to see if the new thermostat works by putting it in hot water, and I am going to make sure it was installed correctly.

 

If that doesn't work, I can purchase a replacement engine for $500, and I have low labor costs so that's not too much of an issue. 

 

There doesn't seem to be any problems with the tranny, besides the front wheel drive issue that a transfer case should fix, but I haven't driven it over 10 mph yet because of the overheating.

 

So essentially, I was wondering if there was anything else I can do/check for before buying an engine. (It'll cost less in labor to buy a new engine as opposed to replacing the head gaskets)

 

I'm also considering saying screw it and buying another Subie, but we shall see where the wind blows on that one.

 

 

Um, it's not green with a toggle switch (or hole) in the coin compartment, offroad light on the front bumper (or two holes where they were mounted), a front bumper with the lower cross section cut off, and a rust spot poorly painted over by the gas tank, is it?

 

If it is, it has a cracked block.


Edited by LosDiosDeVerde86, 26 August 2013 - 01:18 PM.


#20 cymbri

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Posted 26 August 2013 - 02:12 PM

Um, it's not green with a toggle switch (or hole) in the coin compartment, offroad light on the front bumper (or two holes where they were mounted), a front bumper with the lower cross section cut off, and a rust spot poorly painted over by the gas tank, is it?

 

If it is, it has a cracked block.

 

 

nope

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#21 LosDiosDeVerde86

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Posted 26 August 2013 - 02:16 PM

nope

 

Ah. well, good luck!



#22 cymbri

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Posted 23 October 2013 - 10:06 AM

UPDATE

 

I think it was an air bubble, since a few days after the work was done, it magically stopped overheating.

 

I had the CEL constantly on kicking a knock sensor code.

 

Then I had intermittent starting problems. Sometimes, after sitting for at least a few hours, It could turn over forever but never actually start. Mostly it would start fine. And i even had it stall on me at a red light a few times.

 

It would have intermittent problems accelerating. While in motion, I'd press the gas pedal harder, nothing, then it would buck, the rpms would kick up, and it would start accelerating.

 

And it was leaking oil around the front of the engine, like a quart every 100-200 miles.

 

I temporarily fixed the starting and accelerating problems by keeping the gas tank always over 1/2 full (after I found that i can make it start by banging on the gas tank) and adding a little mid or high grade gas. And temporarily helped the oil leak by using 20w-50 oil when I had it changed.

 

My freelance mechanic decided that I should replace the valve cover gaskets, since they're easy to do and a common source of oil leakage.

 

So I just recently had the knock sensor, fuel pump and strainer, inline fuel filter, and valve cover gaskets replaced. CEL is off and it accelerates so much better.

 

Tank is still 1/2 full, I'm going to run it close to empty to make sure it's fixed. But wow, it's like I got a new car. I think I'm going to wash the engine to help see if it's still leaking oil.

 

I'm so used to having cars that would act up, and then it almost wouldn't be worth it to fix because of cost or time, and cars that would be a giant pain to work on. But that's why I wasn't going to buy a car unless it was a SUBARU :)







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