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My 2001 H6 Outback engine started to overheat - should I repair it or send it to scrap?

2001 H6 3.0 Outback Engine Overheating

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21 replies to this topic

#1 jvopal

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Posted 05 September 2013 - 10:03 PM

Similarly to chrisw's issue at http://www.ultimates...y-another-car/, I am also not sure if I should repair/replace the engine in my 2001 H6 Outback, or just send it to scrap yard (as the dealer suggests).

 

The car just died on me last weekend on my way back from a camping trip. It showed first "CHECK ENGINE" and then I noticed it started to overheat and eventually the engine shut donw. I did not expect this to happen, since my car has only about 130,000 km on it and I cared for it well for 12 years.

 

The Toronto dealer shop (where I usually go to) told me basically the engine is gone - it caused the coolent system not to work properly due to some presure issue. I am not sure of all the details, but that is the gist of what I understood. He said it might be a head gasket, but he suspects that some other part of the engine was broken. I can drive the car fine for about 15 minutes, before I need to stop and let it cool.

 

Has anyone heard of this H6 3.0L engine issue? From what I've been reading these engines should last longer than the 2.5 (H4) engines - since they should not have that many head gasket issues.
 

I allso looked at the used H6 refurbished on http://www.ccrengines.com/, and see they are not cheap (over $6000). This, plus shipping to Canada, makes my feel such a repair is definitely not worh the car's value -  assuming it is in good running order (which is not more than  $5000).


If anyone of you know of good independent mechanic in Toronto (Canada) area who could give me a second opinion, I would be very greatfull.


 

Thanks



#2 grossgary

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Posted 05 September 2013 - 10:20 PM

www.car-parts.com

or offer it up used/for parts.  if it's a VDC let me know I'd be interested in it.

 

if you suspect the headgasket diagnosis to be correct and want to verify, have the coolant tested for exhaust gases.  that will verify the headgasket.

 

if you question their diagnosis then we can help more if you answer the questions i'm going to type in response to your post.  all we have is words so we need clear information to make any diagnosis without being able to touch, see, or drive the car.

 

TTHas anyone heard of this H6 3.0L engine issue? From what I've been reading these engines should last longer than the 2.5 (H4) engines - since they should not have that many head gasket issues.
 

I allso looked at the used H6 refurbished on http://www.ccrengines.com/, and see they are not cheap (over $6000).

Thanks


"heard of" - cars overheat all the time.  every engine ever made can overheat, it's quite common with all the hoses, clamps, gaskets, seals, radiators, and more in the system.  overheating can cause headgaskets to blow, determining which came first will require some work.

 

Ideally the check engine light was read as soon as it occurred and some simple tests were done the first time it overheated:
1.  was the radiator (not the overflow) full of coolant (let it cool down first to check)?

2.  were there bubbles in the overflow tank when it was hot or while running?

3.  any recent work done? (had the coolant ever been changed)

4.  when running hot were the fans running?

5.  when running hot, did turning the cabin heat on result in hot air for more than a minute or two - or did it blow hot then cool off?



#3 jvopal

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Posted 06 September 2013 - 12:05 PM

Thanks for your suggestions and questions 'grossgary'.

 

"Ideally the check engine light was read as soon as it occurred and some simple tests were done the first time it overheated:"
1.  was the radiator (not the overflow) full of coolant (let it cool down first to check)? 
2.  were there bubbles in the overflow tank when it was hot or while running?
3.  any recent work done? (had the coolant ever been changed)
4.  when running hot were the fans running?
5.  when running hot, did turning the cabin heat on result in hot air for more than a minute or two - or did it blow hot then cool off?

 

 

Today I went back to the dealer and asked them your questions. Here are his
replies (as best as I can recall) with some of my comments:

 

1. No, the radiator was not full of coolant, since the hose was off or leaking.
According to the dealer it was the pressure from the engine that blew of this
hose off.

 

2. Do not know. According to the dealer, the coolant did not get that far.

 

3. Nothing special was done to the cooling system, except for the usual tune
up. I assume the dealer did change the coolant at that time. I also bought a
coolant when I noticed this issue. Except that did not help, since it was just
leaking from the bottom of the container. (But I had the dealer check the car
and replace the rear brakes and calipers before leaving for this trip.)


4. I believe so. The dealer did not answer this question though.

 

5. This is very interesting question. Now that you mention it, I recall that
while doing short driving (< 15 mins) at the campground the day before, I
sensed there was not much heat coming from the engine into the cabin. I thought
this was because the engine was not that warm yet. But now I suspect something
must have happened then. Now when I ran the engine, the air coming into the cabin
seems cool even when the car is close to red mark.


Also note that:

 

a) I noticed the CHECK engine light only while driving back home. The day
before there was a major thunderstorm and we had to take cover in the car and
drive to a closes restaurant (that is the 15 mins driving I was talking about).
I was more concerned with the floods outside the car than with what was going
inside the car. Therefore, it is possible this CHECK engine light was on then.


B) I did not do any tests when the CHECK light came on and then the car
shutdown. I only noticed the coolant was dripping from the radiator and that
the engine was hot. It did not steam, but it smell differently. Later on the
dealer confirmed the hose from the coolant container to the radiator broke off.


c) My car is equivalent to the LL Bean version in USA. Therefore it is not
VDC, I believe. I can give you my car's VIN if that helps.



 



#4 ShawnW

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Posted 06 September 2013 - 01:34 PM

Has the dealer even tried putting the hose back on and filling the radiator back up?  I would agree with them-the engine is likely scrap but it wouldn't hurt to try!  Pretty damn tough sometimes.  



#5 Fairtax4me

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Posted 06 September 2013 - 02:00 PM

Overheating to the point of shutdown is extremely damaging to an engine. Rod and main bearing caps and journals expand, the oil runs out of them like water and the bearings get scored and chewed up.
Pistons expand at a rate different than the block and eventually seize in their cylinders. This is generally what causes the engine to stop moving. Once it cools the pistons contract and free, but the damage is already done. The cylinder walls get scored and the rings get crammed up with the tiny metal shavings. Eventually they work themselves out, but in the process they chew up the cylinder walls even more. Compression goes down the tube, and if the bearings last long enough it will burn oil until the compression gets so low it will hardly run. Kind of a grim scenario, but that's about all there is to it.

I would repair the coolant leak, fill the cooling system, change the oil and just see how the car does for a little while.
Drive a few hundred miles and if it hasn't started knocking yet take an oil sample and send it in for analysis. Oil Analyzers Inc. and Blackstone Labs are some of the popular testers. Usually costs about $30. Analysis will tell you if there is an excessive amount of bearing material in the oil. It will also tell you the amount of fuel dilution, water contamination, and the amount of many other types of common contaminants that are in the oil. Knowing what's in the oil will help determine which parts of the engine are wearing, and can help determine what you need to do if further repairs are needed.

#6 jvopal

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Posted 06 September 2013 - 02:00 PM

Thanks Shawn for asking.
 

Yes, I believe they did fill the radiator up (with water and
coolant), and put back the hose. They also left the radiator cap off to see how
much pressure was there. They told me the pressure was so much after few minutes
that the water was coming out like a geyser.



 



#7 jvopal

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Posted 06 September 2013 - 02:12 PM

Also thanks FairTax for the advice.

 

But I am sure I cannot drive it for 100 miles. Maybe for 5 or 10. I just drove it to a scrap yard for 6 city blocks to see what they will give me. (It was not much.) The engine did not reach the red line, but it was getting close.

 

I will see if some independent can do what you suggest - get an oil sample and have it analyzed.

 

And yes, the dealer explained to me that the (newer) aluminum engines cannot tolerate the heat as much as the old (cast?) iron engines.  He said it was difficult to tell what caused this failure: a damage in the cooling system, or something in the engine cracked and that broke off the radiator hose, and hence stoped the engine cooling to work.



#8 Fairtax4me

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Posted 06 September 2013 - 02:48 PM

If it is still overheating then it probably needs head gaskets, which are not worth the gamble of replacing.
A scrap yard will not give you what the car is worth, even as a non-running car (essentially what it is now with a bad engine) you should still be able to get $1000-$1500 for it depending on the condition of the rest of the car and the market in your area.

#9 jvopal

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Posted 14 September 2013 - 05:24 PM

Thanks again Fairtax4me. Here is an update on my car's situation:

 

Last week I managed to find an independent mechanic who seems honest and knowledgeable about Subaru cars (he drives one himself). He suspects my engine problem started when the radiator hose or clamp came loose (or broke off) - most likely during my highway drive home. I just did not notice this overheating fast
enough on the highway to stop. Apparently, in the older days these coolant/radiator hoses & clamps were being replaced more often than now (like once a year). But since now these hoses last longer, mechanics sometimes forget to change them.

 

Given that rest of my car is in relative good shape, I am now considering getting a used H6 engine with under 100 miles. I received two quotes from http://www.qualityusedengines.com/ - one for up to 3 year warranty for grade "A" engine. But no mileage was specified. Does anyone have any experience with this company and their used engines?

 

I just do not want another H6 engine which will have head gasket issues - which are common in H4 engines but they are appearing in H6 engines with higher
mileage (for example as I read at http://allwheeldrive...lained-part-ii/ and its comments).

 

Any other thoughts would be appreciated.
 


Edited by jvopal, 14 September 2013 - 05:27 PM.


#10 Gloyale

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Posted 15 September 2013 - 12:27 PM

Your H6 didn't have a "Headgasket issue" from age, or proneness to failure.  It failed from an old hose failing, losing coolant, and being driven to the point of overheating shutdown.  NOW it has a headgasket issue from overheating.

 

I feel bad for you, and really everyone who lives in the rustbelt where they MAKE SURE you will have to buy a new car every 5-10 years or it will rust away beneath you.  The salt is hell on rubber as well, so where the rubber meets metal (hose clamp) there will always be issues.

 

I think a used engine could be a good solution.  Just make sure to install new hoses and clamps and probably a new rad cap and thermostat too.


Edited by Gloyale, 15 September 2013 - 12:27 PM.


#11 jvopal

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Posted 15 September 2013 - 03:16 PM

Thanks for your understanding and advice Gloyale.

 

Yes, the salt is hell on cars here. That is why I was doing annual rust protection (with Protectoil at http://www.cobra1.co...otectoil-detail). But obviously that did not seem to help much most of the rubber hoses and wires under the car. In fact, early this year I had the break line repaired since it was leaking due to rust. I should have had the cooling hoses and wires also replaced then.



#12 jvopal

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Posted 15 September 2013 - 04:21 PM

Well, after some more searching it looks like www.qualityusedengines.com/ (also known as Southwest Engines and can be found also at www.swengines.com, wwww.gotengines.com or www.engineandtransmissionworld.com) does not have a good reputation.

 

One ex-client is still really unhappy with their Grade "A" used engine - which turned out to be a re-built engine instead. See http://www.ripoffrep...sconsin-977615.

 

Anyone else knows anything about this company?



#13 grossgary

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Posted 16 September 2013 - 07:02 AM

we use www.car-parts.com all the time, there are some canadian listings there.

there's a very popular JDM supplier in Philly, JDMdepot that i know some subaru peeps use/suggest.

 

if you took it to a scrap yard, how much do you want for it? 

 

they'll generally tell you how much they'll give you over the phone, depending on the yard.  many scrap yards are simply the $X per hundred pounds formula, just call and ask.  a junk yard will generally give more for a vehicle with any value (which would be yours).  down here you'd get about $250 at a scrap yard and $500 at a junk yard or the rare scrap yard willing to part it a bit and pass along the higher values (conveters, electric motors, etc) to you.

 

best bet is to find a place that's willing to let you know that the engine came out of a wreck and the engine wasn't damaged in the collission.  a wrecked car strongly implies the engine was perfectly fine when the wreck occurred.

 

be sure to replace the two serpentine belt pulley bearings right away, they fail all the time.  the bearings are only $5 each and takes 15 minutes to knock out.  or $20 each for an aftermarket equivalent (but you'll need a part number, they won't be able to look it up, but some subaru folks have matched it, i can post it later).  or much more from the dealer.  they fail so often i consider them immediate maintenance on anyone i know that gets one and check them every 50k or so.

 

H6's do occasionally have headgasket issues, finding out your warrant on a used engine would be good.  usually 3 - 6 month warranty is an average for used car dealers around here.



#14 jvopal

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Posted 16 September 2013 - 10:09 AM

Thanks for the advice grossgary.. I'll let the mechanic find me an engine.

 

At this point, if someone is willing to give me CDN $1000 for this car I would accept it. I just feel it would be shame to dump it into a junk yard.



#15 ivans imports

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Posted 16 September 2013 - 10:50 AM

Have 3 parts 3.0 engines 4 good heads ect if you know what parts you need



#16 ivans imports

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Posted 16 September 2013 - 10:51 AM

Also pull the center out of thermostat and try runing with out it blocking flow will make it so can at least move it around



#17 grossgary

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Posted 16 September 2013 - 11:50 AM

$999.00 engine at the place i was talking about, and it's relatively close so shipping should be reasonable if the international thing doesn't kill it, maybe have a shop in Buffalo new york receive it for you then pick it up?

 

http://www.jdmengine...caster_6_Engine

 

closer and i'd take it, 15 hours is too much.



#18 jvopal

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Posted 16 September 2013 - 01:05 PM

Very good Grossgary. Thanks.

 

FYI - I called JDM. The shipping is about $400 and their engines have 90-100Km - he claims. But there is no VIN or other reference number to verify this. I am now really considering this option.

 

--

Ivans: I am looking for the whole engine, not parts.



#19 jvopal

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Posted 16 September 2013 - 01:28 PM

Acually I am giving up on the JDM engine option after reading some more rippoff stories about them (more than about Southwest Engines). For example:

  1. http://jdmenginedepo...e-depot-review/
  2. http://forums.automo...w-jersey-probl/


#20 Rooster2

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Posted 16 September 2013 - 01:58 PM

Acually I am giving up on the JDM engine option after reading some more rippoff stories about them (more than about Southwest Engines). For example:

  1. http://jdmenginedepo...e-depot-review/
  2. http://forums.automo...w-jersey-probl/

When I replaced the motor in my 98 OBW, I never gave JDM serious consideration. Prices seemed high, motor would have to be shipped some distance, and no one local to deal with if I encountered problems with a guarantee. Just none of those thoughts made any sense to do business with them. So, I bought a '95, 2.2 motor from a local wrecking yard that I trust, and had an independent repair shop install the engine. I got lucky, and fortunate to have gotten a good motor for $400. I also knew if I had trouble with the new engine, that the wrecking yard would replace the motor at no charge within 90 days.



#21 ivans imports

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Posted 17 September 2013 - 10:20 AM

No worrys a'm thinking if I have 3 broken ones they are hard to find good ones. I replaced a piston in one was over 200 bolts crazy engine to pull apart



#22 grossgary

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Posted 17 September 2013 - 02:16 PM

Acually I am giving up on the JDM engine option after reading some more rippoff stories about them (more than about Southwest Engines). For example:

  1. http://jdmenginedepo...e-depot-review/
  2. http://forums.automo...w-jersey-probl/

 

ha, i sent a note to the mechanic that recommended that place, wonder if he's ever used them.  that's funny, you're the first person i've ever pointed to that site. good catch. 

 

stick to car-parts.com
 







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