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97 Outback girl needs help!


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35 replies to this topic

#1 Eva

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Posted 07 November 2013 - 01:19 AM

Hi all,

My 97 outback overheated :( it also overheated 8months ago but it was just a failed thermostat and after replacing it was fine. From underneath i csn see There is water leaking out of a rubber seal near where the radiator hose enters the engine on the passenger side. Is this the water pump seal? Or something more serious :(? Both fans are working, the car had oil and water before it overheated. I know these cars are prone to gasket problems but i dont think the head gasket is blown, when it overheated no smoke poured out of it and the oil looks fine. it isn't/hasnt been blowing white smoke or had water dripping from the exhaust either. The water was a little mucky but not full of oil. The radiator does have bubbles but is probably air getting sucked in from where its leaking. I hope anyway. So this seal that is leaking (water only) what is it can anyone tell me? The head gasket seals are internal no? Any advice would be very helpful I live out in the sticks and cannot get it to a mechanic.
Thanks in advance Eva

#2 Eva

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Posted 07 November 2013 - 01:22 AM

Oh yes one more thing I thought was strange, when it started to warm up I put the heater on (usually helps) at first it was blowing hot air but it then it went cool and the temp gauge kept getting hotter

#3 Fairtax4me

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Posted 07 November 2013 - 01:32 AM

What engine size? 2.2 or 2.5?
How badly did it overheat? Was the coolant boiling out of the overflow bottle?

Leak sounds like its coming from either the thermostat seal or the water pump gasket. If you can post a picture of it we can narrow it down further.
This could be a 30 minute fix if its just the thermostat gasket, or it could be time for a timing belt of its the water pump gasket.

#4 Eva

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Posted 07 November 2013 - 03:29 AM

Thanks for the speedy reply! pretty sure it's a 2.5, it overheated pretty badly the water was pretty much boiling even though I stopped before the temp gauge reached high. It wasn't coming out of the overflow when I opened the hood, I looked in there first and it was 3/4 full but the radiator didn't have much water at all in and I could feel a lot of pressure when I took of the cap slowly expecting a fountain which did not come. I think I am due for a timing belt change, I bought the car second hand and the service history is incomplete. I have a photo of the leak and will post once I figure out how

thank you so much!



#5 Eva

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Posted 07 November 2013 - 03:45 AM

Sorry not a very good photo, it looks like its coming out of the rubber seal which looks a bit displaced but I spose it could be running out of anywhere... I was going to try take that plastic timing belt cover off and look in there until I realised what a pain it would be. I read somewhere I need to take the radiator outAttached File  image.jpg   113.92K   81 downloadsAttached File  image.jpg   113.92K   81 downloads

#6 grossgary

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Posted 07 November 2013 - 06:02 AM

that looks to be the timing belt cover.  the rubber on the belt covers are more like dust shields, they are not supposed to have any fluids behind them.

 

this suggests the water pump or water pump bypass hose is leaking.

 

if the water pump is replaced a subaru only water pump gasket should be used.  the aftermarket gaskets are cheap cardboard.

 

generally a complete timing belt kit - with new tensioner and pulleys is advisable. in the US they're $100 - $200 on ebay, amazon, etc for the timing belt, pulleys, and tensioner.


Edited by grossgary, 07 November 2013 - 06:03 AM.


#7 JKinPA

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Posted 07 November 2013 - 08:15 AM

grossgary, I believe is right on the money!

 

If the car has over 100K on it and you put say the last 20K on the car it is a good bet the previous owner did not replace it and you are actually overdue for a timing belt.  They should be changed every 100K on a 2.5.  So yeah, get a new water pump a SUBARU gasket and timing belt kit and have at it.

 

Look at it this way...a faulty water pump saved you from the potential damage a broken timing belt would have caused.



#8 ivans imports

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Posted 07 November 2013 - 10:47 AM

Its always the head gasket 250 headgaskets later have seen every kind of diagnosis " its not the headgasket " over and over its always the headgasket. Any bubbles in rad is headgasket the comp slips past the fire ring and putts 180 psi up agianst 12 psi putting combustion into rad over preshureing rad and pushes all coolant into overflow. no piont doing anything but the headgaskets. Have had this senario 3 times this week 98 outback 01 outback and 96 out back all headgaskets.



#9 ivans imports

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Posted 07 November 2013 - 10:49 AM

Dont be fooled by a leaking water pump its leaking because its coolant sestem is over preshured blows past the ceramic water pump seal

#10 Rooster2

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Posted 07 November 2013 - 11:05 AM

Having blown head gaskets on two Subies with the same engine as yours, it is pretty likely that you have a blown head gasket. The bad head gasket in a Subie always presents itself as an over heating engine. The head gasket breaks in such a way, that exhaust gas gets pressurized into the cooling system, causing a big hot air bubble that over heats the motor causing coolant leaks. With one of my cars, the high hot air/water pressure caused the radiator to spring a leak, resulting in having to buy a new radiator.

 

Subie head gasket leaks don't result in water vapor out the tail pipe, or water mixing with the crankcase engine oil, as happens with other makes of cars.

 

If your car engine was severely over heated for like 15 to 20 minutes of driving, then the problem becomes warped aluminum engine surfaces, and damaged crank bearings. At that point, a replacement engine is needed.

 

If over heated just only once, or few times minimally, then installing new head gaskets will fix the problem.



#11 Eva

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Posted 07 November 2013 - 07:51 PM

Yes that's the timing belt cover and im pretty sure now it must be pump related, I can hear a kind of rubbing grinding noise from that region so now just to go and visually confirm and order the genuine parts :)...



#12 Eva

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Posted 07 November 2013 - 08:01 PM

noooooooooooooooo!!!! Ivans imports & Rooster 2 how can you be so sure it is a blown head gasket? I have blown a head gasket on a 91 liberty before because i was a young fool who didn't service her car, the oil was milky and smoke poured from the exhaust... does the 2.5 not display the usual telltale symptons? is it possible it is just cracked and not blown? and if so would you recommend trying one of those gasket sealing products? Please pray for me its not... I have a friend coming this arvo hopefully he can help me diagnose my problem



#13 Eva

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Posted 07 November 2013 - 08:03 PM

Oh I just read the your post properly rooster I think im going to cry :(



#14 Eva

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Posted 07 November 2013 - 08:09 PM

"If your car engine was severely over heated for like 15 to 20 minutes of driving, then the problem becomes warped aluminum engine surfaces, and damaged crank bearings. At that point, a replacement engine is needed.

 

If over heated just only once, or few times minimally, then installing new head gaskets will fix the problem."

 

Okay ive had a cry, what is considered severe overheated? my temp gauge got up to 3/4 before I pulled over and let it cool, I had to do this 3 times before I got it home. So this kind of whining grinding noise I thought was the water pump could be my poor warped engine and damaged cranks? somebody call the waambulance :(



#15 Eva

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Posted 07 November 2013 - 08:10 PM

Sorry another question! so if this model Subaru is prone to head gasket problems, if I somehow find the money to replace it is it just going to happen again?

#16 Rooster2

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Posted 07 November 2013 - 09:02 PM

"If your car engine was severely over heated for like 15 to 20 minutes of driving, then the problem becomes warped aluminum engine surfaces, and damaged crank bearings. At that point, a replacement engine is needed.

 

If over heated just only once, or few times minimally, then installing new head gaskets will fix the problem."

 

Okay ive had a cry, what is considered severe overheated? my temp gauge got up to 3/4 before I pulled over and let it cool, I had to do this 3 times before I got it home. So this kind of whining grinding noise I thought was the water pump could be my poor warped engine and damaged cranks? somebody call the waambulance :(

Eva, just calm down............your Subie is just a car.........not the end of the world!!   You did the right thing by pulling over when the temp gauge got to 3/4, and letting the engine cool down. Since Subaru does not have an idiot light flashing when engine over heats, you were observant to see the temp gauge showed the engine was beginning to heat up. Head gaskets and warped engines don't make any noise, so grinding noise was something else, perhaps the bearing in the water pump. Doesn't sound like you ever got close to over heating the motor for an extended period of time, so I am thinking the engine isn't heat damaged. Suggest replacing the water pump, timing belt, and perhaps the tensioners. If still over heats, then it is prolly the head gaskets. I had all the above done on my 99 OBW, with same engine as yours. I have since driven 10K miles with no issues. Car now has 209,000 miles on the odometer, and I feel comfortable that I will reach 300K miles with no HG trouble.

 

If possible, avoid going to a dealer to have this work done. An independent mechanic with knowledge of Subarus should do competent work at a lower cost. Ask around, if you need to find a competent independent mechanic in your area. They aren't that hard to find.



#17 mb4lunch

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Posted 07 November 2013 - 09:15 PM

My head gasket went bad and I did a valve job and put on new head gaskets...only to find a cylinder warped due to the overheating. Lost compression in that cylinder. Had to replace the whole engine. :-( 

 

Check compression before doing heads..etc... 



#18 Rooster2

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Posted 07 November 2013 - 09:17 PM

Sorry another question! so if this model Subaru is prone to head gasket problems, if I somehow find the money to replace it is it just going to happen again?

The 96 to 99 year Subies had the 2.5 motor, which has a head gasket weakness. This doesn't make it a bad motor, just a weakness in that area. New head gaskets have been re-engineered by Subaru in recent years to be better, and last longer for greater reliability. Figure new head gaskets lasting at least 100K miles. I just realized you are an Ausie, sorry, I don't know how to convert miles to km for your benefit.

 

Keep us posted on your repair progress. We are here to help you..........Rooster 2



#19 Eva

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Posted 07 November 2013 - 10:04 PM

Thank you all so much for your help, I know its just a car.. im more upset thinking about how im going to get to work and continue eating than the actual car. I currently have $100 to my name, I should be thankful 90% of the rest of the world are worse off! Hopefully I can borrow some money, I have a good backyard mechanic who can do the work for me. I'm just wondering whether its worth fixing, it has 279,000km's on it already ....no idea how to convert to miles!
I guess the first step is to have the engine pressure tested and then take it from there, wish me luck i'll check back in and let you know how I get on. Still really hoping its just the pump!

#20 Olnick

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Posted 07 November 2013 - 10:28 PM

Eva--279,000km is about 173,000 miles, no big thing to most of us here.  Take care of the car and it should serve you well for a lot longer.

 

Please do us a favor and add your country (Australia?) after Malanda in your ID.  Sometimes it helps us offer assistance if we know where you are.

 

Best of luck, hope your mechanic buddy can help you out--and do let us know how it's going or if you, or he, have questions.



#21 Fairtax4me

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Posted 07 November 2013 - 11:07 PM

We're assuming your car has the 2.5 based on what US model vehicles had. I know the Aussie market got some different engines than we did and those may not be as prone to head gasket failure as our version of the 2.5.

Look on top of the block behind/under the alternator and there is a casting with "EJ XX". The XX being numbers that will correspond to engine displacement.

If is really is a DOHC 2.5, chances are that even if it doesn't need head gaskets right now it will soon, and the best time to so head gaskets is when you have the engine torn down for timing replacement.

#22 Rooster2

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Posted 07 November 2013 - 11:14 PM

Thank you all so much for your help, I know its just a car.. im more upset thinking about how im going to get to work and continue eating than the actual car. I currently have $100 to my name, I should be thankful 90% of the rest of the world are worse off! Hopefully I can borrow some money, I have a good backyard mechanic who can do the work for me. I'm just wondering whether its worth fixing, it has 279,000km's on it already ....no idea how to convert to miles!
I guess the first step is to have the engine pressure tested and then take it from there, wish me luck i'll check back in and let you know how I get on. Still really hoping its just the pump!

Eva, you are quite knowledgeable about cars to consider "engine pressure testing" for head gasket evaluation. Unfortunately, Subies will pass the engine pressure test with flying colors, but still have a bad head gasket, because Subie head gasket break in such a way to allow exhaust gas to enter the cooling system. The engine pressure testing won't test for this malfunction. The best test is to get the engine up to normal operating temperature, and look for bubbles in the radiator over flow tank. If you see bubbles, like bubbles in a home fish aquarium from an aerator, then you know for sure that it is bad HGs. The bubbles are from the exhaust gas entering the cooling system, and finding their way out of the cooling system via the over flow tank. Have your good backyard mechanic look for this. Let us know the result............Rooster2


Edited by Rooster2, 07 November 2013 - 11:17 PM.


#23 Eva

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Posted 08 November 2013 - 12:19 AM

It is a 2.5 the engine is "EJ25" the limited edition. I already know it has bubbles once its warmed up :( I was hoping it was just air getting sucked in from what I suspected was a broken seal on the waterpump or thermo gasket or something because it didn't have any other symptoms. Oh that explains why my water is so mucky, the carbon from the exhaust. I'm convinced now, you guys certainly know your subies ... wish I came on here before I bought the bloody thing!

@ Olnick sorry i'll add my country now :)

Mb4lunch mentioned I may have warped my engine when it overheated, is there a way i can check that? I will get my mechanic friend out asap, he is a couple hours away and I want to know as much as possible so i can way up my options and make the best decision. Could be better off searching for a new engine or getting a different car altogether. Such a shame, it was the nicest car ive ever had only got it in Feb

#24 heartless

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Posted 08 November 2013 - 06:41 AM

wish I came on here before I bought the bloody thing!

 

It isnt that bad really - and Subarus in general are usually quite long lived and reliable when taken care of. Just for comparison, I have a Forester here with the same motor you have that has over 364,000 miles / 585,801 Km on it before it went completely bad - and it went completely bad because the second owner didnt take care of it.

 

Fix the headgaskets with the newest version, keep up with regular maintenance and you should be able to easily double your odometer reading.

 

Sure, there might be minor mishaps/annoyances along the way, but I will take a Subaru any day of the week over something else.



#25 Rooster2

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Posted 08 November 2013 - 07:34 AM

Could be better off searching for a new engine or getting a different
car altogether. Such a shame, it was the nicest car ive ever had only
got it in Feb

 

If I were you, I wouldn't give up on your car. Repairing the engine, or replacing the engine with a good used one from a wrecking yard, is still less money then buying another car. There is a lot written here on this forum about replacing the 2.5 motor with an earlier 2.2 motor from years 1995-1997. The 2.2 motor produces a little less power, and has a reputation of being an almost unbreakable engine with no head gasket troubles. That is what I did with my wife's 98 Subie, I replaced with a used 2.2 motor.  As someone posted earlier, Subaru offered a somewhat different selection of engines in the AU verses the US. There are a number of Aussies that I have seen post here on this USMB forum. Maybe they will post what they know about engine selections in the AU.






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