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99 Outback overheat, coolant bottle filling

EJ25D EJ25D overheat 99 outback

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25 replies to this topic

#1 86 Wonder Wedge

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Posted 21 November 2013 - 11:04 PM

Alright guys, I'm trying to sort out my friends 99 Outback (EJ25D, 5MT). 187K, original HGs, timing has been done some time ago.

 

Having heard all the problems with the EJ25D and the infamous headgasket failure.

 

Symptoms:

 

- System does not leak externally

- Car has heat the entire time 

- Car does not overheat at idle or if I drive easy from cold. I can drive 50+ miles this way)

- Once I spank it (5K+ RPM) the bottle level increases and at idle, I can see tiny bubbles bubbling in the over flow tank. Maybe 1 bubble every second.

- If I drive it hard enough, the bottle overflows and the temp spikes (confirmed with my scanner, 255+), fan kicks on

 

Facts:

 

- Compression check (All cylinders within 5%, hot and cold)

- Exhaust gases NOT found in the radiator or overflow (using the Lisle tester, both hot and cold)

- If left to cool, it will bring some of the coolant back into the radiator, but not back to the original level

- Timing belt seems older and some skid marks on the back. All of the pulleys rotated fine, but I did not check the water pump. Tensioner arm seemed to have SLIGHT slack (translational movement)

- Upon refilling the system, I filled the water crossover first (upper hose) to the brim, then the radiator

- New radiator cap

- New Subaru thermostat (PO had de-cored it to prevent overheating, I imagine)

 

Now, if there are no exhaust gases present, and it does not overheat if I drive it old-man style, are the headgaskets still at fault?

Could this be a water pump failure? Clogged radiator?

 

When filling the system (from draining the radiator and thermostat/water pump) I only used about 1 USgal... too little?

 

I'm starting to love my EA82 more and more.. 8O lol Thanks!



#2 Fairtax4me

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Posted 21 November 2013 - 11:25 PM

You should be getting at least a gallon and a half to go back into the system when refilling.
Since its fine when driven easily this is probably a clogged radiator.

#3 86 Wonder Wedge

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Posted 21 November 2013 - 11:36 PM

^^ That's what I was leaning towards (not HGs).

 

It is also the original Calsonic and the coolant coming out didn't look too good... 

 

Out it comes and off to the rad-shop for steam-cleaning..



#4 Rooster2

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Posted 21 November 2013 - 11:57 PM

My 99 Outback, blew it's original HGs at 192K miles. I caught the over heating early, and easily confirmed that it was blowing exhaust gas bubbles into the radiator over flow tank. Bubbles looked like an aerator in a home aquarium, so it was a lot of bubbles. I could still drive short distances before the engine temp would spike quickly.

 

I am unfamiliar with the Lisle tester to know how reliable a test it can produce.

 

You mention installing a new Subie thermostat, and surmising that PO had removed the thermostat to address the over heating problem. That really concerns me! I wonder how much over heating has this engine endured? How long has your friends owned, and roughly how many miles have they put on this car? How many times has the car over heated? Continual over heating can warp the engine's aluminum, and damage crank bearings.

 

Water pump failure, clogged radiator, and bad HGs are all over heating candidate components. IMHO, I think your HGs are bad.



#5 Rooster2

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Posted 21 November 2013 - 11:59 PM

^^ That's what I was leaning towards (not HGs).

 

It is also the original Calsonic and the coolant coming out didn't look too good... 

 

Out it comes and off to the rad-shop for steam-cleaning..

A new radiator bought on line cost about $100, Prolly not that much more then getting the old one cleaned.



#6 86 Wonder Wedge

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Posted 22 November 2013 - 01:20 AM

My 99 Outback, blew it's original HGs at 192K miles. I caught the over heating early, and easily confirmed that it was blowing exhaust gas bubbles into the radiator over flow tank. Bubbles looked like an aerator in a home aquarium, so it was a lot of bubbles. I could still drive short distances before the engine temp would spike quickly.

 

I am unfamiliar with the Lisle tester to know how reliable a test it can produce.

 

You mention installing a new Subie thermostat, and surmising that PO had removed the thermostat to address the over heating problem. That really concerns me! I wonder how much over heating has this engine endured? How long has your friends owned, and roughly how many miles have they put on this car? How many times has the car over heated? Continual over heating can warp the engine's aluminum, and damage crank bearings.

 

Water pump failure, clogged radiator, and bad HGs are all over heating candidate components. IMHO, I think your HGs are bad.

 

The Lisle tester is a tube filled with a pH sensitive fluid that turns from blue to green/yellow when sealed with the radiator and drawing(vacuuming) the gases/air of the radiator in. If there are exhaust gasses present (CO, CO2, ect) it will change color. (The color change confirmed by "sniffing" the tail pipe).

 

Even directly after witnessing the bubbles in the reservoir and radiator, I "sniffed" them as they emerged until the system was in vacuum. Never did it change color. Not even close. While I admit this is not a definitive test, with that level of displacement and pressure, if it were exhaust gasses, they should've shown, no? There is also no smell of exhaust fumes or fuel coming from the radiator or overflow


Edited by 86 Wonder Wedge, 22 November 2013 - 01:22 AM.


#7 ivans imports

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Posted 22 November 2013 - 11:19 AM

Headgaskets always the headgaskets were heads planed ? I a'm constantly redooing headgasket jobs that people/ shops did poorly or got wrong of the 20 ej2.5ds i did this year 15 had had heads done less than 50000kms previosly they are so picky on the surfaces is very hard to get a good seal. This is why i bought my own head surfacer so i can get the best surface posibble when doing heads. And 90 % have burns on lower fire ring surface more than 2 thow deep



#8 86 Wonder Wedge

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Posted 22 November 2013 - 12:09 PM

Headgaskets always the headgaskets were heads planed ? I a'm constantly redooing headgasket jobs that people/ shops did poorly or got wrong of the 20 ej2.5ds i did this year 15 had had heads done less than 50000kms previosly they are so picky on the surfaces is very hard to get a good seal. This is why i bought my own head surfacer so i can get the best surface posibble when doing heads. And 90 % have burns on lower fire ring surface more than 2 thow deep

 Damn that's deep!

 

And so I thought I licked it by burping it.. waited till I saw the bubbles, released the pressure into the overflow and big, gulping bubbles, but no fluid level increase.. So I refilled the radiator (only took a pint or so from when I started at full) then went on a short drive around the neighborhood.. Nothing more than 190. Stopped, and checked.. no change in the fluid level or any bubbles in the overflow. So I took it out unto the main road, rose quickly to 210, hovered for a second then climbed.. Got it home and found the overflow filled to the brim.. released the pressure and nothing but hot air...

 

I'm starting to think HG... but I'm going to flush the radiator before I pull it out



#9 Rooster2

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Posted 22 November 2013 - 02:50 PM

 Damn that's deep!

 

And so I thought I licked it by burping it.. waited till I saw the bubbles, released the pressure into the overflow and big, gulping bubbles, but no fluid level increase.. So I refilled the radiator (only took a pint or so from when I started at full) then went on a short drive around the neighborhood.. Nothing more than 190. Stopped, and checked.. no change in the fluid level or any bubbles in the overflow. So I took it out unto the main road, rose quickly to 210, hovered for a second then climbed.. Got it home and found the overflow filled to the brim.. released the pressure and nothing but hot air...

 

I'm starting to think HG... but I'm going to flush the radiator before I pull it out

That is typical of bad HGs. Engine will idle just fine, short neighborhood drives just fine. However, add stress, such as driving the highway, or climbing hills, and the temp gauge spikes to over heat in a hurry. My 99 did the same thing, until I changed HGs.



#10 1-3-2-4

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Posted 22 November 2013 - 04:29 PM

Sounds like the classic HG as well.. Mine would go up and down, but as soon as you turned on the AC when it was warm  out it would quickly overwhelm the cooling system and overheat.

 

My HG's went on my Ej25 at like 225K I think.. it's amazing how many people deny it's the HG's until they exhausted everything.



#11 Rooster2

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Posted 22 November 2013 - 07:42 PM


 

My HG's went on my Ej25 at like 225K I think.. it's amazing how many people deny it's the HG's until they exhausted everything.

 

 

No one wants to think about the out lay of big $$$ to have HGs replaced.



#12 1-3-2-4

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Posted 22 November 2013 - 07:44 PM

I did all my work so the amount of money I spent was not that much a bit less then $650.. I ended up do a bunch of other stuff as well.. it turned out to be good timing because my clutch was slipping as well.



#13 ivans imports

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Posted 23 November 2013 - 11:23 AM

One after the other every day all day the local parts supplyers canty get ej2.5 headgaskets fast enuff but if you want to 100% confirm it I use a comp tester hose in cly with shop air blow gun attached at tdc on the ?abble cly holding crank locked with bar putt shop air to cly min 120 psi and watch for bubbles in rad any bubbles hg this test never lies. And is 100% acurate



#14 darsdoug

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Posted 24 November 2013 - 01:09 PM

One after the other every day all day the local parts supplyers canty get ej2.5 headgaskets fast enuff but if you want to 100% confirm it I use a comp tester hose in cly with shop air blow gun attached at tdc on the ?abble cly holding crank locked with bar putt shop air to cly min 120 psi and watch for bubbles in rad any bubbles hg this test never lies. And is 100% acurate

Perfect. I think I'll start doing that. Perfect.



#15 ThosL

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Posted 25 November 2013 - 10:01 AM

I;ve gone through a head gasket replacement job as well as a new engine, this time I had a low mileage 2.2 installed instead of the faulty 2.5.  You could baby it with attention to all issues relevant to keeping the systems functioning and running as cool as possible.  



#16 ivans imports

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Posted 25 November 2013 - 11:04 AM

The headgasket denial runs deep no one wants to blame them BUT ME lol but is always the headgasket most times is because the rad failed or was overheated on a coolant fill at some point in its life



#17 Caboobaroo

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Posted 25 November 2013 - 03:36 PM

It's a head gasket. I bet money on it...

I'm also in the same boat as Ivan. I'm redoing other peoples head gasket jobs that we're not done properly, both on the dual cam and single cam engines.

"If you give a crappy mechanic good parts, it won't last. If you give a good mechanic crappy parts, it won't last. If you give a good mechanic quality parts, it'll last."

"Just because you think you can doesn't mean you should."

#18 ivans imports

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Posted 26 November 2013 - 10:24 AM

Over and over and over done so many now that it takes me 22minutes to pull a outback engine and I do headgasket job in one day including the head surfacing { head surfacer best tool I ever bought }



#19 darsdoug

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Posted 28 November 2013 - 01:05 PM

One after the other every day all day the local parts supplyers canty get ej2.5 headgaskets fast enuff but if you want to 100% confirm it I use a comp tester hose in cly with shop air blow gun attached at tdc on the ?abble cly holding crank locked with bar putt shop air to cly min 120 psi and watch for bubbles in rad any bubbles hg this test never lies. And is 100% acurate

Is there a reason for putting shop air to a suspected leaking cylinder at TDC instead of when the piston is at the bottom of the bore ?



#20 1-3-2-4

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Posted 28 November 2013 - 01:24 PM

I would assume it's because the compression would be the highest and that's where HG's that are failing tend to fail and blow bubbles.



#21 darsdoug

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Posted 28 November 2013 - 01:52 PM

I would assume it's because the compression would be the highest and that's where HG's that are failing tend to fail and blow bubbles.

PSI is PSI in my world.  Nevertheless I could be wrong.



#22 subnz

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Posted 29 November 2013 - 02:34 AM

Also get the radiator out  and have it flow tested by a radiator specialist . I had one 85% blocked / scaled up in an 86 Leone EA82 ( thanks to previous owners)

(flushing it not good enough now if scaled up -white hard deposits;  damage has probably already been done if blocked)  Tanks need to be removed and cores need to be physically " rodded " out.  

This is caused by lack of maintenance ie by  NOT  flushing the cooling system every 2 years as recommended in the owners manual.

 

Also the EJ25D was/is notorious for internal head gasket failures whereas the later phase 2 engine the  EJ251 was/is noted for external head gasket failures.


Edited by subnz, 29 November 2013 - 04:28 AM.


#23 ivans imports

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Posted 29 November 2013 - 10:34 AM

If not at tdc the valve maybe open and test results will not be accurate Make shure you are holding crank locked or shop air will turn motor over. The 2.51 was bad for external and internal leaks All ej2.5s have problem with leaking slight bits of coolant into oil thru lower right headbolt into oil gally the coolat gets in oil then pcv pulls out water but leaves sugars ect was problem with all 2.5s



#24 darsdoug

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Posted 29 November 2013 - 03:38 PM

Top of the bore on the end of compression stroke. Roger that.



#25 Fairtax4me

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Posted 01 December 2013 - 12:22 AM

PSI is PSI in my world. Nevertheless I could be wrong.


Nothing to do with compression, if the engine isn't turning there's no compression anyway.
Two reasons: 1 like Ivan said, top of the stroke means the valves will be fully closed. At bottom of the stroke either intake or exhaust valve could be slightly open and let the air out.
2 top of the bore sees the most wear. If you're doing a leak down because of a low compression reading you may get minimal leak reading if the piston is at half stroke. But at the top of the bore leak reading may be out of spec because that's where the most cylinder wall wear occurs.

To add to Ivans post, make sure you take the schrader valve core out of the end of the compression hose, otherwise no air goes into the cylinder.
Very definitive test method for bad head gaskets.





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