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Head basket / stumped?


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8 replies to this topic

#1 willwright

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Posted 04 April 2014 - 10:16 PM

OK films here's the deal, I did a full rebuild 13,000 miles ago. New be very thing except pistons. Heads milled, valves replaced and ground, crank turned the while nine yards. Last week, wife came home and you probably guessed it. Overflow bottle was overflowing. Car has not gotten hot yet!! But every day it does same thing. I replaced thermostat hoping that was problem and it does same thing. I did dye test and detected no hydrocarbons . I do realize that isn't as accurate as the sniffer but all I have access to. Very few bubbles in radiator but there are bubbles every 30-45 seconds at idle. It pushes antifreeze out at 2k rpm with cap off. Bottoms radiator hose stays ice cold however, heater works extremely well. I picked up new head gaskets from Subaru today and another new water pump and timing kit. I replaced cap already hoping that was it as well. Wanting your thoughts in this before I pull motor out tomorrow. Please help or tell me I'm nuts because I'm at my wits end here.

#2 Dinky26

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Posted 04 April 2014 - 10:25 PM

What kind of car/wagon are you working on?

Thermostat, was it a Subaru stat?

#3 Idasho

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Posted 04 April 2014 - 10:53 PM

Toss a new radiator cap on it.



#4 Fairtax4me

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Posted 04 April 2014 - 10:57 PM

Got shop air? 100 psi? You can rent a leakdown tester and find out for sure. Only sure fire way to test bad head gaskets. Many pass the HC fluid test even with bubbles gushing coolant out of the overflow.

Bottom radiator hose cold isn't a huge deal since that's the return from the radiator, but it should warm up with the engine at normal operating temp while idling.
Some coolant will push out of the radiator when the engine is running. That's normal since there is a pressure difference as the water pump pushes fluid through the system. Also as the engine warms coolant will push out into the overflow. If the overflow is too full it will spill out. Any air in the system will prevent that coolant from being drawn back in as the system cools.

Top off the radiator before starting the engine in the morning, put the cap on and let it warm to normal operating temp (should only take 10-15 minutesnor so) Keep the hood closed to help it warm up faster. Then shut it off and let it cool. An hour or so with the hood up is fine. Make note of the fluid level in the overflow. Open the radiator and top off coolant as necessary. Then start it again and let it run to normal operating temp. This should help work any air bubbles out of the system.

#5 willwright

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Posted 04 April 2014 - 11:36 PM

03 outback wagon 2.5 sohc is the car, sorry I didn't say before. Already put new cap and tstat both when new and on Tuesday when all this started. Haven't had a single issue for these first 13k miles since I rebuilt it. 26-28 on hwy , no water in oil, no Exaughst steam. I've filled cold, hot , warm, even jacked feint end up and filled it to no avail to get it to stop. I will try the leak down tomorrow before I pull it and replace head gaskets. I did not use OEM head gaskets when I rebut it, I used what the machine shop said were upgraded gaskets but I known they weren't 6 star Nor OEM. The t stat, timing set and water pump I did get from Subaru when I rebuilt it.

#6 willwright

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Posted 06 April 2014 - 12:06 AM

Leak down failed miserably. Started pulling motor at 12:30. Had it back in and running at 6:30 this evening. I used Subaru gaskets and used copper seal on them as well. Hopefully they will hold up this time.

#7 bratman18

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Posted 06 April 2014 - 07:07 AM

They don't say to use any sealant on the head gaskets. Hopefully that doesn't cause you any issues.



#8 Fairtax4me

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Posted 06 April 2014 - 09:43 AM

Only time will tell, but its generally never a good idea to use copper sealant on head gaskets.

#9 grossgary

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Posted 06 April 2014 - 11:35 AM

Good job cranking it out so quick!  You're the man! 

 

Next time - resurface the heads and use Subaru headgaskets.  EJ heads always have high and low spots, though they are robust and never crack or warp or are out of limits.  I'd never install EJ heads without resurfacing, having seen those high and low spots, it seems silly not to resurface them on an engine that's so prone to blow headgaskets.






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