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Another coolant issue


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7 replies to this topic

#1 Tom Dunn

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Posted 25 January 2005 - 10:39 PM

My 91 Legacy has been thru some serious cold lately. I've only had this car since November. Because of expecting to be in North Carolina by now, I never tested the anit-freese, but when I noticed the coolant was low, I added pure Prestone. The last few days I noticed that after driving a bit, the windows would fog, thern clear, but thought little of it. Tonight I started the car(its about 8 degrees, we've had some -28 over the last week) and drove a short distance to a local bar. Because it was so close I let the car idle for about an hour or so whille I was inside. When I came out, I noticed the defroster was blowing cold air and the temp guage was high. I immediatly drove it back home and added more coolant. I then drove it about 10 miles to a friends house. On the way there, the guage would climb and fall, climb and fall. The heater was blowing hot air. It's a straight drive and I was doing about 45-50. Upon slowing down comuing into town, the guage began to climb again. I got to my destination, shut the motor down and was inside for a couple hours. Came out and headed home. On the way the guage began to climb fairly quickly. I live in a REAL remote area so I had little choice but to keep driving. I got home, but with lots of steam on arrival and the guage was about pegged, although the valves were not knocking or the motor faltering like in a major cook-off. I looked uder the hood and the passenger side of the engine compartment is covered in coolant. I'm wondering if maybe I lost a soft plug on the block or what might be up? The hoses seemed good but its difficult to tell with the dark and the steam and all.
Any suggestions on how I should approach this problem tomorrow would be much appreciated.
The very last thing in the world I need right now is a major problem like a cracked head or whatever. This car is supposed to take me and my two dogs and our worldly possessions out of this miserable winter weather once and for all!

#2 Cougar

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Posted 26 January 2005 - 12:52 AM

Hopefully it is just a loose hose clamp that needs tightening and is leaking under pressure. I would fill the radiator with coolant again and start the engine. After it warms up check under the hood for any leaks. If you don't see one then take it for a short drive and check it again. You should be able to see where it is coming from then.

#3 Tom Dunn

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Posted 26 January 2005 - 10:49 AM

That would be sweet if thats all it needs, I'm going out to check it shortly.

Anchorage huh? LOVED going to Flapjack Jim's years ago when stationed on Elmendorf.

#4 harborseal55

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Posted 26 January 2005 - 10:56 AM

Baling wire and throwing darts ideas:

I don't know if Subaru's have this, but some previous cars (Oldsmobiles and Dodges from the 1970s) I've had that came equipped with air conditioning have a heater "by-pass" valve that I believe turns off or restricts the circulating coolant to the heater core when the A/C is turned on. These valves can leak, and also if your leak is after this valve (on the heater side of this valve, if Sube even uses these valves) you might possibly be able to reduce your leak by turning on the AC lightly.

#5 Cougar

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Posted 26 January 2005 - 11:11 AM

I was watching the "Eagles" flying around yesterday over Elemendorf. Let us know if you find the leak.

#6 Tom Dunn

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Posted 26 January 2005 - 12:08 PM

It appears to be a pinhole leak, in the radiator side member, maybe 2" or so down from the top, in the front. It is very hard to see. I'm going to jam clean paper towels in the space where it appears to be and see if the towel becomes anti-freeze soaked.

If that is the case, I'd like to try some "stop-leak in it. The hardware store here as "Alumaseal" but thats the only brand they have. I've heard of some ceramic-based sealants that are supposed to be much better, but I've no experience with them. Perhaps I'll toss up a post on sealants after doing a search.

Eagles huh? Was all Phantoms when I was there..........the greatest fighting plane ever built!

#7 Cougar

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Posted 26 January 2005 - 05:14 PM

Stop leak is usually not recommended to put in the system becuase of other problems it can cause. Pulling the radiator is not real difficult if you have a place you can work on it inside (I know it's cold there). You should be able to solder over the hole it if you take it.

I remember the Phantoms being here. I used to watch them and the Eagles flying together as the new models were replacing the old ones. The Eagles would well out turn the Phantoms around the field. They were a very good plane but I don't think they can match the F-15. I can hear the guys out there right now while writing this.

#8 All_talk

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Posted 26 January 2005 - 05:30 PM

If the leak is in the tank seam, take a good look at the shape of the tank, it may be "puffed up" from a freezing. Should be re-solderable (assuming is a all brass radiator), if your not familiar with this kind of work take it to any radiator shop and they should be able to fix it up pretty cheap. And lets hope the overheating didn't do any further damage (Aluminum engines dont like being overheated).

Good luck
Gary




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