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Old Subaru's Are EVIL!


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32 replies to this topic

#1 cutie-ru

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Posted 05 December 2005 - 10:41 AM

ok, so I was driving home last night with TurboXT and what should happen? It was about 10 friggin degrees outside.... and my heat started to get cold. So my brother says "check your temp gauge." The gauge that's supposed to be at around 215-225 at any given time. Yeah, it was at, like 260. Then my engine started smoking and there was the aroma of burning coolant in the air. We pulled over and popped the hood, and my engine was spewing coolant all over itself. So TurboXT thought he'd just let a little pressure out and help the engine cool down by twisting the coolant cap..... BAD IDEA!!! The cap shot about 10 feet in the air, followed by a 6 foot stream of steaming coolant. (it was actually kind of funny, really). So anyway, BlownBimer was kind enough to come save us with some coolant and followed us home. My stupid car was WAY too hot on the entire way home and we had to stop once to let it cool again. It was 10 degrees outside! I hate my car!

OK, so the whole reason for this post is to find out exactly what is wrong with my car. BlownBimer and TurboXT have an idea that its something to do with the temp something or other, and somehow the coolant isn't circulating through my engine. Also, my car drinks coolant like nobody's business. Related? What are your thoughts on my stupid XT?

#2 zyewdall

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Posted 05 December 2005 - 10:57 AM

This happened to to my '85 GL too -- it overheated badly on a 0 degree day. I have no idea why. I thought perhaps I had actually frozen the antifreeze in the radiator, but that doesn't make a whole lot of sense. I'm not sure what the logic is to taking the radiator cap off to let it cool -- unless he wanted to add more coolant.

If it's using coolant, its probably blown a head gasket. Just having low coolant makes it overheat too. Having the heat shut off sounds like low coolant as well. But after you filled it up, it should've gone back to normal if that was the only problem, unless you had an air bubble.

I don't know if maybe the thermostat on these cars gets messed up if the air temp is too cold. Seems like it should get hot just from the heat conducting up from the block even if cold air is around it. Especially if it's overheating. And then the heat should still work since it doesn't go through the thermostat right? Dunno....

#3 Ratty2Austin

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Posted 05 December 2005 - 11:06 AM

my turbo xt did this in the summer time...

whats wrong, is that you are leaking coolant. and there is not enough or any flow to the radiator- so...

replace the thermostat. about 10 to 15 bucks...

if that doesnt fix it, then you must replace the radiator- it is most likley cloged... trust me on this one- this was the problem with mine- the symptoms are the same as you described- I replaced my radiator with a junkyard unit and it worked fine, even when it was 100 degs outside!

#4 Mudboat

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Posted 05 December 2005 - 11:11 AM

Change thermostat and flush the cooling system first. If that doesn't work, you'll probably have to replace head gaskets.

#5 Sweet82

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Posted 05 December 2005 - 11:41 AM

my turbo xt did this in the summer time...

whats wrong, is that you are leaking coolant. and there is not enough or any flow to the radiator- so...

replace the thermostat. about 10 to 15 bucks...

if that doesnt fix it, then you must replace the radiator- it is most likley cloged... trust me on this one- this was the problem with mine- the symptoms are the same as you described- I replaced my radiator with a junkyard unit and it worked fine, even when it was 100 degs outside!


What he said!
I have experienced similar problems in similar temps.
Check your coolant level.

#6 wintersubaru

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Posted 05 December 2005 - 11:59 AM

This happened to to my '85 GL too -- it overheated badly on a 0 degree day. I have no idea why. I thought perhaps I had actually frozen the antifreeze in the radiator, but that doesn't make a whole lot of sense. I'm not sure what the logic is to taking the radiator cap off to let it cool -- unless he wanted to add more coolant.

If it's using coolant, its probably blown a head gasket. Just having low coolant makes it overheat too. Having the heat shut off sounds like low coolant as well. But after you filled it up, it should've gone back to normal if that was the only problem, unless you had an air bubble.

I don't know if maybe the thermostat on these cars gets messed up if the air temp is too cold. Seems like it should get hot just from the heat conducting up from the block even if cold air is around it. Especially if it's overheating. And then the heat should still work since it doesn't go through the thermostat right? Dunno....

My 86 carbed wagon does the same thing on really cold days. will warm up be fine then when i start driving the temp goes up to 3/4 for a minute then drops back to normal. Maybe thats why everyone says to use oem sube stat! i used two from autozone that did that.

#7 northguy

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Posted 05 December 2005 - 12:10 PM

The first page of the old "How to keep your Volkswagon alive: the complete idiot's manual" says "Make peace with your rump roast for it bears you." I have always kept that in mind, especially when I have troubles with my cars. Understanding the problem is the first step to a solution. You have a good car. Keep it. A cooling system problem can be fitful, but you have some sage advice and it's a relatively inexpensive fix. You'll be happy with it again before long.

#8 Subarian

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Posted 05 December 2005 - 12:37 PM

In order of cost and difficulty, lowest to highest:

Check the belts. If your water pump isn't turning, your engine isn't getting cooled.

Replace the thermostat. You can check it once it's out by dropping it in some boiling water. If it doesn't open, it was probably the cause.

Check for a blown head gasket or cracked head. You can do this with a combustion gas tester. It's sold at most auto parts stores and is pretty simple to use. You put it on the open radiator and fill it with test fluid, and the fluid changes colors if exhaust gases are present. This one goes to most expensive if you find combustion gases.

Replace the radiator or have it rodded. With as many years and miles as these cars have on them, a blocked radiator isn't unlikely.

Hope this helps.

#9 jeffast

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Posted 05 December 2005 - 12:44 PM

rick did that i always knew he was a smart one and definatly check the raditor and replace the thermostate the one fot the six was $20 but crappy after market ones are $5>

good luck
-jeff

#10 cutie-ru

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Posted 05 December 2005 - 05:05 PM

I'm about to go out into the freaking cold garage to replace that darn thermostat. Thanks for all the suggestions, guys.

I think I'm going to have to sell R. Dorothy once she's fixed, though. I need something newer and reliable. Don't worry, it'll probably be a Subaru. I hate to sell her, I guess I kind of like this car. But its such a pain! Aaaahhhh! So confused!


P.S. Jeff, I think that is the longest run-on sentence I've ever seen.....

#11 555Ron

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Posted 05 December 2005 - 06:21 PM

Just to add to the post of Subarian, check your hoses. There are 5. The two on the radiator, one bypass on the pump, and two hidden under the spare tyre that connect to the firewall. Find leaking coolant = a white powder. If you find the leak, you solve your problem.

#12 cutie-ru

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Posted 05 December 2005 - 07:35 PM

ok, so we replaced the thermostat and noticed a cracked hose. However, this hose has no relation to the coolant line. We also discovered that my turbo seals are probably leaking oil. Stupid car. Actually, we're still in the middle of fixing it, but my car fixing guide dude had to go somewhere, so I'm just sitting here killing time. Don't know if the thermostat worked yet or not.

#13 Subarian

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Posted 05 December 2005 - 09:23 PM

Hey, 555Ron, I like the joke in your signature! :lol:

#14 jeffast

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Posted 05 December 2005 - 09:31 PM


P.S. Jeff, I think that is the longest run-on sentence I've ever seen.....

read some of my past post's i think i had one that went a whole paragraphj once

#15 cutie-ru

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Posted 06 December 2005 - 12:28 AM

Yay! Update.....

The T-stat was the main problem. My car is full of coolant now, and it doesn't overheat... EXCEPT when my car makes that funny 'pinging' sound.

That still doesn't explain why my car drinks coolant so fast. We didn't check the hoses yet, that's for another day. It seems to be the most reasonable explination.

I do NOT have head gasket issues. So stop suggesting that. The head gaskets are new.

#16 Hondasucks

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Posted 06 December 2005 - 01:05 AM

Just cuz they are new doesn't mean rule them out :-P I put a cheap $12 ROL head gasket on my Datsun trucklet once instead of the $16 Fel Pro, yeah, that darn thing blew wide open with the needle at like, the high end of the "normal" zone....

I'm gonna be down there Wednesday, if you;'re still having issues, maybe Caboobaroo and I will come have a look see :-P Check the little itty bitty hoses under the intake, those like to blow and spew coolant everywhere (happened to me once), easiest way to find a coolant leak, is either a) Let the car warm up to operating temp, with the cap ON, and look for leaks once it's pressurized, or B) pressurize it with the engine cold with a pressure tester (You should be able to borrow one from most auto parts stores), sounds to me like if you do have a leak, it's a slow one. The leak I had did not present itself unless the car was hot, when it was cold, the water wouldn't come out the hole in the hose.

#17 Mudboat

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Posted 06 December 2005 - 10:19 AM

Also don't rule out a cracked head if you have confidence in the gaskets. How about the heater core? A leak may be un-detectable, but you'll be able to smell coolant inside of the vehicle..

Your radiator cap may also need replacing? The pressure retaining spring may be weak...

Just brainstorming possibilities here...

#18 cutie-ru

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Posted 06 December 2005 - 06:12 PM

That would be great if you want to beat up my car for me. I'd check the hoses, but my brother is hoggging the garage and its about 5 degrees outside.

Keep in mind I don't know a lot about cars....

#19 zyewdall

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Posted 06 December 2005 - 06:34 PM

....my brother is hoggging the garage and its about 5 degrees outside.


Yeah.. I know what you mean. I was thinking about working on some of the fuel connections for the VW rabbit in my driveway after work, and trying to finally get it started, but then I realized it's 5 degrees, and snowing.... Oh well. :rolleyes: It's been sitting there 6 months, another week isn't going to hurt...

Sorry about the thread hijack.

#20 subiemech85

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Posted 06 December 2005 - 07:33 PM

I had a mystery leak, found it one day!
check the hose that runs from engine to firewall that is closest to clutch lever
mine had been rubbed just enough to make a s l o w leak

#21 555Ron

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Posted 06 December 2005 - 08:48 PM

Umm, that pinging is detonation. You might want to run Premium gas, and have the timing adjusted back asap. You will kill the engine in no time if you don't fix it. It is a rapid, uncontrolled detonation of the fuel, it is like a big hammer hitting the heads, it is very hard on the engine components and will melt valves etc as it is much hotter then a normal fire and controlled burn.

I think your head gaskets are fine. Heads is cracked is more likely - would fit in well with the pinging.

#22 jeffast

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Posted 06 December 2005 - 09:15 PM

we've all been telling her to cut back the timing but phil is her mechanic and he says it is fine whats your word on this phil

#23 cutie-ru

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Posted 06 December 2005 - 10:30 PM

Uh, I do run premium, and have since I bought this car.


I really don't think its pinging, seeing as how I can control when it does or doesn't "ping." I suppose it could be, though. It'll probably go away if my car gets intercooled.

The timing WILL get knocked back, its just a matter of waiting for a timing light.

#24 blownbimer

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Posted 07 December 2005 - 03:38 AM

You never rode in my wagon when I was running 25psi? It was violent when It would detonate... Next time your up here I'll have to go for a ride...I guess I've never heard your car do this noise your describing. I have not been in it sence you were running MS and all it would do is put out rich black plumes of smoke...

When I followed you guys home, I didn't think your car was making any funny coolant smells or anything of that nature it smelled fine to me.

We'll get her figured out.....Dont give up on that girl! Im gona order my gaskets wed some time...so hopefully, I should have them next week and we can slap my engine together...maybe we should plan a subaru wrenching day at phils in the near future.

#25 Tcat55371

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Posted 07 December 2005 - 07:15 AM

How come you guys are forgetting the 2 small hoses that run under the intake. I had to replace them because one leaked on the XT I bought from Austin. Pain in the butt because you can't see the darn clamp and it had a pin leak right there. Leaked on the motor and ran down the back and really didnt leave anything on the ground. Had to loosen the intake and lift it to get to the clamp. Was right after I got it last Janurary.




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