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overheating in very cold weather


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19 replies to this topic

#1 subestyle18

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Posted 15 December 2008 - 01:04 PM

I've got a 93 legacy, and live in bozeman mt. Yesterday had a high of -10, and i went to take the car out for a drive. It took a while to warm up, about 20 min. and then the temp gauge went right past the middle and started creeping up it high. The heat never got warm the whole time. After shutting it down i checked to make sure the coolant was full, check but their was some ice around the filler. The radiator was still cool and the top of the engine was still cool to the touch, no steam anywhere. I have been using the premix 50/50 coolant that claims its good for -32. My guess is that ether i have a clog of ice somewhere in the system, or the thermostat is stuck shut. I am supposed to drive back to seattle on thursday with a forcasted high around 10f. I took the car out saturday in those temperatures and it worked fine.

For those that have cold weather experiance, what are some sugestions. Also any suggestions for blockheaters to add to the 2.2L. I live in an apartment or i would put it into a heated garage to let it thaw out.

Thanks a lot

#2 Rooster2

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Posted 15 December 2008 - 01:20 PM

Sounds like you are not getting coolant circulation. Maybe water pump is bad, or thermostat bad. Doubt that you would have air bubble in the cooling system, or you would have noticed that some time ago. Recheck coolant to see if your antifreeze is indeed good for -32F. If you weren't the guy who put in the antifreeze, there may not be enough antifreeze in the system.

#3 Skip

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Posted 15 December 2008 - 02:35 PM

I had this happen when the antifreeze mix was
too weak and the coolant in the rad froze

#4 nipper

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Posted 15 December 2008 - 04:09 PM

Very first thing to do is get yourself a hydrgometer and test the coolant to see what you have protection down too.

Cold weather can be just as hard on an engine as hot weather.

The very first thing i would suspect is the thermostat. How ols is the t-stat and the radiator cap?

nipper

#5 subiemech85

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Posted 15 December 2008 - 07:42 PM

BTDT: bad coolant mix, split radiator, HUGE eruption that blasted windshield, limped it into work, parked in heated shop, hammered shut rad, filled with WATER, also had 3 gallons spare water, refilled when "heat" got cold during drive home, and replaced radiator with nearly new jy unit bpought about a month ago -- just in case

#6 subsince77

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Posted 15 December 2008 - 07:51 PM

I second getting a tester and actually testing the coolant. If you are seeing ice in the bottle sometin' ain't right. We typically have lots of nights in the -20 to - 30 range with some as low as -40. Many highs well below zero. Most people I know use about a 65 to 70 percent antifreeze mix all year long here. My heater works within 10 minutes, but when it is -25, the car takes awhile to warm up. I have never had the problems you describe, so with adequate antifreeze, and a good subaru thermostat, you should be fine.

I use a simple stick on oil pan heater. I was leery of them, but around here most people prefer them because they insure quick engine lubrication on cold mornings, rather than faster heat to the interior through heating the water. Supposedly they don't cook the oil. I got this from some reliable sources, but I usually put mine on a timer so it comes on just a few hours before I am going to start the car. When it is really cold, I'll leave it on all night.At -25 or colder you can tell a huge difference in how the car turns over at startup, even with 5/30 synthetic oil. - That's my 2 cents.

#7 Wirebrush

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Posted 15 December 2008 - 08:21 PM

Slush in the radiator & hoses. I run about 75% antifreze to about 25% water. You're probably lucky it didn't get cold enough to freeze solid and crack the block or push out the freeze plugs. I would drain off about a gallon and replace it with a gallon of good straight antifreeze.

#8 subestyle18

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Posted 16 December 2008 - 03:49 PM

Thanks a lot guys, the antifreeze is deffinitly at a questionable ratio. I let it idle for an hour yesterday trying to get some heat into the car. At idle the temp stays in the middle. After about a min. of reving to 2000 rpms the temp goes up. The rad hoses got warm but i still had slush in the resivor bottle. I put acouple heat lamps under the engine and put a blanket on top. I can hear a hiss coming out of the heater core as if it is leaking but i cant see any coolant coming out. If i need to can i plug the hoses runing to the core if i have a leak. Also is thier any way to get the heatercore out with out removing the dash.

Thanks
David

#9 Rooster2

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Posted 16 December 2008 - 04:04 PM

Is there any chance that you can get that car into a heated garage, or to a garage that you can heat with kerocene heaters or something. You really need to melt down everything that is icy. Using blankets etc outside in freezing conditions won't help much.

Suggest that you drain and replace the antifreeze, then go with about a 75% antifreeze, 25% water mix. Add some type of coolant stop leak to the system to seal up the leaking heater core. Don't add much stop leak product, or it can block the flow of coolant through the heater core. The result would be a heater that won't produce much heat.

#10 Skip

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Posted 16 December 2008 - 04:17 PM

Antifreeze Facts


  • Glycol is the main ingredient used in all forms of antifreeze. Modern engines use a mixture of glycol and water as a coolant.
  • Using antifreeze without mixing it with water can damage the engine by causing high operating temperatures. Additives in the antifreeze can also gum up cooling system passages and damage water pump seals. Glycol should make up between 40 and 60 percent of the mix for best results.

50 percent is the accepted mixture.
Any use of
stop leaks have been shunned
in Subarus as they can plug heater cores.

#11 subestyle18

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Posted 16 December 2008 - 07:54 PM

i have no access to a garage, i am getting above freezing temps with the heat lamps but its taking a while to melt it all down. It still can idle with out overheating, but as soon as rev it up it starts to overheat. Im thinking it is still partly cloged. Im going to keep the heat lamps on over night tomorrow is supposed to get up to 15f so i might have better luck.

thanks
david

#12 Rooster2

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Posted 16 December 2008 - 08:59 PM

Too bad you can't get that car into a warm garage somewhere. My guess is that your radiator is frozen up. Suggest concentrating your heat lamps, maybe use an electric blanket around the radiator and top and lower rad hoses will help.

Another thought is to take your car to a repair shop, if you can limp your car in without over heating. Ask to leave the car in their warm garage over night to thaw out, then have them flush and change the antifreeze. That can't cost much. When I was a kid, my dad had a gas station. He often left a customers frozen car in the bay over night to thaw out. Didn't charge them anything for the thaw out service.

#13 Rooster2

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Posted 17 December 2008 - 09:42 AM

I hate to bear possible bad news, but there is a possibility that you have a blown head gasket that is causing your trouble. The 2.2 motor is not known for this, like the 2.5 motor, it can happen. I had a 91 Leggie with the 2.2 that blew a head gasket. Yes, it would idle just fine, and not over heat. But, drive it for 10-15 minutes, and the temp guage would quickly head for "hot".

Lots written here on this forum about HG trouble, what to look for, and how to test for a bad HG. Suggest you read the archives.

#14 bratman18

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Posted 17 December 2008 - 10:12 AM

I hate to bear possible bad news, but there is a possibility that you have a blown head gasket that is causing your trouble. The 2.2 motor is not known for this, like the 2.5 motor, it can happen. I had a 91 Leggie with the 2.2 that blew a head gasket. Yes, it would idle just fine, and not over heat. But, drive it for 10-15 minutes, and the temp guage would quickly head for "hot".

Lots written here on this forum about HG trouble, what to look for, and how to test for a bad HG. Suggest you read the archives.


Actually now that you mention it I had a Loyale that did the same thing. Idle forever without getting hot but as soon as it was driven or revved higher than idle it would start to heat up. It was head gaskets! So hopefully it's not, for your sake but it would be worth looking into!

#15 Snowman

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Posted 17 December 2008 - 11:21 AM

If you're still having trouble getting the rad to thaw out, what if you tried to drain as much coolant as you can, then add some 75/25 coolant that you have heated on the stove or something? The heat might start it thawing, and the antifreeze would keep it thawed.

Got a heat gun or a blow drier? That might do something.

Block heaters are a pain to install on subarus outside because they thread in, unlike on other cars. The biggest problem is getting the old dummy plug out, as it likes to freeze in there pretty well, and I've even heard of people cracking their block trying to loosen them after 200k. An impact wrench makes short work of it if you've got one.

I always go for installing a block heater and and oil pan heater. Sure, it uses more power, but if you're concerned about that, just put it on a timer so it only comes on two or three hours before you start the car. Battery heaters aren't a bad idea either.

#16 98obster

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Posted 18 December 2008 - 10:50 PM

So, sort of on the same subject. my 98 2.2 operates around 182 deg F in the warmer months but I am noticing with the sub zero weather were having that the temperature it prefers is around 191 F. Just wondering if anyone knows why it would go up with the heater core/fan engagement. Just to experiment, if I turn off the heater and turn the dial into the blue then the temperature goes back down toward 182. what's up? thanks.:-\

#17 nipper

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Posted 18 December 2008 - 10:52 PM

So, sort of on the same subject. my 98 2.2 operates around 182 deg F in the warmer months but I am noticing with the sub zero weather were having that the temperature it prefers is around 191 F. Just wondering if anyone knows why it would go up with the heater core/fan engagement. Just to experiment, if I turn off the heater and turn the dial into the blue then the temperature goes back down toward 182. what's up? thanks.:-\



Did anyone ever tell you that your a trouble maker?


:grin:

#18 Olnick

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Posted 21 December 2008 - 12:59 AM

Any luck so far subestyle18? My son's '92 Legacy in Seattle is having exactly the same problem. Gosh I just pray for both of you that it's not head gaskets. Let us know if you have any success--and we'll do the same.

Best of luck!

#19 frag

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Posted 21 December 2008 - 11:22 AM

So, sort of on the same subject. my 98 2.2 operates around 182 deg F in the warmer months but I am noticing with the sub zero weather were having that the temperature it prefers is around 191 F. Just wondering if anyone knows why it would go up with the heater core/fan engagement. Just to experiment, if I turn off the heater and turn the dial into the blue then the temperature goes back down toward 182. what's up? thanks.:-\


Let's try this explanation.
1) The heater outflow hose connects to the stat housing.
2) When the heater is on it keeps the stat cooler which in turn stays closed longer.
3) The engine coolant thus heats up more and since the coolant sensor is placed at the top of the engine...
Take it or leave it! :)

#20 Lanaue

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Posted 24 January 2009 - 01:34 PM

I'm having the same problem with my 98GT. What was the outcome??:banana::eek:




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