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Guest Message by DevFuse

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My Overheating, Air Bubbling, '86 GL

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8 replies to this topic

#1 thecryoflove


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Posted 03 January 2009 - 05:40 PM

Hey all. A brief history of the issues of my '86, manual transmission, 1.8 L, ea82, Subaru GL wagon.

So I came back to Ellensburg, WA early December (central washington) where my baby was parked for about 3 months. She ran wonderfully for a while. Then came gurgling behind the dash... few weeks later she overheats. Top her off with antifreeze and she still overheats. Change the thermostat... works better, but only for a few hours then overheats again. At this point the overheating is like this... temp climbs steadily and fairly slowly until gets to the red, then maybe back down below (but still high), then back up again, and then evens out at running temp instantly. I (unfortuantely) have a digital dash in this thing so I'm also wondering if maybe it's lying to me. Anyways, I must also mention that at this point she only overheats when the heat is ON!!! 2 seconds after I switch it from hot to cold she evens out instantly temperature wise. So I parked her on an incline and ran her with the radiator cap off and she expelled lots o bubbles!!! FInally after about 45 minutes of burping her I installed a new radiator cap and let her be. Seemingly it fixed the problem (idled for about 45 minutes without budging from running temp). Took her in to town.... overheating and now the hot/cold does not affect anything...she just overheats no matter what. Woke up this morning (burped her yesterday) and some new gurgling behind the dash... I am positive she had all bubbles out of her yesterday.

So now... please tell me my head gaskets aren't screwed. Tell me there's an easy fix.... please!

I should also mention that when I was burping her the upper radiator hose was, of course, warm. Then when I took her in to town after that (when she overheated) i checked the upper radiator hose and she was cold!!!!

Edited by thecryoflove, 03 January 2009 - 05:43 PM.

#2 subiemech85



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Posted 03 January 2009 - 08:19 PM

what t-stat did you use?

buy a lev-r-vent cap and run it in vent position

#3 Durania


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Posted 03 January 2009 - 08:59 PM

Gurgling behind the dash is a big sign that you have an air bubble in your system. Did you jack the front of the car up when you were purging the system of air?

#4 Subarule


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Posted 04 January 2009 - 12:06 AM

I think you need to burp it. :lol:

#5 Gloyale


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Posted 04 January 2009 - 12:15 AM

I could tell you it's not the head gasket, but it is.


There is a slight possibility that the t-stat you got sucks, replace it with a genuine subaru one. I mean it.

Also you're digidash is likely not accurate, when it indicates hot, are there other signs of overheating? Steam? boiling over? loss of power?

These are things to explore but, you probably have a bad headgasket.

#6 GeneralDisorder


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Posted 04 January 2009 - 02:54 AM

Likely a head gasket yes. They aren't hard - an afternoon job. Do them on general principle - if they aren't bad, or only slightly bad, they will fail soon anyway with all the overheating you have done to it.


#7 thecryoflove


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Posted 12 January 2009 - 09:14 PM

First off, sorry for the delay, it's been crazy...

For me head gaskets aren't an afternoon job =) I did burp it and it belched a lot, they came back (and pretty much instantly...only drove 10 miles before it was gurgling like a SOB)... now also...after letting it sit for a while longer (it's in timeout) it is spiking and jumping on the tacho when i get to about 3000 RPM's... I'm really hating this digi dash... oh, and still overheating

is there a standalone thermometer i can install to check temp?

#8 Caramanos2000


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Posted 12 January 2009 - 09:23 PM

If its gurgling and overheating why are you still driving it, you could toast it driving it HOT all the time :confused:

#9 thecryoflove


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Posted 24 January 2009 - 12:19 PM

Ok... I;ve toasted it. Ever since I've owned it it has had a tick that goes in and out intermittently, but a couple days ago it started rumbling (the engine) like it never has before. Then I parked it for 1 minute while I ran into Hollywood Video and returned to her not starting. She's turning over but it's a high pitched noise and she refuses to start.

Does this sound like head gaskets? And if it is my head gaskets, is there any way I can check the heads themselves for warping or cracks, or di I got to take it in for that?

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