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Long story short, I bought a 99 legacy wagon with a blown head gasket for my daughter. Replaced the HG and repaired the rest of the car. She drove the car for about 3 weeks, then it lost coolant, no heater and overheated. so we put coolant in it and drove it the last 20 miles home. Went to start working on it today and it is full of coolant.

Also the compression checked out at 140 to 150 on all cylinders. 

I am going to go out and put it all back together and start it up and see what happens. I thought it was coming out of the tail pipe when I followed her home that day, but only for a little while. 

What could be the possible issues? I do not see any coolant under the car either.

 

thanks

Doug

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Do a pressure test. 

 

Did you resurface the heads? Check the block surface for pitting? Were the block bolt threads chased and the bolts lubricated and assembled with NO creaking?

 

GD

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I did not resurface the heads everything actually looked really good as far as I could tell. They checked flat with a flat edge. I will have to get the stuff to do a coolant pressure test. I assume that is what you are talking about. can it be done with the car cold?  I cleaned the holes and lubed the threads, used new bolts, and did not have any creaking when tightening it up. compression is good, no bubbles in the overflow tank, and the exhaust does not have a sweet smell. 

I filled the engine coolant through the upper hose, so I was pretty sure it was full. now I am even questioning that. This is my first subaru, but I have done other head gaskets without problems.

will a coolant tester form the auto parts loan program work on this car? or one from Harbor freight?

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needs an OEM thermostat.

 

some reports of overheating due to clogged heater cores. (maybe test by bypassing the HC with appropriate piece of pipe and maybe xtra hose?)

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What brand headgasket?

 

“Lost coolant” - overflow or radiator or both were checked or was coolant simply noted in the engine bay?

 

After the pressure test:

Fans coming on?

Burp it.

Test thermostat in boiling water and replace with OEM.

Radiator clogged - any signs or indication this thing was filled with “a fix in a bottle” by the previous owner?

 

I prefer resurfacing, they always have high and low spots and the fire ring is rarely worth ignoring at this age.

 

GD - why do they test flat but have obvious undulations if resurfaced?

 

Did you look for bubbles in the overflow while it was overheating or later when it wasn’t?

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You mean the surface roughness? Has to do with the type of surfacing equipment used. 

 

The fire ring groove is usually the most important part of the surfacing operation. We just surface till the fire ring has been removed. In some rare cases I have seen fire ring grooving of the block deck. I have successfully filled the block grooves with JB weld or similar, block sanded it, and had good results. 

 

Surface flatness, preparation, and cleanliness is extremely important. I check heads with a machinist rule and an RA meter. 

 

GD

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After hooking up the pressure tester I found a leak at the upper radiator hose corrected that now it's holding about 19 pounds of pressure for about 5 minutes. Do you think it's safe to put the car back together and drive it again have I found my issue thanks

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The only way to know for sure is to start with carefully checking the level and the air quantity in the upper hose. Before each drive. Short drives at first.

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To "burp" the system it's always helpful to have the car up on ramps.

 

I'd start with idling up to temp, let the Thermo fans cycle twice, with rad cap on give it a few revs. Then let it cool. Check rad and overflow bottle levels, top up as necessary then go for a short drive allowing the car to come up to and maintain operational temp. Cool and check levels again. Repeat if need be with longer drives.

 

Also allowing the car to run for a bit after each drive on the ramps can help get the bubbles out ;)

 

Cheers

 

Bennie

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Thank you so much yet again... you are a bunch of life savers. I had never done that coolant test before. was kind of cool to see it leaking and finding it was not the gasket! 

 

Thanks

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We picked up a liberty over here on an ebay auction for just over $1G with a "blown head gasket".

 

Got it home, topped up the coolant, threw a battery in it and took it for a drive down the road and back again. Found a green fountain shooting across the engine from the upper radiator pipe. Replaced it and off we went without any issues :D

 

Cheers

 

Bennie

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Glad you got it.

 

Excessive heat can also cause the weak spots to leak/fail. There’s plenty of forum posts like that. A hose leaks. Then a radiator bursts. Then a tstat fails. After all that it ends up being something else.

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Just hoping that no damage was done from overheating it, We will change the oil and see how it goes. Sounds ok now. luckily no long trips. 

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