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90 legacy overheated twice tonight...what gives?

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Let me start off by saying that I had to re-install the timing belt tensioner a few days ago. My stupid self forgot to put the hose on for the overflow tank. Well today when I went to go on a two hour trip the car overheated about a mile out. I turned the heat on, hauled butt home, reattached the hose, put more fluid in it and it was fine or so I thought. I get to my destination with no problem but on the return trip the car did the same thing about a mile out again. I stopped and noticed the overflow tank was full so I filled the radiator with water (burp screw off) then drove back home with no problems again. What gives? Anybody have any ideals?

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It could just be a fluke. Drive it for couple more days and observe it carefully. Let us know if it comes back or not and we'll help you figure out from there on.

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Air pockets are entirely possible. Some resort to jacking the front of the car high in the air to promote air bubbles making their way out of the water jacket.

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It never really "overheated" (boiling over all over the ground) but the temp guage damn near pegged. Maybe a air pocket in the system?

It is the dreaded vapor lock...our cars are reknowned for it....it can be super tough to burp the air out of the system.....good luck, be patient...there are lots of tried methods that you can search for. I would try the easiest first by draining at the thermostat (and replacing if it's been awhile). Then I would move on to using a hose through the upper radiator line

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I never did anything special when filling the coolant. Never tried to burp or anything. Just drained and refilled. Mine never overheats nor does it ever go beyond half the gauge regardless.

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Same here. All I do is shake the radiator and all the bubbles come up to the top. I haven't opened my cooling system in over a year, and everything is peachy.

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I hate to be the bearer of bad news but if the problem comes back you probably have a bad head gasket. I have a 90 Legacy, after replacing the radiator, timing belt, and water pump, still had the problem. After replacing the head gasket the problem stopped.

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I hate to be the bearer of bad news but if the problem comes back you probably have a bad head gasket. I have a 90 Legacy, after replacing the radiator, timing belt, and water pump, still had the problem. After replacing the head gasket the problem stopped.

I don't know about "probably". I have had the problem many times...resulting from split hoses, cracked radiators, failed tranny cooler problems and a cheap t-fitting that broke...all caused the dreaded vapor lock.....all solved by burping the system...sometimes it was easy, sometimes it was a hellacious bitch. Defintely work on burping the system several times via several methods before replacing the head gasket

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Funny, I had the same thing happen to my 90 legacy last week. The temp guage max'd out and the overflow tank overflowed, it was also blowing bubbles in the overflow tank while the engine was running. I refilled the rad and tank and everything seemed to be fine, but I suspect the head gasket since there is a little too much steam coming out of the exhaust. Or it could be a cracked block come to think of it, haven't thought to check the oil yet.

 

How much does it cost / how hard to diy / a head gasket ? What else would be prudent to do at the same time ?

 

Thanks,

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