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I had a rather interesting situation one day test driving a 1998 subaru legacy outback, it had around 90k 100k on it, I got in and it was a cold day out and I had the heat on and as I am driving it and really liking it and considering it all of a sudden, bamb! The heat went to instant cold and I noticed the temp gauge sky rocketing into the red so I quickly pulled over and called the mechanic and said your car just overheated on me. I explained the sitaution, so he came in another car and had me drive it back and he had that one brought back. At this point I am not interested in the car till it is fixed. So at this point any ideas what it might be! I am almost postive it is headgaskets, the mechanic did say he didnt have to do much to it he did mention the coolant looked ok and so it was not touched, he gave it a oil change and did the valve cover gaskets and a knock sensor but all around car was in great shape. So I would like some input I have not heard back from him yet.

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What is happening is pressure is building up in the cooling system and forcing it out the cap into the overflow bottle. The causes for this in order of cost are as follows:

 

1.. Thermostat

2.. Water pump

3.. Radiator

4.. Headgaskets

 

You have my vote for #4 as it is the most common cause for what you are describing.

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I had a rather interesting situation one day test driving a 1998 subaru legacy outback, it had around 90k 100k on it, I got in and it was a cold day out and I had the heat on and as I am driving it and really liking it and considering it all of a sudden, bamb! The heat went to instant cold and I noticed the temp gauge sky rocketing into the red so I quickly pulled over and called the mechanic and said your car just overheated on me. I explained the sitaution, so he came in another car and had me drive it back and he had that one brought back. At this point I am not interested in the car till it is fixed. So at this point any ideas what it might be! I am almost postive it is headgaskets, the mechanic did say he didnt have to do much to it he did mention the coolant looked ok and so it was not touched, he gave it a oil change and did the valve cover gaskets and a knock sensor but all around car was in great shape. So I would like some input I have not heard back from him yet.

 

Sounds like head gaskets to me.

 

Nathan

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Head gasket. If it was you own personal car, we would investigate it more, but sounds like a HG.

 

nipper

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Yep, my vote is bad HG. The big clue is your saying " temp gauge sky rocketing into the red", that is a sure sign of a bad HG, as exhaust gas forces its way into the cooling system. Be suspicious of buying that car, because you don't know how many times, and for how long, the motor has been over heated.

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Had similar experience--the cause, HG failure. Heater lost temp, temp gauge spiked. Was on my way to dealership which diagnosed--HG!

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This car may qualify for a warranty repair on the headgaskets. You might want to check that out if that interests you.

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This is exactly what happened in our '98 and it was the headgaskets. It typically tends to happen (in the early stages) after the car has just run at freeway speeds for a bit and you take it back down to city driving. We had just ran about 5 miles on the freeway, and about a mile into town is when the heat cut out, the temp gauge pegged (air bubble), and I pulled over and the fun began. The key in determining my repair was the blackened goo (oil) coating the inside of the radiator overflow reservior. If you are considering buying this car, stay away unless the mechanic fixes it first. Even then, I'd be hesitant because if it isn't done right, you will be asking for future troubles.

 

It's amazing how many 2.5's Subi's for sale that say right in the ad that the car "overheats once and while but just needs a thermostat." yeah right.... There's one on our local craigslist right now that says this.

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Thanks everyone for the information! It is indeed the headgaskets! I heard from the mechanic, he doesnt have much of a history on the outback, so I am going to move on for now and look for another subaru, I am looking for a 1997-1999, I have a subaru now its a 2004 subaru legacy 35th anniversary edition sedan.But I want to have a second older one to for a secondary car ya know.

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Thanks everyone for the information! It is indeed the headgaskets! I heard from the mechanic, he doesnt have much of a history on the outback, so I am going to move on for now and look for another subaru, I am looking for a 1997-1999, I have a subaru now its a 2004 subaru legacy 35th anniversary edition sedan.But I want to have a second older one to for a secondary car ya know.

 

Not so fast ....

 

Is he going to fix the car? If so how much is he going to ask for it, the same money?

 

If he uses subaru head gaskets, this may not be a bad thing

 

nipper

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This is exactly what happened in our '98 and it was the headgaskets. It typically tends to happen (in the early stages) after the car has just run at freeway speeds for a bit and you take it back down to city driving. We had just ran about 5 miles on the freeway, and about a mile into town is when the heat cut out, the temp gauge pegged (air bubble), and I pulled over and the fun began. The key in determining my repair was the blackened goo (oil) coating the inside of the radiator overflow reservior. If you are considering buying this car, stay away unless the mechanic fixes it first. Even then, I'd be hesitant because if it isn't done right, you will be asking for future troubles.

 

It's amazing how many 2.5's Subi's for sale that say right in the ad that the car "overheats once and while but just needs a thermostat." yeah right.... There's one on our local craigslist right now that says this.

 

You are right about the thermostat excuse. I looked at a 97 OBW last year. Seller said he thought the car had a thermostat issue. Sure, it would idle without over heating, but he said driving it for a while would cause over heating. He had also just installed a new radiator, but still had over heating. I told him I thought it needed a HG replacement. He ask me appx cost. I told him around $1,500. I think he really knew it needed a HG, so just really wanted to sell the car to avoid the repair expense.

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Has nothing to do w/ the 98 for sale that was diagnosed HG problems, but, in case anyone encounters a similar situation on an different engine, I had this same thing happen in my '95 2.2 three years ago. I noticed my heat was gone in the parking lot one cold day, but it only took a wee bit of fluid to top off the radiator. So, I guessed thermostat and bought one. My first Subaru, btw. I quickly learned a thermostat swap in a Sube is a more committed job than a nice on-top detroit steel thermostat swap. Anyway, I make the swap, fill the fluids, and soon the engine is doing the same thing. I'd be driving and the temp would suddenly soar. Long story short, I finally figure out the system had air trapped in it that was keeping the fluid level high even though there wasn't the nedded fluid amount in there. So, I burped out the air, topped the level off, and it resumed to normal driving. That was 70,000 miles ago.

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Not so fast ....

 

Is he going to fix the car? If so how much is he going to ask for it, the same money?

 

If he uses subaru head gaskets, this may not be a bad thing

 

nipper

As far as I know he is the car is in the garage and is not on the lot! Thats a good sign he is right on it to be fixed.

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