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#18886 of 19336 Updates, Big Help needed
Jan 27, 2011 (10:58 am)
Hey there everyone!
It has been a while since I posted last... which is actually a good thing
Here are the details and specs. ...
2001 Outback Limited Wagon. 144,000 miles
Timing belt replaced at 100,000
Head Gaskets replaced at 106,000
The long and short of it..I do WHATEVER my Subaru dealer says to replace at all the intervals. They love me:
I went in for an oil change/state inspection in December. They noted that it looked like my head gaskets were leaking slightly. Then, after a few weeks, I noticed a little smoke up front of the car. The temp gauge was in the perfect zone. Yesterday, the temp gauge went up slightly for the first time EVER. So, I cranked the heat and went into my dealership this morning.
Here is what they wrote:
"Found temp difference in radiator flow from 165 to 120 degrees indicates clogged radiator. when engine coolant does not circulate, engine can overheat. Right side headgasket leaking coolant. Suggest radiator and headgasket replacement."
When I was leaving, the Service Manager mentioned that Subaru will NOT FLUSH any radiators. He suggested I go to a Jiffy Lube or Meineke to have them test it out. BUT mentioned that if they find a huge problem, they would have to replace IMMEDIATELY as opposed to my just driving it into the ground and hoping it does not overheat.
To be honest, I have about 3-4 months of NH cold and snow weather before I could afford those big expenses. Plus, I plan to call Subaru about my headgaskets leaking after only 38,000 miles.
Sorry to drone on...but hoping for some insight from the experts.
Should I have the *looks like brand new* radiator flushed first?
Should I just drive it and watch the temp gauge? (It was totally normal today)
Should I just save for a 2011 Outback?
#18887 of 19336 Re: Updates, Big Help needed [pathtomax]
Jan 27, 2011 (12:21 pm)
Save, drive it, watch it. If you're lucky, it might even be into the 2012 model year before you need to take immediate action!
#18888 of 19336 Re: Updates, Big Help needed [xwesx]
Jan 28, 2011 (3:47 am)
I second the notion of a new Outback, on the basis of safety -
Not that older cars aren't safe - but the big shift towards vehicles with anti-skid and anti-spinout control (Stability Control) is pretty impressive. Virtually every dealer has some type of stability control for the cars, some of which are as basic as acceleration slip reduction to prevent you from spinning your wheels from a stop, to the computer individually applying brakes to specific tires to help keep you moving in the right direction.
With all the snow and ice we've had in NJ for the last month or so, I've been seeing the little "VDC ON" icon pop up on the dash a few times - and I've never felt the car fishtail or anything of the sort. So, I'm glad it's working.
I'm curious when they're [the government] going to mandate five-point harnesses to replace our old, outdated seatbelt system of today.
#18889 of 19336 Re: Updates, Big Help needed [pilot1226]
Jan 28, 2011 (9:26 pm)
I am looking at the Outback as well. While my Forester is waiting for an engine, I bought a 2003 Saturn L200. It did not do well in its first snow.
So I need an AWD vehicle and the CVT sounds good. Anyone have experience with it?
#18890 of 19336 Re: Updates, Big Help needed [pathtomax]
Feb 03, 2011 (5:25 am)
I'd start with getting the cooling system flushed to see if the radiator can be saved (with it in place). Have a can of the Subaru 'cooling system conditioner' with you to add immediately, as the chemical flush will likely strip out the previous compound both from the radiator (possibly your source of clog) as well as from the HG region. Fresh conditioner might slow/stop your HG leak.
If in-situ flushing doesn't fix the clog, consider removing the radiator and sending it to a real radiator shop for a more serious chemical treatment. Removing the radiator on these cars is not that terribly hard to do, but there are some little tricks. If you want to go this route, I can send you some pages from the Subi shop manual.
#18891 of 19336 Re: Updates, Big Help needed [pathtomax]
Feb 03, 2011 (9:38 am)
Heads up, this is for all Subie owners about "head gasket leakage".
Odd.....they noted the head gaskets are leaking? That is only evidenced by oil in the coolant or coolant in the oil. The other evidence would come from misfiring! That would also throw a code!Come to think of it, you could even have exhaust coming out of the rad filler neck. Oil in the coolant appears like a milky substance when it happens. But it could also be from a cracked part. Like a block or head with the crack near a coolant passage. The other question becomes, have you been losing coolant? Have you ever overheat the engine? I mean steaming! If not then....Sorry, I have trouble buying the diagnosis.
Second, I see no one told you the themostat is 170 degrees! It does not open until the engine temp reaches at least 170 degress. The coolant temp will go up and down each time the thermostat opens and closes because alum radiators cool the hot liquid very effectively. Water boils at 212 degrees. So far, I see normal operation! As for "cleaning alum rads, don't. The material is very thin, soft and fragile. Opt for a new one, but only if you know for sure it is the problem. I have a 94 Subie fleet unit in MO with a replaced rad from O'Reiily's. Lifetime warranty! No problems after 25K service miles. I will add the OEM unit died after impact with two deer. As for the other 2 Subie fleet units, approaching 300K, they both still have the OEM rads.
If they are sighting oil on the outside of the heads and valve cover gaskets as " head gaskets leaking" it is actually coming from the valve cover gaskets! Do not replace them, just tighten the bolts slightly. Some leakage is going to be the norm as the engine ages because of increased blow by gases internally from normal wear and tear. It also happens because the engine is a H4! Gravity makes it easier to get out the bottom side. I do not recommend changing the valve cover gaskets unless you have a serious leak because of the increased blow by gases from age. If you do change the valve cover gaskets, the higher pressure will be looking for the next weak link in terms of seals or gaskets. You could blow out the oil galley/oil separator seal, rear main which would force you to pull the transmission to repair. I will add the 2 Subies in MO with almost 300K still have the OEM valve cover gaskets. They are open road units with mostly highway service.
pathomax, I suspect you have a dealer problem, not a car problem.
I personally hate dealers because they usually force their mechanics to sell unneeded service! Ask other local Subie owners were they go. Other than brakes, tires, oil changes and spark plugs you should be pretty much good for 200K. That assumes the last timing belt change included crank and cam oil seals! Check your invoice, if they were not changed, they expect you to return for that problem!
#18892 of 19336 Re: Updates, Big Help needed [girlcarbuilder]
Feb 03, 2011 (11:27 am)
That is honestly a very impressive post. I agree with the vast majority of it, but some of it is certainly conjecture (any kind of remote diagnosis will be!) that probably merits a little additional discussion.
I think you could be onto something with the valve covers. However, the EJ series valve cover gaskets are inexpensive and easy to replace, so I would consider replacing them as a first step. It is also worth mentioning that they require a careful amount of torque; too much and they will leak, just as surely as too little.
You may also be onto something with the temperature gauge being normal, as that area of Subaru does indeed 'hunt' through a normal range more than most modern vehicles I've seen. (Most cars the needle is unmoving once operating temp is reached, despite gridlock, highway or in town driving.)
However, I would not immediately conclude that the car is free of a cooling system issue. Head gaskets are obviously notorious on that model year, but water pumps and thermostats can fail as well. Aluminum radiators generally leak if they're going to fail. Usually if they clog you have a serious problem in the engine that manifests itself in another way (like a blown head gasket).
I think these are minor quibbles. Again, great post.
#18893 of 19336 Re: Updates, Big Help needed [colin_l]
by kyfdx@Edmunds HOST
Feb 03, 2011 (2:35 pm)
You should see what she knows about the Mazda 323!
#18894 of 19336 Re: Updates, Big Help needed [girlcarbuilder]
Feb 03, 2011 (5:32 pm)
Disagree on HG leakage... EJ25 series II engines are famous for external coolant leakage. Back of the head, drivers side, near the brake booster. Coolant drips from a scrubbed gasket seal (open deck block creep). Coolant runs down the back of the block and drips onto the exhaust. I've had this failure twice in 60k miles, and seen it on other owners engines. You get a sweet smell of burning glycol, and the whole back of the engine, lower brace & CV joints are covered in green!
#18895 of 19336 Re: Updates, Big Help needed [colin_l]
Feb 03, 2011 (6:58 pm)
Agree that the horizontal positioning of the valve cover gaskets are likely to promote leaks, but I would also think that a properly operating PCV valve 'should' prevent a dangerous pressurization of the crankcase. If you are having issues with leakage, I would also change the valve (they can stick and fail) at the same time as cover gaskets. This may help to ensure that they don't become a point of failure again, or as GCB said, result in the blowout of the next weak link in the system.