Hey everyone. I'm super bummed right now. I've only had this car for a few weeks, and I'm already having some major engine issues. The car overheated big time today. I've had twice before that it's done this as well. Today was really bad though. I look down to see my temp gauge right below H. I pulled off immediately and opened the hood. Nothing sizzling or steaming. I opened up the coolant resivoir (you know that white bit attached to the radiator) to find coolant almost overflowing out of it. Frickin engine nor radiator has any coolant in it. Eventually it all kind of settled down, and I was able to drive home and the car didn't act up or anything, stayed nice and cool, even below normal operating temperature. the coolant had some junk floating around in it, like little bits of black, no metal shavings or anything. Like someone accidentally broke up a stick or leafs or something got in there. I'm assuming the black bits are from something inside the engine though. Anyone know what's going on here? Some of the guesses I've gotten so far are cracked head. I think the engine is shot right now, I'm lucky to have gotten it home where it will stay in the garage for probably 2 months. I'm just so incredibly disappointed. And very sad. I love that car, but I kind of wish I would have bought a Honda.
Sorry guys, I was so upset that I forgot to tell you it's a 1998 Subaru Legacy GT with close to 101,000 miles on it. I refilled the coolant and I'm going to be driving around with the cap just barely on the radiator in case I need to refill it on the go. No pressure in there that way, and hopefully the coolant will actually stay in the engine.
[I have never fixed a head gasket on a Honda) LOL
Hondas break to they loose trannies like Subarus loose head gaskets bad enough Honda put a huge mileage and time extension on a very large number of there cars.
The most reliable transportation is water it will always move you down hill. Of course you always have to be headed down hill to recieve benifit from this.
Ok its more than likely head gaskets. If you really got it hot putting head gaskets on it might fix the overheat but be like throwing money in the trash can. I have an extra large one if you want to just do that. If its severly overheated your options are few used engines often are junk or not a big savings over a new engine if you get the right shop to do this anyway.
Sadly the cars themselves as a whole make it 250,000 miles in a very high % so a lot of them at your mileage are worth concidering the repair. I have to say this if you had taken it to the right shop the first time it ran hot youd have spent a lot less and your car would be rolling today. I say this not to upset you but for others out there that might experience the same issues you have.
Hey I appreciate the help, yet the car is fine now. Turns out it was a simple fix. Just needed a new engine thermostat, haven't had any issues with it at all. It's a great car. I love it to death. I'll still be keeping a pretty close eye on it, but for now I believe the problem is solved. Cost me like a total of $15 and maybe 2 hours to do myself. It's been about a week since I did it, and so far so good.
Ok heres what to watch for because when this head gasket fails it fails differently than almost any other car out there. It is because of water pump location and reverse direction of flow.
The head gasket under very hard throttle or load and some other factors like lenght of time its been running and temp a little. Allows a very small amount and I mean small amount of combustion gasses leak past the head gasket. This is in almost all cases such a small amount that no test of hyrocarbons will even sho up in the coolant. None.
The reason it overheats and overheats so dramatically is this. Picture a very small amount of super heated exhasut gasses 1500 degrees or so enters the coolant system. this causes the coolant to boil in its direct contact. When this happens you now have a fairly large pocket of air. Becasue when water or coolant boils it becomes air right. The water pump is moving coolant and along comes this pocket of air. This pocket of air posses several things first its super heated compared to the coolant on either side. second its air the pump begins to cavitate. When a pump cavitates it will not pick its prime back up until its shut off an coolant is allowed to fill its impellors up again. ( wont happen while your driving) and then the factor that makes sure that wont happen period the coolant is being forced downwards not upwards so pure liquid cannot be fed back tot he pump.
So your under load driving usually up hill this leak occurs for a brief second. hot gasses enter the coolant system it then makes a large pocket this hits teh water pup it imediatly cavitates coolant flow stops imediatly. I mentioned your under load a half mile later your now over the hill or load and it overheats. The overheat if not caught at thi moment is now one of the worst kinds you have a laorge pocket of air no thermal exchange is happening. Theres absolutly no coolant flow. So you take all the perfect combinations to make an overheat the worst kind and thats what youve got.
I hope the thermostat fixes it but I see these daily I probably repair 8 to 10 a month theses days. I have a full time heavy line guy just for them and hes got work. But many of these can do this off and on for months before its finally not drivable and at that point it needs the proverbial $5000 engine. Youve had this issue what three times now, next time it happens might be the last time it lives. So when it happens again stop it immediatly and remember the exact condition it happend from. If it matches any or all of these symptoms get it to a Subaru specialist be it an independant or the Dealer and fix it. Or trade it off like many do and then some poor sap will get stuck because he didnt do any research on the car he bought. There are hundreds of these beign sold on ebay with this problem.