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Author Topic: Overheating 98 Forester questions.  (Read 9140 times)

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Offline Outback_Jon

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Overheating 98 Forester questions.
« on: February 14, 2015, 08:27:38 PM »
OK, so my daughter's 98 Forester 2.5 NA has been overheating.  Did the thermostat after finding a cold lower radiator hose during a test drive.  Radiator is new last year, along with upper and lower hoses.  Burped the system - several times.  New radiator cap when I did the thermostat last week.  Coolant doesn't look contaminated by anything, but I might be missing something.

Short drives, car seems fine.  Heat stays working, temp gauge in normal area.  Climb the mountain (Route 23 going up to Windham) and it overheats.  Heat goes away, temp gauge spikes, steam from under the hood - overflow tank full and spitting out coolant.

I'm starting to suspect that the radiator fans aren't coming on.  I just went outside and plugged my computer into the car, and got the engine temperature sensor to tell me is was 199* (car was still warm and at 150* when I started it) and the fans still weren't on.  Hit the A/C button to turn the fans on, they started right up and the temperature started to drop a bit.  Shut car down because it's too damn cold to stay out there for long, and too dark to do much at this point anyway.

Car has 225k miles, runs smoothly, throws a code for emissions vacuum leak (probably the gas filler neck)  It did have codes for a knock sensor and catalyst efficiency - I forget the numbers.

So, what temp are the fans supposed to kick on?  What am I missing? 
2011 Outback 3.6R Limited "Outback's Outback" -- 1998 Forester (Dead - Son #1 Rolled It) "Subarugdu" -- 2010 Impreza (Daughter #1's) -- 2002 Outback VDC (Daughter #2's) -- 1998 Forester (Dead - Daughter #2 Ran It Out Of Oil)
My nickname predates the Subaru Outback model by 6 years.

Offline wheelbuilder_25

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Re: Overheating 98 Forester questions.
« Reply #1 on: February 14, 2015, 09:20:58 PM »
The fan temp for my 09 Legacy is 205.

Make sure it's an OEM thermostat. My Dad's overheated without it, to the point he did a test for exhaust in the coolant.  How is the heater core ?
09 Legacy iSE

Offline Outback_Jon

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Re: Overheating 98 Forester questions.
« Reply #2 on: February 14, 2015, 10:16:16 PM »
The fan temp for my 09 Legacy is 205.

Make sure it's an OEM thermostat. My Dad's overheated without it, to the point he did a test for exhaust in the coolant.  How is the heater core ?
I got the thermostat from Napa.  But it isn't the cheap Stant replacement, it's one that looks exactly like the OEM style.

I haven't found any leaks.  Get plenty of heat from the car normally.
2011 Outback 3.6R Limited "Outback's Outback" -- 1998 Forester (Dead - Son #1 Rolled It) "Subarugdu" -- 2010 Impreza (Daughter #1's) -- 2002 Outback VDC (Daughter #2's) -- 1998 Forester (Dead - Daughter #2 Ran It Out Of Oil)
My nickname predates the Subaru Outback model by 6 years.

Offline wheelbuilder_25

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Re: Overheating 98 Forester questions.
« Reply #3 on: February 15, 2015, 01:13:20 PM »
I guess I'd be checking for exhaust in the coolant then...NAPA sells a kit.  You might be able smell it in the overflow yourself.  Kind of a gas/exhaust smell.
09 Legacy iSE

Offline deadlydave

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Re: Overheating 98 Forester questions.
« Reply #4 on: February 17, 2015, 09:17:08 AM »
It could actually be a cheap/simple fix.  Check the fan fuses.  I've blown them, frequently, on my 90's subarus.  The A/C switch only turns on the 2nd aux fan, so in traffic you can still overheat.

Or it could be the headgaskets.  90's 2.5's, yay.  :cry:

Offline Outback_Jon

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Re: Overheating 98 Forester questions.
« Reply #5 on: February 17, 2015, 05:40:38 PM »
It could actually be a cheap/simple fix.  Check the fan fuses.  I've blown them, frequently, on my 90's subarus.  The A/C switch only turns on the 2nd aux fan, so in traffic you can still overheat.

Or it could be the headgaskets.  90's 2.5's, yay.  :cry:
Yeah, I took it out with the computer hooked up the other day.  Watched the temperature climb and the fans did come on when they should.  And it still overheated.  So, I'm thinking head gaskets. 

Anyone have one of those kits to check for gases in the coolant that I could borrow? 

On this Forester, the AC switch turns both fans on. 
2011 Outback 3.6R Limited "Outback's Outback" -- 1998 Forester (Dead - Son #1 Rolled It) "Subarugdu" -- 2010 Impreza (Daughter #1's) -- 2002 Outback VDC (Daughter #2's) -- 1998 Forester (Dead - Daughter #2 Ran It Out Of Oil)
My nickname predates the Subaru Outback model by 6 years.

Offline wheelbuilder_25

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Re: Overheating 98 Forester questions.
« Reply #6 on: February 18, 2015, 03:08:18 PM »
I'll try to check with my Dad, but he's been the invisible man lately.

He picked up the kit from NAPA and used it that once.
09 Legacy iSE

Offline rshaw123

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Re: Overheating 98 Forester questions.
« Reply #7 on: February 19, 2015, 10:04:12 AM »
Check the water pump first. But I guess if you're replacing that, you might as well replace the head gaskets
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Offline Outback_Jon

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Re: Overheating 98 Forester questions.
« Reply #8 on: March 10, 2015, 07:19:23 PM »
OK, a local shop quoted my $1050 to do the head gaskets.  Recommended doing timing belt, too, which I had planned.  (Only additional cost for timing belt was the parts - around $200 for belt and pulleys - reasonable)  Guy here in Catskill that specializes in Subarus.  He'll look at the car for free to see if I'm correct about the problem and also check it over to tell me if it is worth the investment.  Sounds good.

So, today I go out and top up the antifreeze in anticipation of taking it there tomorrow or Thursday.  Still some air bubbling out - fairly steady stream of small bubbles.  (Reinforcing my belief in a head gasket leak)  Anyway, I let the car warm up fully, cap the radiator, and take it out for a spin to put some gas in it.  Plug in my code reader and start the Torque app on my phone.  Temp reading within normal range.  Get to gas station, temp still within normal.  Drive up the mountain on Route 23 towards Windham, temp stays within normal.  Get to top of mountain, which car couldn't manage before without overheating, temp still good.  Park car, temp goes up to around 200F, fans come on, temp goes back down.  Drive a couple of more miles and stop again, same (normal) temp fluctuation.  Drive back home without car overheating.

Going to let it cool down and check the coolant level, but I'm expecting it to be pretty good.  Going to let my daughter drive it to school the next couple of days and keep an eye on coolant level.  But I'm starting to hope it might have just been that last little bit of air in the system.  Keeping my fingers crossed.
2011 Outback 3.6R Limited "Outback's Outback" -- 1998 Forester (Dead - Son #1 Rolled It) "Subarugdu" -- 2010 Impreza (Daughter #1's) -- 2002 Outback VDC (Daughter #2's) -- 1998 Forester (Dead - Daughter #2 Ran It Out Of Oil)
My nickname predates the Subaru Outback model by 6 years.

Offline Kavik

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Re: Overheating 98 Forester questions.
« Reply #9 on: March 10, 2015, 10:24:50 PM »
it's toying with you....they like to do that when they know you're about to bring them to a mechanic.....sneaky bastards  :-D
-Daryl (Albany)                                                                                   ಠ_ಠ
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Offline Outback_Jon

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Re: Overheating 98 Forester questions.
« Reply #10 on: March 12, 2015, 09:49:00 PM »
it's toying with you....they like to do that when they know you're about to bring them to a mechanic.....sneaky bastards  :-D
Yep.  It was.  Dropping it off to the Subaru guy tomorrow.   :-(
2011 Outback 3.6R Limited "Outback's Outback" -- 1998 Forester (Dead - Son #1 Rolled It) "Subarugdu" -- 2010 Impreza (Daughter #1's) -- 2002 Outback VDC (Daughter #2's) -- 1998 Forester (Dead - Daughter #2 Ran It Out Of Oil)
My nickname predates the Subaru Outback model by 6 years.

Offline Kavik

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Re: Overheating 98 Forester questions.
« Reply #11 on: March 12, 2015, 11:05:34 PM »
 :| sorry to be right.......damn.
-Daryl (Albany)                                                                                   ಠ_ಠ
['14 Mazda3 SGT]     ['03 Sonic Yellow WRX Wagon]     ['05 WRB WRX Wagon]     ['02 PSM WRX Sedan]

Offline Outback_Jon

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Re: Overheating 98 Forester questions.
« Reply #12 on: March 16, 2015, 07:34:06 PM »
Well, he's doing the gaskets. (and timing belt while in there)  When I talked to him Friday afternoon, he expected to be done on Tuesday.  Nice little independent shop that only does Subies.  Sells them too.  With a 3 year motor/transmission warranty and fresh timing belt.  http://www.dpgenterprize.com in Catskill if anyone in interested.  I've only heard good things about him so far.
2011 Outback 3.6R Limited "Outback's Outback" -- 1998 Forester (Dead - Son #1 Rolled It) "Subarugdu" -- 2010 Impreza (Daughter #1's) -- 2002 Outback VDC (Daughter #2's) -- 1998 Forester (Dead - Daughter #2 Ran It Out Of Oil)
My nickname predates the Subaru Outback model by 6 years.

Offline wheelbuilder_25

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Re: Overheating 98 Forester questions.
« Reply #13 on: March 17, 2015, 09:46:22 PM »
Is that the place just down the hill from Lacy ?  The prices on that link for service are pretty reasonable.
09 Legacy iSE

Offline Outback_Jon

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Re: Overheating 98 Forester questions.
« Reply #14 on: March 17, 2015, 11:50:59 PM »
Is that the place just down the hill from Lacy ?  The prices on that link for service are pretty reasonable.
Yep, that's it.  Under the railroad bridge.

That tune-up price is making me think about bringing my car in instead of trying to change 6 spark plugs.   :-D  I'll probably do the plugs myself, and wish halfway through that I had brought it in. 
2011 Outback 3.6R Limited "Outback's Outback" -- 1998 Forester (Dead - Son #1 Rolled It) "Subarugdu" -- 2010 Impreza (Daughter #1's) -- 2002 Outback VDC (Daughter #2's) -- 1998 Forester (Dead - Daughter #2 Ran It Out Of Oil)
My nickname predates the Subaru Outback model by 6 years.

Offline hydrochloric

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Re: Overheating 98 Forester questions.
« Reply #15 on: March 22, 2015, 01:34:05 PM »
The HG's are such PITAs.  Mine was doing the same thing- as soon as I went into positive pressure (obviously it just takes a little long on an NA car) it would push the coolant out and overheat.
-'00 BRP 2.5RS- rustbucket DD with SUPERCHARGED! junkyard engine  :D  -'66 VW Type III 1600 Squareback- Survivor, 42k miles  -'83 944- mostly-un-broken track car  -'50 Hudson Commodore 6 TSD rally car  -'93 Audi S4- New DD.  Eventually.

Offline Outback_Jon

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Re: Overheating 98 Forester questions.
« Reply #16 on: March 22, 2015, 05:20:19 PM »
The HG's are such PITAs.  Mine was doing the same thing- as soon as I went into positive pressure (obviously it just takes a little long on an NA car) it would push the coolant out and overheat.
I would imagine the extra cylinder pressure would do that.  I had a diesel VW Rabbit that blew a head gasket.  If you want to talk cylinder pressure into the water jacket, a diesel has a lot of cylinder pressure to spare. 23:1 for the NA if I remember correctly. (Not sure of the PSI, but I'm sure it's way up there)  I'd imagine a turbo-diesel would be far more extreme.

I was supposed to be almost to the Outer Banks by now.  But the car still isn't done, and I can't leave until my daughter has it back.  First he said Tuesday afternoon.  Then Thursday afternoon.  Thursday he was waiting to get the heads back from the machine shop.  Saturday at 1, he has a guy going to his parts cars to get some part (didn't tell me what) but it would hopefully be done later.  So, Sunday afternoon and I still don't have the car back.   :cry:

I'd probably be less annoyed if he had called with those updates, but I had to call him each time. 

Hopefully I'll get it back tomorrow and head out on vacation driving late into the night... 
« Last Edit: March 22, 2015, 05:24:51 PM by Outback_Jon »
2011 Outback 3.6R Limited "Outback's Outback" -- 1998 Forester (Dead - Son #1 Rolled It) "Subarugdu" -- 2010 Impreza (Daughter #1's) -- 2002 Outback VDC (Daughter #2's) -- 1998 Forester (Dead - Daughter #2 Ran It Out Of Oil)
My nickname predates the Subaru Outback model by 6 years.

Offline Outback_Jon

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Re: Overheating 98 Forester questions.
« Reply #17 on: March 24, 2015, 11:04:28 AM »
Well, got the car back this morning.  $1365 for headgaskets, timing belt, pulleys, tensioner, etc.  Car runs nicely.  And he fixed the power steering leak (cut the line and put a hose on it) for no charge.

He even took the time to stress to my daughter to call him immediately if she noticed anything wasn't quite right.  This is some nice peace of mind since I'm heading to NC for vacation today. 
2011 Outback 3.6R Limited "Outback's Outback" -- 1998 Forester (Dead - Son #1 Rolled It) "Subarugdu" -- 2010 Impreza (Daughter #1's) -- 2002 Outback VDC (Daughter #2's) -- 1998 Forester (Dead - Daughter #2 Ran It Out Of Oil)
My nickname predates the Subaru Outback model by 6 years.

Offline hydrochloric

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Re: Overheating 98 Forester questions.
« Reply #18 on: April 13, 2015, 11:08:23 AM »
I would imagine the extra cylinder pressure would do that.  I had a diesel VW Rabbit that blew a head gasket.  If you want to talk cylinder pressure into the water jacket, a diesel has a lot of cylinder pressure to spare. 23:1 for the NA if I remember correctly. (Not sure of the PSI, but I'm sure it's way up there)  I'd imagine a turbo-diesel would be far more extreme.

23:1 and they still made more smoke than speed...  :roll:  That should mean something like 240PSI.  But the real pressure that's hard to deal with is combustion pressures, they peak at 1500+ PSI!
-'00 BRP 2.5RS- rustbucket DD with SUPERCHARGED! junkyard engine  :D  -'66 VW Type III 1600 Squareback- Survivor, 42k miles  -'83 944- mostly-un-broken track car  -'50 Hudson Commodore 6 TSD rally car  -'93 Audi S4- New DD.  Eventually.

Offline fooz

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Re: Overheating 98 Forester questions.
« Reply #19 on: August 22, 2019, 01:36:17 PM »
Just wanted to say Thanks to OP...

4 years after this post I was able to find it when my son's Legacy needed head gasket work.  I too went to the guy in Catskill.  He was good.  Fixed the head gaskets and timing belt for right around $1400.

DGP Enterprize is still on 9W in Catskill.

Thanks again!!
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