View Full Version : 1997 Subaru Outback Wagon 2.5L Overheating after 15-20 miles

01-30-2006, 09:49 PM
I have taken it to several local garages, they both said it passed the chemical test for a blown head gasket or a cracked head. They said it didn't have any oil in the fluids & the radiator seems fine. We can go to work (8miles) and the temp doesnt even rise. Same on return home, but sometimes if i go much over 15 miles the temp starts to rise.
If i back off the gas put the car in neutral crank up the heat it has stabilized on several occations.
We were quoted $2500-4000 to take out the engine, find the problem & fix it.
Any leads on what i should do is appreciated, and is my car even worth fixing?
Thank you,
unhappy 97 Subie

01-30-2006, 09:55 PM

01-30-2006, 10:03 PM

Each garage replaced 3 total thermostats...

01-30-2006, 10:09 PM
wow :shock:

okay, are these subaru dealerships you're taking your car too? there's a certain way to bleed the air out of the system....

second, has the radiator been flow tested?

01-30-2006, 10:16 PM
topic moved

01-30-2006, 10:18 PM
thanks mark :wink:

just thought of another thing...is there a cel or some sort of temp light that comes on?

01-30-2006, 10:20 PM
are the fans coming on at idle? do you drive through stop & go traffic?

01-30-2006, 10:23 PM
besides, for that money, you could get a new outback....

how many miles are on your 'roo?

01-30-2006, 10:27 PM
wow :shock:

okay, are these subaru dealerships you're taking your car too? there's a certain way to bleed the air out of the system....

second, has the radiator been flow tested?

Unfortunately there are no certified Subaru dealers in my area. We have taken it to the best mechanics in our area.

There is no temp light that comes on, the temp gauge rises and if i stop the car & look under the hood, the radiator cap isn't even hot.

01-30-2006, 10:30 PM
maybe it's something as simple as a faulty sender to the gauge?

01-30-2006, 10:35 PM
the fans are working, they have checked the things that would normally be wrong with these symptoms and are at a loss.
It has 119,000 miles and is in good condition.
How much is our car worth as is?
Is it worth putting that much money into it?

01-30-2006, 10:37 PM
might be something as simple as an electrical malfunction...

you'd have to go to http://www.kbb.com to figure out what your car is worth

01-30-2006, 10:47 PM
Have you done any compression tests?

01-30-2006, 11:17 PM
It's very likely air in the system. When I removed the radiator from my wife's 2.5GT to install the Perrin pulley, it got hot real quickly and I had to purge air from the top air release screw 3 times before it settled down & ran fine at a normal operating temp. Are you aware of the location of this screw? If not, I can take a picture to help you locate it.

02-03-2006, 10:12 PM
i have the same problem. could you post a pic or give a description if its not too hard to find? would be a grrrrreat help!

02-04-2006, 12:31 AM
I will do so tomorrow after work (4pm). That spot is there to remove air from the system right from the factory.

02-04-2006, 03:48 PM
that would be great. my engine isnt hot so im assuming the thermostat is just messing with me. the cap fot the radiator is barely warm as well but the meter is red hot in the gauge cluster. thermostats arent too difficult to replace myself are they?

02-04-2006, 04:44 PM
Are you sure theres even anything in the radiator if the cap isnt hot?

02-04-2006, 05:47 PM
If the cap isn't getting hot, a water pump failure may have occured.

Does the car make any funny grinding noises or anything like that?

You also may not have anything in the radiator as has been suggested. The bleed nipple is on the top of the left side of the radiator.

02-05-2006, 02:51 PM
I had this exact same problem abour 3 years ago, I did everything, replaced the thermostat like 4 times, replaced the radiator, new water pump(which now squeaks), new radiator hoses, new sensors, an ecu reflash and finally they( Gettel Subaru of Sarasota, FL) said they had eliminated everything else, so it had to be the head gaskets.
Well I cam online and created a post much like this and everyone on every forum said it was the headgaskets, that the 2.5 DOHC was famous for having faulty headgaskets from the factory.

I had a local garage do it because SOA wasn't willing to help out or give me any sort of deal, I'd had the car for 9 months, 3 1/2 of which it was in and out of the shop, had a 6 month warrenty and with 5 months left to it I had the problem for the first time, took it in immediately, they turned it on, nothing happened.

This went on for months before it finally happened for them, and lo and behold it was EXACTLY like i had described to them and they suddenly knew what the problem was without a doubt, and due to process of elimination.

So anyway after spending nearly 2 grand at the dealership I went to a local shop that I'd heard did great things with imports, so I asked them and explained the situation, showed them all the paperwork from SOA, they went online and checked out a few of their own sources and said without a doubt it was the headgaskets, so they changed out the headgaskets, repolished my heads and cleaned the entire engine nicely and even polished my intake manifold for me, I'm pretty sure they bored it out a lil bit, but not much it still fits perfectly but added a nice growl to the engine, or maybe it was my imagination, but it sounds much better now.
Anyway, I spend 3300 at the place around here for the headgasket repair and they checked to make sure the heads were still within spec to ensure it wasn't a chipped head, thats when they decided to hook me up for free cause i'd wasted so much money on other stuff i didn't need YET...

damn, long post. sorry i ramble.

02-09-2006, 04:32 PM
well it turns out i have really bad luck and its not a radiator problem, not a thermostat issue, but a god damn blown head gasket. i just bought the car from the dealership where i work and the engine was just replaced no more than 400 miles ago and it already went to hell. so i am either giving the car back, making them fix the car at no cost to me (unlikely) or dipping into the college fund and swapping a wrx or sti engine in there. too labor intensive for a mechanic to do?

02-09-2006, 04:37 PM
they should definitely do this for you no charge, if its a blown headgasket. Did you get any sort of warranty on the new engine?


It seems awfully weird of them to replace the shortblock and not put the phase II headgaskets on :?