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Thread: 01 OBW LL Bean overheating issues

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    01 OBW LL Bean overheating issues

    My girlfriend and I picked up a clean LL Bean Outback Wagon EZ30 H6 with 202,000 miles for a mere $1500 in Phoenix over the weekend. We paid the guy and no sooner than we get up the road and we found out the lower radiator hose had a leak in it. We replaced the hose and got it back to my parents house. The temp got into the red area on the gauge which is how we found out the hose was bad, but after that it was hovering on that line right before until I got going faster than 40 MPH, where it went back down to half. On Sunday, my dad and I tore it down and replaced the thermostat with a new failsafe unit, which was bad, replaced the coolant in the radiator, took it on a 15 mile test drive. On the test drive, it was fine until we got into traffic on the surface streets where the gauge would get up to the 3/4 line. On acceleration, the gauge would slowly creep higher until we got to speed and went back to half.

    At first I immediately thought head gasket failure, but there is no loss of compression, the car doesn't smoke, the car doesn't misfire, I removed the cap from the coolant reservoir and there was no bubbling at all, in fact the level didn't even move about the Hot line on the bottle, there is no water in the oil, no condensation on the oil cap, none of the signs that the head gasket is blown. Not to mention, I've only found maybe a handful of instances where the head gasket on the H6 3.0 has failed and caused issues. We removed the radiator and flushed it out, the coolant looked like new, no crud inside in the radiator. When we remove the radiator cap and start the engine, the coolant splashes up like a geyser initially, but after that there is no movement of coolant inside the radiator. Is it possible the water pump has gone bad or there is a blockage inside the block, or is it a head gasket issue and I am one of the 1% who has experienced it?
    Last edited by setnev; 11-07-2016 at 03:43 PM.

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    Hi,

    Recently we had similar problems with my moms car. It's a 2008 legacy with the EZ30R in it. A the lower radiator hose had fallen off, because a clamp had failed. And it lost its coolant, my mom noticed it very quick, but the harm was done. We had to get the heads machined flat and install new headgaskets. The tell tale sign that led us to the HG's were the overheating. On further inspection with the radiator cap removed, you can see the coolant pulsating (with constant engine rpm). This is a sign of exhaust gasses in the cooling system, most likely HG leak.

    So if I were you I would check the radiator with the car running (be careful do not open when hot!). If no pulsation, I would try to follow the service manuals procedure for replacing coolant. There is a special sequence that must be followed in order to air out the system. EZ30's are hard to air out.

    Just my 2 cents

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    Thanks. I think we've ruled out that the head gasket is good. There was no bubbling in the reservoir or in the radiator with the cap removed. In fact, the coolant in the radiator wasn't even cycling leading us to believe the water pump has lost it's efficiency. We're replacing the water pump this week and we're going to test again. We're also flushing out the engine and the heater core to make sure that they're not plugged either. We've replaced every other component of the cooling system except for the water pump thus far. Fingers crossed though. I've not come across a good bleeding procedure for the EZ30. So if you have any tips, let me know.

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    Regarding the bleeding procedure here's the procedure from the service manual, which I've found to be working so far.
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    Have you considered doing a timing chain and tensioner replacement when you are changing the water pump? You have to remove the timing chains in order to replace the water pump, so no better time to do it. But if they have been changed recently (within the last couple of years) then just replace the water pump.

    BTW, you can find the factory service manuals here: https://sl-i.net/FORUM/showthread.ph...-Model-USDM-EU

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    Are the fans running? If the temp is rising while your sitting in traffic-it's a good bet there is no air movement across the radiator-Have you had luck with the engine flush?
    Legacys are like potato chips-You can't stop at just one!

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    Quote Originally Posted by thenines' View Post
    Are the fans running? If the temp is rising while your sitting in traffic-it's a good bet there is no air movement across the radiator-Have you had luck with the engine flush?
    Engine flush was very clean, no contaminants in the water. The fans both run fine when it gets to temperature. I've followed the proper bleeding procedure now and I am now in my 5th or 6th cycle of bleeding air, replacing coolant every time. I hear gurgling coming from the heater core so I know there is air still in the system. This motor is by far the most challenging one I have worked on. I didn't have any issues like this while working on my EG33 or my old EJ22.

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    When I was working at a subaru dealership-I was taught to fill the engine from the top radiator hose to eliminate most of the air in the system-thought, I've never done it on a 3.0
    Legacys are like potato chips-You can't stop at just one!

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    Quote Originally Posted by thenines' View Post
    When I was working at a subaru dealership-I was taught to fill the engine from the top radiator hose to eliminate most of the air in the system-thought, I've never done it on a 3.0
    The biggest pain in the rear of this engine is the cooling system design and radiator design. The heater core input and output lines are higher than the crossover pipe, so air gets stuck in the heater core. Second, the radiator has 2 top hose inlets/outlets. I'm going to lift the front of the car as high as i can to bleed the heater core. It's kinda ridiculous to do that. Basically, the heater core is starving the top of the heads from getting coolant and causing it to warm up.

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    Quote Originally Posted by thenines' View Post
    When I was working at a subaru dealership-I was taught to fill the engine from the top radiator hose to eliminate most of the air in the system-thought, I've never done it on a 3.0
    The biggest pain in the rear of this engine is the cooling system design and radiator design. The heater core input and output lines are higher than the crossover pipe, so air gets stuck in the heater core. Second, the radiator has 2 top hose inlets/outlets. I'm going to lift the front of the car as high as i can to bleed the heater core. It's kinda ridiculous to do that. Basically, the heater core is starving the top of the heads from getting coolant and causing it to warm up.

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    I guess I'm not looking forward to having a block heater installed-ther'er going to hate me at the dealership! I've seen a few cars at work getting the air bleed out with the front end lifted way up in the air-usally nissans. Forgot about the two upper hoses on the H6-thought-I've burned my arm a few times changing the belt on the hoses.
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    Update: So we replaced the water pump the old one looked pretty beat and the impeller had some resistance when turning it. Filled it with coolant, bled air from the system, took it for a 2 mile drive and it temp went almost to the hot line. Bled some more air out of the system, took it on a 2 mile drive, temp climbed up again. This time I noticed the upper hoses were too hot to touch and had pressure, but the lower hose was cold, as in no signs of warmth at all. It was almost like the car was never running. We used an Autozone thermostat the first time, learned my lesson, got a thermostat from the dealer and took the autojunk thermostat back. Refilled the coolant, bled air, took it for a lot longer drive, no issues. At this point we decided to drive it home, thinking we found our issue. We were 40 miles from where we left with another 75 to go, car starts getting warm, pulled over to the side of the road when the needle got to the 3/4 line, let it cool, added more coolant. The overflow bottle dumped the coolant out in route which is why it was low. We got another 40 miles and then it got hot. At this point, I crawled under the car, grabbed the hose, hose was cold, like we were never driving the car. The outside temps are about 40 degrees and the water in the lower part of the radiator has at least a 30 degree difference in temperature. Fans work properly but the thermostat is refusing to open again, with a OEM Subaru thermostat for that exact car. Please help me diagnose it. Could it be the OEM thermostat took a crap after 80 miles? We made it safely home the last 15 miles stopping when the gauge got to 3/4 and letting it cool. When I noticed the thermostat not opening, we weren't losing any coolant. One thing we did notice is when I removed the cap from the radiator, it looked like there was, what I can only accurately describe as, wood pulp that is accumulating around the seal of the radiator cap and also looks like white foam is floating in the top of the overflow bottle. I flushed the engine, radiator, and heater core out for almost an hour using water in both of the upper inlets before I installed the radiator after the new water pump was installed.

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    Did you flush the radiator/heater core with a machine designed for just that? if not-I'd find a shop that does-one hose colder than another leads me to believe there is a blockage-is the thermostat installed in the right direction? Being frustrated can make you screw up-I've done it myself.
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    I rented a block tester from Autozone, hooked it up and confirmed I am one of the very few with a blown head gasket. I am working with a supplier in a California who has a JDM EZ30 with 45,000 miles on it who will ship it for $843.73, including residential liftgate delivery and a 90 day, unlimited mile warranty. We're going to go that route because the motor in the car has 202,000 miles on it and a full rebuild will cost me nearly $1000 after internals, gaskets, machining, and timing components. This way I can use the EZ30 I have in the car and slowly rebuild it for my other Outback off-road car.

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