When trying to purchase a 2nd market radiator, I am asked if I have the coolant sensor, which doubles the price. How do I know what model radiator to purchase? I only see 4 connections..in/out, trans in/out and overflow.
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The gurgling noise you are most likely hearing is a blocked or restricted radiator core, the radiator is responsible for cooling the coolant off and recirrculating it back into your engine if the radiator is blocked the hot coolant cannot cirrculate and escape the engine even tho the thermostat is opened, I know this for a fact because i had a Subaru 3 years ago do the same exact thing and it turned out the radiator was blocked and the coolant couldnt move or cirrculate, try getting the radiator reverse flushed to try and dislodge the blockage if that doesnt work you will more then like have to replace the radiator, you can get a used radiator from a salvage yard for a cheaper price if your on a budget or if you have some money to spend go to your local autoparts store and purchase a new radiator, but try flushing it first......
Known head gasket problems on those cars. Suburu dealership have a good product called stop leak. Use that first add a bottle into the radiator run the car to operating temp. Recheck the belly pan for leaks. hope this helps.
cool air and overheating point to low coolant level. Do you have a bleeder valve near the thermostat? You may have air trapped in the system. If no air trapped, the radiator may be plugged up not allowing proper circulation of coolant.
Sorry if this might break your heart. I have '98 Outback which is the same 1st generation DOHC 2.5 engine. These are common head gasket problem (I'd say 100% of every engine sooner or later) once you have had your car overheated.
You will not get this comfirmed by just have your mech check the compression on the cylinder because we call it phantom leak (internal leak which can be confirmed with hydrocarbon in coolant). And then you will end up replace every other thing before you could reach the source of problem.
Other signs of this issue are as following: random overheating after freeway or uphills drive, bubbles in coolant overflow tank, oil residue in coolant overflow tank, bubble nioses from the a/c vent.
You're looking at $1000-1500 repair by independent mech as they have to pull engine out to fix the problem. I had mine fixed two weeks ago and now my baby is running like a champ.