I have a '95 Legacy and just yesterday it's started getting really warm and steaming from the hood whenever I drive anywhere. The thermometer in the dash never reads above normal though. also, just this afternoon i've had a lot of trouble going over 55mph without the rpm going way higher than normal. I noticed the coolant tank seems pretty low. Is that causing all the problems or is there something else wrong with my transmision?
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Re: overheating problem, reduced top speed
Your cooling system needs to be looked at, also,,if your engine is really overheating badly this could be causing your transmission problems. Aside from that,,i would have the transmission checked also,,just in case.
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check top radiator hose goes to thermostat housing sound like its leaking if your engine leaking from left driver side on top of engine it has to be top radiator thermostat hose leaking.wait until engine cool down replace top radiator hose see if coolant leaking still occur if so you could have radiator leak.
thats due to low or no coolant, you shouldnt drive this overheating engine damage will occur,the first thing is to fill the radiator up, and look around for any leaks, if no leaks are seen, then start engine and allow it to warm up, leave cap off at first to top off coolant, after a few minutes install cap and let it run, keep an eye on the temp gauge and also watch for leaks. this problem is due to a coolant leak,maybe a hose is bad or it was low on coolant or you have a bad thermostat, good day.
i recommend you don't drive to far and get a mechanic too check it out as you risk overheating and blowing the head gasket which is expensive. You need to get the cooling system pressure checked too find the leak and rectify it. hopefully just a hose but possably a water pump.
Most likely your thermostat is stuck open. When you are at highway speed the air flowing over the radiator is over-cooling the coolant. Normally when it's cold outside the thermostat will close, reducing flow through the radiator. It's an easy fix, and not too expensive.
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.