Question about 1997 Subaru Outback

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I have a 1997 Subaru Legacy Outback Wagon and im having a problem with it overheating. I changed the thermostat 3 times...replaced the radiator...and still overheats. I took the thermostat out of car and ran it and it did not get hot but cant get heat in the car that way...Going Crazy trying to figure the problem out....ANY SUGGESTIONS

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Subaru's boxer engines have a known problem of blowing headgaskets, especially in the 90's (I have a 98 Impreza RS myself and have had mine blow.

Check to see if your oil looks milky? or bubbly at all. Or if there is exhaust dust or or oil in your coolant reservoir. If you have either one of those problems, you probably need to replace your headgaskets.

You should also check out your radiator fans. Notice if they both come on after the car is running for a while. They BOTH should after the engine gets hot. Drive it a couple miles, stop and check. If both fans don't come on, check the fan relays and also make sure you plugged in both connectors on the bottom of the radiator.

Goodluck!

Posted on Mar 16, 2010

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Did you put the thermostat in upside down? just asking it happens all the time you can e-mail me at bigwheels4now@yahoo.com for further diagnosis if that doesn't work.

Posted on Feb 04, 2010

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1 Answer

1997 Subaru Outback Overheating, 129,000 miles


it sounds like the thermostat is sticking and i agree with the mechanic that that should cure the problem.If you still have plenty of fluid in the radiator that rules out a leak and if you had the timing belt replaced then the mechanic should have done the water pump along with the timing belt.So that leaves only one thing and that is the thermostat.

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I have a 97 Subaru Outback which has developed a overheating problem. Did a thermostat late last year, and have just replaced it with a genuine Subaru thermostat and casing and still getting overheating...


If you had to bleed the radiator, it is likely your head gasket is allowing exhaust gasses into the coolant. A symptom of this is the coolant reservoir may seem like it is filling up. The other item which is simple and cheap to replace is the radiator cap. If it is leaking, it will allow too much fluid and pressure out of the system and then the coolant will boil. If it is the head gasket, the repair is expensive, usually $700 or more.

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have you got heat in the car,what im saying is when you turn on the heater inside the car what happens?im not getting your drift,but get the thermostat checked out sounds like its not letting the coolant flow.adrian,,,,

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1997 subaru outback legacy overheating


I hate to tell you this but the guy isn't returning your calls because the head gasket is blown and he probably knew it.
As for the 1990... have you checked the water pump for leaks? (front/ driver's side on the bottom of the engine) My guess is that it's faulty and unfortunately, it's behind the timing belt.
Both of these repairs will be a pretty penny.
Good luck!

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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.

google for "Subaru head gasket problem"

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