Overheating (not TOO serious)

Tiny
BENH088
  • MEMBER
  • SUBARU
Hey there. I just recently purchased a 1986 Subaru GL Wagon, with a 1.6L carburated engine (it's got 170k+ miles). It works perfectly besides one problem; after driving it for a while (about 20 minutes) the temp gauge will go high (a needle's width below the red section). I turn the heater on and it puts it down a bit (not to a comfortable area though). I read various forums, etc, and tried troubleshooting a few things. I looked to see if the fan will switch on, and it runs. The coolant levels are perfect. There seems to be no gunk ON the radiator, and I had the coolant flushed today at a mechanic. I'm almost positive it's not the water pump, as the temperature goes down when I turn the heater on. I did notice a gurgling sound a few times from under the dash which might suggest the water pump is sucking in air? I also replaced the thermostat. I checked hoses today; in fact, after having my radiator flushed, I TRIED to overheat the car, and upon getting to the top of this hill, my upper radiator hose blew. I replaced it though. This car problem isn't too much of a problem when it's colder out (because I'm prone to have the heat on), but I would like to travel a bit and I need to fix this. What is going on?
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Tuesday, March 6th, 2007 AT 4:15 PM

5 Replies

Tiny
SCUBARU
  • MEMBER
86 gl wagon should have the 1.8l belt engine. Not the 1.6 l gear engine. If it is a 86 1.8l most likely the r/s cylinder head is cracked or the head gaskets are blown.I am sure thats not the awnser you are looking for. The gurgiling sound could also be exhaust presure making its way to the highest point in the cooling system which is the heater core.
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Tuesday, March 6th, 2007 AT 10:51 PM
Tiny
BENH088
  • MEMBER
I don't know about that, wouldn't blown head gasket or cracked cylinder head warrant VERY quick overheating? I've actually managed to drive the car 90 miles or so with not much problem. I mean it got a little warmer than comfort levels, but with the heater blasted, it was fine. I'm just worried about summer; it gets to around 90 up here, and I'm sure the car would hate me for driving it in that weather. And would anyone agree with my assumption that the radiator is somehow not as efficient as it should be?
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Wednesday, March 7th, 2007 AT 1:56 AM
Tiny
BENH088
  • MEMBER
Also, I should've mentioned that it will over heat in 20 minutes only with the heater off and really pushing the engine up hills or something. Or it gets a bit hot when I'm stuck in city traffic. But if I keep the car moving, it seems not to get dangerously hot at all. I'd say it gets to about 4/5ths of the way up the temp gauge.
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Wednesday, March 7th, 2007 AT 1:59 AM
Tiny
RASMATAZ
  • MEMBER
Remove the thermostat and go for a test run-see what happens- also make sure you bleed the system
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Wednesday, March 7th, 2007 AT 5:27 AM
Tiny
SCUBARU
  • MEMBER
As far as a head gasket causing the vehicle to overheat very quickly the awnser is NO not on a Subaru. Not until the problem is very severe. It starts as a small crack or a small portion of the gasket in between the cooling jacket and the cylinder allowing a small amount of exhaust pressure and exhaust tempature into the cooling system. Another words tempature that the vehicles cooling system wasnt designed to handle.I am sure that driving it around and increasing airflow across the radiator or removing the thermostat so the engine cant build tempature will help until it gets really bad. The job of the t-stat is not to cool the engine down it is to maintain a specific temp for lower tail pipe emmisions, increased fuel economy and better engine performance. I know my possible solution to your symtom is not the one you want But in the middle of this summer when you have done everything else possible and it still overheats remeber this post. After a 90 minute drive try removing the overflow bottle cap and smelling the overflow bottle my guess is that it wont smell like anti freeze
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Wednesday, March 7th, 2007 AT 10:13 AM

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