Over Heating - Subaru WRX Forum
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post #1 of 9 Old 03-29-2006, 10:54 AM Thread Starter
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Over Heating

WRX 2002
Yesterday after work, i go get in my car to drive home. Its about a 3 mile drive or so. So im drivin along get about halfway home and then i look down at my gauges and notice that my temp gauge is all they at the red line. I just got my 90k chk up/ tune up. Then after a bit of driving it goes back down. I think i turned on the heater but im not sure if thats why it went down. Then once i got home, i sat in driveway and had car in nuetral and just revd it up at 3k rpm for a bit no overheating. Then i drive around the neighborhood real slow in 1st gear and got it to over heat, then i turned heater on to see if itd drop the temp and nuthing. So then i park the car and let it sit for like 15 mins, then i jumped back in car and went on same drive that i took to get home, tryn to see if itd overheat, and nuthin. The gauge would stay at about 1/2 way wich is normal. This morning i drove to work on freeway, moving real slow in 1st gear, and no overheating. I checked the coolant thingy and it has fluid in it, and the resivor does too. But yesteerday i checked the resivor after it had over heated and i noticed steam in it. hmm. I called the mechanic today and he says either a thermostat, which is cheap , or a head gasket, wich is bad . Mechanic says the steam in resivor makes him think head gasket, and he says that its common with my cars. ohh i hope not.
Also i noticed that my heater only works when im pressin on the gas, then when i come to a stop the air gets cold real quik, i dont know if the car was always doin that or not, and maybe those 2 things are related? So tell me what u think. ty
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post #2 of 9 Old 03-29-2006, 12:52 PM
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hmm sounds kinda like a problem with the heater core or cracked gasket

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post #3 of 9 Old 03-29-2006, 05:56 PM
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I don't think a head gasket will make you overheat. I drove around with a blown head gasket for over six months on an old car with no overheating problems. If you smell a sweet smell (burning antifreeze) when you turn on the heat then it is probably a blown head gasket. My guess is that the theremostat is sticking.
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post #4 of 9 Old 03-29-2006, 06:22 PM Thread Starter
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hmm, if its the gasket, shouldnt i see white smoke coming from exhaust, or coolant dripping from engine? Someone told me that, so i go let the car idel for about 10 mins after driving to work, then after about 10 mins i put my foo on the gas and bring the car to 2.5k rpm. He said i should start seein smoke or drips pretty much right away. im seein none of these things. but still. hmmm. Next ill look for that burnin coolant smell, havent noticed yet, but i also havent been payin too much attention. kk ty all for ## info.^^ ill keep u posted.
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post #5 of 9 Old 03-29-2006, 06:48 PM
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your thermostat might have been stuck closed and then it finally popped.

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post #6 of 9 Old 03-29-2006, 07:26 PM
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im almost positive its your thermostat. check and make sure the fan is kicking on.

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post #7 of 9 Old 03-29-2006, 09:19 PM
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Another possibility is that you got a clog at the heater core.

Thermostats are designed so if they get stuck, it's stuck open. Not saying it cannot get stuck close, just unlikely. Easy way to test is to pull the t-stat, put it into a pot of water, and let it boil, see if it opens up. I had a similiar issue with my Dakota, but it was a symptom of a problem rather than the source, but my heater core was getting clogged up, which kept me from getting much heat at all. If it hasn't ever been flushed, it's a good point to have it flushed now (and probably back-flushed as well).

A symptom of a blown head-gasket would be a sweet smell, and if it's that bad as you say, it would probably be very noticable (and I think white smoke coming from the exhaust).

Stuck thermostat (open), it will take the engine a longer time to warm up, possibly not heat up as well (the heater, and would definitely take longer to get heat out of the heater), but you wouldn't have over-heating problems, unless the fan isn't coming on during city-driving.

I doubt it's the electric fan, since it should not effect the heater for inside the car, but make sure it comes on anyway. I don't know if WRX's have a temp sensor to turn on the electric fan. My old Probe did, and the sensor broke off (sensor based where the t-stat was). Didn't notice the problem until I saw my coolant temp slowly rise while at stoplights, and then go back down while driving. Most of my driving was highway, so wasn't a big issue, but still got it fixed asap.

Air bubble in the cooling system is another possibility, but usually due to low coolant level (or a clogged system). That can cause your coolant sensor to spike to max for 5-10 seconds, then come back down (and probably affect your heater core as well), then few minutes later, it spikes again.

I *think* the only thing that will keep the heater core from blowing heat is lack of coolant cycling or cold coolant. Cold coolant would mean that your coolant isn't cycling (t-stat closed or clogged system). If your t-stat is closed, you're going to overheat fairly quickly.

I say get your system flushed, back-flushed (good mileage to do it at anyway), and replace the t-stat, and see if it does it anymore. That's only going to set you back $60-$75, and also verify your cooling fan is working as well.
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post #8 of 9 Old 03-30-2006, 10:17 AM Thread Starter
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Awsome, ty all for ## info. It has overheatead again, lukily, i have an appointment in a week from today, so ill let you know how it goes. again ty ty
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post #9 of 9 Old 03-31-2006, 10:36 AM
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It sounds like the system needs to be burped. Are cars are known for trapped air bubbles. If the messed with the collant when they did the service they might not have burped the system enough. I would try a flush then make sure you burp the system
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