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1998 Subaru Legacy Wagon Radiator/Coolant Leak


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yeahnick
Novice

Oct 31, 2012, 4:43 PM

Post #1 of 15 (3108 views)
1998 Subaru Legacy Wagon Radiator/Coolant Leak Sign In

1998
Subaru
Legacy
2.2L
160k miles


So, my friend took her car (one above) to Jiffy Lube, gets an oil change, fluids topped off, whatever, then goes to Maui for a week. Lets her friend borrow the car, she gets back her friend says the car is out of coolant, leaks, blah blah. She calls me tells me the whole thing, so I think it's the heater core at first because she mentioned no heater, but low coolant = no heat as well.

Anyways, she drives it over, its leaking pretty bad through the bottom, and I can't see much cause it's dark. So I assume it's her radiator, girl is very very cheap, so I order the least expensive new radiator I can find that has decent reviews (50 bucks shipped, new).

This morning in the rain, I procede to take out the radiator. Fins look good, few bent ones nothing crazy, nothing that tells me it's leaking. I look at the spot where the upper radiator hose attatches and it's sort of warped on one side, it should be circular, but it's flat on one side.

Anyways, should I replace the radiator anyways, or attatch the hose high enough so it's not on the flat warped part, or will it just warp again soon anyways? I will probably pressure check the radiator to make sure it's not leaking, just plug bottom and top and poor water in the fill with a hose or something, ya?

Any help is much appreciated, thanks!

Nick

Will upload pics as soon as I find a host for them! (soon)

Pics:







(This post was edited by yeahnick on Oct 31, 2012, 5:12 PM)


Discretesignals
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
Discretesignals profile image

Oct 31, 2012, 4:56 PM

Post #2 of 15 (3099 views)
Re: 1998 Subaru Legacy Wagon Radiator/Coolant Leak Sign In

Before you took the radiator out you should have pressure tested the coolant system with the engine cold to determine the leak source(s).

If you suspect the radiator has a fault, you should replace it. Doesn't make sense to take your chances on an old aluminum radiator that could destroy a $3000 engine. Flush out the system and replace the radiator cap too. Once you have the new radiator installed and refilled, pressure test the coolant system and check for leaks.

Being a 98, the hoses have probably deteriorated inside. Try to get cheap ass to replace the hoses. Nothing last forever and unless she wants to keep driving the thing or she is not planning on selling it soon, she needs to put some money into it to maintain it.





Since we volunteer our time and knowledge, we ask for you to please follow up when a problem is resolved.

(This post was edited by Discretesignals on Oct 31, 2012, 5:09 PM)


yeahnick
Novice

Oct 31, 2012, 5:06 PM

Post #3 of 15 (3084 views)
Re: 1998 Subaru Legacy Wagon Radiator/Coolant Leak Sign In

Hey, thanks so much! Yeah, definitely.

Great, that's what I'll do!

Yeah, had to sell her 05 Prius, and I actually found this car for a decent price for her, it's still a good deal after I put the radiator in. But yeah, gonna have to last at least ~2 years or so of grad school and until financial stability.


(This post was edited by yeahnick on Oct 31, 2012, 5:38 PM)


nickwarner
Veteran / Moderator
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Oct 31, 2012, 7:59 PM

Post #4 of 15 (3042 views)
Re: 1998 Subaru Legacy Wagon Radiator/Coolant Leak Sign In

Is that duct tape I see on that hose? New hose is cheaper than new engine.


MarineGrunt
Enthusiast
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Oct 31, 2012, 8:27 PM

Post #5 of 15 (3039 views)
Re: 1998 Subaru Legacy Wagon Radiator/Coolant Leak Sign In

I was thinking either duct tape or that foil tape, but he did say she was a cheap ass, so I'd say you're right with the duct tape.


yeahnick
Novice

Oct 31, 2012, 11:33 PM

Post #6 of 15 (3029 views)
Re: 1998 Subaru Legacy Wagon Radiator/Coolant Leak Sign In

Yeah, it's duct tape. Was there when she got the car, but yeah, :-/.

So... Radiator inlet looks toast?


nickwarner
Veteran / Moderator
nickwarner profile image

Nov 1, 2012, 7:45 PM

Post #7 of 15 (2993 views)
Re: 1998 Subaru Legacy Wagon Radiator/Coolant Leak Sign In

Yes, and the hose too. I wouldn't be trusting a $50 radiator either. That car isn't going to last through college when the epoxy that holds the plastic tank to the aluminum core cracks, though the MacGuyver job on the hose would burst pretty much anytime anyway. Then when she doesn't bother to look at the temp gauge and the red overtemp idiot light flashes morse code screams of "STOP ME PLEEAAASSSSEEEE" she cracks the block and warps the heads into a pretzel.

New hoses and a new radiator are the only way to prevent such obvious impending failures from happening, and she'll save a lot of money on duct tape. There is no sense trying to be penny wise yet dollar foolish. I can understand not wasting money frivolously, but putting a duct taped hose and a $50 radiator into this and thinking its just as good as new is like playing russian roulette with 5 live rounds. Well, MAYBE you could be the lucky one but I doubt it.


yeahnick
Novice

Nov 1, 2012, 10:28 PM

Post #8 of 15 (2989 views)
Re: 1998 Subaru Legacy Wagon Radiator/Coolant Leak Sign In

Yeah, if it were my car I would do exactly that. So I'll go ahead and take care of it as if it were mine, thanks guys!


nickwarner
Veteran / Moderator
nickwarner profile image

Nov 2, 2012, 5:14 PM

Post #9 of 15 (2967 views)
Re: 1998 Subaru Legacy Wagon Radiator/Coolant Leak Sign In

Sometimes you can't just do what she wants, you have to act in her best interests. She may not be happy about the money but if you tell her you found such and such part bad while you were in ther or it was in such bad shape if came apart when you pulled it out she might understand. You have to get her to trust you and your abilities. My girl never questions what I do with the cars. Then again, I'm the one that bought them and I'm the one paying for parts so I guess she has no say anyhow.

One piece of advice for the future is to never look at a car problem without a very bright light, and the LED flashlights are dirt cheap now so get a few. Put one in your house, one in the glovebox, etc. But never order parts based on a general direction of a leak that you saw in the dark. Even in daylight I get out the light to be 100% positive I am right.

Let us know how this works out for you and if any complications come up we can walk you through it.


yeahnick
Novice

Nov 4, 2012, 4:52 PM

Post #10 of 15 (2928 views)
Re: 1998 Subaru Legacy Wagon Radiator/Coolant Leak Sign In

Ok, new radiator is in and working good, actually looks like a pretty decent radiator for 50 bucks, everything fits, etc.

Anyways, car is leaking, peaked underneath to find it, its looking like the water pump. So that's a bummer. I don't have a garage, doing this in the street and don't have enough time to fix this myself (I have to write and defend my Master's Thesis in the next month). Taking the car to the shop I use to have them put in a new one for ~320$ minus the cost of the water pump.

Friend says she just wants the car to last a year and doesn't want to put any money into she doesn't have to. Might try and convince her a car is more of an investment and the better you take care of it the better the re-sale.

Also replaced the top and bottom radiator hoses, and going to have a new thermostat installed, while they're in there I'll have them check the timing belt and tensioner, I might go ahead and buy those and if they don't need to be replaced just return them...


yeahnick
Novice

Nov 7, 2012, 1:49 PM

Post #11 of 15 (2873 views)
Re: 1998 Subaru Legacy Wagon Radiator/Coolant Leak Sign In

Update:

Had to replace tension-er, and unfortunately found a gutted thermostat in place of where a real thermostat should be. Had my mechanic put a real thermostat in there with the new water pump, he noted the head-gaskets were leaking oil and so were the cam-seals and crank seals. I had him just put it back together drove it around a little bit, and now it's misfiring like crazy. I'm assuming head-gaskets are blown now and going to actually fixed it like I should have when I heard all those seals were going. Anyways, some lessons are hard to learn. Don't flame too much, I'm positive I should have just had everything replaced the first time it was apart, Unsure


nickwarner
Veteran / Moderator
nickwarner profile image

Nov 7, 2012, 5:36 PM

Post #12 of 15 (2867 views)
Re: 1998 Subaru Legacy Wagon Radiator/Coolant Leak Sign In

Well, lesson learned. Doesn't help that someone gutted that stat before. Good luck on that thesis.


Discretesignals
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
Discretesignals profile image

Nov 7, 2012, 6:51 PM

Post #13 of 15 (2861 views)
Re: 1998 Subaru Legacy Wagon Radiator/Coolant Leak Sign In

It's not uncommon for those to blow head gaskets and also leak oil from the head gaskets. She better be making you dinner and folding your clothes for all your doing for her.





Since we volunteer our time and knowledge, we ask for you to please follow up when a problem is resolved.


yeahnick
Novice

Nov 7, 2012, 7:04 PM

Post #14 of 15 (2853 views)
Re: 1998 Subaru Legacy Wagon Radiator/Coolant Leak Sign In

In actuality I was the one who advised her to buy this car in the first place, it was mechanic owned, the guy has a shop. Anyways I thought he was a trustworthy guy, said he did head gaskets and timing belt. Yah, so I really feel responsible, though all I have been doing is trying to help. My pride is hurt, can't believe that guy swindled me.


Discretesignals
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
Discretesignals profile image

Nov 7, 2012, 7:09 PM

Post #15 of 15 (2851 views)
Re: 1998 Subaru Legacy Wagon Radiator/Coolant Leak Sign In

A holes like that gives us honest mechs and techs a bad name. I wouldn't even class that person as a mechanic.





Since we volunteer our time and knowledge, we ask for you to please follow up when a problem is resolved.






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