1998 Subaru Forester runs hot


#1

1998 Forester
233,000 miles
Two years ago it started running hot after 15 minutes of either driving or idling.
Coolant seemed to vanish into thin air.
The Subaru Dealership said that I either had a bad head gasket or a cracked cylinder wall.
They said it would cost $2,000 dollars just to find out what the exact problem was!
They said if the head gasket was bad then the total cost would be about $2,300 to replace the head gaskets.
They said if the cylinder wall was cracked, then we would need a new engine which would cost $7,500.

So out of frustration, we purchased a running 2000 Toyota Echo with 172,000 miles for $3,900.

The Forester has just been sitting in our backyard for the last two years.
According to Kelly Blue Book, if it was not over heating, then the amount that I could expect to get if I sold it to a private party is about $2,900.
It does have a couple of other problems also:
1) Dealership said that it needs a new rack and pinion, which they said would cost about $1,800.
I had to top off the Power Steering Fluid Reservoir weekly due to leaks.
2) The air conditioner works sometimes and sometimes it doesn’t.

The Echo is still running fine and it currently has 214,000 miles on it.
Our other running vehicle is a Honda Odyssey which has 220,000 miles on it.
We recently found out that the Odyssey does need one of its motor mounts replaced.
The last motor mount replacement cost us about $700.

I mentioned to my wife that I wondered if that $700 could fix the Subaru instead.
She gave me one of those looks.

I love the Subaru but we don’t know whether it’s worth sinking thousands of dollars into.

Would you recommend me using CRC Industries Block Seal Head Gasket Repair (in the can) on this vehicle?
(http://www.crcindustries.com/auto/content/blockseal.aspx)

P.S. I drive the Echo and my wife drives the Odyssey.


#2

Listen to your wife.


#3

Get your Subaru started and sell it. There are folks who repair them the head gaskets and keeping motoring on. You can get $500-$1000 for that Subaru with blown head gasket.


#4

I guess you have nothing to lose by using that CRC head crack ‘stop leak’ at this point. I would not expect it to work though. It’s the same for all of that magic sealing formula gimmicks: if it really worked, why would anyone every have their heads pulled and repaired or replaced? The best you might hope for is that it will allow you to drive the car from your driveway into your garage or to the junkyard. They make a procuct called “bars leak”, it is supposed to stop radiators from leaking by finding the holes and plugging them up. Well it does work to some deree. It does plug up the radiator holes, as well as the heater core where the fluid is supposed to flow. This does a great job of sealing up the cooling system so it overheats a lot more.


#5

How did you end up paying $3900 for an echo with that kind of mileage? Was this a used car dealer or something? Holy cow.

It sounds like you keep using dealers for things. You can do a lot better on the size of the bills and get work done just as well by finding a good, locally owned, independent shop.

As it sits the Subaru is scrap metal. If the choices are to let it sit there and rot or try a mechanic in a bottle, then I’d try the mechanic in a bottle. If the car is already unusable then there’s little to lose. But do a little research - in particular do some web searching on a thing called “sodium silicate” which is the actual ingredient in many of those block sealers.

These do not “fix” anything in any proper way, but one of our most knowledgeable posters here (Tester) has reported using this with some success for lost cause car cases.

Of course, you can also do WAY better than $2300 on the head gaskets or $7500 on an engine if you stop going to the dealer.