2003 Subaru Forester looks like Old Faithful

To tell you the truth I thought you guys had passed, and were to be remembered as the classic owners of Rusteze in the Cars series. I thankfully stumbled upon your page because of the article “You should never, ever remove the thermostat from your car” 2/1992 read today when cars have even more computers and I won’t remove my thermostat. But my question is, the mechanic told me that my car was overheating because the head gasket was over pressurizing the cooolant system and causing an air bubble to form at the thermostat which wouldn’t allow it to open and close or work properly. So his solution was to drill holes near the thermostat to relieve that pressure and hope it allowed the thermostat to work again. My car barely makes the trip to work 3 miles and it looks like “Old Faithful” it is constantly steaming and the temp gauge is normal until I’m done looking for a spot when it begins to climb. I didn’t replace the head gasket a second time because I figured the heads were warped and it just wasn’t worth that much. So I tried everything else, bottle fixes, before it was too bad a new radiator, a different temp sensor, a timing belt and a water pump and failed. So on the way to the scrap yard could I remove the thermostat and stop it from steaming? Thanks,

Sounds like putting a bandaid on a compound fracture.
Unless you get the head gasket replaced, with heads milled or replaced, you are beating a dead horse.
At this point, you might as well try removing the thermostat and see what happens, you can always replace it, but if combustion gases are going into the water jacket I think it is not going to help.

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I think Pete is asking if the thermostat is removed will that let him drive to the scrap yard ( a distance unknown ). Why not just park it the street and tell them to come get it ?

I missed the scrap yard comment in the OP.

Heck, give it a try…let us know what happens.

Remove the thermostat and see what happens. I can’t say that I’m enamored of the mechanic who would go to the trouble of removing a thermostat and drilling holes in it. Must have been bored. His logic is pretty skewed. Not enamored = polite term for sell his tools…

Thermostats are cheap and it may just fix the entire problem.

Tighten the radiator cap. When the engine is stone cold start it up and run it for a minute. Shut it off and quickly loosen the radiator cap. If you do not hear a hiss then the head gaskets are likely fine and the thermostat is probably the problem.

We will never know, the scrap yard picked up the car and hauled it away, and paid me small price for the car as scrap.

That would bother me a lot. I say this beause as a long time mechanic I’ve seen many, many perceived serious problems that turned out to be something very trivial. In some cases those cars were scrapped or sold as is.

A fellow mechanic of mine bought a super clean VW diesel once that the owner was convinced had a bad engine. The mechanic bought it as is and after an inspection determined the problem was nothing more than a bad glow plug fuse. Cost to fix? One dollar and a little time cleaning up a nasty fuel injector which was causing a bad sounding knock.

Another case involved an elderly man whose Ford truck kept quitting on a random basis. Multiple tow-ins, several thousand in repairs at a shop 100 miles away, and I discovered the only problem was a fuel pump fuse trying to burn into and was intermittent in use. Cost to repair? Twenty five cents.

There’s many more but you get the point.

Doesn’t matter any now but I’m not getting why taking the thermostat out would have any effect. It’s still a closed system building pressure. What I did with a head gasket problem was to loosen the radiator cap for my 40 mile drive. That allowed the pressure to be vented and the coolant to circulate.