My 2004 35 edition legacy wagon is overheating

First off, I don’t really know if this website is for like car fixing junkies, if so or not, maybe someone could point me in a direction.

After changing the radiator twice, it clearly wasn’t the problem. The thermostat too.

The coolant tank is full, and before driving, we pour in some coolant into the system to make sure it works.

While driving, the temperature meter stays stable. About five minutes it fluctuates up and back down.

Then higher, and lower. Then about four or five times, the hot air will just go dead cold, I think resembling that the coolant is all out, and if it’s driven past this point, the top pipe on the radiator will burst. The car’s temp meter at that point though is way past the red mark.

So basically, is it a leak?

The noticeable thing was that when the car is stalling, the bottom radiator pipe is stone cold, while the top one gets way too hot.

Thanks y’all, even if you could point me to some other website, it would be nice.

These cars are notorious for head gasket failure.Hope its not that.
This is the complete list of Subaru

  • Impreza (from 1999 to 2011)
  • Forester (from 1999 to 2010)
  • Legacy (from 2000 to 2009)
  • Outback (from 2000 to 2009)
  • Baja (from 2003 to 2006)

Here’s what the temperature gauge in your Subaru really means.



Lets make it 3… Head gasket.

First priority: Have the engine tested for an incontinent head gasket. Shops do this all the time, not overly expensive. Fixing it is though. If that’s not the problem, could be the cooling system has a leak and/or isn’t holding the correct pressure for some reason. Faulty water pump, another idea.

Some coolant? The cooling system must be Full before driving the vehicle.

Getting an engine that hot will generally cause damage to the cylinder heads and head gaskets so yes, at the minimum you likely have head gasket problems.

Hmmmm… I think the guys are onto something here. I will also raise a wrench and say head gaskets… Lord knows I’ve seen the same issue enough times and replaced way too many head gaskets on Subarus.

I believe it came down to a design flaw in the oem gasket that your engine had used originally? I dont recall what the excuse was, but it was said that Subaru did updated their parts supplies with a new revised gasket to try to staunch the flow of people getting up in arms about it, rightfully so. This issue was a major stink in Subaru land for quite some time. You can easily look this story up on the net.

Remember if you do actually replace the head gaskets…mill the heads as well, its important…or at least have them checked by a machinist with his expensive straight edge. You will be glad you did. Oh yea… just yank the engine out to do the job…so much easier.