Can a faulty Water Pump [2001 Subaru Outback] cause irregular performance of the cabin heating system?


Asked by jknightarchitect Feb 13, 2013 at 06:50 PM about the 2001 Subaru Outback

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

Our 2001 Subaru Outback: can a faulty water pump cause the cabin heating system to run irregularly?  
There is little rhyme or reason to when it is blows warm air versus cool air.  We smell gasoline odor
within the cabin on extremely cold days.  The odor is so strong, I will open the windows in sub zero
temperatures.  Apparently, while the engine is still cold, in sub- zero temperatures [such as 10
degrees] there is oil & antifreeze dripping onto the exhaust from the water pump.  I assume this might
be creating a low pressure condition within the water pump, which makes it difficult to heat the cabin

There was a recall for faulty fuel lines on a 2002 model of Subaru, but not for this one.

Also, we have an engine temperature gauge which ranges from medium temperature to the highest
reading possible.  Then later… it will be back to a normal reading.  Driving it fast does not seem to
necessarily make this gauge go up.  I cannot find much rhyme or reason for this symptom either.

2 Answers


Fix the gas leak first. Cars in general use rubber hoses to span the gap between the steel fuel lines on the body and the fuel rail(s). Many leaks can be found at those connections so check that area for stains and moisture. Another source of leaks is at the fuel regulator on the fuel rail. A third area is the injectors. Find the leak and correct it. The water pump needs changing too since it's dripping. It shouldn't make that much of a difference in heater output unless it allows air in the coolant system.

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.
Jeff Smith

Tenspeed is right. Regarding the fuel line issue, I would check the following here: and see if the smell subsides. Additionally, if you have oil dripping from your engine onto the exhaust, it is likely that you have a blown head gasket. The water pump receives no oil. Furthermore, if you do have a blown head gasket, the water pump may not actually be leaking, as the gasket could leak coolant as well.

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