Overheating subaru

Asked by Apr 01, 2016 at 11:08 PM about the Subaru Outback

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

I have a 1996 Subaru outback that kept
overheating. They checked the radiator and it's
perfectly fine. I had the thermostat changed today
and it is still over heating. What else could be
wrong with it?

15 Answers


Radiator fine because not leaking? It still could be restricted inside. How bout cooling fan does it turn on?

2 of 2 people found this helpful.

Did you replace the thermostat with an aftermarket or original Subaru part? It could make a difference.


Could be a failed head gasket. The Subaru's are know for this condition and common. Have your mechanics perform a cylinder pressure test or leak down test to verify.


Cylinder pressure and leak down tests are often false negatives for the internal high pressure leakage from the combustion chamber through the head gasket into the cooling system, eventually hopelessly overcoming the heat-sinking ability of said system. Often this failure is not measurable cold or steady-state. Repair can ONLY be accomplished by a very laborious replacement of both HGs. Success rate is relatively poor, as the overly-fragile design of this first DOHC 2.5i is such that bottom ends often fail even after a very careful HG job. Subaru learned to simplify to a more rugged SOHC 2.5i in 2000; these are still plagued with weak HGs, but since they're usually EXTERNAL breaches that don't often stress the motors, the great majority of these later HG replacements are durable longterm. I STRONGLY suggest you simply send this 20 yr old chariot to a salvage yard, as otherwise you will probably pull your hair out if you spend $1600 on HGs and then throw a connecting rod 6 months later. It's happened too many times!

1 of 1 people found this helpful.

if you do have 2.5 and it is head gasket related, you should search for a 2.2 swap. Seems common in that era.


Yes, it can be done, and was stock in 1995 with the manual tranny. But it was so underpowered trying to push the heavier OB that Subaru had to tighten up the gearing to get ANY acceleration out of it, resulting in a screamingly-overdriven beast on the highway. The autobox's taller gearing would be quieter, but has REALLY disastrously slow performance, so I would't try it. The 2.2 really needs a lighter load....

1 of 1 people found this helpful.

Error: I meant 1996, the first year of the "true" Outback, as the 1995 was just two-tone paint silliness.


Here's the history of the Subaru Outback iteration. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Subaru_Outback

2 of 2 people found this helpful.

How is this helpful...especially as it has errors?


All this insight and no comment from Sam0916?...lol


it's okay. new members may or may not know about subscribing with email notifications to responses. Pretty typical but no big deal ;)


Well, well, well, the Subaru Outback Wikipedia page was edited 12 days ago. If you think you have more correct information, please send your comments to them. As a point of information, here's another website noting that the Subaru Legacy Outback was first manufactured in Japan in 1995. It was called the Grand Legacy Wagon in Japan, the Legacy Outback in Australia and the Outback in Australia. And, the Wikipedia page is a direct link from the Subaru of America Wikipedia page, so, if you have any direct evidence to the contrary bring it to their attention, not mine. You opened the door with the useless phase that the 1995 was just "two tone paint silliness"... I have no idea where you came up with that. My only reason for bringing up the information was in response to your assertion that the 1996 was the first " true Outback ", I actually considered purchasing one a 1995, but, decided on a 1995 Honda Accord instead. Here's the line they use to market the Subaru Legacy Outback in 1995, "The new theme line, “Subaru. Driven By What’s Inside,” replaces “The Beauty Of All-Wheel Drive,” which was introduced in 1995" Read this website below, it states that the Outback started in 1995. http://www.autoevolution.com/cars/subaru-outback- 1998.html#aeng_subaru-outback-1998-25


In case you don't recall, Paul Hogan from Australia, advertised the Subaru Legacy Outback for several years on television, showing how rugged the car was in the Outback of Australia.


Geez, Mark, AL manufacturers start producing early in the PRECEDING model year. Where've you been? The first true raised suspension 2.5i MODEL YEAR OB in NA was the 1996, which probably started production in late spring 2005. That was preceded by a 2005 "fake Outback" that used the 2.2i and was simply a Legacy Wagon with two-tone paint. I bought, serviced, and sold a few of them. But once Hogan got on TV the raised suspension in 2006 took over, introducing the public to a slew of bad 2.5i DOHC motors. Stop opening encyclopedias and claiming to be an instant expert, Mark...or at least understand that "starting production date" and "model year" can be even more than a year apart....


Sam oh Sam where for art thou Sam...lol I gotta laugh, all this for an overheating Subaru!?

Your Answer

Add photo

Related Questions


Looking for a Used Outback in your area?

CarGurus has 38,529 nationwide Outback listings starting at $1,995.


Search Subaru Outback Questions

Subaru Outback Experts

#1 Markw1952
Reputation 6,620
#2 TheSubaruGuruBoston
Reputation 2,040
#3 F_O_R
Reputation 1,630
View All

Related Models For Sale

Used Subaru Forester
358 Great Deals out of 29,337 listings starting at $1,750
Used Subaru Impreza
187 Great Deals out of 17,841 listings starting at $1,250
Used Subaru Legacy
200 Great Deals out of 15,853 listings starting at $999
Used Honda CR-V
894 Great Deals out of 61,171 listings starting at $988
Used Toyota RAV4
739 Great Deals out of 71,773 listings starting at $1,895
Used Subaru Crosstrek
27 Great Deals out of 13,123 listings starting at $15,001
Used Toyota Highlander
345 Great Deals out of 24,768 listings starting at $2,499
Used Toyota 4Runner
254 Great Deals out of 20,494 listings starting at $1,800
Used Subaru XV Crosstrek
90 Great Deals out of 2,519 listings starting at $10,450
Used Toyota Tacoma
539 Great Deals out of 40,814 listings starting at $2,495
Used Honda Pilot
378 Great Deals out of 21,194 listings starting at $1,500
Used Honda Accord
812 Great Deals out of 84,287 listings starting at $1,050
Used Jeep Grand Cherokee
1,022 Great Deals out of 74,888 listings starting at $750
Used Subaru Impreza WRX
27 Great Deals out of 1,216 listings starting at $4,455
Used Toyota Camry
1,002 Great Deals out of 90,919 listings starting at $650

Content submitted by Users is not endorsed by CarGurus, does not express the opinions of CarGurus, and should not be considered reviewed, screened, or approved by CarGurus. Please refer to CarGurus Terms of Use.