Overheating in cold weather?

Asked by Dec 21, 2009 at 11:40 PM about the 1997 Subaru Legacy 4 Dr L AWD Sedan

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

Help!  
The car runs fine in town. When I go up skiing and return home I have problems. The car heats up normally for the
first mile or two. Then when I start heading downhill (2000 ft), the heating system stops working. Long downhill trips
seem to be the problem!  The car heat and defroster stop working and start blowing cold air!  When I get down to level
ground the car temp sensor indicates the car is overheating, but still the heater and defroster are blowing cold air!  I
have found that i need to stop the car and turn it off for 5-10 minutes before the heater and defroster begin working
again and the car temp sensor indicates a normal temp. What is going wrong? I have driven in the mountains all of my
life and I have never heard of this!

5 Answers

20

hi there. i just joined this forum to respond to this question. well i dont really have the answer but i would just like to say i have almost the exact same problem with a subaru legacy. no heat and overheating engine. i also get lots of air in the cooling system and i dont know where its coming from. i will be driving it and all of a sudden the heat will be gone and the engine temp will spike. I HATE IT to say the least. its also very cold here as of now. i dont know how popular these forums are but i would really like to get a response from anyone.

2 people found this helpful.
50

the years 1997-2000 approximately 2.5 liter have a problem with the piston ring inserts. We had ours go out at about 98,000miles. The sleeves slip a fraction and they will bigin to pump air into the cooling system causing overheating. The dealer took our engine out and put on a head without sleeves. The cost was $4500/ Now it is like a new car. A dealer will be able to tell you the exact years. They may be able to do a test. However I think they just took ours apart.

2 people found this helpful.

Sounds like you need a new thermastat, no heat when thermistat is bad/closed try runnibg the car in idle with the heat on!

5

Everyone is always blaming the head gasket. I just put in a 30k motor from Japan and it came with this problem. Above Auburn CA is over heated and no heat. Had to pull the thermostat just to get back to Sac from Reno.

I had this problem and changed the thermostat, still had the problem. So I burped the radiator for a full hour and the problem stopped until recently. Im guessing it is the the piston sleeves that have slipped letting air get in. It only happens when climbing or coming down from 10,000 feet.

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