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Discussion Starter #1
Working with a fairly new to me used Tribeca. The car overheated on me on the way home from the dealer. Cooling system was a mess. Bad radiator, bad radiator cap (previous owner or mechanic installed and extra flat washer for some unknown reason. I replaced the thermostat for good measure. Totally flushed the system and fixed an oil leak at oil cooler while I was at it. Engine is running great now and it doesn't overheat any longer. I'm not convinced my troubles are over however. One of the Senior members on this forum suggested watching my freshly cleaned coolant reservoir for bubbles while the engine is running. Sure enough, I have a slow stream of bubbles. I get one about every 2-4 seconds.


I have a 6 month warranty on the engine/drivetrain. I talked with my brother about tis last weekend and he suggested I put a bottle of K-Seal in the cooling system. He claims it worked on his Dodge Dakota. Everything I have read tells me this is a halfway decent product. Does anyone have any experience using K-Seal on the 3.0 engine.
 

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Sure enough, I have a slow stream of bubbles. I get one about every 2-4 seconds.
of course rule out obvious things particularly on a hacked up car as you've described. but that's pretty standard headgasket territory - not only the bubbles but the fact that you just bought it, pretty typical for these to hit lots and people buy them already having blown gaskets - that's exactly why the previous owner ditched it.

I have a 6 month warranty on the engine/drivetrain.
Have the engine repaired/replaced under warranty. an exhaust gas analyer will confirm it and if it's that bad a block tester might diagnosis it as well.

The JDM engines from japan are excellent alternatives to repair and cheap/less labor intensive for the shop so they'll like it too. And you'll get a spare alternator out of the deal (OEM alternators are like $500 and aftermarket are crap).

I talked with my brother about tis last weekend and he suggested I put a bottle of K-Seal in the cooling system. He claims it worked on his Dodge Dakota. Everything I have read tells me this is a halfway decent product. Does anyone have any experience using K-Seal on the 3.0 engine.
No. There's a whole bunch of problems with this situation. No well experienced Subaru mechanic....or maybe 1 in a 100...would say this is a good idea. Google it on ultimate subaru message board, subaruoutback.org and other subaru forums to get platform specific feedback.

It's a terrible solution except in very specific situations it can work - but Subaru has it's own sealer for those situations in certain subaru situations and failure modes, but that's not the case for your situation. head gaskets have multiple failure modes and it won't work in this one. It's blowing exhaust gases into the coolant - no way a sealant has a chance of holding to the 1,000 degree ICE combustion process. And yours has progressed beyond normal stages, not that it matters.

And you have a warranty. Why would you do anything but get it warrantied? I would hope for a JDM engine, that would be awesome and well worth your deductible (i think).

Reviews of things like this are often anecdotal and very limited in value. I can not tell you how many times I have heard, seen for sale, had an acquaintenance say "my XYZ fixed my overheating"...and then days, weeks, months, and even a year later it ends up being a headgasket. Where XYZ is radiator cap, coolant change, thermostat, radiator, hoses, a leak, etc.

Many of the "reports" of fixes end up like this in the future, or don't put many miles on the car, are just limping along some rusty POS, flip it, have terrible self-diagnosis and mechanical communication skills, don't know (family/friends car), long term reviews over 50,000 miles and 5 years.
 

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You have a leak in your coolant system or you still haven't finished burping the system.

First, follow the burping process in the factory manual. 06-07 have a purge port on the heater hose.

If you still have a stream of bubbles: You have a leak somewhere.

Either a hose, gasket or most likely, a headgasket.

Take it in, tell them it overheats, show the mechanic the stream of bubbles. Keep bringing it back saying it overheats as long as you can see that stream of bubbles. Because if it isn't overheating now, it will later.

Note: You should never see the temp gauge do anything other than sit right at the 3 small lines in the middle of the display. It should never go over that.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I subscribe to AllData and I followed the procedures for refill. In my opinion, a hose leak would do exactly that, create a leak. I think that leaves the head gasket. There is no leak from the engine block. So, if it is a head gasket failure then it is likely there is a breach from cylinder head to a coolant passage. I can see where this would create a cyclical pressurization/vacuum across such a breach as the piston cycles in the chamber.


For the K-Seal product to work according to their description of how the product works, the leak would need to penetrate from the engine coolant passage to the cylinder to deposit the carbon and copper fibers until the leak is sealed. This force would have to overcome the opposing force of each compression and combustion cycle which gives me pause.


I am trying to do and know I can before I have the vehicle over to a shop. I am responsible for all diagnostics to determine the problem and then it is up top my approved garage and the insurance company on how best to resolve the issue. I basically won't have a say on how the covered component is repaired unless I want to spend my own $.


Thanks very much for helping me think through this problem.
 

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There have been a case I recall with someone chasing bubbles that was due to a small leak in a hose. When the coolant system cooled off air was sucking in through the small hole (vs the overflow tank) and was constantly reintroducing air in to his system.

I agree, most likely a head gasket issue, but thought that I would mention that other possibility.

Just say no to K-seal. Lots have tried, none have had success that I've seen. For the basic physics you mention.

Tom
 

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JDM Engine in Chantilly, Virginia did me right on a JDM engine. It was about $2200 installed. I am about as far away from them as you are. Not a bad route if it's the head gasket.
 

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I am responsible for all diagnostics .
exhaust gas analyzer is best if you have existing bubbles. but not many shops have those as they're $$$$. you could call around and ask.

the block test kits from local auto parts stores only have a partial success rate so they can still leave you a big question mark and aren't cheap.

I basically won't have a say on how the covered component is repaired unless I want to spend my own $.
if they're not familiar with JDM then you could ask about it - they can quickly jump on that boat - cheaper, lower mileage, and free delivery and no core charge. win-win, many shops will make that happen if you help connect the dots.
 

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Ours did that...all of a sudden constant overheating. Two different Subaru dealers diagnosed (at least that's what they claimed) "bad thermostat" - get this - three times! As the fourth overheating episode came, I fear the heads warped or gaskets therein leaked due to the overheating, maybe? And of course that required a lot of money and work to fix it. Too bad.
 

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I basically won't have a say on how the covered component is repaired unless I want to spend my own $.
Provide the shop with JDM information and they would probably gladly install one over unknown used, it's free shipping, no core return, there are some perks in it for the shop.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Thanks all. For now the engine is no longer over heating. I am hoping the work I did corrected the issue. I did look at the JDM site for used 3.0 engines and I can't say that I was all that impressed. As far as I can tell the engine was just pulled from a scrap vehicle and secured for shipping. No real garantee on mileage or state of the engine. The exclusions in their warranty will make it very difficult to get a bad engine replaced. I can't find anything that says they actually perform any tests on the engine. And you only get 90 days. I don't know but I'm skeptical.
 

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I had similar issue with my 06, over heat when not in motion
Replaced stuck open thermostat (July 2016)
First heater core purge (Dec 2017)
New radiator cap (June 2018)
Gunk found clogging radiator cap (June 2018)
Replace hose below air purge on left side (Small hole, human hair size only leaked when system was hot and at pressure and the hose was tweaked from pressure on the loose air box in late June 2018)
Intermittent heat in cabin
Second heater core purge (Push, Pull of system till clear, Dec 2018)
Radiator fluid violently escapes system because radiator cap weep / pressure holes filled , cap cleaned (Yesterday)

I have talked to a couple mechanic friends about my experience. It isn't an uncommon side effect of stop leak, though my situation was extreme.
 

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Sure enough, I have a slow stream of bubbles. I get one about every 2-4 seconds.
Has this continued or stopped?

JDM are commonly used in Subaru world, by Subaru shops, and have a very reasonable track record and usually fewer downsides than other options. whatever the failure rate is, it's small enough to be one of the best options available. But without the experience of buying and installing engines from various sources and seeing the market and long term prognosis yourself - it is hard to feel good about any used engine. I feel that way about other things I'm less familiar with than Subarus.

The only issue I've seen is the connectors get damaged in transit/shipping - tribeca's are particularly vulnerable with the valve solenoids/switches sticking out. No matter to me, I don't even contact the companies, it's so easy I just fix it. I should probably let them know at least..
 
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