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Classic Impreza overheating


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Hi everyone - I have just joined the subaru owners club and need some help. Someone probably has already asked about this issue but I couldn’t find anything on the forum so here goes. Apologies in advance 


I had bought my first Subaru Impreza going back almost 2 years ago where everything was fine and she drove spot on. I started it one day after ages (barely driven it 500 miles since I’ve had it) and let her run for around 20 mins and noticed that it was overheating and had lost all fluids. There was a big wet patch on the floor. 

So the next day I topped it up with water and started it and could see it was still over heating after 15 mins or so. However it doesn’t seem to be losing any water. So I started it again yesterday and the same happened again.

Now im not sure what it could it be - I’ve checked to see if there’s any leaks but can’t see anything. I have no clue what is going on with this thing. Any help will be appreciated. 

This is a 1993 Subaru Impreza WRX turbo (import)

thanks guys



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Hi guys - sorry for late reply been waiting on the weather to clear up Before going out..

so ... I started the car up and removed the coolant cap - the car was running for half an hour and didn’t overheat one bit. The fans kicked in fine and everything was sweet. I turned the engine off after half hour and put the cap back on and started it back up and once again this was fine. 

I then drove this about 10 metres and booom she was over heating again. Now I let it cool down and looked there was very little water. And it took a lot of it to fill back up again. So not sure what it could be. 

The top hose is hot and bottom hose is cold. Could you tell me where the thermostat is on this? My first ever Scooby and I don’t know anything about these. Sorry. 

Also, the car had no work done to it before this over heating issue. It had just been parked up as I don’t drive it much at all. 

Thanks for your help guys 

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Cheers Neil - I will try getting the thermostat changed this week. 

Im guessing both hoses (top and bottom) should be getting warm? Also, seeing as the car wasn’t overheating whilst the coolant cap was removed, what could do this mean?

I spoke to someone about it briefly and got told it’s the head gasket without even fully hearing me out. Is this true? Does anyone know how much a head gasket would cost on this? 


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The thermostat is housed where the bottom rad hose connects to the block on my Hawkeye. I recently changed my coolant and had an air lock and the bottom hose was cold. I managed to remove the air lock and now all is fine. The airlock would make it start to overheat and the fans could no longer control temps. I use a Bluetooth dongle and torque app to monitor water temps as the gauge in the car is useless.

What you describe can be the Head Gasket yes. This is why I asked if you done any work on the cooling system.

I would drain the system and try again, check all your hoses for leaks and test thermostat and change if needed. If it has been standing then how does the HG blow. Fingers crossed it is your thermostat that is stuck(would explain cold bottom hose and overheating). Just replace it and try again.


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I will try that when I’m off on weekend and report back. Thanks Siluro for the advice. 

I just hope it is a cheap fix with the thermostat and nothing like the head gasket. 

To be fair I think some of the hoses could do with a change as they seem abit tired. What are the best hoses to go for and where can u get these from?

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Hi guys 


So I managed to remove the old thermostat, which was a struggle due to location, and put the new one. Connected the hoses up and took it for a drive. I realised the cat was still overheating but just ever so slightly and then creeped back down. 


I topped it back up with water and noticed there was a leak coming from the left of the thermostat. I then double checked the housing and the leaking wouldn’t stop. I then took the thermostat back out to make sure I had put this in properly. 


After filling back up with water I realised the housing was now leaking and also the coolant bottle. Water was just flowing out but then the leak stopped from the coolant bottle but the housing kept going. 


I topped it back up and took it down my street and back up. I let it cool down and saw that there was no water left - but when I filled it back up I realised that there wasn’t any water leaking anymore. 


I dong understand what it can be. Now the car overheats. There was water leaking from the coolant and the thermostat housing and from the left of this. But it has now all stopped. Also it gives out cold air. 


What could this be? Does anyone know or has anyone come across this on their 1993 Subaru Impreza import?

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Your not making much sense "leaking from coolant". Sounds very strange though. Cannot see how it leaked and then stopped on its own. On a newage the thermostat has to be put in a certain way, jiggle pin at the top. Not sure if a classic is the same.

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With the cap off the system will not pressurise and will overflow from the cap as water expands under heat of the engine, all normal. This does not explain the leak at the stat housing though. Why would that stop maybe because the stat is closed it stops and when open it leaks. Good luck

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  • 2 weeks later...

Update guys - eventually took the car to a garage and had it pressure tested.

It turned out to be the water pump. So I have now replaced the thermostat, water pump and timing belt and few other hoses and she’s back to being a good little girl. 

Also, it now gives out warm heat as opposed to cold but it could be a lot warmer. Could that just be an airlock?



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I believe it was leaking - how often should you change the water pump on a Subaru?

Also - how often should you service the classic Subaru? Should it be after every after 6k miles or so? Just curious 

i don’t think il do 6k anytime soon as I’ve only done around 500/600 in 2 years. Next thing to tackle will be the windscreen as it’s got a crack which has got worse over time. 

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Umm " 500/600 miles in two years "


How is your car stored 


!! Having the car sitting around not being used for long periods

( apart from trashing it to death )

Is one of the most certain ways to insure it's quick demise.


For such low usage, I would service her, Yearly,

evenif you didn't drive her at all.


Else ( with light use ) major service every 3 years 

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