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Newbie needs advice


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Evening guys,


My new baby started misbehaving yesterday, have done about 400 miles in her since purchase( up&down the M3)mostly. Yesterday went round the block to the post office and she started to overheat. Temp gauge went up to just below the red in 3-4mins of driving(calmy too).


She had cooled down by the time I left the PO, but was the same by the time I got home.


The previous owner had the rad replaced after the original split on the plastic top by the filler neck(2nd hnd part).


I am praying its low on coolant and thats all.  The expansion bottle is so dirty inside its virtually impossible to tell what the level is.


If i take the rad cap or filler res cap off, should i be able to see coolant- I can't.


Am going to try burping etc in AM.


Have been looking for a new rad in case, and have been told by 2 different suppliers that the version i need for my MY2002 uk wrx turbo estate is the non capped rad - the current one has a rad cap on it - How do I find out if I have the right rad for my car currently on it and does it even matter???


Cheers for reading this essay and ANY suggestions will be considered at the mo.


Gnash :(

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As far as I know there shouldn't be a rad cap. The filling is all done via the header tank.

Sounds like it's got either a small pin hole leak or an air lock somewhere.

Get it upto temp and check the rad for any leaks and the hoses for any leaks. These tend to only show when the system is upto pressure.

If no leaks the drain the system and refill it same as if you replace the rad.

My top tip is to refill the system is remove the top hose from the rad and fill the system up through the top hose. Also take the cap of the header tank.

(It's easy to create air locks filling via the header tank)

When you have filled the water upto the top of the top hose, start the car and wait for the thermostat to open (water will disappear from the top hose and should be now be pumped out the top of the rad).

With engine running reconnect the top hose and top the system up via the header tank. Only fill the car with the recommended amount of coolant the header tank doesn't need to be full of water as it's really just an expansion tank and only fills up when the system in upto temp and under pressure.

This should clear the airlock. Bear in mind when the thermostat opens the water will be hot!

Having just mentioned the thermostat this could also be at fault, I had one that wasn't opening fully and was causing overheating issues.

You can tell if the thermostat isn't working as the water will be not pumped around the engine and coming out the outlet at the top of the rad.

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Cheers pete will start in the morn, hopefully with sucess will try and get some pics up laer of the rad to see if any1 can ID it.


Is there a specific coolant i should use, like blue,red,green etc had a toymota and the arguments over whether red or green coolant should be used went on for months. Have some bog standard blue stuff -summer coolant its labelled will this do, at least if nothing else to get me going till i can get to halfrauds or somewhere


thanks again

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Pete has covered all the points I would make dont worry about the coolant colour just as long as it has some, you can always flush the system at a later date with a colour of your choice

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Update Time


Hi Guys


Started checking the car over and discovered that the coolant level seemed very low, put some more in and she now seems to be driving normally( where should the temp needle be by the way).


Am driving her to work in the AM (london rush hour) and will take it from there - Hopefully evrything has sorted itself,am going to do a full drain down, clean and refill etc as soon as i get a chance.


Attached is an engine bay shot - can anybody tell me from pic if I have the right radiator and if not what it should look like - Am planning to renew the cooling system - so pump,stat and rad will be bought @ the end of the month.


Cheers for all the help.


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Evening chaps,


My baby has kinda been behaving, she drives normally enough until sat in traffic for about 5-10 mins then she goes up & gets all hot and bothered - is this normal - see attached - as soon as i'm moving again she drops back down to about middle which I assume is normal.


Have a trip down M3 @ weekend - should i take her




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Have you checked you coolant fluids checked for airlocks. ?


I would change the fluid too just incase, can you hear the fans come onto. 

Sorry just read the other posts :D

the needle on mine sit's below half only ever seen it go over half way once when I was on a track day. 

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The temp gauge needle should be approximately in the middle and should stay put once up to temp. Some sit below the middle and some in the middle. Yours is too high to be normal.


Before you drive it next, check your coolant levels. Top up if needed.  Then go for a normal sort of drive until at least its up to temp. When you stop, before turning the engine off, open the bonnet and lift off the yellow cap on the expansion bottle just at the top right of the rad in your engine bay pic. When you look inside, you should see a handful of tiny bubbles and the coolant being fairly static and at the normal level. If you see the water bubbling, frothy and higher than normal, you have a problem. It means you have suspect head gasket failure. The way to confirm this is to get a sniff test done at a garage.


No point looking for oil/coolant mix type mayo in the oil filler cap. Scoobies dont do that very often.


I think the rad on yours looks like the normal one. It dosn't matter anyway. In fact, it makes bleeding the air out much easier.


Ref, your earlier comment about changing the water pump. By all means do that, but take the opportunity to replace the timing belt at the same time. It has to come off anyway to change the water pump. Obvioulsy, if the head gaskets need doing, it will all come off anyway.

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  • 1 month later...
  • 1 year later...

Turns out the rad & thermo wasn't the end of the story.  About 3 months later she started acting up again, then one dark night while hunting for my dropped mobile I discovered a very soggy footwell carpet. The heater matrix was leaking, so had that replaced and she now runs well at last.

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  • 1 month later...

post-1753-0-70911000-1433274664_thumb.jpJust to finish this one chaps,


Above is the photo my mechanic thougth funny to send halfway through the matrix replacement - I now understand why the say it takes so long.



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