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George H.
George H., Subaru Certified Technician
Category: Subaru
Satisfied Customers: 18701
Experience:  ASE Master Tech 15 + Years
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2002 outback 2.5L AT 153000 miles. Bought used in december

Customer Question

2002 outback 2.5L AT 153000 miles. Bought used in december with 141000 miles. delivery driver. Water pump replaced 2 months ago. Last night battery died, so replaced with ever start from walmart. Noticed coolant overflow reservoir was empty, so filled with 50/50 mix. Installed battery, filled coolant, turned key, car fires right up. Few minutes later at a stop light notice rough idle. Finish shift with blinking check engine light. Turning ac on while idling causes rpm to drop under 500 and act like it will stall. Help please?
JA: Is the car in "Park" or "Neutral?" Do you know if your car has a "wheel lock" feature?
Customer: This is with car in park and drive. I believe it does have wheel lock.
JA: Are you hoping to fix this yourself? What have you tried so far?
Customer: Tried opening cold radiator and running car to burp air from cooling system, no change. Still rough idle under 1000 rpm, almost sounds like misfire
JA: Anything else you think the mechanic should know?
Customer: Runs fine above 1000 rpm, no noticeable hesitation in acceleration, exhaust smells weird
JA: OK. Got it. I'm sending you to a secure page on JustAnswer so you can place the $5 fully-refundable deposit now. While you're filling out that form, I'll tell the Subaru Mechanic about your situation and then connect you two.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Subaru
Expert:  George H. replied 1 year ago.

Hello I will help,

It sounds like you are getting coolant in the combustion chambers fouling the plugs.

Have you inspected for external leaks and pressure tested the system?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
No sign of visible leaks under car. Have not pressure tested system. Is that something I can do by myself, or does it require specialized equipment?
Expert:  George H. replied 1 year ago.

If it is losing coolant it has to go somewhere and if you can't find it on the outside it has to be going into the chambers.

I think Autozone has a cooling system pressure tester in their loan a tool program.

If they do follow the instructions to connect it to the rad cap then pump it up to 20 PSI on a cold engine. Let it sit for an hour. If the pressure falls you can look in the spark plug holes for the coolant. A bore scope helps here.

Double check that it is not leaking externally and if not then the gaskets are leaking.

Let me know how I can help