COOLANT ???? : Subaru Liberty 2001, AUTO

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COOLANT ???? : Subaru Liberty 2001, AUTO

Unread post by mcake » November 10th, 2015, 5:49 am


My son's just bought his first little car (see Subject), I've checked everything and all
is good. The radiator is full, BUT the coolant reservoir next to it is nearly empty and doesn't
appear to have any coolant (red or green) in it, it's just plain colored water.

My question is, is it safe to add coolant and top it up, and if so what product/type etc
should I be looking for? We have REPCO store nearby. We've gone through the manual, it
says don't mix coolants, but doesn't recommend brand/type or anything like it does oil etc.

Thanks in advance.


Peter Aawen
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Re: COOLANT ???? : Subaru Liberty 2001, AUTO

Unread post by Peter Aawen » November 10th, 2015, 7:19 am

Sorry if this appears to be trying to teach you to suck eggs, but someone out there may not know & could benefit, so I'll put the whole saga out there!

That little reservoir alongside/connected to the radiator is an Overflow Bottle, & it really only needs to have coolant (or water) in it up to the Low level marked on the side when the engine is cold. Sure, you can fill it higher than that, even up to or above the Full or Max mark, but there's a good chance that once the engine is hot & the coolant expands, the greater volume of coolant will get pushed outta the rad & into the o/flow bottle, & if that's too full, the coolant will just overflow the bottle & empty the extra onto the ground; then when you stop again & the coolant contracts as it cools down once more the radiator (being a sealed container with the only possible replacement source being that o/flow bottle) will suck what it needs to remain full back outta the o/flow bottle & into the rad - leaving the rad completely full & your o/flow bottle level somewhere below its Full mark once again! ;)

As for the o/flow bottle being full of coloured water rather than coolant, that probably means the engine has got really hot at some stage &/or that bottle has been sucked dry or emptied for whatever reason & then it's been topped up with water. If that ever happens again, then make sure the rad is topped up first (be very careful if you even think about opening a hot radiator cap tho!!) and then add enough coolant/water to the o/flow bottle to reach above the low mark. BUT it doesn't matter if you have straight water in the o/flow bottle instead of coolant - in fact, if you don't know the brand of the coolant in the radiator, it's MUCH BETTER to add just water to the o/flow bottle than it is to mix coolants unknowingly!! Mixed coolants can produce a concrete like sediment in your engine cooling galleries, radiator, &/or heater core, & they are virtually IMPOSSIBLE to get out fully once that happens!! Not good for your cooling system or engine at all!! So NEVER MIX COOLANTS unless you KNOW they are compatible!!

If you are uncomfortable with the stuff in the o/flow bottle being just coloured water (but you probably shouldn't worry just so long as the level is higher than the low mark - it's most likely just watered down coolant cos they only ever added water to the o/flow bottle,which is the correct thing to do if you don't have compatible coolant on hand!) then your only real option is to completely drain & flush the entire cooling system, making sure the heater controls are set to HOT & using plenty of clean flowing water! Once drained & copiously flushed for some minutes (5 or more!!), you can then SLOWLY refill the cooling system with the correct spec coolant; & then once the rad is full 'purge' the cooling system at fast idle for about 15-30 mins with the heater controls set to HOT once again in order to get rid of any air pockets that might be trapped in the galleries, heater core, or anywhere else for that matter. Keep a close eye on the coolant level & the temperature as you do this, but the aim is to heat it up past the thermostat opening temp & release any air bubbles trapped in the system. Once the rad is full & purged of air pockets (which show in the rad filler as big bubbles) then you can top the overflow bottle up to the 'Full' level with the same coolant you put in the rad, and don't worry (too much) when/if the level goes higher when the engine gets hot or lower when the engine is cold (just so long as the level stays above that Low mark regardless of temp!) that's what the overflow bottle is there to allow! ;)

Enjoy!! Hope that helps someone!
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Re: COOLANT ???? : Subaru Liberty 2001, AUTO

Unread post by 4wd Hobbit » November 10th, 2015, 11:01 am

The handbook will have the coolant spec in there somewhere - maybe not in the section that talks about filling the radiator but more likely in the fluid spec sections.

If the fluid in the overflow bottle is clear there is a good chance that there is just water in the entire system so I would replace the entire coolant with the correct spec fluid.

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Re: COOLANT ???? : Subaru Liberty 2001, AUTO

Unread post by Goldylux » November 10th, 2015, 3:33 pm

Don't bother with the manual. The coolant described in there will
only be a recommendation, the chances of it having the same coolant it did leaving the
factory are slim. The book will have recommendations on coolant specifications but
even if you buy the stuff from Subaru, without having the coolant from the car tested
who knows whats in there.

Best thing to do is dump the whole system, do a reverse pressure flush with the thermostat removed
and start again. Flush it when its cold,or slightly warm,not hot. You can crack the head.

Like most cars a lot of people don't care or maintain or even know about the cooling system
until a hose has blown or something else visually obvious has failed. A lot of people
don't even look at the temp guage.

What i'm getting at is, chances are it will want a flush anyway.
Then you can put what you want in and keep some spare.
Whether you go a glycol mix or not is up to you.

A rad shop will flush it for pretty cheap,a garden hose wont do it properly.
Clean the overflow tank too Pull it out, put some gravel in there and swirl
it hard for a while. Drain and rinse it clean. Very clean.

If it's just a bunky or you don't want to spend money or have it flushed, just top it up with distilled
water,rain water is ok. Don't use tap water.

Most of what peter said is right but the problem with mixing coolants isn't that it forms
solid gunk in the cooling system it is that the inhibiting property's from each coolant,
when mixed can do the opposite. Instead of inhibiting corrosion from the metals
in the motor, it accelerates it. Dramatically.

Not only will the radiator fail,the housing will corrode and everything else attached.

With the new cars the cooling systems are not forgiving. Everything is
aluminium. The rad, the housings, everything. The system needs to be pristine.
And not contaminated. A weak coolant mix will be better than a strong mix
of two different coolants.

Ive been doing this for many years and am a professional. ;)

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Re: COOLANT ???? : Subaru Liberty 2001, AUTO

Unread post by nilla60 » November 12th, 2015, 8:49 pm

I'd top it up first and see what happens. If there's coolant in the radiator, a bit of water is not going to dilute it out that much. Then keep a *close* eye on it and see if it's using water. Subies are particularly sensitive to cooling issues, if you find you are using water, get a radiator place to check it out.

Also look out for any signs of head issues. The 2.5 litre motor got revised head gaskets in 2010 or thereabouts.

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Re: COOLANT ???? : Subaru Liberty 2001, AUTO

Unread post by rowdyskrooza » November 18th, 2015, 8:06 am

The Libs' have a bit of a problem with air getting in the system, that's more or less the only cooling problems they have and it's due to people replacing the coolant but not 'burping' the system (youtube burping a Subaru liberty). If I were you I'd pick up a couple bottles of Penrite Coolant and just do a full flush of the system. Subaru's are extremely partial to the best quality parts, accessories and consumables, keep those up to them and they'll go forever (kinda).
As far as I know the 2.5's really only had head problems if they were pushing high klms (300k) or were running too much boost, then the head studs would just pull out of the block :lol: I wouldn't know I have a tough 2L :D
They are absolutely brilliant cars, mine is doing 0-100 in about 4.4 seconds :)
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Re: COOLANT ???? : Subaru Liberty 2001, AUTO

Unread post by stockhorse » November 18th, 2015, 12:33 pm

rowdyskrooza, come in here and show us your subbie viewtopic.php?f=21&t=159532

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Re: COOLANT ???? : Subaru Liberty 2001, AUTO

Unread post by rowdyskrooza » November 18th, 2015, 1:35 pm

Will's nothing like your guys cars but I like it as a sleeeper :)
If you think the last 4 words of the national anthem are gentlemen, start your engines, you might be a redneck.

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