Monthly Archives: March 2017

Outback's overheating issue comes to a head

A new customer recently brought his 1999 Subaru Outback to the shop. The man said the car was overheating and making noise whenever he drove it. Because most of the time I write about complex diagnostic scenarios, I’m sure that many of you think this is going to be a column about a really tough cooling-system problem. But that’s not the case; the cooling-system problem was the typical Subaru 2.5-liter head-gasket failure. I am bringing up this problem to discuss the anatomy of the failure. MORE ON MOTORS I first must explain the different types of motor configurations. There are four configurations of internal combustion engines: inline, V, boxster (flat) and rotary. Inline engines are those with cylinders that are literally “in line” – lined up back-to-back. The most common inline motors are 4, 5 and 6 cylinders. The “V” used to describe a V6, V8, V10, V12 and V16 does not actually stand for a word, but instead the shape of the piston ar ... read more

How to rid your car of rodents

Last month a new customer brought in his 2012 Subaru Forester X. He said every time he fills his wiper fluid, it leaks out almost immediately. He added that it leaks even faster when he engages the washer sprayers. We lifted the car and removed the lower-left front-fender liner to gain access to the washer reservoir. That’s when we discovered that three of the hoses were damaged – but not by normal wear and tear. Rodents had chewed them. Two years ago I wrote an article on how rodents will eat just about anything on cars. Since then we have found engine valleys completely filled with acorns, ignition wires eaten, wire harnesses eaten, under-hood insulation eaten, cooling hoses eaten and even a small mouse city – with nests – inside of a dash (perhaps using the blower motor fan as a treadmill). This epidemic seems to be getting worse. HOOD RATS Besides the fact that rodents seek a warm, dark place to sleep and nest, it was unclear to me why more and more of t ... read more