Gen 4 – Engine Coolant Leak – 2013 Outback

I’m spending some time tracking down a coolant leak coming from the bottom of my new-to-me 2013 Outback (2.5L, 6MT) with 98k miles. It started with a cracked radiator (previously repaired with epoxy) that I only noticed when the coolant levels got low on a trip, which resulted in a red temp light and a thermostat check engine code. I re-sealed the crack, filled it with coolant, and then replaced the radiator when I got home.

This is when a leak appeared (or worsened) on the underside of the engine, near the thermostat housing. I noticed a burning smell after parking and looked under the car to find the coolant had ignited in the exhaust pipe leading to a small fire. Coolant was dripping very steadily from one of the thermos bolts. housing. I replaced the water pump (and gasket), thermostat (and gasket) and thermostat housing thinking that would surely fix the problem. I cleaned all surfaces with a wire brush and degreaser. I inspected the guts and found that the lower gut has a small bulge, but it didn’t look cracked or damaged.

After the repair, I still have a constant coolant drip from the power plant. housing bolt and now there seems to be some build up on the lower radiator hose clamp as well. My next thought was to replace the radiator hoses and clamps, but I’m curious if anyone else has had a similar leak and any suggestions on what else to check while I’m down there. I’ve read mixed reviews about liquid gasket seals – it’s worth throwing some in the therm. housing and bolts, or would that give me more grief?

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