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How to Change the Thermostat in a Subaru Outback

by Contributor

Subaru offers the Outback in the mid 1990s as a response to American drivers' desire for the elevated seating and ruggedness of the trendy SUVs. Making the most of the most desirable SUV features, Outback came with special details inside and out, as well as a raised suspension for a better ride. The second generation Outback (2000 to 2004) featured a 2.5L engine. Change the thermostat in a Subaru Outback following these suggestions.

Step 1

Raise the vehicle and remove the engine undercover. Drain the cooling system (see Warnings).

Step 2

Loosen the clamp and take the lower radiator hose from the thermostat cover. Take off the thermostat cover and the gasket. Lift the thermostat off the engine.

Step 3

Clean the thermostat mating surfaces to remove gasket material, dirt and debris. Set the thermostat on the intake manifold. Orient the thermostat with the jiggle pin positioned upward on the 2.2L and 2.5L engines.

Step 4

Install the thermostat cover and a new gasket. Connect the lower radiator hose to the thermostat cover. Tighten the clamp.

Step 5

Replace the engine undercover and tighten the fasteners. Lower the vehicle.

Refill the cooling system with the proper amount and mix of coolant. Start the engine and check for leaks. Make the necessary adjustments.


  • The hoses slide onto fittings or connectors that grip the individual hose and hold it in place with a clamp. No special tools are required to remove or reconnect hoses. Label the hose and its connectors before separating.


  • Drain the coolant into a container that can be sealed. Dogs, cats and farm animals will drink coolant that is left in open containers or on the floor and ingestion is usually fatal. Recycle coolant unless it is contaminated or old and dispose of used coolant properly.

Items you will need

  • Mechanic's toolset, including a full socket set, wrenches and screwdrivers
  • Replacement thermostat, new or rebuilt
  • New gasket for thermostat

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