I have an issue with my 04 Forester 2.0XT MT, it kind of overheats, but not never reached red, it goes a bit over the second third of the gauge.
A little bit of background, last summer after a longer trip I saw that I had a bit of oil in my expansion tank, my guess was that it was the head gaskets even though I had a rebuild about 20k km before; but I drove the car with too little coolant because a hose started leaking.
I have replaced the head gaskets, installed ARPs, brand new coolant hoses, but the oil was still there, turned out my radiator broke on the inside and the oil in the coolant system was from the gearbox (there are two hoses that go from the gearbox to the bottom of the radiator for cooling or heating).
After I saw that, I bought a new aftermarket radiator installed it, flushed the coolant system and the gearbox (because coolant entered). After a million flushes for both, everything came out clean.
Engine is running fine, under normal driving conditions coolant needle is fixed just a bit over the first third of the gauge, but when I'm in stop and go traffic, or just idling after about 15-20 minutes it heats up to 96C(~205F), then both fans start and it gets cooled down to normal, then the fans stop, if I keep idling this process will start again.
Hoses, radiator cap, thermostat (opens at 74C/165F) are OEM, only the radiator is aftermarket. I've checked recently if the thermostat was installed correctly (it was), changed coolant, burped the system but the problem is still there.
I've only noticed this once before the rebuild but still does not seem normal.
Should the fans start individually? They only start both when it reaches 96C.
Any ideas are highly appreciated. Thanks!