Merc Reader
Oct. 14, 2013 1:35 p.m.

2008 Subaru Forester X Sports AT 140,000 K miles.

Hi guys, so I have been having a heck of a time finding this oil leak on my 08 Subaru Forester X (That's the SOHC 2.5). It appears to leak onto the subframe and onto the powersteering equipment. At first I thought it was the PS but the fluid is clearly brown and not red. Plus I am not having any fluid loss there. I have been looking all over the place for it but alas, just like all Subaru owners I have told "THAT IS SUBARU FOR YOU". Anyhow, I cant take that as an answer. I notice some leakage from the head gasket area but it seems like the majority is in the rear of the engine. I am wondering if I am developing the Subaru Head Gasket of Death or if there is another cause. Maybe a rear main seal? Help me out experts. No car is suppose to leak.

SlickDizzy UberDork
Oct. 14, 2013 1:39 p.m.

No car is SUPPOSED to leak, but most DO. And at 140,000,000 miles (you did say 140,000K ) some leaks are certainly to be expected!

Rear of the engine is probably RMS, oil separator gasket, or the rear of your valve cover gaskets. Mickey Mouse gasket, cam seals and crank seal are also common culprits, but those are obviously on the other side of the engine.

Merc Reader
Oct. 14, 2013 2:13 p.m.

Ouch! Taking off a trans to do a simple gasket doesn't sound like a fun weekend. Thanks for letting me know. I'll have to take a look.

atm92484 New Reader
Oct. 14, 2013 2:26 p.m.

Valve cover gaskets seem to be the common first leak as a Subaru ages.

ddavidv PowerDork
Oct. 14, 2013 5:20 p.m.
Merc wrote: Ouch! Taking off a trans to do a simple gasket doesn't sound like a fun weekend. Thanks for letting me know. I'll have to take a look.

Pull the motor. It's probably easier, and you can do the crank seals, head gaskets, timing belt and be good for another 100,000 miles.

Nashco
Nashco UberDork
Oct. 14, 2013 5:22 p.m.

Pressure wash and degrease the entire engine. That will make it 100 times easier to follow the trail of oil back to the source. If you're having a hard time following it, they make UV dye you can add to the engine oil also and use a blacklight to follow the oil trace easier. Pulling and regasketing the engine is a big job, and while sometimes necessary it's not worth doing it just blindly hoping to fix the problem if it is something simpler.

Bryce

mikeatrpi Reader
Oct. 14, 2013 6:06 p.m.

I had a similar issue on an 01 Legacy sedan AT (SOHC 2.5) @ approx 120K miles. The headgaskets were weeping oil from the lower edges and it would run down the crossmember and drip onto the exhaust. My valve covers were not leaking at all as far as I could tell, even though everyone says its a common area to leak from. You should be able to clean it up and tell for sure.

Also, I thought they had this fixed by 2008?

WonkoTheSane New Reader
Oct. 15, 2013 9:15 a.m.

I've got the same exact issue on my 96 2.2L...

I used the dye to find it after washing it off at a car wash, which was an awesome help. It looked like the oil pan gasket, which only looked like an hour job or so.. So about 16 hours later (slight exaggeration), I had the oil pan gasket replaced, as well as the PCV, since I noticed some "puffing" coming from the oil fill.

That didn't fix it for me, so I'm guessing that it's the head gasket weeping.

Oct. 15, 2013 9:18 a.m.
atm92484 wrote: Valve cover gaskets seem to be the common first leak as a Subaru ages.

That and rear main seals.

Merc Reader
Oct. 17, 2013 6:52 p.m.
ddavidv wrote: Pull the motor. It's probably easier, and you can do the crank seals, head gaskets, timing belt and be good for another 100,000 miles.

I've thought of that already, but I dont exactly have the resources right now to pull that off(the green kind that makes people smile). Besides how we gearheads think, the car may also sit in the garage for another 12 months awaiting a junkyard supercharger fitment with a hybrid DOHC block and a custom made dry sump system. I dont think my wife would be happy with that.

On another note, I had the t-belt, pulleys and some gaskets done last year some 25k miles ago.

mikeatrpi said:

I had a similar issue on an 01 Legacy sedan AT (SOHC 2.5) @ approx 120K miles. The headgaskets were weeping oil from the lower edges and it would run down the crossmember and drip onto the exhaust. My valve covers were not leaking at all as far as I could tell, even though everyone says its a common area to leak from. You should be able to clean it up and tell for sure.

Also, I thought they had this fixed by 2008?

From what I've read online some owners believe its a fault with the open deck block design on the SOHC engines. I'm not sure if it is true, but assuming that it was than the fix may have been for the newer engines released on the 09 models. So even if Subaru may have fixed it, you can see how it still lingers in my mind

Anyhow, where would I go about picking up this dye? I've heard about it for a long time but it seems to slip my mind when ever the occasion arises.

Ojala HalfDork
Oct. 17, 2013 11:22 p.m.

Most any auto parts store should have some dye. Whether you can find anyone in the store to help you find the right stuff for oil is another issue.

An oil leak from the underside of the head is not the same thing as head gasket coolant leak and doesnt necessarily mean that the head gasket is blown.

In my opinion its not necessarily a big deal. The oil drains back along the bottom of the heads. Even if there is an oil leak on the underside of the head it doesn't mean that there is a failure in the head gasket. The combustion chamber is on the other side (top) of the oil return and is of course surrounded by the head gasket. Unless the motors pouring oil I wouldnt bother changing the head gasket. It just seems a little too "it puts the lotion in the basket" to replace a head gasket to fix a small oil leak.

I would be surprised if the problem is the oil seperator plate or the rear main seal. Those became much less common leak points around 01-ish when Subaru went to a better seal and finally replaced those piece of E36 M3 plastic garbage separator plates with metal plates. BUT much more common is a leak from the little metal plate on the other side of the crank from the seperator plate. Its held on by two screws and sealed inside by an o ring. That o ring is obviously less oil resistant than what is needed and it does tend to leak. Other than that, valve cover gasket and half moon oil leaks are very common and will leak onto the exhaust from the cross member just like you described.

Ojala HalfDork
Oct. 17, 2013 11:30 p.m.

I've thought of that already, but I dont exactly have the resources right now to pull that off(the green kind that makes people smile). Besides how we gearheads think, the car may also sit in the garage for another 12 months awaiting a junkyard supercharger fitment with a hybrid DOHC block and a custom made dry sump system. I dont think my wife would be happy with that.

On another note, I had the t-belt, pulleys and some gaskets done last year some 25k miles ago.

Just do what I do...have multiple engines and transmissions for all your cars!

Trust me your wife will just looooove having a garage filled with spare engines.

EDIT: I need to learn how to use this board one of these days.

carbon Reader
Oct. 18, 2013 3:06 a.m.

Found it:

http://grassrootsmotorsports.com/forum/grm/lsx-in-a-subie-wagon/66094/page1/

Merc Reader
Oct. 18, 2013 2:52 p.m.

In reply to Ojala:

Thanks Ojala, I'll have to take a look when I get time. You also did confirm the 'That's a Subaru for you' comment I stated earlier as well. .
Btw, my wife already doesn't like the multiple winter tires in the garage and would always ask when i would get rid of the last engine I had. Our new place is smaller so it may be awhile before I start again.

Merc Reader
Oct. 18, 2013 2:54 p.m.

In reply to carbon: Wow! That's impressive. Maybe someday

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