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Old 01-20-2007, 03:01 PM   #1
ScubaruImpreza05
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Default Headgasket failure?

My GF has a 99 Legacy Limited, 2.2 automatic. The other morning we left to go to a diner together, and we left without a warmup for our cars, outside temp was 25 degrees are so.

As we were leaving, I noticed she was leaving a bit of blue smoke. It was only for about 10 seconds, then the exhaust cleaned up. I know this is sometimes oil seals going, but at only under 40K miles on a Subaru powerplant, it sounds unusual. So does this thing happen when the headgasket is on its' way out? there are no water temp issues either, like my 91 Legacy had when the headgasket went.

She does regular maintenance, all with reciepts. Her oil never gets to below the half mark on the dipstick, from full, in a 3k interval.

Think it is the headgaskets going out?

~Levi
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Old 01-20-2007, 03:13 PM   #2
legacydreamz
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if it was for only 10 seconds AND on start up, there is no immediate threat of a major component failure.

i would rule out the headgasket and not worry about it until its a constant flow of blue smoke.
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Old 01-20-2007, 04:05 PM   #3
Jonathan
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I would not jump to conclusions with out having a leak down test performed first.

While the 2.2 Liter motor is far less susceptible to head gasket failures than the larger phase I 2.5 liter, and is generally thought to be highly reliable, it doesn't mean that your g/f's Subaru is imune to failure.

Generally blue smoke is a sign of excess oil being burned off, white smoke might tend to indicate coolant, and a darker 'black' smoke might indicate an excessively rich fuel mixture condition.

Possibly an oil seal is leaking 'somewhere' allowing a small amount of oil to accumulate over time that is being burned when the car is first started up after having sat for a while.

Was the smoke definately comming out of the tail pipe ?
(Possibly your girl friends Subaru has a either a leaky valve cover gasket, or a very slight leak near the oil filter region, and this oil is accumulating on or near an exhaust manifold and is being burned off as soon as the manifold becomes hot enough to do so. The flow of 'blue smoke' while it would be flowing from underneath the car, would not be comming out the tail pipe in such an instance.)
Are there any signs of either coolant or oil consumpstion ?

Last edited by Jonathan; 01-20-2007 at 04:19 PM.
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Old 01-20-2007, 08:36 PM   #4
ScubaruImpreza05
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Default

Thanks for the replys.

The one thing I can think of is what happens to older vehicles, in which the seals relax during the cooldown and during sitting outside in the cold, in which a small amount of oil is allowed to bypass the seals and rings. As the engine heats up internally, the rings/seals expand and seal appropriately.
That's just an idea though.

Oil consumption is >.5 quarts every 3k miles, which isn't too shabby for an 8 year old vehicle. She runs standard dinosaur oil.

And it isn't burning anything but oil. I can tell the difference in that. I have 10 years with repairing various motors, and troubleshooting.

As for a small leak, last time I checked, only oil on the underside of the car was from the last technician not cleaning the excess from the oil change off, so it's a bit greasy from dirt build up, etc...

And before you ask, I didn't do the oil change myself because her and her mom had it changed during a shopping trip, unplanned

Clarify it a bit? Think it's the shrinking sealing componenets?

I can get ahold of a fume tester for the cooling system easily. Should I get compression checks too? That is an OBD-II hookup, right?

~Levi
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Old 01-21-2007, 12:40 AM   #5
Wiscon_Mark
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I thought white was oil and blueish was running super rich?

Yes, all 95+ Legacys are OBDII.
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Old 01-21-2007, 05:37 PM   #6
lag
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white = coolant
blue = oil
black = running rich
red = the world is about to end, get the 'ef out!

A comp' check wouldn't hurt... at least you'd *know* what you are or are not dealing with. I would more likely be leaky valve seals if it's only on startup though.
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Old 01-22-2007, 12:08 AM   #7
ScubaruImpreza05
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Nice. I'll do so. I know why black smoke occurrs because this one kid at HS ran a VR6 with a few bolt ons without EM and it would pour black smoke out when he hammered the gas, it was quite hilarious actually.

Thanks, I'll check it out,

~Levi
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Old 01-23-2007, 02:15 PM   #8
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I wouldn't bother with any leakdown or compression testing until you have a larger issue. It's just a waste of money. Best case is nothing is wrong and you are out $200 or more. Worst case, the mechanic talks you into tearing open the motor.
Wait until you have real issues like, excessive oil consumption like 1 quart every 1000 miles or loud knocking or overheating.
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Old 01-24-2007, 02:31 AM   #9
geraDOT
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Quote:
Originally Posted by linsavy View Post
I wouldn't bother with any leakdown or compression testing until you have a larger issue. It's just a waste of money. Best case is nothing is wrong and you are out $200 or more. Worst case, the mechanic talks you into tearing open the motor.
Wait until you have real issues like, excessive oil consumption like 1 quart every 1000 miles or loud knocking or overheating.
Agreed!
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Old 01-24-2007, 09:55 AM   #10
Jonathan
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ScubaruImpreza05 View Post
I have 10 years with repairing various motors, and troubleshooting.

~Levi
Quote:
Originally Posted by linsavy View Post
I wouldn't bother with any leak down or compression testing until you have a larger issue. It's just a waste of money. Best case is nothing is wrong and you are out $200 or more. Worst case, the mechanic talks you into tearing open the motor.
Wait until you have real issues like, excessive oil consumption like 1 quart every 1000 miles or loud knocking or overheating.
linsavy - Yes you are certainly correct... for most people. Levi on the other hand seems like a fairly experienced motor head who is eager and willing to do his own diagnostic work, and he seems genuinely more 'curious' about his girlfriend's car then anything else. For them, these tests can provide real answers, and are an easy means of diagnosing what (if anything) is actually going on.

From what he has told us so far, it sounds like nothing more than a minor oil leak, so doing leak down or compression checks when his oil consumption is with in acceptable limits, and he isn't knowing loosing significant amounts of coolant, suggests that there really isn't any immediate pressing need to do much. For most 'normal' people, maybe doing nothing (other then regular oil changes & cooling system flushes) might indeed be the correct answer.
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