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Old 10-11-2012, 01:33 PM   #1
vtdave
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Default oil overfill, then oil smell, but where's the leak?

Ok, so I'm an idiot. I got a mild concussion in a bike crash and then spent the afternoon doing work around the house that did more damage than good. Included in that, I added engine oil to the WRX such that it was 1/2" above the "hot" notch on the dipstick. I drove around for a week before I realized what I had done, and then I drained the excess oil (without splashing it on the exhaust). It seemed like 3/4 quart too much. Now it's at the top dot when cold.

Now comes the problem. I get a burning oil smell through the A/C vents whenever I'm at a stoplight after highway driving. It smells a lot like oil drops hitting the exhaust or burning in the turbo. It only happens after the car has warmed up and done some lively (but not hard) driving. I haven't found any visible leaks. I removed the belly pan and didn't find any obvious drips onto the exhaust from the oil pan area or engine block.

Where should I start looking for the culprit? I've read some other posts about the PCV system spitting excess oil into the TMIC, but I don't understand how I would then smell the oil burning through the vents if it's being recycled into the intake.

I don't want to make a warranty claim since this is my fault.
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Last edited by vtdave; 10-11-2012 at 01:53 PM.
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Old 10-11-2012, 02:10 PM   #2
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drain a bit more out....seems the 08+ cars are much more sensitive to slight over fill than the earlier cars
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Old 10-12-2012, 06:25 AM   #3
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Scotty: thanks, I just drained some more. I'd still like to find the location of the burning. Any ideas for likely culprits. I found tiny droplets of oil residue at the lowest points on the oil filter and oil pan and also just above the oil filter on the engine. My guess is the oil dripped downward from someplace higher, but I can't see. The filter and filter seal are not leaking.
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Old 10-12-2012, 08:14 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vtdave View Post
I found tiny droplets of oil residue at the lowest points on the oil filter and oil pan and also just above the oil filter on the engine. My guess is the oil dripped downward from someplace higher, but I can't see. The filter and filter seal are not leaking.
This is where I'd put my money. I've not heard of the 08s having less tolerance to overfilling, but if Uncle Scotty has info on this I'd love to make myself that much more informed (link?). I know for certain (previous to 08) you can overfill by quite a bit with no ill effects. Endurance guys will overfill by a quart knowing it will be consumend in the coarse of an event, and they've never reported any issues with doing this.

Way back in my Honda days, you'd be dancing with the devil of you overfilled, but the EJ engines just don't seem to care so much.
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Old 10-12-2012, 09:00 AM   #5
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That's weird, I would take it to a carwash and spray everything down after you drain it down to where it needs to be at. This way you can see where the oil is coming from if it happens again.
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Old 10-12-2012, 02:49 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KillerBMotorsport View Post
This is where I'd put my money. I've not heard of the 08s having less tolerance to overfilling, but if Uncle Scotty has info on this I'd love to make myself that much more informed (link?). I know for certain (previous to 08) you can overfill by quite a bit with no ill effects. Endurance guys will overfill by a quart knowing it will be consumend in the coarse of an event, and they've never reported any issues with doing this.

Way back in my Honda days, you'd be dancing with the devil of you overfilled, but the EJ engines just don't seem to care so much.
no links.....just something that i have been seeing posted here over the last year or 3.....guys who have had the pre 08 cars who filled with 5qt(or more) and never thought twice about it(like me) and they get a newer car and they get this 'burning oil/oil smell' thing when they put 5qt(or more) in the new car.


i think this is(somehow) due to the dual avcs....single avcs cars didnt do this
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Old 10-12-2012, 03:25 PM   #7
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The 08+ cars are extremely sensitive to over filling. I've helped a handfull of new WRX/STi owners that figured 5 Qts was close enough to the factory called 4.3Qts. Even I was guilty the first time....then I learned.

Anything over the "notch" when cold will usually result in smoking at cold start and random "burning oil smell." You will have to deal with the burning smell for a while unless you want to clean out he PVC system. You might have some of the vacuum lines or PVC lines seeping oil onto the top of the Engine.

I would recommended that you just make sure the oil is at or below the notch when cold and deal with the oil smell until all of it burns off. I've never heard of a minor over filling doing any damage so I would not worry about that.
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Old 10-12-2012, 03:37 PM   #8
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Thanks everyone. I drained a little more so the oil level is midway below the dots when cold. I also washed the oil filter/pan area with simple green, though I suspect the drips on those parts came from above. The burning oil smell is still there, but I will deal with it and clean out the PCV system for good measure.
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Old 10-12-2012, 04:13 PM   #9
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Interesting. I wonder is the oil seperator plate design changed in 08 and this is what's causing the 'level sensitivity' by allowing oil to propogate up into the PCV system easier than in previous years. I can't think of what else it could be. I don't see how AVCS could have anything to do with it since that loop is completely independant of PCV function.

Hmmmmm
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Old 10-13-2012, 05:40 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vtdave View Post
Thanks everyone. I drained a little more so the oil level is midway below the dots when cold. I also washed the oil filter/pan area with simple green, though I suspect the drips on those parts came from above. The burning oil smell is still there, but I will deal with it and clean out the PCV system for good measure.

If I read that right then that is actually low on oil. The perfect place to be is the be on the top hole
dot)on the dip stick when cold. You can be anywhere between the top dot and the notch above the top dot when cold. Anything above the notch when cold usually results in oil smell and sometimes smoking on cold start.
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Old 10-13-2012, 10:25 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tripintaz

If I read that right then that is actually low on oil.
I thought the same when I read it.

Not sure if later years changed the dipstick, but between the L and F mark is 1 quart.
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Old 10-14-2012, 10:21 AM   #12
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Since the dip-stick goes in on an angle, and due to the viscosity of the oil, when reading the stick, the oil shows low on one side and high on the other.

I rotate the stick and effectively avereage the distance to figure where the oil level is. When cold, if this 'avarage' is at the notch, that's fine. When hot, if this 'average' is at the double-circle, that's fine.

As fair warning, and this has been contested, the oil refill without a filter is approximately 4.3 quarts.

Other than the newer design for the BRZ and later Forester, for example, where the filter is accessed from the top of the engine and is inverted, a suggestion is to fill the crank-case with four quarts and prime the filter before installation. This would be the equivalent of 4.3 quarts before running the engine to cycle the oil for a few minutes and then checking the level and topping-off as needed.

Do not blindly think that an oil change, including a filter, means only 4.3 quarts of oil is needed.
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Old 10-14-2012, 10:38 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Big-E
I rotate the stick and effectively avereage the distance to figure where the oil level is.
http://forums.nasioc.com/forums/show....php?t=2413876

Last edited by ManualOverAuto; 10-14-2012 at 11:10 AM.
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