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Old 01-01-2013, 09:41 AM   #1
CBC_North
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Default Bypassing PCV valve in emergency situation

First a little background on my situation:
I recently drove back to my parents place for christmas in the 2009 wrx that I bought used about two months ago. My parents live in a very isolated part of north eastern canada where it's very cold. On the second day of the two day trip my oil light came on about 40 km away from my destination. I got out of the car and could immediately smell burning oil. After opening the hood I checked the dip stick and it was bone dry. I got a ride with a trucker the rest of the way and went back to get the car afterwards. Once we had the car it took almost 4 liters of oil to top it off.

After googling and searching threads on this site I read about the pcv valve on my car having issues freezing up since one of the hoses leading to it is directly under the intercooler. There was actually a recall made in Canada that fixed the issue by changing out the hoses so that the did not route under the intercooler. Since it was -30 Celcius on the way here and I was driving for almost 12 hours straight I can see how that could cause a problem. We took out the pcv valve and it was COMPLETELY blocked off with oil sludge. The kind of sludge you see in cold weather from a lot of cold starts and short trips. We completely cleaned out the valve and all the hoses leading to it to the point where I can now hear the ball bearing in the valve rattle when I shake it.

I was hoping it was just the extra pressure of the valve pushing oil out around the seals but after taking it for a test drive it was still leaking oil pretty fast. We cleaned the engine and ran the car inside and we are 99% sure the oil is coming from one of the driver side cam seals. I'm about a 1000 km away from the nearest subaru dealership and there are no independant mechanics here in town so we are going to try and fix this ourselves. I have four cam seals (two intake and two exhaust), four cam sprocket bolts and a new timing belt coming in the mail from the dealership.

So now that you have the background of the problem, I have a few questions:

1) Any advice on how to confirm 100% that oil is not leaking from anywhere else in the timing case? As far as we can tell it's all coming from behind the driver side cam seals but we are certainly not mechanics. Any tips on how to isolate the problem further would be appreciated.

2) If we do get the seals fixed and it stops leaking oil, I still have to make the return trip and fear that this may happen again. I'm going to get the fix for the pcv valve recall applied when I get to the dealership but until then some people have mentioned bypassing the pcv valve and venting to the atmosphere for the drive back. I'm wondering which components we should leave disconnected to achieve this correctly? Also, are there any concerns that I should have with running this disconnected for such a long run?

The parts should be here any day now so I'll use this thread if I have any issues while trying to change out the seals or if I have any more questions. Thanks in advance for the help
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Old 01-01-2013, 01:28 PM   #2
scby rex
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If you can Id order a crawford aos ver2 if the pcv is the problem. If oil is blowing out someplace else then its going to suck to find it with your situation.
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Old 01-01-2013, 04:24 PM   #3
Leafy
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If you can Id order a crawford aos ver2 if the pcv is the problem. If oil is blowing out someplace else then its going to suck to find it with your situation.
No.

His issue is that his crank case venting system go so blocked up that he build extremely high crank case pressure, enough to blow the camshaft seals.

To get home I would cap where the PCV hose goes to the intake manifold and run all the hoses the crank vent on the turbo inlet and remove the pcv valve or gut it if it bolts to the block (I forget how its setup). Alternatively You can run the hoses connected to the PCV to a long hose that hangs down below the under tray, the air rushing past the hose will create the vacuum you need when the car is in motion.
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Old 01-02-2013, 05:53 AM   #4
oguitar
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Can you just block off the intercooler with a piece of cardboard or something. This should help that tube stay warmer. Interesting problem.
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Old 01-02-2013, 05:53 AM   #5
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Can you just block off the intercooler with a piece of cardboard or something. This should help that tube stay warmer. Interesting problem.
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Old 01-02-2013, 06:10 AM   #6
Uncle Scotty
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prepare for a new motor......sorry but it likely wont be long until you need one if all this has happened
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Old 01-02-2013, 09:13 AM   #7
CBC_North
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Leafy,
We're going to look into disconnecting the hoses in the way you mentioned.

Oguitar,
There are three distinct sections in the plactic splitter that's inside the hood scoop. A center one that fits snugly over the intercooler and then two side ones that blow air over the rest of then engine compartment. We are planning to block the two side sections temporarily on the way back. My whole engine compartment was covered in frost on the way in. We had some strange weather where it was -30 but there was still haze (moisture) in the air. Never seen it like that here and I lived here for almost 20 years.

Uncle Scotty,
I'm wondering why you say this? What type of failure would you expect from the symptoms above? Is there anything I can check that may give me advance warning of an impending failure? I ask as the car is still under the power train warranty (360 is over) so I would prefer for the engine to grenade while it's still covered or maybe I could preemptively fix what's wrong.
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Old 01-02-2013, 09:15 AM   #8
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Uncle Scotty,
I'm wondering why you say this? What type of failure would you expect from the symptoms above? Is there anything I can check that may give me advance warning of an impending failure? I ask as the car is still under the power train warranty (360 is over) so I would prefer for the engine to grenade while it's still covered or maybe I could preemptively fix what's wrong.
The oil light, its basically the "you already ****ed up the car" light. The switch for it is at some absurdly low pressure like 8psi. It would be a hell of a lot more useful at 20 psi.
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Old 01-02-2013, 09:39 AM   #9
Uncle Scotty
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CBC_North View Post

Uncle Scotty,
I'm wondering why you say this? What type of failure would you expect from the symptoms above? Is there anything I can check that may give me advance warning of an impending failure? I ask as the car is still under the power train warranty (360 is over) so I would prefer for the engine to grenade while it's still covered or maybe I could preemptively fix what's wrong.
im thinking that if it blew out like that in the winter...and the oil light came on.....as soon as you go to driving it in an enthusiastic manner it will p0p, if not sooner

that is based on my being here for 10+ years and having seen similar things posted

subarus are weird and blow up for damndest reasons
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Old 01-02-2013, 10:34 AM   #10
sexyyrex
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Uncle Scotty View Post
im thinking that if it blew out like that in the winter...and the oil light came on.....as soon as you go to driving it in an enthusiastic manner it will p0p, if not sooner

that is based on my being here for 10+ years and having seen similar things posted

subarus are weird and blow up for damndest reasons
OP. Scotty's right. Unfortunately, 99.9999% of the time, when you see the oil light, its far too late. I believe the oil light comes on at 4 psi of oil pressure. By then the lubrication to the crank and rod bearings are no longer adequate.

It may be okay for now, but as mentioned above, the chances of bearing failure upon continued use will most likely result in ultimate engine failure.

Last edited by sexyyrex; 01-02-2013 at 10:45 AM.
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Old 01-02-2013, 04:18 PM   #11
Cathexis
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I am on my phone, can't see where you are from. Was the car purchased in canada? I ask because of warranty issues if you leave the country of purchase. Under the assumption that warranty is goon in this case why not have subaru handle this. After all it is their problem. These cars, like all, are cold weather tested and should not fail because it's still moist at -30C (which for the US folks, is the almost the same as -30F.) Make them pick it up. There is just no telling with an issue like that how much damage was really done, not just to the bearings, but valves and turbo as well. The sheer cold may play in your favor though since you immediately stopped.

Last edited by Cathexis; 01-04-2013 at 05:54 AM.
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Old 01-04-2013, 12:32 PM   #12
zedix
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Any update? How are you faring with the repairs?
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Old 01-04-2013, 05:35 PM   #13
Paidfor
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Geez .....everybodies just throwin numbers huh? lol
The dummy light comes on at a 2.2 psi per Subaru.
If you see the light a glowin...........its too late to appologize lol
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Old 01-04-2013, 05:36 PM   #14
Leafy
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Dear god, its 2.2? I wasn't certain what the pressure, hence "like 8psi".
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Old 01-05-2013, 01:15 AM   #15
scby rex
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Leafy View Post
No.

His issue is that his crank case venting system go so blocked up that he build extremely high crank case pressure, enough to blow the camshaft seals.

To get home I would cap where the PCV hose goes to the intake manifold and run all the hoses the crank vent on the turbo inlet and remove the pcv valve or gut it if it bolts to the block (I forget how its setup). Alternatively You can run the hoses connected to the PCV to a long hose that hangs down below the under tray, the air rushing past the hose will create the vacuum you need when the car is in motion.
the aos ver2 would help prevent the problem though by heating the ccv, and breather vents with hot coolant. That way they dont clog again if thats whats going on.
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