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Old 10-10-2014, 11:20 AM   #1
CLL_OBP
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Default '12 Impreza timing chain cover

I'm at 52k miles and have been monitoring this for about the past 15k. I have a slow oil leak at the front lower passenger side of the engine, which I believe is coming from the timing chain cover. For a while, I've been smelling oil burning on the muffler whenever I stop, get gas or park. Not all the time but every once in a while.

I went to the dealership on Tuesday and they told me to come back in a few days after putting green dye in the oil to help locate the source.

Brought it back this morning and they confirmed it was coming from the timing chain cover. This is covered by the warranty. I just remember other owners saying they smell something burning so they may want to get it checked out. They said it was a four hour job to take it off, clean it and reapply. I can pick it up this afternoon.

I knew before buying this car that boxer engines were prone to leak on the bottom but they are good engines otherwise. Hopefully this will last for a long time.

Here's a picture of where the leak was:



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Last edited by CLL_OBP; 08-27-2017 at 04:43 PM. Reason: Replaced imaging host
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Old 10-10-2014, 12:40 PM   #2
auskip07
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Thanks, ill have to check mine today
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Old 10-10-2014, 01:25 PM   #3
79letour
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CLL_OBP View Post
I'm at 52k miles and have been monitoring this for about the past 15k. I have a slow oil leak at the front lower passenger side of the engine, which I believe is coming from the timing chain cover. For a while, I've been smelling oil burning on the muffler whenever I stop, get gas or park. Not all the time but every once in a while.

I went to the dealership on Tuesday and they told me to come back in a few days after putting green dye in the oil to help locate the source.

Brought it back this morning and they confirmed it was coming from the timing chain cover. This is covered by the warranty. I just remember other owners saying they smell something burning so they may want to get it checked out. They said it was a four hour job to take it off, clean it and reapply. I can pick it up this afternoon.

I knew before buying this car that boxer engines were prone to leak on the bottom but they are good engines otherwise. Hopefully this will last for a long time.

Here's a picture of where the leak was:



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excellent thread. Thanks for posting. Hopefully it holds up for you.
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Old 10-11-2014, 02:54 AM   #4
CLL_OBP
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Default

I didn't pick up my car because I'm getting an alignment in the morning. They were still putting it together when I returned to the dealership at 4pm after work. I figured it would be better to leave it there overnight and allow the liquid gasket more time to fully cure. I have my fingers crossed hoping everything went well.

They started a little after 8am and went past 4pm, so that's 8 hours. Looking at the service manual, taking off this cover requires a lot of stuff to be removed. The radiator, front exhaust pipe, all the pulleys, the alternator and the bracket. It would be nice if the coolant was changed and possibly the crankcase oil seal too. It even says to drain the oil and I just changed the oil two weeks ago. I'll find out soon if they did all that.
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Old 10-11-2014, 10:00 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CLL_OBP View Post
I didn't pick up my car because I'm getting an alignment in the morning. They were still putting it together when I returned to the dealership at 4pm after work. I figured it would be better to leave it there overnight and allow the liquid gasket more time to fully cure. I have my fingers crossed hoping everything went well.

They started a little after 8am and went past 4pm, so that's 8 hours. Looking at the service manual, taking off this cover requires a lot of stuff to be removed. The radiator, front exhaust pipe, all the pulleys, the alternator and the bracket. It would be nice if the coolant was changed and possibly the crankcase oil seal too. It even says to drain the oil and I just changed the oil two weeks ago. I'll find out soon if they did all that.
That thing is supposed to be a nightmare.
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Old 10-11-2014, 05:26 PM   #6
CLL_OBP
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Okay, I didn't know there was a TSB for the timing chain cover. The tech that worked on my car told me the timing chain cover could leak in three possible places and mines leaked in the spot that takes the longest time to fix.

I did get new coolant and oil, 6 quarts on the paperwork but it's only about 1/2" over the full dot.



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Old 10-11-2014, 05:45 PM   #7
Commander Keen
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Is the fault due to bad machining or was sealer applied incorrectly at the factory?
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Old 10-11-2014, 06:11 PM   #8
CLL_OBP
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He only talked about the sealant but didn't mention where the other spots were.

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Old 10-12-2014, 02:25 PM   #9
CLL_OBP
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It appears to be a pretty good job of sealing. Compared to the picture with the leak, it should have came from the factory looking like this in the first place:





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Last edited by CLL_OBP; 08-27-2017 at 04:57 PM. Reason: Replaced imaging host
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Old 10-13-2014, 04:32 PM   #10
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Thanks. I've noticed a motor oil smell lately. I'll have to check if it's that!
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Old 01-22-2015, 04:40 PM   #11
CLL_OBP
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Update: After about 5,000 miles, it started slowly leaking again in the same spot. Went back to the dealer last month to have the green dye added and returned two weeks later.

This time they determined the leak to be coming from the cam carrier and the engine had to come out to fix it. The cam carrier is part of the split up cylinder head design of the FB engine. It's supposed to have some benefits but this extra part is also a new source for potential leaks.

I dropped it off this past Tuesday morning and went back that afternoon after work 'cause I was curious to what it would look like. The engine was on the hoist next to the car with the timing chain cover off. At 59,300 mi and as it probably should, the timing chain looked shiny brand new and the chain guides were nice and smooth with no visual wear. No doubt they will last for the life of the car. I told the techs to take their time as I'm in no rush to get the car back.

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Old 04-20-2015, 11:13 AM   #12
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Just wanted to add to this thread, as I recently found the front timing cover leaking on my gf's 2012 Impreza at about 49,500 miles. An odor of oil was present while driving, so I investigated, and found oil in the area of the bottom/front of engine. I added dye to the engine oil and had her drive the engine for the week.

The following weekend, I found the dye to be present from the front timing cover. I removed the front timing cover, cleaned the silicone sealant a razor blade for the larger pieces, and an air sander with the yellow polishing wheels. Cleaning the mating surfaces was the most time consuming part, and I actually removed the right side lower timing chain guide to clean the silicone.

I used extra-black rtv, and only needed one tube to seal the complete front cover. The parts needed from Subaru were 3 smaller O-rings, 1 larger o-ring, and a front crank seal. The front crank seal is DIFFERENT than the older front crank seals, and I had to go back to the dealer to get the right crank seal because they didn't use the parts catalogue when looking up the part.

With taking my time, the replacement of the front timing cover took 4 hours, and I had access to compressed air, which I only used for cleaning the mating surfaces, and cleaning the engine. This repair does NOT require a lift, and can probably be performed by anyone with general familiarity of assembly/disassembly.
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Old 04-20-2015, 04:32 PM   #13
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Yikes, if it were out of warranty, I'd probably just let it slowly leak
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Old 04-21-2015, 11:04 PM   #14
CLL_OBP
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Old 05-07-2015, 02:29 PM   #15
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Wow. This wasn't a terrible repair to do, given the amount of space up front. It can be done fairly quick with some air/electric tools, probably could knock it out in an hour/an hour and a half(I only took 4 hours because I used hand tools, and went over everything very meticulously). Subaru techs might have a small money maker here.
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Old 08-08-2015, 10:31 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tank the ek View Post
Wow. This wasn't a terrible repair to do, given the amount of space up front. It can be done fairly quick with some air/electric tools, probably could knock it out in an hour/an hour and a half(I only took 4 hours because I used hand tools, and went over everything very meticulously). Subaru techs might have a small money maker here.
Hmmm, I'll have to check this the next time I'm under the car. I'll be curious to see if this becomes a common pattern failure.
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Old 08-08-2015, 01:25 PM   #17
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Mine might have started at a bolt on the bottom drivers side. For now I put rtv on the threads and am watching it. Could just be residue from blowing oil all over my engine 10 ago too, bit I don't think so
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Old 03-09-2016, 10:20 AM   #18
Ladeef
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heres mine at 53k, going to turn it into the dealer tomorrow.
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Old 03-10-2016, 07:57 AM   #19
CLL_OBP
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Glad you saw this before the next 7k miles went by. Hope your dealership does the cam carrier too so they can reseal ALL the possible leak points and not have to pull the cover off twice in three months like they did mine.
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Old 03-10-2016, 08:02 AM   #20
CLL_OBP
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No updates to report. It's been 30k miles since this was fixed last January and the bottom of the engine is dry.
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Old 03-10-2016, 11:25 PM   #21
Ladeef
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CLL_OBP View Post
Glad you saw this before the next 7k miles went by. Hope your dealership does the cam carrier too so they can reseal ALL the possible leak points and not have to pull the cover off twice in three months like they did mine.
Not sure they will, but I have the 70k mile extended warranty so I'm safe for the time being.
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Old 03-12-2016, 11:42 AM   #22
Ladeef
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tank the ek View Post
Just wanted to add to this thread, as I recently found the front timing cover leaking on my gf's 2012 Impreza at about 49,500 miles. An odor of oil was present while driving, so I investigated, and found oil in the area of the bottom/front of engine. I added dye to the engine oil and had her drive the engine for the week.

The following weekend, I found the dye to be present from the front timing cover. I removed the front timing cover, cleaned the silicone sealant a razor blade for the larger pieces, and an air sander with the yellow polishing wheels. Cleaning the mating surfaces was the most time consuming part, and I actually removed the right side lower timing chain guide to clean the silicone.

I used extra-black rtv, and only needed one tube to seal the complete front cover. The parts needed from Subaru were 3 smaller O-rings, 1 larger o-ring, and a front crank seal. The front crank seal is DIFFERENT than the older front crank seals, and I had to go back to the dealer to get the right crank seal because they didn't use the parts catalogue when looking up the part.

With taking my time, the replacement of the front timing cover took 4 hours, and I had access to compressed air, which I only used for cleaning the mating surfaces, and cleaning the engine. This repair does NOT require a lift, and can probably be performed by anyone with general familiarity of assembly/disassembly.
You know this is covered in the powertrain warranty right?
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Old 03-12-2016, 11:49 AM   #23
AndrewCSantiago
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Mine was just done at 75K.

Still a smell of oil tho, for some reason.

The Subaru techs, told me it will smell like burning oil for a while before it goes away - they suggest I get my bay cleaned out. Not sure what the hell that has to do with the smell of burning oil coming from my front end but no leak what so ever!?

Kind of lost...
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Old 03-12-2016, 01:04 PM   #24
flyboy1100
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because there is still oil that will be burning off...hence remove the lower shield and clean your engine
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Old 06-09-2017, 02:22 PM   #25
nubsub
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CLL_OBP View Post
No updates to report. It's been 30k miles since this was fixed last January and the bottom of the engine is dry.
hi there... just wanted to follow-up.

how are you X miles and 15 months later?

i had this similar work done on my car and after 3k miles, i smell oil burning again through the vents

with my bad back, i haven't spied this area but i'm assuming all of the pics you have take were from under the car with it up on jack stands?

(i may have to do this just to be sure since my 5yr warranty is over, but i should have 12k/12months on this job they did for me 3 months ago)

thanks for any follow-up info and tips.
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