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Old 11-18-2019, 08:47 PM   #1
drtofu
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Default Identifying a leak - 2002 WRX Impreza Wagon

Hi all, I have a 2002 Impreza WRX with a leak that I’m trying to identify and repair… perhaps you can help!

At stop lights, I’ve been seeing white smoke coming from under my hood and there’s an acrid, burnty smell — not what I’d call sweet — and it’s bad enough that I use recirculating air now to keep it out of the cabin.

I thought it was power steering fluid at first but not sure. What does ATF Dextron III smell like when it boils off?

I looked under the hood looking for wet spots and found this hose. The hose itself looks wet as is what’s underneath it (the wet stuff is actually grease and collected dirt — I just wiped some of it off). My guess is that it’s dripping onto something hot — can something perhaps be spraying onto this area, or drips boiling and condensing on these things? Any eagle-eyes know what this is?

(I already looked through the service manual but the line drawings are a bit hard to follow — wish there was an interactive point-and-click “what is this thing” on the web, you know?)

I took some pictures —*

https://i.imgur.com/7F1J1ZV.jpghttps://i.imgur.com/Hh0bAU9.jpg

Also, notice the white splatters? Coolant spray, right? Looking at the splatter pattern… Maybe it originates from this hose area — it might be from washing the car — perhaps it’s coming from somewhere else? It’s possible there are multiple things going on.

Hopefully it’s checking a spring clamp or some other easy repair!
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Last edited by drtofu; 11-18-2019 at 10:20 PM.
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Old 11-18-2019, 09:42 PM   #2
murrdogg24
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those hoses are part of the pcv system, you should probably check the pcv valve and see if it's stuck and replace it...that's where that hose is going to
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Old 11-18-2019, 10:23 PM   #3
drtofu
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Thanks — I was really wondering what these hoses were but wondering if that’s the leak I’m smelling. It definitely has the more acrid smell of power steering fluid.

I added some more info above… basically, not sure these are actually leaking oil, just that they’re oily/caked with grime. Also, no rough idle, etc. symptoms currently.

Another possibility is something dripping or spraying onto this area… power steering fluid? The power steering has started to whine a bit.

Last edited by drtofu; 11-19-2019 at 04:07 AM.
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Old 11-19-2019, 02:17 PM   #4
murrdogg24
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If the hoses are original on a 2002 wrx they need to all be replaced, they become hard and brittle with age and will start to leak all over. The most common leak is the hose from the oil return line underneath the turbo, it will drip down onto the uppippe and smell really bad...
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Old 11-19-2019, 11:42 PM   #5
drtofu
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Hmm... yeah, pretty sure they’re original hoses (had a short block replacement at 80k about 10 years ago - killed from oil starvation) — I think they used the old hoses.

I wonder how much that’ll all cost...
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Old 11-30-2019, 01:47 AM   #6
drtofu
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I think I’ve confirmed it’s the PCV system at an autocross day — Smoking when use the turbo a lot, not much smoking when I don’t.
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Old 11-30-2019, 03:39 PM   #7
Shik
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I've never seen a PCV hose leak to the point that you are seeing smoke coming from under the hood.

You have another issue for sure. Get looking.

It likely smokes more after using the turbo because whatever it is dripping on is getting much much hotter when you are into the boost(exhaust, head, turbo, etc.).

Common "smokey" culprits include:

Valve cover gaskets/grommets/spark plug seals/half moons/breather gaskets
Front main seal
Oil cooler gasket
Power steering lines

Coolant lines/hoses: Virtually any of them.
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Old 12-02-2019, 01:03 AM   #8
Valarius Starchaser
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Itís oil blow by on that wet tube

Every hose in your bay started life as nice rubber now itís brittle and should all be overhauled

As far as the smoke check valve cover gaskets and the turbo drain aswell as the power steering pipes that lead to the rack from the pump they can leak at multiple connections some of which cause it to simply just need replaced
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Old 12-03-2019, 09:15 PM   #9
drtofu
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Yeah, I think it’s time to get all these tubes replaced.

The car’s about 150K miles — I was hoping that the tubes were replaced when the short block was replaced, but thanks to everyone here, it’s pretty clear they’re probably all dried out.

Also, found that my inner CV joint’s boot came off, so possible splattering of grease as well.
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Old 12-04-2019, 01:25 AM   #10
firebane
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Quote:
Originally Posted by drtofu View Post
Yeah, I think itís time to get all these tubes replaced.

The carís about 150K miles ó I was hoping that the tubes were replaced when the short block was replaced, but thanks to everyone here, itís pretty clear theyíre probably all dried out.

Also, found that my inner CV jointís boot came off, so possible splattering of grease as well.
You can build a DIY smoke machine for like $20 and you will find very quickly if anything is leaking before or after.

I did this on mine and found a couple bolts for manifold to tgv were loose.
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