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Old 11-13-2017, 04:20 PM   #1
morgandelia
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Exclamation Oil Leak Issues 2013 Impreza

Hey everyone!

Just wondering if anyone could help me out here. I have a 2013 Impreza with 82k miles on it with an oil leak and cracked timing cover.

Brought it to my local Subaru for an oil change. Upon pick up they tell me that I have a leak since there is oil all over my engine. The service desk tells me that they may need to change to gaskets and even an engine overhaul since they don't know where the leak is coming from. I ask isn't there a way to find out (knowing you can clean the engine and if needed put dye in it to find said leak). But they tell me no and priced all of this at $2300 but when I mentioned that they might not have to do all of the possible work and that sounds like the high end they tell me "no, that's the price" seems a little crazy to me that a car with only 82K on it would need an engine overhaul without even trying the simplest of tasks to find the issue.

I bring it to an other garage for a second option and he goes ahead and cleans my engine. Come to find out, I have a leak on the right side of my engine and a crack in the front timing cover. This mechanic tells me that with my miles and the year of my car that having a crack in that area seems crazy and suggests I contact Subaru for possible help as it seems like a defect.

Does anyone have an ideas on what could possibly be wrong with my Impreza?

Note: my car was part of the oil consumption issue before I purchased it as I am the 2nd owner

















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Last edited by morgandelia; 11-13-2017 at 07:34 PM. Reason: Fixed Pictures
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Old 11-13-2017, 04:44 PM   #2
Charlie-III
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Timing belt cover is NOT an oil seal on older models, yours IS a metal cover with seals. So, yes it may be leaking. There are a few oil seals inside the cover, cams, crank, oil pump.
Common outside are valve covers.
Not typical for them to be leaking at your age or miles.

If it is the cover, no, it's not a reason to do a rebuild, just a PITA to clean old sealant and reassemble with new sealant.

Depending on the leak, could be PS pump or lines, oil pressure switch.

I can't see your pictures, could just be my Frikkin iPad.

Last edited by Charlie-III; 12-19-2017 at 09:28 AM. Reason: Clarify, new engines are a sealed cover unlike older Subaru engines.
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Old 11-13-2017, 07:37 PM   #3
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It was actually the way I uploaded the pictures. My bad! They should be visible now.

Would all of those possible issues be considered an engine overhaul?

Since it isn't typical with a car my age/mileage, any thoughts on why this could have happened?
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Old 11-13-2017, 10:04 PM   #4
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OK, pictures work.

Frankly, I would keep an eye on fluids, add as needed and watch for more leaks.

Right now, hard to tell since it was recently cleaned off.

No, I see no current reason for a rebuild....wait and watch.
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Old 11-14-2017, 10:32 AM   #5
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Yea that makes sense, I'll def keep an eye on the fluids.

Any ideas on what would cause that crack?
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Old 11-15-2017, 08:56 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by morgandelia View Post
Yea that makes sense, I'll def keep an eye on the fluids.

Any ideas on what would cause that crack?
Is this a 2.0L or 2.5L?

Isn't the 2.0 a timing chain with a metal timing cover? If so, it may be an oil bath for the chain so yes, it could be leaking some oil from the cover.
No clue on what caused the crack.
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Old 12-14-2017, 07:38 PM   #7
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Default Oil Leak

Hi,

First off, I am still new on the forum and my car knowledge is not extensive but I have a question. I had my car in for maintenance about a month ago. Yesterday the check engine light went on and it turns out my car has an oil leak, oil dripped on a wire which corroded, broke and now some sensors are broken.

I am wondering how long it would take for a minor leak to break a wire - are a a couple of weeks normal?

Thanks!
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Old 12-15-2017, 01:34 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Montreal2017 View Post
Hi,

First off, I am still new on the forum and my car knowledge is not extensive but I have a question. I had my car in for maintenance about a month ago. Yesterday the check engine light went on and it turns out my car has an oil leak, oil dripped on a wire which corroded, broke and now some sensors are broken.

I am wondering how long it would take for a minor leak to break a wire - are a a couple of weeks normal?

Thanks!
Oil drips really don't "corrode" wire, ever. Oil may make a plastic connector brittle over time, but no wire corrosion.
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Old 12-16-2017, 07:29 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Montreal2017 View Post
Hi,

First off, I am still new on the forum and my car knowledge is not extensive but I have a question. I had my car in for maintenance about a month ago. Yesterday the check engine light went on and it turns out my car has an oil leak, oil dripped on a wire which corroded, broke and now some sensors are broken.

I am wondering how long it would take for a minor leak to break a wire - are a a couple of weeks normal?

Thanks!
The wire is not broken or corroded. It is your air/fuel ratio sensor (front O2 sensor) has failed. The first couple years of FB engines (you have an FB20) were bad about timing chain cover and/or front cam cap leaking, particularly on the right bank. The oil would drip on to the A/F sensor wire and eventually contaminate the holes where the sensors reads atmospheric oxygen content. That kills the sensor.
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Old 12-18-2017, 12:59 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Elbert Bass View Post
The wire is not broken or corroded. It is your air/fuel ratio sensor (front O2 sensor) has failed. The first couple years of FB engines (you have an FB20) were bad about timing chain cover and/or front cam cap leaking, particularly on the right bank. The oil would drip on to the A/F sensor wire and eventually contaminate the holes where the sensors reads atmospheric oxygen content. That kills the sensor.
thank you for the clarification and roughly how long does it take for that to happen after the leaking starts? Only wondering if that contamination and killing of sensor can happen within 4 weeks.

thanks.
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Old 12-19-2017, 09:25 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Montreal2017 View Post
thank you for the clarification and roughly how long does it take for that to happen after the leaking starts? Only wondering if that contamination and killing of sensor can happen within 4 weeks.

thanks.
It's possible, the vent holes are small, wouldn't take much to get oil inside or clog the ports.
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Old 12-19-2017, 09:40 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Montreal2017 View Post
thank you for the clarification and roughly how long does it take for that to happen after the leaking starts? Only wondering if that contamination and killing of sensor can happen within 4 weeks.

thanks.
It is not time specific - usually doesn't occur until after trying to clean the crud off the timing cover or sensor. That washes crap into the holes for the atmospheric sample cell and contaminates the zirconium dioxide.
I have seen sensors with a 1/4" of dirt/oil on them which work fine until you try to clean them.
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Old 12-20-2017, 09:50 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by Elbert Bass View Post
It is not time specific - usually doesn't occur until after trying to clean the crud off the timing cover or sensor. That washes crap into the holes for the atmospheric sample cell and contaminates the zirconium dioxide.
I have seen sensors with a 1/4" of dirt/oil on them which work fine until you try to clean them.
Ok. Thanks again for the clarification. Helped a lot.
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Old 12-22-2017, 03:18 AM   #14
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That's a weird crack - looks like a bolt hole that was hydrolocked and the bolt driven home, or too long of a bolt bottomed out and blew out the back side. I'm not sure if there's even a bolt there, but I suppose something could have been protruding from the front of the engine when the cover was bolted down.
When you pull the timing cover, you'll find out though.

edit: I cannot see that damage happening except during reassembly. When it was subject to oil consumption repairs, did it get a short block, or just new rings? How long ago?
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Old 05-09-2018, 01:49 PM   #15
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OK, reviving a stale thread, but with the same issue and also an FB20. Info on my 2012 Impreza, also with a short block replacement under the oil consumption warranty:

Short block replacement: 42,178 miles, April 2015, Carlsen Subaru, Redwood City, CA
Current mileage: 77,386 miles (35k miles, 3 years since short block replacement)
Oil consumption rate since replacement: 11,500 miles/quart (essentially zero, since no oil needs to be added between oil changes)

While doing an engine inspection before an upcoming trip, I found signs of an oil leak on both cylinder heads. This is the RH side:



This sure looks like the valve cover gasket to me. LH side looks similar.

I believe that the oil consumption warranty extends coverage to 8 years and 100K miles, so I think I could appeal to SOA and get the repairs covered, but it seems like a reasonable sized job, so I ordered the parts. (even the Three-Bond 1217G at $38/tube... this was before I discovered that Subaru allows "3M Ultrapro High Temp Silicone Gasket 08672 Black". which is $10/tube, as a substitute).

I noticed that the FSM shows a limited area of RTV application on the valve covers:



and it looks like there is Three Bond squeezing out all the way around the corners of my valve corner, which doesn't match what the FSM shows.

Could this be the cause of the seepage? It does seem to be pretty slow; I cleaned it up and after a day's driving I can't feel any oil. It did collect enough on the right front camshaft position sensor and wiring to drip once in a while onto the exhaust manifold. The oxygen sensor right below that seems to be clean, and even after 35K miles there were not any drips on the plastic undercover.

Any recommendations for this job are welcome; I ordered the spark plug pipe gaskets, and the camshaft position sensor O-rings just in case. Always hard to tell when the oil drips start blowing around.

If it is the cam carrier or head gasket (i.e. engine removal is required), I'm calling SOA to get it covered under warranty.

Last edited by Rymar; 05-09-2018 at 01:56 PM.
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Old 05-09-2018, 01:55 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rymar View Post
OK, reviving a stale thread, but with the same issue and also an FB20. Info on my 2012 Impreza, also with a short block replacement under the oil consumption warranty:

Short block replacement: 42,178 miles, April 2015, Carlsen Subaru, Redwood City, CA
Current mileage: 77,386 miles (35k miles, 3 years since short block replacement)
Oil consumption rate since replacement: 11,500 miles/quart (essentially zero, since no oil needs to be added between oil changes)

While doing an engine inspection before an upcoming trip, I found signs of an oil leak on both cylinder heads. This is the RH side:



This sure looks like the valve cover gasket to me. LH side looks similar.

I believe that the oil consumption warranty extends coverage to 8 years and 100K miles, so I think I could appeal to SOA and get the repairs covered, but it seems like a reasonable sized job, so I ordered the parts. (even the Three-Bond 1217G at $38/tube... this was before I discovered that Subaru allows "3M Ultrapro High Temp Silicone Gasket 08672 Black". which is $10/tube, as a substitute).

I noticed that the FSM shows a limited area of RTV application on the valve covers:



and it looks like there is Three Bond squeezing out all the way around the corners of my valve corner, which doesn't match what the FSM shows.

Could this be the cause of the seepage? It does seem to be pretty slow; I cleaned it up and after a days driving I can't feel any oil. It did collect enough on the right front camshaft position sensor and wiring to drip once in a while onto the exhaust manifold. The oxygen sensor right below that seems to be clean, and even after 35K miles there were not any drips on the plastic undercover.

Any recommendations for this job are welcome; I ordered the spark plug pipe gaskets, and the camshaft position sensor O-rings just in case. Always hard to tell when the oil drips start blowing around.

If it is the cam carrier or head gasket (i.e. engine removal is required), I'm calling SOA to get it covered under warranty.
FWIW, I just dealt with this today. I, too, got a new shortblock installed under warranty, and have had oil leaks after the fact. The dealer today diagnosed it as the camcase seals, and no, it isn't covered under the oil consumption warranty - that only covers oil consumption.

The only way you would be covered is if you bought the extended warranty from Subaru at time of purchase.

Sucks, I was quoted $2200 to fix my issue, which is insane when you can buy a new, used engine for $500.
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Old 05-09-2018, 02:06 PM   #17
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I would appeal to Subaru directly for "warranty consideration". The dealership often gives a different answer than the corporate representatives.
If they reject it, look for a good local independent mechanic who knows Subarus. The dealership might also be wrong about which seal it is; the rocker cover seals are much less expensive to replace, since the engine doesn't need to be removed.
I'm hoping someone with experience in these motors can look at my images and give an opinion on which seal it is...
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Old 05-09-2018, 03:42 PM   #18
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Dude....really?!?!......11K miles/quart of oil?!.!

SHeesh, non issue in my book for any brand.

1.1K miles/quart, borderline for a flat engine like Subaru.
Decimal points make a HUGE difference here.

Yes, it's nice to keep the oil inside the engine.

Last edited by Charlie-III; 05-10-2018 at 01:30 AM. Reason: Couple post fixes.
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Old 05-09-2018, 04:21 PM   #19
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No, not an accountant. Engineer. Go figure.

My only point in actually measuring the oil consumption is that everybody says "My engine burns zero oil", when that's never really true. So, WTF, I measured it. I really meant 11,000 miles per quart. When I do an oil change, it is typically less than 1/2 a quart down.

I am perfectly happy with that oil consumption; it is really zero in my book, cause I never have to add any.

Just wish all the oil were on the inside of the motor...
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Old 05-10-2018, 03:46 AM   #20
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Could be valve cover, could be the cam cap.
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Old 05-10-2018, 12:56 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CosmoTheCat View Post
Could be valve cover, could be the cam cap.
Thanks. I was hoping you would comment. Correct me if I've got any of this wrong. So, just to make sure I have the parts defined correctly:



The FSM shows these slightly nightmarish drawings for how to apply liquid sealant between the cam carrier and the head:



and this for the cam cap:



I'm sure that in the factory there is a robot which applies this exactly as shown. Chances of any of us humans doing this "exactly" as specified seem kind of low. The specs are to the 10,000th of an inch!

If this sealing is done correctly, it seems like the liquid sealant should be good for the life of the engine. In other words, an untouched factory-built engine should never leak oil around these areas. Or is that not true?

I will go ahead and replace the rocker cover seal, and then post the results here once the work is done and the engine has been run for a while. This should help anyone who sees the same oil pattern figure out what the problem is.
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Old 05-11-2018, 03:48 AM   #22
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I'd say part #7 in the cam cap pic is the one.

In an ideal world, you're right - they'd never leak from the factory.
But that's clearly not the case. There was a recall on sunroofs back in 2010 or 2011 because the machine at the factory didn't do it's job gluing the glass down.

Anyway, if you're pulling the valve cover, I'd go ahead and pull those rear cam caps too. Clean them off and glue them back down. I guarantee there isn't a tech on the planet who looks at that bead spec and takes it seriously. There's literally no way.
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Old 05-11-2018, 12:34 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CosmoTheCat View Post
I'd say part #7 in the cam cap pic is the one.

In an ideal world, you're right - they'd never leak from the factory.
But that's clearly not the case. There was a recall on sunroofs back in 2010 or 2011 because the machine at the factory didn't do it's job gluing the glass down.

Anyway, if you're pulling the valve cover, I'd go ahead and pull those rear cam caps too. Clean them off and glue them back down. I guarantee there isn't a tech on the planet who looks at that bead spec and takes it seriously. There's literally no way.
Thanks again. After staring at the parts blowup (and the heads underneath the car) for a while, it looks like the rear cam caps can be removed after the rocker cover is removed, with the engine still in place in the car.

I am worried about unbolting the rear cam caps while the camshafts are under pressure from the valve springs; I know they can be brittle. I guess I can rotate the crankshaft until the rear valves are closed (but probably not all of them will be closed at the same time). The front cam caps also form part of the front surface for the timing cover, so it looks like it would not be possible to reseal those with the engine still in place.

I have never seen a motor with so many different seams where oil can leak! (well, maybe air-cooled VW bug motors have just as many...)
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Old 05-11-2018, 05:30 PM   #24
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OK, reality check here......

If oil usage is under 5000 miles/quart, frankly, leave it the frig alone.
Period.

If drips on the ground at this useage gives you fits, buy a 3' x 3' pan and dump in a layer of speedidry or similar. Then, get good at parking over it.

Yes, I have customers that go ape crap on ANY leak.....I shrug this off, or, make a ton to fix a nonissue.
Maybe buy a couple cans of Gunk FoamyBrite and shampoo he engine a time or two per year.
Effort and cost to fix "weeps" may create new leaks. Basically, a never ending battle.

Your car, your choice.
I say, shampoo it, be glad for very low consumption.
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Old 05-11-2018, 10:19 PM   #25
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Yeah, that does sound like a sane approach...

But then, I'm not sure that word applies to me. (My engine doesn't DARE leak oil!).

I'm with you up to the point where I have a drip pan in the driveway. I'll see what the oil seepage looks like after a week of driving. If I didn't enjoy working on my car I wouldn't be doing this, though. The parts were $100, and a day's mucking about with tools. Plus there's always that thing of trying to figure out how to do something the right way. Engineer mindset at work...
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