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Old 07-12-2009, 11:17 PM   #1
Scooby Newbie
Member#: 154661
Join Date: Jul 2007
Default Cam Seal/O Rng SCREW UP?? EJ25 SOHC. HELP!!

Every time I think I've taken enough time to do a procedure properly, something will come around and bite me in the butt, and this project was no exception. This is an 02 OBW with 108k on it EJ25 SOHC with no leaks anywhere prior to this servicing....until now!

Spent $370 on a full timing belt kit with all Japanese parts in it(timing belt, all idlers and tensioner, cam seals and"O rings", water pump, drive belts, thermostat, and crank seal). Get ready to do the job just before we were to leave for vacation. Got everything off and had to shade tree the sprocket bolt removal by cutting a length of the old timing belt that equaled one complete revolution, rubber banding it to the sproket, and used a Craftsman strap wrench to try to hold the pulley still while I popped it loose wit hthe breaker bar. The driver's side onew was real picky about sliding off that slippery slope and whacking pistons, so even with a square cheater tube over the wrench, the nut didn't want to come loose. In hindsight, the seals in there were dry as a bone and I should've left them in there unscatheed. My son wanted the challenge of digging out the old seals, so I let him do that. and after cleaning out the bores of all three holes with some q tips and acetone, I thought I was ready for the installs.

Got the pump and Tstat in and Haynes says to install the seals at the depth that you found them. This engine(I assume these were brownish Viton factory seals) had the crank seal flush with the case and the cam seals recessed about 5/32" according to my tire depth gauge(shade tree, but effective). Tap in the new seal for the crank no problem.

NOW I'M WONDERING ABOUT THOSE O RINGS THAT CAME WITH THE CAM SEALS!! No where in any of the on line descriptions of instaling cam seals have I found a reference to them and no reference to o rings is made in the Haynes manual, so where do these thing s go? Or do they fit earlier or later models of the Outback engine??. We didn't remove any o rings from he cam seal bores, so we didn't put them back in. It looked like there might have been recesses in the bores for an o ring on each side, but not sure how we'd have gotten them in and then tapped the regular cam seal in without chewing up the o ring.

Bottom line is that the driver's side cam seal seems to be really letting oil leak down the housing and ending up dripping off the Thermostat housing at the rate of about a drop every two seconds or so after initial engine warmup. The passenger side is fine and the crank looks to be dry. Since I lubricated the seals before I tapped them in, I wouldn't think that the sealing lips were damaged going over the shaft, but who knows. I used a craftsman 1 1/4" 1/2" drive socket with an old green VW radiator spring hose clamp set at the 5/32" recess so theoretically when the clamp hit the case, I'd know when to stop. The passenger seal had a couple of high and low spots, but careful tapping in the right places got the 12/3/6/9 o'clock measuring spots all to the 5/32" depth. Same thing for the passenger side.

If anyone has any wisdom here, I'd be all ears. This one has me baffled beyond belief. Should I order two seals from Subaru to make sure the next set will not leak, or is there a user error here I'm not seeing? Any chance that driver's side seal lip is pooched out from the driving of the seal because it didn't get enough lube?


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Old 07-13-2009, 12:19 AM   #2
Scooby Specialist
Member#: 80465
Join Date: Jan 2005
Chapter/Region: RMIC
Location: Bailey, CO
2001 2.5RS
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those o-rings might be for the oil pump. Someone had the same question a while back and that seemed to be the consensus.
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Old 07-13-2009, 01:48 PM   #3
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Member#: 154661
Join Date: Jul 2007

Thanks. It's a funny place to stash them, but since I'll have to tear it all down again anyway, maybe I'll investigate a little furthe and see if Haynes has o rings in the oil pump

Until next week,

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