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Oil Filter Leaking


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9 replies to this topic

#1 subsince77

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Posted 07 March 2011 - 03:13 PM

I changed the oil this morning on the 09 Outback. The subaru filter that was put on by Subaru, was so tight it was almost impossible to get off. I use either Napa or carquest filters - both made by Wix. I put the napa filter on in the normal fashion, a little oil on the gasket, tighten by hand.

I could smell oil burning as I drove around today and assumed it was just what was spilled during the change. Bt when I got home, I stuck me head under there, and the filter is clearly leaking. I reached in with a gloved hand and tried to tighten it more, but I can't get it any tighter without using a tool.

What do you think, bad filter? Anyone having trouble seating the filters on the newer cars? Never ran into this before.

#2 Olnick

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Posted 07 March 2011 - 03:41 PM

Well that's not nice on your shiny new car! I would remove the new filter and inspect the engine's sealing surface--make sure there's no gunk or old gasket material on it. Check the new filter's gasket too. Make sure everything is super clean.

Good luck, hope it's a simple fix for you.

#3 WoodsWagon

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Posted 07 March 2011 - 03:43 PM

Did you make sure the o-ring gasket came off with the old filter? They can stick to the block surface and if you don't check to make sure the block surface is clean and smooth aluminum, the new filter tries to seal to the old gasket stuck there. Sometimes it lasts until the first time the car is revved up, then blows out and dumps all the oil in seconds. Other times it just weeps oil all the time.

The filter and drainbolt were wicked tight from the dealership because of this thing called comebacks. Tightening them more than spec'd will ensure they never come off during use. If they did, the dealership gets to put a new engine in on their dime. We all use filter sockets or pliers to take the old filters off, so it's not an issue on that end.

#4 subsince77

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Posted 07 March 2011 - 04:03 PM

I checked the old filter, the O-ring is on it - thank goodness. I did manage to tighten the new filter a little more, still by hand, just now, so I will see if it stops, otherwise I'll pull it off and check the surface more carefully.

I love the way they wrapped the hot muffler right around the filter on these. Makes changing the oil with a warm engine more exciting.

#5 subsince77

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Posted 07 March 2011 - 05:07 PM

One other thing. I did use a filter pliers on the Subaru filter to remove it. I tore a hole in it instantly - pretty thin material. It is quite interesting trying to get that pliers in from the side, above the exhaust, and put any pressure on it without ripping the wire off the 02 sensor. I need to figure out how to remove the plastic shield on the right front corner under the car without breaking the little pins that hold it in.

It would have been easier, but it was snowing hard and I cleverly positioned the car where it, now devoid of oil, was right under the water running off my roof. It was a memorable first oil change with the new car.

That is one scary small little filter. I thought the one for the 97 was too small!

#6 curtisbad

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Posted 07 March 2011 - 06:28 PM

i've always hand tightened the filter and then went an additional half a turn using filter pliers or a filter socket. that's the way it was taught to me and the way i've taught my sons to do it. i thought that was the way to do it. i could be wrong , but i've never had a leaky oil filter. curtis

#7 Olnick

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Posted 07 March 2011 - 06:44 PM

Hmmm, I've always heard you should never use a tool to tighten the filter. I just go as tight as I can by hand--and I've never had one leak either.

#8 Rooster2

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Posted 07 March 2011 - 07:06 PM

Hmmm, I've always heard you should never use a tool to tighten the filter. I just go as tight as I can by hand--and I've never had one leak either.


Yea, I have heard of hand tightening, but always felt better tightening a little more with a filter wrench, or filter cap that fits over the end of the filter and is tightened with a 3/8" drive with extension. Hand tightening always worries me that I won't get the filter tight enough, and it will leak.

#9 subsince77

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Posted 07 March 2011 - 07:33 PM

I'm in the always just hand tightened and never had a leak camp. Part of the problem too is how difficult it is to get pliers on it, and the cap type wrench I have doesn't grip very tight. I was able to grab it with a piece of rubber, to give my hand better grip, and get it just a little tighter when the engine and exhaust was cool. I drove it about 15 miles, and checked when I got home. It seemed to be completely dry, although there was still a small amount of oil burning off the exhaust from earlier. I think I got it.

Next time I change the oil, I will take more time to clean up the engine surface. I just didn't expect a problem.

#10 1-3-2-4

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Posted 07 March 2011 - 07:46 PM

I've been changing my own oil since 2005 and I've always hand tightened the oil filter and never had it leak.

Some people go nuts trying to make the oil filter tighter.. After it mates with the block I turn it an extra 180 degrees.. fill it with oil start it and check for leaks, then go on a drive and check for leaks again.

Oh I also put a thin coat of oil on the rubber seal before screwing it back on the block.




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