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98 Legacy 2.2 Oil Leak


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20 replies to this topic

#1 powderhound

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Posted 22 March 2004 - 12:38 PM

Yeah I know big suprise it's leaking oil but please help. I have a 98 Legacy L 2.2 MT with 103,000. I run mobil 1 (though if it keeps leaking I'll be switching to the cheap stuff). I changed the oil before a trip to Utah at 100K. Coming home the car started smoking at stops and smelled like burning oil. Sure enough got her home and it was a quart low. I tightened the bolts around the pan (surprisingly loose) but the problem continues. I haven't yet really gotten into looking but it is definately leaking at the front. I had the T-belt done at 80K and they replaced the crank seal (obviously...don't they all leak?). So basically I'm wondering how I can tell what's leaking? (ie the pan gasket, oil pump, or cam seals). I'm leary of taking it somewhere and getting the head gasket story. It doesn't use much coolant, no sweet smell, so I'm hopeful its not the head gasket...plus its a 2.2 not a 2.5 thank god. Also if anybody knows any worthy Suby mechanics in the Madison, WI area I would love to know them too. Thanks I'm sure you'll all be of great assistance. She can't die yet..my 92 has 345K and runs better than this 98. I demand 300K from my Subaru. Help!

#2 tcspeer

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Posted 22 March 2004 - 09:56 PM

Have you crawed under it and looked. If it is on front of pan it could be crank seal or cam seal, could also be the oil pump. If it is near the rear it may be the rear engine seal. My rear engine seal started leaking at around 100,000 miles and I put Gold Eagle stop leak in it. Now it has right at 280,000 miles on it and has not leaked again.
You will have to take the front covers off to tell if it is cam or crank seals leaking.

#3 hklaine

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Posted 22 March 2004 - 11:54 PM

Look at the bottom corners of your timing belt covers. Oil there can signal a leaking seal on the crank or cam seals (more likely). This oil drip is lined up conveniently with a straight drop to the Y-Pipe creating a pleasant odor to be pulled in with the heat this time of year. Seems like you are leaking a decent amount of oil so the pump and rear seals would certainly be good to look at along with valve cover gaskets (which like to leak).

-Heikki

#4 brus brother

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Posted 23 March 2004 - 03:15 AM

Addition to valve cover gaskets were the rubber boots (washers) around the bolts that hold the valve covers on. The first aftermarket set leaked so go SOA. They do come in the kit so you'll be getting them if you do the cover gaskets (individually, they cost as much as the whole kit, go figure). Anyway, as previous writer said, you are leaking a LOT of oil for it to be valve cover gaskets.

#5 intrigueing

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Posted 23 March 2004 - 08:24 AM

The cam seals are known for dripping right onto the exhaust and causing the burning smell. If you have any drips coming off the timing belt cover, you are going to have to have the timing belt removed to do the oil pump or the cam seals, might as well do both, and the water pump, new crank seal, and heck throw in a timing belt while you are at it.

#6 intrigueing

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Posted 23 March 2004 - 08:40 AM

Ohhhhhh..... I went to UW - Hansen auto on park street is excelllent, very knowledgable and very honest and prices are unbeatable! They did my 86 subaru GL Y pipe, cat, and helicoil the block, for way cheaper than others wanted - many others did not want to touch it. They also troubleshooted a problem on a non subie that even the dealer couldn't figure out - had the car for a week troubleshooting an itermittant problem and only charged me an hour of work including the repair.

Hansen's Auto Service Center
1405 South Park Street
Madison, WI 53715
608-256-0713



Import autos on regent does good work, however a little pricey. Dealer - Don Miller will cost you your first born child for even a tune up.

#7 powderhound

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Posted 23 March 2004 - 09:43 AM

Thanks people! The drips are hanging along the bottom of the t-belt cover and there is one drip that hangs on the pan. No signs of leakage from the back. Anyway we're going to have to open it up so what should I have done? I think I'll have them do the oil pump gasket, cam seals, and a new water pump? What say ye?

#8 intrigueing

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Posted 23 March 2004 - 09:52 AM

Oil dripping off the t-belt covers will blow back onto the oil pan.

Cam seals
Crank Seal (might as well)
Cam retainer o-ring
Oil pump o-ring inspection and re-seal
Water pump
Tensioner pulley bearings check
Check hydraulic tensioner
Drive belts
Valve cover gaskets and grommets, oil filler o-ring (if leaking)

#9 powderhound

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Posted 23 March 2004 - 09:57 AM

Thanks intrigueing,

I had the T belt done at 80K and they said the tensioner was leaking. Would that mean they replaced the crank seal? Also have you heard of Phoenix Foreign Car Service on Stewart St? I was told to take it there...most reputable Subaru mechanics in Dane county.

Thanks again...gotta get to class now...on my bike.

#10 hawksoob

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Posted 23 March 2004 - 10:56 AM

I had the oil dripping from the T-belt cover and the one drop on the oil pan and the whole smoke and smell thing. Recently had the oil pump O-ring and seal replaced, along with the crank seal. That's all (well, T-belt for good measure). No more leak.

#11 intrigueing

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Posted 23 March 2004 - 11:13 AM

Powder,

No the tensioner leaking would not mean the crank seal was replaced. Have not heard of phoenix, sorry. What are you studying?

When I did my timing belt the cam seals were a majority of the leak, however I also did the valvecovers, crank seal, the oil pump, and the cam retainer o-ring, now the car is dry as new. The seals in there cost very little, IMHO it is worth doing them every time you take the timing belt off.

#12 powderhound

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Posted 23 March 2004 - 12:21 PM

I just called Hansens and they quoted me around $700 for the cam seals, crank seal, oil pump gasket, and H2O pump. Seems high to me. He also said that they may have to replace the timing belt if it is oil saturated. Does this make sense to anyone? He also noted that it may in fact be the oil pump itself which of course will be even more. Anyway I've learned my lesson now shoulda had the whole thing done when I did the T-belt at 82K. Oh-well live and learn...and die broke.

Any theories on why I haven't had this problem with my 92? I bought it at 142K it now has 345K and I've never replaced a seal or used much oil (1qt/3K).

intrigueing, I'm in the School of Business. Just changed my major from Finance to Marketing...I know a marketing degree is lame but I've decided I'm far too creative to be a finance major.

#13 intrigueing

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Posted 23 March 2004 - 01:46 PM

:-\ Sorry to hear the price hit, my experience with Hansen was from 5+ years ago.

Perhaps go to dino oil.

#14 nathan

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Posted 23 March 2004 - 07:51 PM

highly doubtful it's the oil pan. BTW the pan bolts are supposed to be very low torque setting, Leave them alone now since you already cranked them, but in the future overtightening oil pan and valve cover bolts will almost always cause leaks.
As far as having a shop replace all seals just because, I think is a waste. Pull the belt covers and look really closely with a flashlight. You should be able to notice the area that has the most oil flung around it, most likely the crank seal. It is actually not that hard to replace timing belt/water pump and crank seal yourself and save some serious money.

#15 intrigueing

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Posted 24 March 2004 - 09:38 AM

I did my t-belt myself and cam and crank seals cost me under 10$, I'd rather spend the 10$ than have to tear the whole deal apart again.

Granted a shop will charge you more than 10$, but had powder had the seals changed at 80K he would have saved several hundred dollars and not had to mess with the timing belt only 23K miles after it was changed.

Sure a visual can tell you if the seals are currently leaking, however it does not tell you that they won't fail 1000 miles down the road. Take a poll of how many people have cam and crank seals that last more than 120K without leaking, - there aren't many. Going 2 T-Belt intervals on the same set of seals is a risk I choose not to take.

And this is a 1998 2.2 - an interference motor, saturating the belt with oil can cause the belt to slip or fail which would be the end of the motor.

No flame intended, just presenting my angle on why I feel seals are worth the hassle every T-belt change.

#16 DerFahrer

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Posted 24 March 2004 - 12:18 PM

You will have to take the front covers off to tell if it is cam or crank seals leaking.


Incorrect. I can see very plainly where my cam seals are leaking from behind the timing covers and slowly making their way to the bottom of the head.

Perhaps go to dino oil.


Definitely. My opinion is that it's not a good idea to run synth oils in old engines, especially leak-prone Subarus. I tried running only partial synth in my Legacy, and it would leak from the aforementioned cam seal so bad it would seep through the exhaust gasket and I freaked out when I saw blue smoke coming out my tailpipe :eek:

And this is a 1998 2.2 - an interference motor, saturating the belt with oil can cause the belt to slip or fail which would be the end of the motor.


Phase II EJ22's are interference starting with the 99 model year.

#17 intrigueing

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Posted 24 March 2004 - 02:15 PM

My timing belt covers had sealant/gasket on the back causing the leaks to be internal to the covers.

According to
http://www.endwrench...verhaulSp98.pdf

"2.2 Liter Engine Enhancements
Beginning in the 1997 Model Year, the 2.2 liter engine for 1997 Legacy and
Impreza models has had internal and external changes that yield an approximately 10% increase in power and 3% increase in fuel economy. Accomplishing this involves many factors, one of which is engine friction reduction. The piston, a major source of engine friction, has been coated with a friction reducing agent called Molybenum. This thin coating not only allows smoother travel through the cylinder, but also reduces cylinder wall scuffing.
The skirt of the piston has been reshaped and the overall weight has been reduced by approximately 100 grams. Compression ratio has been increased to 9.7 to 1 by reshaping the crown of the piston. This eliminates the clearance that was available between the piston at TDC and the fully opened valve. Piston pin
offset has been changed to 0.5 mm. Piston to cylinder wall clearance has been reduced by increasing the piston diameter."

#18 tcspeer

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Posted 24 March 2004 - 08:59 PM

Intrigueing
I agree mine also have rubber gaskets some time the oil will find it's way out but that will be where it has the path of least resistance. Maybe you could see if gasket was gone or cover had crack.

#19 WRX1AB

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Posted 25 March 2004 - 11:09 AM

all the above, and busted cv boots make nastey smell when stopped.

#20 powderhound

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Posted 25 March 2004 - 02:44 PM

Well we're at the end of the road. Took it into Phoenix today and the oil pump itself is cracked. I'm having them do the cam seals, crank seal, H20 pump, and oil pump, oh and I need yet another Tbelt because it's saturated with oil. Grand total just over $700.
LESSON LEARNED!

#21 tcspeer

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Posted 25 March 2004 - 07:16 PM

That is not a bad price if it includes oil pump.




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