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Guest Message by DevFuse

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98 Legacy Outback - EJ25 puking Oil .....

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7 replies to this topic

#1 GorgeSuby


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Posted 16 December 2013 - 06:29 PM

Hi guys, My wife's 98 Outback is losing a lot of oil - seems to be from the front of the engine, smokes like crazy when at rest. She took it in to the mechanic today & he told her it needed a $2,500.00 re-seal & recommended a re-build.


Now, I don't have $2,500 & the car is certainly not worth putting that much into it. Should I look into sealing it up myself, look for a junkyard engine, buy a rebuild? Other options? Just trying to get an idea what the best low budget solution...

#2 Rooster2


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Posted 16 December 2013 - 07:43 PM

If motor is still running okay, then motor does not need to be replaced or rebuilt. You need to find out specifically where exactly the oil is leaking from, and specifically address that leak. It may be a front engine seal, or valve covers leaking. Fixing an oil leak should not be costly, at worst a new timing belt may be needed if it is oil soaked.


I hate to hear stories of women going to a mechanic, and getting the $2,500.00 sales pitch for a costly re-build. Prolly told her how unsafe car is to operate as is, and sure to leave her stranded somewhere. The scare factor is a favorite tactic of a greedy mechanic on women.


Just be sure to not let the engine run low on oil at any time. Carry a 5 quart jug of oil with you for constant fill ups when needed, until you get the leak fixed. Running low or out of oil is the surest way to totally kill the engine. Be vigilant.

#3 Fairtax4me



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Posted 16 December 2013 - 08:24 PM

Find out where the leak is coming from. Front, back, side? Too many places where these leak. Could be fixed in an afternoon, or you could spend a weekend pulling the engine.

#4 987687


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Posted 16 December 2013 - 09:09 PM

Go under the car and clean the engine until it shines. Then when you start it up you can see exactly where it's leaking. If it's still hard to locate, put some UV dye in the oil to find the leak. It'll glow green under a blacklight.


If it's from the front of the engine, it's probably a cam or crank seal. Really not that bad a job. Basically a timing belt replacement.

#5 idosubaru


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Posted 17 December 2013 - 08:15 AM

Hi guys, My wife's 98 Outback is losing a lot of oil - seems to be from the front of the engine,...

that usually means it's a $5 seal.  replacing and rebuilding the engine or $2,500 in repairs is quite silly.


assuming it's the original EJ25 - it has 5 front engine seals, you can likely tell which is leaking by where it's the wettest (though sometimes it's hard based on the oil pooling behind the timing covers:

CENTER - crankshaft seal

PASSENGERS SIDE - one of 2 camshaft seals

DRIVERS SIDE - one of 2 camshaft seals


Ideally you get a timing belt kit for $120 off rockauto and replace all 5 of those seals, reseal the oil pump, and the car is ready for another 100,000 miles.

$150 in parts and whatever a timing belt replacement costs - $400 - $700 depending on area.


Or do it yourself/have a friend do it - there's additional work with seals - but that timing belt can be done in one hour.

#6 1 Lucky Texan

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Posted 17 December 2013 - 08:44 AM

How quickly does the oil level drop?

If you are only seeing a lot of smoke, it takes very little to really make a cloud - and it might just be CV joint grease.

thoroughly inspect as said above - or find a different mechanic to inspect it. Maybe make a new thread asking for a shop recommendation near you in Oregon.

#7 GorgeSuby


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Posted 17 December 2013 - 02:04 PM

Thanks guys,


That's what I figured, I was pretty shocked too but difficult to tell her without making her feel bad :rolleyes: . I have done allot of work on my beater Loyale, but haven't worked on the wifes Outback much - she always wants it done "professionally". It seems to still be running very well - no ticking or knocking & haven't seen any oil lights, but I know it ran a couple quarts low before I discovered the leak. In any case we won't be driving it until I figure out what to do. Will take a look & see if I can locate the source.....

#8 idosubaru


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Posted 17 December 2013 - 02:48 PM

sometimes there's options for mitigating issues but in this case the offending $5 seal simply needs replaced and there's no short term fixes or remedies except to keep dumping oil in it.

at the most inexpensive this can be repaired in about an hour for $5 - remove timing belt and replace seal, reinstall.


best case scenario you replace the timing kit as mentioned above and all the seals in that area for $150-$200 in parts.




good luck

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