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Checking the oil in an EJ

EJ251 Oil Basic Maintenance General General Maintenance Help

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8 replies to this topic

#1 ayykimber

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Posted 22 June 2017 - 04:20 PM

Hello all, 

 

Even though I have my fair share of experience as a mechanic (been working on and around cars since I was 8), sometimes you need help with the basics. I am the owner of a 2002 Legacy Outback wagon with the base EJ251, and I cannot for the life of me get an accurate reading on the dipstick when I check the oil. I'm still somewhat new to this community and new to the nitty gritty details of these cars, so sometimes even with the basics I need to ask for advice.

 

The problem I am having is that I can get anything from no oil at all when hot/warm, to the front of the stick (the side with the L and F stamped on it) registering no oil at all and the back side registering overfull, and once in every 10 tries or so it will actually register something meaningful. Ive tried waiting anywhere from 15 mins to 2 hrs to get as much oil drained back into the sump as possible as these engines don't really have the help of gravity to get the oil back to the sump like a V or inline engine would, and Im officially out of ideas on how to do something as basic as checking the oil on this thing.

 

Just a little bit of background to help with things, it does not leak or burn oil (the head gaskets were done a few years ago shortly after my stepfather purchased the car, and there is no smoke, smell, or indication that it is burning an abnormal amount of oil.) Also according to records and testimony from previous owners the oil was always changed regularly, and has been as long as it has been in the possession of me and my family. I've had this problem during the five or so years my stepfather had this car, and the two years that I have had it. 

 

Are there any suggestions anyone can offer up on checking the oil in EJ's?

 

I appreciate any advice or help I can get!


Edited by ayykimber, 22 June 2017 - 04:23 PM.


#2 Fairtax4me

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Posted 22 June 2017 - 04:32 PM

Can't say I've ever had a problem with them. Pull the dipstick out, wipe it, put it back in, then pull out once more for the reading. I generally wait 5 minutes or so with a warm engine to check the oil. Cold engine you shouldn't even need to wipe the stick.

One thing that may help is to make sure the dipstick is oriented the same way each time, and if you get inconsistent readings, flip it the other way.
Also if you have to pull the stick more than 2-3 times trying to get a reading, it will pull some oil up the tube and that will alter the readings after that.

#3 1 Lucky Texan

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Posted 22 June 2017 - 05:30 PM

I have more trouble with the auto stick but, general consesnus is to wait longer, and use the lower reading on the 2 sides of the stick. As my eyes have gotten older, I sometimes need a lot more light if the oil is fresh.

#4 forester2002s

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Posted 22 June 2017 - 06:17 PM

I've also had this problem on my EJ251.
I always leave the car to cool overnight before checking the oil.
Then withdraw and wipe, then reinsert the dipstick.
Then withdraw again, and read both sides. The lower reading is the one to use.

As the years have gone by on this engine, I check the oil more frequently. At least every 1000km, or every 500km if the level is going down.

My engine is the original from 2002, now with a replacement turbo head-gasket. No oil leaks, but it needs about 1-Litre every 3000km.


Edited by forester2002s, 22 June 2017 - 07:31 PM.


#5 GeneralDisorder

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Posted 22 June 2017 - 06:23 PM

You're making it over-complicated. Drain the oil, fill it with 4.5 quarts. You'll either be right on, or slightly over. It will burn off since they pretty much all use some oil. 

 

Shut the engine off and wait at least a minute. Pull the stick, wipe it, and then take a reading. If it's showing at least somewhere above the bottom fill hole - good to go. 

 

It's virtually impossible to uncover the pickup tube in a Subaru pan unless it gets 3+ quarts low. 

 

Check it OFTEN. Don't worry about the exact reading as long as there's oil in it. 

 

GD


Edited by GeneralDisorder, 22 June 2017 - 06:24 PM.


#6 Subaru Scott

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Posted 22 June 2017 - 06:58 PM

I have found that shooting the end of my dipsticks with a thin coat of flat black spray paint makes them much easier to read, especially when the oil is new.



#7 ayykimber

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Posted 22 June 2017 - 09:15 PM

I've also had this problem on my EJ251.
I always leave the car to cool overnight before checking the oil.
Then withdraw and wipe, then reinsert the dipstick.
Then withdraw again, and read both sides. The lower reading is the one to use.

As the years have gone by on this engine, I check the oil more frequently. At least every 1000km, or every 500km if the level is going down.

My engine is the original from 2002, now with a replacement turbo head-gasket. No oil leaks, but it needs about 1-Litre every 3000km.

 

 

You're making it over-complicated. Drain the oil, fill it with 4.5 quarts. You'll either be right on, or slightly over. It will burn off since they pretty much all use some oil. 

 

Shut the engine off and wait at least a minute. Pull the stick, wipe it, and then take a reading. If it's showing at least somewhere above the bottom fill hole - good to go. 

 

It's virtually impossible to uncover the pickup tube in a Subaru pan unless it gets 3+ quarts low. 

 

Check it OFTEN. Don't worry about the exact reading as long as there's oil in it. 

 

GD

 

Thanks for the advice, like I said I'm extremely familiar with the general maintenance aspect of it all, and painfully familiar with the aftermath if one doesn't keep track of it as I have had to do engine swaps on cars because owners never kept oil in them. As a result I generally check at least once a week which is why it's been driving me nuts trying to get a read on it. Ill let it cool overnight and check.

 

It's not really using anymore than the general quart per 3k (ish) miles that I learned, so I'm not particularly worried about that. However, considering the reputation of these cars for oil leaks, and that this one is sitting at about 174k and change I'm sure to check often to get anything fixed before it's a problem.

 

Once again, thanks for the advice!


Edited by ayykimber, 23 June 2017 - 07:37 AM.


#8 kaw65072

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Posted 24 June 2017 - 09:56 AM

Always check oil after car sits overnight that will give the most accurate reading and easier to read. 



#9 Gloyale

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Posted 25 June 2017 - 02:09 PM

It's virtually impossible to uncover the pickup tube in a Subaru pan unless it gets 3+ quarts low. 

 

Yeah, like a customer of mine did a few days ago.

 

Brought the car in for a new fender after a parking lot mishap, and she asks "while it's here, can you change the oil?  The oil light's been on for a few days so I figure it must be due"    :o  :o  :o 

 

So I drained the old oil, changed the filter and filled her up.  The amount of oil that came out of the pan when drained would fit in a beer can.  Told her that her engine will not be lasting much longer, but she will need to check oil much more often for as long as it does keep running.  It sounded fine, and no flakes in the oil.  EJ251 is much more robust than the old 25D which would have been toasted.

 

Sad thing is she probably lost more oil than "usual" for the car because of an overtightened and profusly leaking Oil Can Henry's oil filter from her last oil change.







Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: EJ251, Oil, Basic Maintenance, General, General Maintenance, Help

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