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'97 Outback Oil Leaks


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15 replies to this topic

#1 STL808

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Posted 22 July 2004 - 08:44 AM

Hello,

I just joined this forum and I wanted to say hello. Also, I have a common Subaru problem - oil leaks. Both my wife and I have/had '97 Outback Wagons. Last year around 90,000 miles my wife's Outback went in for a tune up. The dealer called up "Oh boy, do you have problems..." To make a long story short, every oil seal was bad and needed to be replaced and to replace any Subaru oil seal you must drop to engine. So the dealer said it would be cheaper to replace all the seals at once to save on the cost of dropping the motor. The total cost $4,000. Needless to say I was shocked. I was wasn't going to do the repairs, but the dealer said that would be bad and you could mess up the engine, could strand your wife etc., etc. So was I taken for a ride? I tend to think so. (We have since traded her Subaru in for a Toyota, sorry)

Now comes my current problem, my Subaru is at 90,000 and I have noticed that it is leaking at the cam seals. What is a reasonable cost to fix the leak, replace the belt, etc. I live in Cleveland, Ohio. "My" Subaru dealer is "highly' rated by SOA, or so it says on their showroom wall. Can I be looking at another $4,000?

Thanks in advance for any replies.

STL808

#2 hawksoob

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Posted 22 July 2004 - 09:09 AM

From my limited knowledge, the only seal I know of that may require the dropping of the engine is the rear main seal. The others - cam, crankshaft, oil pump seals (most common leak points, from my understanding), are accessible through the front of the engine ... remove the timing cover and associated belts thereabout and you're there. I had those done a few months ago for a little over $300, and that included the timing belt (a "since we're there" sort of thing more than anything).

When I first bought my car and took it to my mechanic, he mentioned at some point I may get a leak from the rear main seal, at which point, we could wait until it was time to do the clutch, since it's all in the same area. The labor involved in doing a clutch is about $300.

I can't really see where they get $4000, unless they are adding up each individual repair from the Mitchell Guide, failing to incorporate the fact that there are many redundancies (Example: You have to remove the timing belt to get to the oil pump seal. No reason to charge for a timing belt R/R AND a oil pump seal R/R. No extra labor is involved because you have to put the timing belt back on, anyway, whether it's the old one or a new one).

#3 Suzam

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Posted 22 July 2004 - 04:20 PM

I Agree with hawksoob, $300-$450 should be the most for commond oil leaks like the cam seals and maybe check the oil pump seals. I think I paid about $580 at 65K on our MY95, but I had some other things done at that time including the 60K timing belt and water pump ($95).

#4 RodA2003

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Posted 22 July 2004 - 06:45 PM

If you clean up the underside of the engine, and then run it, it should be easy to see if the oil leaks are from the back, or front, or both. It is much more likely to be from the front, which is relatively easy to fix. If it is from the back, the engine must be removed. Then replace the rear crank seal and redo the silicon on the rear oil gallery portal. I did this job in a weekend and have had no leaks since.

#5 powderhound

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Posted 22 July 2004 - 06:49 PM

I paid around 900 USD to have the timing belt, oil pump, water pump, t-stat, and all front seals replaced.

#6 Ranger83

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Posted 23 July 2004 - 06:19 AM

Can you smell burned oil, especially after driving hard on the highway? They're prone to leaking oil out the front of the camshafts. You won't use a lot of oil, it just smells bad.

The common leaks for these engines have been described. I would never visit that mechanic again. A local garage did all the usual seal suspects, the oil pump o-ring, and changed the belt at 106K miles and it was around $650. The same job at a local dealer was around $900 for a friend of mine.

#7 86subaru

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Posted 23 July 2004 - 06:38 AM

a good friend of mine would do the hole job for alot less , we could do it in my garage , all seals , timming belts, water pump, etc... if you would buy all the parts , but i am aleast 3.5 hrs away from you

#8 chadwick

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Posted 24 July 2004 - 12:49 PM

My God That Dealership Is Overcharging Really Bad For All Those Oil Leaks I Have Worked At A Dealership And All Those Leaks Would Not Come Close To,4,000 Dollars Get A Second Opinion Somewhere Else Even If They Highly Rated Anyways Camseals Around 350 To 400 Is Reasonable Hey Good Luck

#9 Geoff4130

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Posted 30 July 2004 - 10:48 AM

Can you smell burned oil, especially after driving hard on the highway? They're prone to leaking oil out the front of the camshafts. You won't use a lot of oil, it just smells bad.

Mine does this. I went to Madison last weekend from St. Louis with a detour through Chicago on my way home, about 1200 miles roundtrip, and it used about 2 quarts of oil. There was a film of oil on the rear of the car too. Whenever I stop it smokes like a concert goer at a Cypress Hill concert. It is worse the longer I drive and faster. Tuesday it will be going in to be looked at, hopefully not costing $4000.

#10 Chip

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Posted 30 July 2004 - 11:30 AM

[ "Oh boy, do you have problems..." To make a long story short, every oil seal was bad and needed to be replaced and to replace any Subaru oil seal you must drop to engine. So the dealer said it would be cheaper to replace all the seals at once to save on the cost of dropping the motor. The total cost $4,000. [/QUOTE]

I'd go back with a big stick and beat the living snot out of him.:brow:

#11 Wayne Boncyk

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Posted 03 August 2004 - 10:26 AM

Fascinating! The price of replacing all these seals seems to vary all over the map!! I had mine done at a KC, MO dealership, and paid ONLY $2600!!! I was held hostage at the time, since I'd been nursing the leaks for several thousand miles and then had a massive oil dump happen when I was crossing the middle of nowhere, Kansas, a few years ago. All I can say is, take the previous poster's advice, and take a really big stick!!!

#12 slo5oh

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Posted 03 August 2004 - 03:34 PM

for $4000 I'd expect the dealer to drop in a NEW engine and TRANS.... and while I'm waiting the cute girl that answers the phone better give me a hummer.



I haven't been taken by a mechanic since I was 20. IT cost me about $1500,and 2 weeks without my car, to find out that my timing was off by about 20 degrees in a mustang. Man I wanted to beat the snot out of that guy. Since the day I wrote that check I've never had anything other than oil changes, brakes and tires done by anyone else.... and even for the oil changes and brakes I would ONLY take it to a shop my friend worked at. Did I mention that I still want to beat the snot out of that guy?



Way I see it you have 2 things you can do.

#1) Learn from your mistake. I know this is kind of obvious, but you'd be surprised. Ask around your local area and you will find a mechanic that's honest, there's always one. Then, be good to him. Still shop around for prices on repairs, but so long as he's in the ballpark with everyone else stick with him. Some mechanics will tell you a low price then do half the work and call about "other" problems to raise the $. We always call these the "muffler bearings" costs. There is no such thing as a muffler bearing.



#2) Take your invoice to several different shops and see what they charge for the same thing. If the dealers cost is way off, as I'm sure it is, you may be able to sue and get some back or at least call the BBB on them. What I would do, since it was a dealership is have a custom sticker made up for your back window that explains "XYD Subaru Dealership Service Department ROBS IT'S CUSTOMERS BLIND!" I thought about doing this to the guy that worked on my mustang, but he's a small shop with no advertising, so I'd probably bring him more work.



#13 Equalizer

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Posted 03 August 2004 - 04:43 PM

First thing I'd do is call around until you can find a Chilton's AND a Haynes manual. Buy them both. Even if you don't know sasquatch about cars, study the manuals where it pertains to your car and then, and only then will you know what is involved w/the job.

Next, ask other subi owners who they take their's too and their recommendations. Best price might be someone, besides a stealership, who regularly works on subis and is honest. It might be a hard search, but unless you do it yourself, its going to save you money, time, and regret.

The guy should replace your whole engine w/a brand new one for $4000. "Subaru dealerships" are code for"How can we rob you?.......Thank you very much.......Now come back again, so we can keep ripping you off." Its a shame that SOA puts up w/all of the organized crime that goes on. It's a reflection on their character as a company. I wish I was a secret shopper for the company, I'd be tempted to take the mangy service managers and service them w/a crow bar and make 'em pay back all of their customers. Time to do some equalizing. whack-whack-whack-crack-crack-gurgle-cough-snap!

Now, where are those 'beatin' the snot out of the service mnger icons at?

Best wishes and don't get ripped,

eq

#14 Geoff4130

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Posted 04 August 2004 - 05:42 PM

I got my car back today after having all 5 cam seal/bushing things replaced, the cam cover seal and the timing belt replaced. Total cost, $450. I am a happy man. :D :D

#15 Equalizer

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Posted 10 August 2004 - 03:43 PM

I got my car back today after having all 5 cam seal/bushing things replaced, the cam cover seal and the timing belt replaced. Total cost, $450. I am a happy man. :D :D


Way to go Geoff!

You go a great deal, especially w/the timing belt replacement thrown in. Did the dealer have a special rebate this month, or did you find another private garage?

eq

#16 SevenSisters

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Posted 10 August 2004 - 07:11 PM

Please let us know who the dealer is.




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