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Guest Message by DevFuse

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Front Seal leak on 97 OB 2.5?

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23 replies to this topic

#1 Guest_VG_*

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Posted 30 December 2002 - 10:25 AM

My 97 OB wagon has 105,000 miles on it and has started using some oil. By putting a paper under the front of the engine, it appears that the engine is leaking from the front center, and also one side.

I'm told that leaks in the front seal of the crankshaft and also the camshaft seals are somewhat common on Subarus. True?

Also, that it's a $6-700 repair job to change them. But it sounds like it would cost more, given in part that I might as well have the timing belt replaced. What would this repair run? I live in MA.


#2 Guest_synapse79_*

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Posted 30 December 2002 - 10:46 AM

I would say that it is more likely the seal around the oil pump has gone bad, it is not the greatest seal from the factory. The front main seal may look ugly, and probably should be replaced, but is probably not leaking, same for the camshaft seals.

There is now way it should cost that much. Somebody on the board said he only charges 200 for changing all the seals and timing belt. There is maybe close to 200dollars worth of parts if you get all subaru parts. I couldnt see paying more than 200 dollars labor at the most for everything, especially if all the work is done on the motor in the car. If you went at it like a professional mechanic shouldnt take longer than 3 or 4 hours at the most.

#3 Guest_Commuter_*

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Posted 30 December 2002 - 11:50 AM

I have the same car. Currently with 187,000 miles.

Crank and camshaft seal leaks are not uncommon with these engines. The "additional" cost to change them is peanuts if you are having the timing belt done.

There are articles around about what all should be done with the timing belt change.

Seals is one.

The oil pump needs to be checked. There is a small o-ring that needs changing. The screws on the back of the pump need to be checked. They sometimes loosen and back off.

There can be some left over Aluminum flashing in one of the oil passageways. This should be checked for and cleaned out if need be.

Sometimes people have issues with the timing belt tensioner. I'm not sure just what should be done to check that.

Water pumps are usually good until the second timing belt change from what most people say. However, it's a large expense to change it on its own. How good have you been with anti-freeze changes over the years?

That's about all I can think of. If you want to know more, there was a series of 3 motor mag (online) articles last year which detailed a lot of this. Sorry, I don't have the link handy.


#4 Guest_VG_*

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Posted 30 December 2002 - 03:02 PM

Thanks, that's good info. If anyone finds the link, I'd appreciate it.

#5 Guest_hawknoseporter_*

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Posted 30 December 2002 - 03:07 PM

I recently got price estimates on some of the items you are discussing. Here is an interesting comparison.

From the Subaru Dealer

Front Crankshaft oil seal....$7.38
Oil Pump O-ring................$3.23
Timing Belt.......................$68.94

From 1stsubaruparts.com

Front Crankshaft oil seal....$3.92
Oil Pump O-ring................$1.86
Timing Belt.......................$43.16

Obviously, the parts are not that expensive for this job.

#6 Guest_synapse79_*

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Posted 31 December 2002 - 01:26 AM

the total doesnt include all the parts that should be replaced, and that would only be for a perfect situation.

When i did my timing belt, seals and gaskets, the exhaust gaskets were fried, so i had to run to the dealership to get those. The rubber seal (one of the only ones) around timing belt cover had become permeated with oil and would not properly seat, another trip to the dealership. When i was reinstalling the radiator, i ripped the lower radiator hose which had become somewhat rotten, one more trip. Actually went to a local parts store first, but they didnt have it. Dont loose any nuts, i believe the threads are mostly 10x1.25 which is rather uncommon.

In general, by the time you replace all that needs to be replaced, it will be close to 200bux. The older the car the more likely. I also decided to change the accesory belts...

#7 Guest_Frag_*

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Posted 31 December 2002 - 10:14 AM

Just out of curiosity, Synapse79, how did the exhaust gaskets come into play in your timing belt replacement?
I thought one did'nt have to touch them to do this job.

#8 Guest_Commuter_*

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Posted 31 December 2002 - 10:32 AM

The articles I mentioned are at <a href="http://www.motor.com" target="top">Motor Magazine</a>.

Click on Motor Magazine.

Click on Articles and Features.

Click on Back Issues.

Click on July 2001 and Show Articles.

It is under Foreign Service.

There are 5 parts to the series of articles, continuing on in Aug, Sept, Oct and Nov.

It deals with a 2.2L engine primarily, but the 2.5L is similar and is discussed as well. I think I'm going to save the PDF files for prosperity.


#9 Guest_Legacy777_*

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Posted 31 December 2002 - 11:05 AM

Pretty good info.

Thanks Commuter!

#10 Guest_synapse79_*

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Posted 31 December 2002 - 12:03 PM

I pulled the motor so i could reseal the backplate on the motor and change the rear mainseal.

My buddies backplate totally let go at 120k, and i wanted to cover as many things as possible. I also installed sti motor mounts and an ACT clutch and had the flywheel resurfaced. My pressure plate was fried also, and the disc was looking think. The clutch subaru puts in the L is pathetic.

I suppose if you were going to only do what is possible without removing the motor it would be less expensive.

#11 Guest_PAezb_*

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Posted 02 January 2003 - 10:05 AM

After reading a few of these posts, I'm starting to plan for the timing belt replacement for my 96' Outback w/96K miles.

I haven't called all the local dealers here around Mpls. but I did call the dealer I bought the car from to get an estimate (and get over the initial shock on what it will cost).

Prices are combined service/parts:

Timing Belt replacement $350.00
Seals and Oil pump Oring $114.00
Water Pump replacement $200.00

The current water pump is fine. this would be strictly a "preventative headache down the road issue". There are 2 or 3 other Suby dealers in the area but I'll assume these prices are will be in the ballpark.

If I want to go online and price the parts out individually, how many seals and which ones should I be asking the price on? Any other work I should consider since this involves opening the engine?

Unfortunately, I don't have the experience or tools to undertake such ambitious maintenance, so I'll be at the mercy of the dealerships. I have been unable to find a local independant the specializes in Subarus.

Any advice?

Thanks, Paul

#12 Guest_synapse79_*

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Posted 02 January 2003 - 10:21 AM

are there any near by shops that specialize in imports?

If you are having the timing belt done, does it still cost 200 for the water pump? While you have the timing belt off it would take only 10 or 20 minutes to change the water pump.

What seals does the 114bux include. Will they be changing seals on the back of the motor?

Subaru does not believe in preformed seals, so most(nearly all) of the seals are made with RTV ultra gray sealant, that is like 6bux a tube. The only physical seals you would need to buy would be the front main seal, and the rear main seal if the dealership removes the motor. The water pump and the timing belt both have RTV seals.

I would get a quote from another garage, like one that specializes in imports or any garage that has changed a timing belt before, as it is fairly simple and straight forward work for a mechanic.

#13 Guest_Frag_*

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Posted 02 January 2003 - 11:10 AM

I think the oil pump has a RTV seal, but the water pump I was sold by the dealer (OEM) comes with a gasket. I've even read here or elsewhere that adding sealant to that gasket is not recommended.

#14 Guest_PAezb_*

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Posted 02 January 2003 - 12:21 PM

The $114 for new seals and the $200 for a new water pump (these include both part and labor) is on top of the $350 for the belt replacement (part and labor).

So, I'm looking at $700 or better by the time you include taxes on parts, a charge for shop supplies, etc, etc...


#15 Guest_PAezb_*

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Posted 03 January 2003 - 11:51 AM

I didn't have the dealer break down the individual part and labor prices (yet) as I am still a month or two away from actually having the timing belt service down. I was primarily a "one shot" ballpark figure. However, I did email Liberty Subaru, where I have purchase parts a couple of times in the past and have been very happy with the service advice and prices.

Here is the reply:

Paul, thank you for contacting us here at Liberty Subaru. The timing belt lists for $79.95 and costs $59.95. The water pump lists for $83.95 and costs $62.96. When doing the timing belt you may want to do cam seals and oil pump seals. The cam seals list for $8.02 each and cost $6.02 each, there are 4 cam seals. The oil pump has a seal and an o-ring. the seal lists for $6.42 and costs $4.82. The o-ring lists for $1.30 and costs .98. Also, if you do find the seals leaking you may need to replace the center timing cover lower seal. The seal lists for $13.93 and costs $10.45. The water pump will need a gasket. It lists for $2.55 and costs $1.91. Shipping for all of these items would be about $7.00 to $8.00. If you would like to place an order you can contact us at 1-888-782-9493 Monday thru Friday 7:30 am to 6:00 pm eastern time.
Thank you
Russ Guy
Parts Manager

#16 Guest_Legacy777_*

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Posted 03 January 2003 - 12:02 PM

I'll give another PLUS to liberty subaru. I've been very happy with their service as far as buying parts from them. They are always under list price......I'm lucky to even get list price out of the dealerships in Houston. I usually have to badger them to gimme list price.....

#17 Guest_PAezb_*

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Posted 08 January 2003 - 09:52 AM

Here is the reply from 1stSubaruParts.com. Note that the prices are different than what Hawknoseporter reported above, especially the t-belt, but consistant with the pricing from Liberty Subaru. (and I hell of a lot cheaper than the local dealers - one dealer wants $97 for the t-belt and $130 for the water pump).

Email reply:

The t-belt is $57.56, you may need to replace the crank and cam seals along
with the oil pump oring. The crank seal is $4.62,cam seals are $5.77 ea, and
the oil pump oring is $1.86. The water pump is $60.44 and the gasket is
$1.84 plus the t-stat gasket is $2.33. Any questions please email or call

#18 Guest_Legacy777_*

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Posted 27 January 2003 - 10:09 AM

this is getting a bump & sticky

#19 Guest_kickerz_*

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Posted 27 January 2003 - 11:36 AM


13028AA072 Timing Belt 79.95

806732150 Oilseal-32x45x8 32.00 (that was for 4 of them)

13594AA011 Sealing Belt Cover 13.93

806733030 Oil Seal 6.24

806919050 O-ring 2.58

21111AA110 Water Pump 83.95

21200AA072 Thermostat 12.25

21236AA010 Thermostat Gasket 3.25

21114AA050 Water Pump Gasket 2.57

Total cost is $174.50

Prevenitive maintenance of replacing the H20 pump is highly recommended IMHO. Not a bad job to do at all. If your belt tensioner is bad, it will be easily noticed because the push rod will move up and down with little or no resistance at all. If the tensioner is bad, most likely you will also hear a "knocking" sound while the engine is running.

I'm curious for those who have done this job, what you have used around the crankshaft pully to prevent it from turning while taking the pully bolt off? I've used a large chain wrench with something to protect the pully grooves, but would like to know if anyone has come up with something better??

#20 Guest_Legacy777_*

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Posted 27 January 2003 - 12:19 PM

You really shouldn't use a chain wrench. The stock pulley has a rubber portion that separates the inner and outer pieces. This can be damaged......but it's not too likely.

If you have a manual tranny. Have someone get in the car, put it in 5th gear and stand on the brakes while you loosen the crank bolt.

If you have an auto tranny. There is a small plug/access hole on pass side of the trans bell housing. Remove this plug, and you should be able to see/get access to the flexplate. Stick a BIG screw driver or long socket extension down there. That should hold/keep the engine from turning over. It can be done by yourself......depending on how easily the object you put down in there gets lodged.

#21 Guest_97svx_*

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Posted 27 January 2003 - 03:17 PM

I made a tool out of a 3/4" thick wood plank, drilled two holes for bolts to thread into and fit into the two holes in the sprocket. The holes in the plank must be small so that the bolts threaded into them and fit tight. Otherwise there is no room on the back side to screw on flat nuts, unless you can recess them a bit. Then I screwed on a handle and drilled a hole in the center to access the crank bolt.

A friend took a different approach. He put a breaker bar and extension on the crank nut and rolled the car in gear until the breaker bar rested against a fender (padded) and loosened the nut. The reverse operation with a torque wrench is another story. I still stand by my home made wrench.


#22 Guest_JaapH_*

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Posted 28 January 2003 - 03:01 AM

2,5 DOHC: I tightened the accessorybelt (I used an old one) very tight and stuk a pipe through the holes in the powersteeringpumppulley. This all worked well.

Getting off the camsprockets was much harder (the DOHC has no holes in them to block. Used a strap wrench (Ridgid) but that does not work well.

#23 Guest_vinder_*

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Posted 03 February 2003 - 03:47 PM

Guys loosen that crank bolt the Polish way. On an engine turning clockwise put breaker bar with socket on crankshaft nut add pipe extension. Wedge it on driver side frame so it can not move much. Now just crank the engine once . It works every time and ony takes 1 minute. Learned it from a Polish mechanic.

#24 Guest_spagemurray_*

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Posted 04 February 2003 - 12:33 AM

Always give Auto-Rx a try before spending heaps on repairs. Seal cleaning/rejuvernation is just one of its abilities. See www.auto-rx.com

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