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Guest Message by DevFuse

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oil burning?

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9 replies to this topic

#1 Midwst


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Posted 30 August 2005 - 06:34 PM

I have a friend who bought a 97 subaru with 154K miles. She says it is burning oil at a rate of 1/2 qt every 1,100 miles. My question is, based on your vast body of experience, how fast will it go down hill? No obvious oil leaks. I am wondering, once an engine starts to burn oil, does it take a 12K or 24K to get really bad, or does the blow by, in itself cause thre rings to fail faster? She did have the leak down test done and it is the rings. Would like to give her an idea of what to expect. Many thanks for your help!

#2 gbhrps


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Posted 30 August 2005 - 07:09 PM


No one will be able to give you a definitive answer as to when the engine will croak for the last time. A couple of things to consider: change to a thicker oil that will not go past the rings as quickly. If you're using a 10W30 weight oil, change to a 20W40 weight. I wouldn't think that an entire oil change to do so would be necessary, as the engine seems to be doing that on its own. As well, driving the car in its present state is taking a chance at getting stranded, usually at a very inconvenient time, requiring a tow, overnight accommodations, rental cars, etc. The problem needs to be dealt with as soon as possible.

#3 iayers


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Posted 30 August 2005 - 07:51 PM

Just another thought. You said no obvious oil leaks, but I would make sure to do a thorough check. For example, if you have a bad rear main seal, or some other hard-to-see gasket, she might not notice it, especially if the leak doesn't drip straight onto the ground. My oil separator plate was leaking badly for a while, and it leaked a 2-3 quarts between oil changes- and it leaked onto a hot exhaust pipe and didn't hit the ground.

Otherwise, I hope the engine dies close to home, or at least near a good bar.

#4 tcspeer


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Posted 30 August 2005 - 09:20 PM

My opinon is different, if you are sure the oil is not leaking I think you are still good to go many miles. We have in our family a 92 Buick it has been an oil burner for over ten years and is still a very dependable car. I cant tell that is has gotten much worse then it was years ago. The other opinon about going to a heavy oil is problary a good ideal.

#5 Suzam


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Posted 30 August 2005 - 09:26 PM

How long has your friend owned it and how much milage has been put on the car since ownership?
Any maintainence been done like cam shaft seals or oil pump gasket?
You say it "burns" oil but have you seen oil smoke?
If so when?
Cold start, under load or when off the gas at highway speeds?

Any of these could have different causes. Major oil smoke out the pipe does indicate internal issues. No smoke seen could be leaks under the hood that can be hard to find but repairable without major cost.

#6 Midwst


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Posted 30 August 2005 - 09:52 PM

I know she's had it for at least 6 months..not exactly sure when she bought it. She has put at least 10K miles on it. Clutch was replaced a few months ago, no rear main seal issues. I can smell the oil burning from the tail pipe, but don't see any smoke yet. I had a Corolla that went from burning a qt of oil every 1,000K miles to a quart every 600 miles in two years, but never left me stranded. I hope it doesn't go down hill that fast... Now she is trying to decide if she should sell it after spending all of the money on the clutch. Not sure what to tell her. Like the story of the long oil burning Buick. Burns oil past rings? Yes. Already been diagnosed professionally.

Does oil burning past the rings cause the rings to wear faster? Opinions?

#7 subarufanatic


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Posted 30 August 2005 - 10:59 PM

Look, if your in a situation were you can spend the money to get it fixed, get er done, if you cant spend the money yet, just make sure you check the oil and dont let it get too low. If you do that you will be fine. I have a 93 legacy 2.2 oil burner/leaker and I put on 20k on it- since febuary. I have to add about 3 quarts a week with the miles i drive. I hope to get it fixed soon, but its doing fine. Just check the oil...

#8 Setright


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Posted 31 August 2005 - 12:13 AM

Quit the panic people!

As I understand, the car is using/losing one liter of oil for every 3000km. That's nothing. Even the Germans all insist that up to one liter per 1000km is still fine. (Yep, this is stated clearly in VW and Audi manuals).

The engine won't die suddenly UNLESS you forget to top off the oil.

Keep the car, and always have a quart of oil in the trunk. Monitor the oil level every 600 miles - on a cold, level parked engine.

As mentioned, a slighty thicker oil would be good. Enjoy!

#9 konrad/soo


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Posted 31 August 2005 - 12:28 PM

[quote name=' I have a 93 legacy 2.2 oil burner/leaker and I put on 20k on it- since febuary. I have to add about 3 quarts a week with the miles i drive. I hope to get it fixed soon, but its doing fine. Just check the oil...[/QUOTE']

i have a 92 legacy and im adding 1 quart every 250 miles, it has 160k on it, in the mornig thers a cloud of blue smoke, and if i step on it thers a cloud too, it starts fine, runs great, has a kick, done 3.5 k in 7 weeks, never had a problem,... i dont even check the oli, after i fill up gas i just add 1 quart:cool:, not a major problem,
take care

#10 1 Lucky Texan

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Posted 31 August 2005 - 12:49 PM

I agree with Setright - that consumption is not high. Some old V8s would use a quart in 900 miles and the manufacturer said it was normal!(of course - it's a V8)

Still, before you panic, maybe a test (leak down test?) would tell you wheter it's the rings or just a valve guide/seal. One type repair may be cheaper/easier.


Try a heavier weight oil and just drive it.

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