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2.5L Oil Seperator Plate leakin' - new question


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#1 iayers

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Posted 14 October 2003 - 10:32 PM

Hi. I'm aware of some of the existing posts on the seperator plate... (2.5L oil separator plate leak??? ) Here's the background leading to my questions:

My 99 OBW's oil separator plate is leaking at 103k miles. The warranty JUSTended at 100k. It was a great warranty. At 98,000 miles, I had the VC (viscous coupler, the AWD transfer clutch mechanism) replaced under warranty. At 99,500 miles, the head gasket blew, and it was repaired under warranty. I don't know the exact details of what was done in the repairs.

My local Subaru dealer (not the one that did the above repairs) diagnosed the oil separator leak, but said that recently done repairs could NOT have caused the leak. They said I will have to pay for the repair. (the original repair dealer is 5 states away now) I didn't like their answer.

Now... both of the aforementioned repairs are under warranty, even though my warranty is up. MY QUESTIONS ARE:

Was it likely that the oil seperator plate was replaced when Subaru dropped out the (manual) tranny to do the VC, or when Subaru repaired the head gasket? Is it standard operating procedure to replace the plate? Should there have been evidence of it leaking? Does the plate often leak? Could serious overheating (from my gasket going) cause the seal to degrade?

Basically, I'm looking for ammo to make the claim to Subaru that they were neglectful of completely repairing the car when they did the VC work and head gasket work under the warranty period.

I'm in college... I don't have money, and I don't have the time to drop out the tranny, so I gotta sqeeze this out of Subaru.

It's just crazy to me that Subaru was RIGHT in there to replace/check the plate twice and didn't. I bet they saw the thing leakin, but left it so that I'd come back and have to pay for it. I'm pissed.

Any help you can give is invaluable. Thanks.

#2 theotherskip

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Posted 14 October 2003 - 11:05 PM

i don't think you are going to get much help from subaru or the warranty company over this problem.

chances are, they never saw the problem. they most likely never pulled the engine to replace the head gaskets (most shops will do it in the car). i'm not 100% sure, but i don't think they have to pull the tranny to change the viscous coupler either. since you said viscous coupler, which is found only on the manual models, i'm assuming you have a manual. assuming that they did remove the transmission, did they also change the clutch? did that include resurfacing or replacing the flywheel? they probably wouldn't have noticed it if they didn't remove the flywheel, as the flywheel blocks a good view of the separator plate and rear main seal.

it is usually recommended by subaru to change the plate if you are in the area, so they probably never were around it. the plate is only sealed with rtv sealant, so eventually, like oil pans, it will start to leak. when you get it repaired, it would be good measure to also change the rear main, because you will be right there. depending on the magnitude of the leak, you can probably drive it for a while without too much harm (it may start to screw with the clutch, but it will be easy to also change at the same time).

sorry if this is a bit disjointed. please let me know if i can clarify anything. overall, they probably never were around it to inspect or change.

#3 North Ursalia

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Posted 15 October 2003 - 09:48 AM

The VC is in the tailshaft of the tranny- the tranny doesn't need to come out of the car to replace it. The headgaskets were likely done in the car, but even if not, they wouldn't have taken the rear access cover (the oil seperator plate) off to do headgaskets. The bolts back out over time... it's just one of those things that happen I'm afraid.

#4 greg donovan

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Posted 16 October 2003 - 02:32 AM

also older cars had a metal seperator plate and newer ones use plastic. the plastic ones will leak eventually while the metal ones are not as likely to leak if at all.

just replaced mine @220,000 it was plastic and it had been leaking for a long time. finally got real bad this spring.

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#5 kevinsUBARU

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Posted 16 October 2003 - 06:29 AM

contact subaru, write them a letter, ect. Be very polite, and they will probably give you 1/2 of the repair costs as a goodwill gesture. I know, becuase they did it for me after I wrote them a nice letter when some stuff went wrong on my car and it was JUST out of warranty.

Good luck!!
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#6 iayers

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Posted 16 October 2003 - 08:46 AM

thanks to you all for your responses. it was very helpful (and a bit comforting) to find out that recent work didn't require the removal of the (manual) tranny and engine.

i think i will write a letter to subaru as suggested to see if any of the cost for repairing could be shared.

and since it's not fatal to let the thing leak for a while, sounds like i have some time to spare.

my mechanic mentioned that if the oil seperator plate is leaking, it might affect the clutch. is it possible that some small amount of oil makes its way to the clutch??

thanks y'all

#7 North Ursalia

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Posted 16 October 2003 - 10:49 AM

The oil seperator plate leaking isn't fatal, unless you don't monitor your oil level ;). Also, it can and will ruin your clutch- don't put it off needlessly. Fixing the leak is cheaper than fixing the leak and replacing the clutch ;). I don't want to be a naysayer either, but I highly doubt Subaru is going to pay a dime for something they didn't fix that they A) didn't touch and B) that you didn't ask them to check/fix. It'd be nice if they did, but I honestly don't see it happening. Like I said before, the seperator plate is not removed for a VC replacement, nor is it removed for a head gasket job. The seal on the plate isn't actually a seal but a bunch of Fujibond or the like... your engine would have had to SERIOUSLY overheat for that stuff to degrade- it's designed to be high heat resistant. It's most likely that the seperator plate is still firmly affixed to the block for the most part and a(the) bolt(s) backed out, allowing the plate to leak. I work in a dealership, and it's a fairly common thing.

#8 theotherskip

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Posted 16 October 2003 - 04:52 PM

the likelyhood of it ruining your clutch are pretty low, as it is on the other side of the flywheel from the separator plate. any oil that doesn't leak straight down the block would just be slung around the bell housing by the spinning flywheel. either way, you have to go by the clutch, so you'll know if it is starting to affect the clutch...

#9 iayers

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Posted 22 March 2004 - 12:42 PM

is $650 a good quote for the replacement of the oil separator plate and replacing the clutch in my 99obw, manual tranny?

how much additional should requesting the rear main seal and replacing the flywheel each add to the quote, given that the tranny already needs to be dropped out in the above quote?

i love this messageboard.

#10 theotherskip

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Posted 22 March 2004 - 06:29 PM

rear main seal costs like $6 iirc, so i don't think it would be more than $20 installed IF they are pulling the flywheel, which they need to to get to the oil separator plate.

you could probably get away with resurfacing the flywheel. that's what i did on mine with 72k miles, and have been pleased with the results.

as for the price, i can't give you a firm answer, because i did mine myself, but it doesn't sound like you are getting hosed. are you getting a new pressure plate? you should also have the pilot & throwout bearings replaced (cheap insurance). parts will run about $200 (not incl. a new flywheel). it is a lot of work due the AWD...

#11 North Ursalia

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Posted 22 March 2004 - 07:49 PM

Originally posted by theotherskip
rear main seal costs like $6 iirc, so i don't think it would be more than $20 installed IF they are pulling the flywheel, which they need to to get to the oil separator plate.



Um, you have to either drop the tranny or pull the fans out and push the engine forward in addition to removing the flywheel in order to change either the oil separator plate or the rear main seal. If you can find a mechanic to do it for $20 installed, I want him to do my engine swap :D!

#12 cookie

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Posted 22 March 2004 - 07:59 PM

are good that you will need a new clutch disc, throwout and pilot bearing.
Pretty good chance you can get by with the flywheel if it was like mine.
I had to pay for all of that and the oil seperator myself at about 89,000 if I remember.

#13 theotherskip

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Posted 22 March 2004 - 08:19 PM

Originally posted by North Ursalia
Um, you have to either drop the tranny or pull the fans out and push the engine forward in addition to removing the flywheel in order to change either the oil separator plate or the rear main seal.



he wanted to know how much additional...




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