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Guest Message by DevFuse

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98 Forester Cam Cap Dropped

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3 replies to this topic

#1 cintoman


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Posted 08 May 2007 - 12:59 AM

Hi everyone,

Lurker here for quite some time, but now I'm in a situation where I'll have to ask for some assistance.

A few days ago, I had my mechanic replace the valve cover gaskets on my 98 Forester S 2.5L, as the car was doing the usual burning oil smell. Things looked fine driving home (about 12 miles). The next day, the wife takes the car out, comes home, and you can smell major oil burning along with smoke coming out of the engine !!!

After looking underneath for leaks, I checked out the engine, and there was quite of bit of oil droplet stains around most of the pass side (by the firewall, etc), and a bunch of oil leaking on the axle/wires/cv boot and anything else underneath the passenger valve cover area.

I started the car and found the source: oil was spritzing out of the top plastic cam cap. Looks like my "mechanic" didn't realize these existed and when putting the valve cover back on, the cap didn't seat properly, and now it was inside.

I brought the car back, and after trying to grab it, he managed to drop it inside somewhere. Where? We have no idea...can't feel it anywhere. We tried vaccuming the area inside where the cam is, in the hope of sucking it in, but no luck. The bottom cam cap fell off now too, but we manage to put that back on.

We were under the assumption that the cap may have fallen off while driving, since the car didn't smoke until the next day, despite the 12 mile ride home (plus other errands earlier). So we put everything back together. But then I put my finger back in the cap opening, and noticed it felt different. Earlier, I was able to feel the plastic cap, but now I can't. So that means the cap is still inside somewhere.

My questions: Any ideas on how to find this cap? We removed all the bolts from the valve cover, but didn't fully take it out of the car. It still gave us some decent clearance to get our fingers in, but we couldn't find the cap. What kind of damage, if any, can happen if the cap just stays in there somewhere? It is plastic and not metal. Any other suggestions besides firing this "mechanic"? :mad:

Thanks so much for your help.

#2 msmithmmx


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Posted 08 May 2007 - 01:41 PM

Sounds like it fell out or he did not put it back on. You not going to know until you plug that hole and have a good listen. If you need it quick I would go to the dealer. Are you sure its plastic? if you can wait I may have one on the engine that is sitting in my garage.

#3 cintoman


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Posted 08 May 2007 - 06:45 PM

Hey Thanks msmithmmx, but I ended up taking the day off from work, and I decided to remove the valve cover to check things out in there. Couldn't find it anywhere, so I picked one up at my local stealership. It's definitely plastic. 6 bucks for it :mad:.

When I started it up a few days ago and drove it back to my mechanic, I didn't hear any strange noises. And today, I had my fingers all over the inside, and also checked the inside out with a small mirror and couldn't find the cap. The new one's on there pretty good now. My mechanic didn't even know about these caps, so he had no idea they were there. All he did was remove the cover, put the gasket on, and put the cover back on.

I appreciate you offering one, but I'm all set now. Now I just have to either drive around for the next couple hundred miles as the residual oil burns off the cat, or maybe powerwash underneath.

Thanks again,

#4 ccrinc


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Posted 09 May 2007 - 11:24 PM

Those break all the time. They're a fill in for where the head is line bored for the cams. Since the plastic is hard, they get brittle easily and can break any time with no warning.
If the guy had known they were there, he probably would have suggested replacing them as most shops do.


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