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holy moses - is my car going to catch fire?


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22 replies to this topic

#1 greenleg88

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Posted 15 November 2008 - 10:24 PM

oi. so i just drove home from school. its about a 350 mile drive or so..

i had some work done on the car recently (mpt clutch) and while that was done the dealer said there were oil leaks in a few places.

-oil pump o ring, valve cover gaskets (both sides) and left front cam seal.

i stopped at a rest stop after about 150 miles of driving and once i get out of the car, it starts POURRRRRING smoke. i believe there was oil dripping onto the exhaust, right near the cat. and stupid of me, i didnt check the oil. which is so stupid to me now....

being that there is nothign i can do for another 200 miles at least i drive a bit more. i was slightly afraid the oil dripping would get hot enough and catch fire.. but i dont know what that would require..

at 288 miles, im out of gas and i fill up. i checked the oil here and the dip stick comes out CLEAN as a whistle. I immediatly added at least a quart. i topped it off a bit over full. to finish off the journey home.

so right now, as it sits, the car spews smoke everytime i stop, cuz i guess the oil is able to drip directly onto the exhaust. and all the smoke gets into the car.


1st - anyone have an idea of which spot would be most likely leaking?
2nd - i think there is an active drip. as ithink i found a few droplets on teh ground but im not certain.
3rd - what do i do?!?! is it safe to drive...? will the oil catch fire? (obviously i understand i should probably look into the issue before driving any more than necessary...)

pleaseee help!!

#2 gbrand

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Posted 15 November 2008 - 10:46 PM

Double check to see if your inner CV boot has not split open and is throwing grease all over the cat converter-that will smoke like crazy also.
Or a split in a heater hose....

#3 greenleg88

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Posted 15 November 2008 - 11:07 PM

hmm ill look into that. it does like liek thers nasty stuff all over the cat... and um.. wouldnt a broken heater hose be steam?

andd how does any of that explain a dry dipstick?

#4 nipper

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Posted 15 November 2008 - 11:55 PM

Well guess who is going to re-seal thier engine.

The Shop told you what was wrong with it, and this is what happens.

The oil leaks are being thrown onto your hot exhaust system while the car is moving. When you stop the car, all that oil is stiil burning off. Been there done that. Also you prbbly need a main seal and an oil pump re-seal. Check your oil level, as if it is as bad as i think it is, your loosing alot of oil.

Also may as well do a timing belt, and apologize to any motorcyclist that is ever behind you.


nipper

PS its not technically safe to drive because everyone is choking on your oil smoke, you can damage the engine, and yes your car could possibly catch fire. Not to mention when you turn on the defroster you will be smoked out of your own car.

You need all the front seals replaced.

#5 Rooster2

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Posted 16 November 2008 - 09:40 AM

PS its not technically safe to drive because everyone is choking on your oil smoke, you can damage the engine, and yes your car could possibly catch fire. Not to mention when you turn on the defroster you will be smoked out of your own car.

You need all the front seals replaced.[/QUOTE]

I don't think there is much of a risk that the leaking oil could catch fire. Motor oil just doesn't burn very easily. It would take an open flame and a lot of existing heat to get motor oil to burn.

It is just not healthy for you or anyone on the road behind you to breathe oil smoke. It is best to get that oil leak fixed right away.

#6 GeneralDisorder

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Posted 16 November 2008 - 01:14 PM

Motor oil on your exhaust will not generally catch fire. Fix your leaks and you won't have to breath the smoke though.

GD

#7 Gnuman

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Posted 16 November 2008 - 01:50 PM

If your exhaust is getting hot enough to catch the oil on fire, there is a serious problem with the engine and the cat converter is probably toast. Not likely, unless you see the exhaust slowing bright red when you stop, and possibly melting on the roadway. . .

As for the reseal, yes, it is time. I usually recommend resealing the engine every time you change the timing belt (but I use the 100k mile timing belt, being in an area that requires California Emissions) or every other timing belt if you go with Federal Emissions. The reseal comprises of: cam seals, cam O-rings, front main seal, oil pump O-ring, valve cover gaskets, bolt seals for the valve covers, timing belt, and a thermostat and thermostat seal.

I would also recommend a water pump, and optionally a set of idlers to be fully sure.

All of this is for a 90-94 Legacy, as you have not mentioned what car and engine you hae yet. . . :rolleyes:

#8 greenleg88

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Posted 16 November 2008 - 02:42 PM

its a 97 legacy sedan.

and as of now, the car is losing half a quart every 150 miles.. or so..

i plan to get it fixed within the week. but i was also wondering which spot is most likely to have such a large leak. and be so close to the exhaust. it looks like its dripping from directly above the cat...

oh and what are the thoughts on oil pressure...?
the car starts fine....
the remote start choked just now i think.. it paused and tried again and it started fine.. idk if thats even related..

Edited by greenleg88, 16 November 2008 - 02:49 PM.


#9 Flowmastered87GL

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Posted 16 November 2008 - 03:01 PM

i have found the valve cover gaskets to usually leak the worst. its funny because they are the easiest to replace too.

#10 nipper

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Posted 16 November 2008 - 03:21 PM

Technically the oil is already burning if he has smoke, just there is no flame. Also i wont be the one to say "no you wont catch fire" amd he be the one in 10,000 that does. Oil spray is being sprayed on top of a very very hot exhaust and catalytic converter, There are the proper parts for ignition, just not enough constant suplly of fuel.

As to which is leaking the worst, yes.

It can be any of them that are worse then the others, it just depends upon which one is in worse shape then the other ones.

You dop not need a new cat just because oil is being sprayed on top of it, thats just silly.

Also think about replacing the water pump and idlers as long as the seals are being done.

Personally every 106,000 miles i have all the seals replaced, the water pum and idler/tensioner replaced as they rarely make it to the next 106,000 miles without failing.

Good luck.

nipper

#11 Gnuman

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Posted 16 November 2008 - 06:15 PM

OK, the 97 legacy will likely have the EJ22 engine, so the parts I mentioned are the right ones. How many miles on it, and do you live in an area (and did the car come from an area that requires California emissions? Either way, I would get the 100k mile timing belt. it is the same price, and more reliable (just a bit thicker is all. . .) this can be done in the car, but it is a whole lot easier if you pull the engine to do the job. Will you be going to a shop to have this done, or will you be doing this yourself (do you have a place to do the job yourself, and the tools/skills to do so?) ?

#12 greenleg88

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Posted 16 November 2008 - 11:00 PM

OK, the 97 legacy will likely have the EJ22 engine, so the parts I mentioned are the right ones. How many miles on it, and do you live in an area (and did the car come from an area that requires California emissions? Either way, I would get the 100k mile timing belt. it is the same price, and more reliable (just a bit thicker is all. . .) this can be done in the car, but it is a whole lot easier if you pull the engine to do the job. Will you be going to a shop to have this done, or will you be doing this yourself (do you have a place to do the job yourself, and the tools/skills to do so?) ?


hokay so - the car has 152k miles. the car is from SF but its in new york now.. i drove it to new york from 149500k -153430 miles...
im pretty sure the belt was changed within the last 50k miles... im not really sure on that..
how much do you think it will cost to fix all this? the mpt clutch was just changed by the dealer so that was pretty painful.

ill prob find a shop to do it cuz i dont want to deal with it.
if its insane crazy, i do have a place where there is just about every tool imaginable... as for skill wise, im not as experienced but would like to be. but there would also be others around that are more familiar that may be used for reference.. so if its possible and a LOT cheaper i could probably manage to do it myself..



whats the plan? heh

thanks for the help

#13 nipper

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Posted 16 November 2008 - 11:08 PM

about half the cost of the job is labor. Whne Blu had it done it was 650, that was all the seals, the water pump, the belt, the idler and tensioner.

If you got a place to do it, go ahead and do it yourself. Technically its not that hard to do, just lining up the timing marks will make you batty.

nipper

#14 Gnuman

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Posted 17 November 2008 - 12:56 PM

Nipper, Blu is a DOHC. this car would be a SOHC which is a lot easier. I would do it myself. That way you get the experience. Also we are here to use as a reference while you do so. . .

#15 nipper

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Posted 17 November 2008 - 01:03 PM

Nipper, Blu is a DOHC. this car would be a SOHC which is a lot easier. . . .


I know its a SOHC

Alot easier is only easier if you have done a DOHC before. :brow: Since the poster hasnt done any timing belt before, its only proper to tell him that may be the only difficulty he may have.

I say go for it :), there is something to say about the pride of doing something like this yourself.

nipper

#16 greenleg88

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Posted 17 November 2008 - 11:46 PM

alright well thanks for all the info.

right now im thinking about what to do. its either drop at least 650 it sounds into this car to making it all better.. by doing it myself.
which i dont know is possible or not because i have to have it done within ten days. and i have work and i dont know how to begin or i could have someone do it for liek 900? ish


and i feel like it might not be worth it since the cars worth liek 3k.. and 900 just went into it for the clutch and this valve cover gaskets were JUST changed not more than 5000 miles ago. and i dont know why theyre leaking again. front and rear cam seals were also changed. according to this bill...


i only need to get the car working for another year.. i dont have the money to keep dropping into this thing if it just keeps giving me problems. i just need the cheapest fix that will get it going for at least another year.
whats the best advice? thanks

#17 nipper

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Posted 17 November 2008 - 11:49 PM

alright well thanks for all the info.

right now im thinking about what to do. its either drop at least 650 it sounds into this car to making it all better.. by doing it myself.
which i dont know is possible or not because i have to have it done within ten days. and i have work and i dont know how to begin or i could have someone do it for liek 900? ish


and i feel like it might not be worth it since the cars worth liek 3k.. and 900 just went into it for the clutch and this valve cover gaskets were JUST changed not more than 5000 miles ago. and i dont know why theyre leaking again. front and rear cam seals were also changed. according to this bill...


i only need to get the car working for another year.. i dont have the money to keep dropping into this thing if it just keeps giving me problems. i just need the cheapest fix that will get it going for at least another year.
whats the best advice? thanks


These are all wear items. the clutch, the seals etc etc. Its not like the trnasmission went out.

If you decide to replace the car for the human equivilant of a bad haircut, remeber, you will have to shop for a new car, pay title fees, taxes, and not know what is wrong with the next car.

I would just fix this one.

nipper

#18 greenleg88

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Posted 18 November 2008 - 02:16 AM

eh, i see what you mean. but after a few more of these wear items i could have bought another car of equal value.

and if i were to trade in for new car, i wouldnt really get anything for it..

im just worried that after fixing this something else is goign to go wrong. that will be equaly expensive..

and also the check engine light has been coming on and off.. and its saying throttle body position sensor input low. and i posted about that but jsut havent had the time to address it..

since i got the car it just seems to be having problem after problem. thats all..

#19 Gnuman

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Posted 18 November 2008 - 02:33 PM

and this valve cover gaskets were JUST changed not more than 5000 miles ago. and i dont know why theyre leaking again. front and rear cam seals were also changed. according to this bill...


How long ago was that? is there still any warranty on the work done? those seals should last something like 150,000 miles. Not 5,000. It sounds like the last plac3e to "replace your seals" took you for a ride. They were either installed wrong or not installed at all, is my guess. If you can, stick your head under the front of the car to where you can see the underside of the engine and see if you can see any "Permetex" or other rubber caulk looking substance under there. On your engine there should be none. While you are down there, see if you can discover where the oil is leaking from. the concentration of gunk will be greatest there.

#20 Gloyale

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Posted 18 November 2008 - 03:46 PM

eh, i see what you mean. but after a few more of these wear items i could have bought another car of equal value.

and if i were to trade in for new car, i wouldnt really get anything for it..

im just worried that after fixing this something else is goign to go wrong. that will be equaly expensive..

and also the check engine light has been coming on and off.. and its saying throttle body position sensor input low. and i posted about that but jsut havent had the time to address it..

since i got the car it just seems to be having problem after problem. thats all..


The cheapest car is always the one you already own. Espescially for Subaru's

Replacing the seals on this car by a shop should not cost more than $600-700. If you use Genuine Subaru parts, the parts should run about $250-300 w/o any tensioners. You could do it yourself for about $150 dollars in parts, if you buy a reseal kit and timing belt kit WITH tensioners off ebay.

As far as resale value, Subaru's hold there value quite well, espescially a a west coast rust free one in Newyork. It will be alot easier to argue it's value if it is in good repair.


Bottom line is cars cost money to drive. Period. Every car has wear items. Unless you happen across a ridiculous deal, you will surely be spending at least triple the cost of this repair for a new vehicle that is any better. And you will not know it's history, or when it will break down or develope a problem.

Fix your car, save money, have peace of mind.


*notes,

1. You most likely don't need a rear main, all the leaks front he front run to the back that;s why it all looks to be leaking back there.

2. I wouldn't worry about fire, it's annoying and bad for the air, but unlikely to ignite. Frankly as long as you keep topping off you're oil, you're fine to drive.

#21 greenleg88

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Posted 19 November 2008 - 02:52 AM

How long ago was that? is there still any warranty on the work done? those seals should last something like 150,000 miles. Not 5,000. It sounds like the last plac3e to "replace your seals" took you for a ride. They were either installed wrong or not installed at all, is my guess. If you can, stick your head under the front of the car to where you can see the underside of the engine and see if you can see any "Permetex" or other rubber caulk looking substance under there. On your engine there should be none. While you are down there, see if you can discover where the oil is leaking from. the concentration of gunk will be greatest there.

well since the cars gotten to new york, i had it on my friends lift and i dont recal ever seeing permatex or anything similar to it.. but i may have just overlooked it... but i feel liek permatex wouldnt have lasted this long honestly... im going to call the shop that did the work or "did" the work. and ive gotten under since it started drippign but i cant realyl tell where its comign from.. theres oil everywhere...... ill take a better look when i can... for now im just going to call the shop to see what they say... but im not sure how much good that will do because the shops in california.. and im in new york..


And you will not know it's history, or when it will break down or develope a problem.


heh thanks for all that info. i ran the car fax report and it was a rental car before someone bought... then my sister bought it and now its mine.. so i only sort of know the history on this car... id ont think it was well maintained.. and at this rate i can never really tell when its goign to develop a new problem already haha. but il see what happens.

#22 greenleg88

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Posted 19 November 2008 - 05:38 PM

.... so.... how long would permatex last.......?

#23 Gnuman

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Posted 19 November 2008 - 09:23 PM

.... so.... how long would permatex last.......?


theoretically it would last until disturbed. In practice, it works theoretically. . . :banghead:
Really, how long it lasts depends on how well or how thickly it was applied. Sometimes, a thin coat of permetex will be used to "renew" old seals. This does not work. At least not for long. . . .

The other possibility is that they did replace the seals, and used substandard parts (like the ones you get off of ebay) or installed them incorrectly (for example valve cover gasket not in its slot all the way around and ends up being "folded over" in one place, which causes the leak)

Edited by Gnuman, 19 November 2008 - 09:26 PM.





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