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Guest hoamskoold

Problem resolved, crisis averted--Thanks USMB'ers!

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Guest hoamskoold

So this morning I took my '98 Legacy Outback for an oil change. I had noticed some oil stains on my driveway and asked them to check the oil level before changing it. Turns out it was a quart low and the mechanic told me there was a "big oil leak under there." Well, I'm driving cross-country this Thursday, so I figured I'd better have it checked out at another shop. This guy just called me back and said it needs new cam seals. He said it might only need one, but since he'll have to "tear it open" to replace one, he might as well replace them both. He also said he might as well replace the timing belt while he has everything opened up. The car has 63,000 miles on it and the 2.5 liter engine. Is that a 60,000 mile or 120,000 mile timing belt? I thought I had read the timing belt in the 2.5 only needed changing every 120,000. He's quoting me $430 for the new cam seals, new timing belt, and labor. I'm in a bit of a bind since I'm supposed to be leaving Thursday. Does it sound like this guy's being honest with me? Does the price sound about right? Should I go ahead and bite the bullet and do this?

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Regardless of mileage, if the timing belt has oil on it it should be changed. That price sound fair to me for the amount of labor involved. Besides, you are driving cross country on Thursday, how much choice do you really have?

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Guest hoamskoold
Regardless of mileage, if the timing belt has oil on it it should be changed. That price sound fair to me for the amount of labor involved. Besides, you are driving cross country on Thursday, how much choice do you really have?

Good points, all. I could always just drive it and add oil when I stop (it's not leaking THAT much) but that's probably not the smartest thing. Right now I'm leaning towards having the work done. If anyone else has anything to add, I'd be glad to hear it.

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I agree with what he says. The price seems real fair to me. You don't want to have to go back in there to change the belts. I would use genuine Subaru replacement belts also.

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The problem is that oil is getting on the timing belt. This weakens the belt. Since the oil leak is fairly new, that probably is not a big deal yet, but on that year Subaru, if the belt does break, it would be very bad. The price is similar to quotes I have been given for the same job. It does have to be done because of the timing belt, so it is just a matter of when. If you can afford it, I would recommend having it done before the trip. Have him replace the crankshaft seal too, since he's already there.

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The price seems ok, but as long as they are in there, you should get the crank seal replaced as well; another common oil leak location, in my experience. Go ahead and do it, as if you break the timing belt, you will be looking at a valve job at the least, probably much more.

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Guest hoamskoold

Thanks, guys. I'm proceeding as suggested. He agreed to $400 and I'll have him replace the crank shaft seal as well. I knew I could count on everyone here.

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Guest hoamskoold

The $400 includes the crank shaft seal and genuine Subaru timing belt, so I feel like he's being very fair with me. Sure beats possibly, though unlikely, being stranded in the middle of nowhere at the mercy of some hack who wants nothing other than to bleed me for every penny I'm worth.

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Hope this doesn't complicate things, but you might also consider doing the oil pump o-ring while you're in there. Mine was leaking at around 70K miles and I understand it's a common problem on the 2.5's. I have seen other people here report it as well.

 

Here's a photo showing how the oil pump leak was pooling at the bottom of the timing belt cover and seeping out the tb cover gasket.

 

oil_leak.jpg

 

I had my t belt replaced at that time as has been suggested here.

 

Steve

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Guest hoamskoold

Outback_97, EXCELLENT suggestion. I have advised my mechanic to change the oil pump O-ring regardless of whether or not that is the source of the leak. There goes that $30 I saved! Well worth it to ensure I don't have to do this again in a few months.

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Sounds like you have had the work done already. I hope he checked the backing plate on the oil pump. The fasteners are known to work loose and often need to be retorqued.

 

In the States, the maintenance schedule calls for the t-belt to be replaced at 105,000 miles I believe.

 

Water pump should be good until next time.

 

Check all t-belt idlers and the tensioner. The tensioners sometimes fail as well.

 

I've had my crank and cam seals changed with every t-belt (on #4 now due to Canadian schedule of 60k miles and all the driving I do) and I have never had an oil leak from the engine. Knock wood. (97 OB)

 

One more thing, I hope this guy knows the proper torque for the crank pulley fastener. Many books misreport it. It's suppose to be up over 100 ft-lbs as I recall (120 I think).

 

Commuter

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