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Oscar

No More Oil Leaks!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Thanks to all of you on this forum, I now have no more oil leaks!

 

I own a '96 Outback with a DOHC 2.5 L engine with about 180,000 miles on it that one day began to leak oil profusely. At stop lights, a cloud of black smoke would come bellowing out from beneath the car, where the oil had splashed upon the exhaust system and was being burned off. When I would park, a puddle of oil would mark the spot.

 

After a week of driving as such, I finnally made the time to take it down to the local Subaru dealership. They took a look at it and said, "We need to replace the crankshaft oil seal, the camshafts oil seals, and the valve cover gaskets. The timing belt will need replacing as well, due to being soiled by the oil. Oh, and your front brakes have less than 10% left on the pads and need to be replaced. Also you need new tires." "Oh?" I responded, "What would the repair cost be on just fixing the oil leak?" "For just that repair, it will be just over $1000.00 - that would include a new timing belt." "Thank you for the quote," I replied, "I won't be having it repaired at this time." I came home with my leaky vehicle and began reading this forum.

 

First I downloaded the Subaru Shop manual from a link I got at this forum (http://techinfo.subaru.com/html/index.jsp). [incidently, I paid about $20.00 for a 72 hour subscription during which time I downloaded it. It took about me 2.5 hours with a T-1 connection to download all of the various sections and subsections.] After studing it, I decided to purchase two Subaru specialty tools through the Subaru dealership -- a crankshaft pulley wrench and a camshaft pulley wrench. These tools were expensive (About $250.00 all together), worth every penny, making the repair job work out very smoothly, a real pleasure. I also purchased a torque wrench from Snap-on [One I was wanting to get for a long time - now I had a justification for doing so!].

 

I took the frontend of the engine apart, all the pulleys, timing belt and all off, and examined where the leak was occuring. The camshaft seals were perfect - no leak whatsoever. The crank shaft oil seal was a different story. The seal literally fell out of its position as I examined it. The rubbers were all hard and clearly had no sealing ability. The valve covers appear to be o.k.

 

I got a new crankshaft seal from Subaru and replaced the old one. Put a new timing belt on. Put the thing all back together and the car purrs like a happy cat. She appears to run even smoother then ever and no oil leaks! (I chose not to replace the camshaft seals or the valve cover gasket at this time in that they seem to be in excellent working condition.)

 

The cost of the entire job came out to be less than half what the dealership was wanting AND I got some awesome tools out of the whole deal that will come in handy in the future should I ever need them.

 

But I must admit, if it wasn't for this forum and all of you who posted your experiences of repairing such oil leaks, I probably would have given in to the dealership, thinking that the job was to overwhelming for me to do. So thanks guys! It was fun working on the car and I saved a whole lot of money in the process. Keep up the posting!!

 

 

P.S. The dealership was wrong about the brakes. They had 30% still remaining - no need to replace the pads at this time. I did however get a brand new set of tires.

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:banana: Yaay!

 

The front crank seal was where my Legacy was leaking too, thankfully it was very slow...

 

The car probably DOES run better, belts tend to stretch a tiny bit as they age, meaning your timing isn't exactly as good as with a new belt...

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Q. about the special tools: did the dealer just have them in stock, or they ordered them for you? Subaruparts lists those part numbers as discontinued.

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glad everything worked out for you.

 

for others who may read this later, it is possible to get by without the special tools from subaru... if you have a manual transmission, it is possible to put it in 5th gear, have someone step on the brakes and then break the crank bolt loose. as for the cams, the tool would be nice when putting the belts back on, but you can also just rotate the cams away from each other as directed in the manual to avoid collisions. but it would be easier (and less risky) with the tool (it also makes breaking the cam bolts easier, though you can use the hex portion of the camshaft, which requires removing the valve covers).

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Those special wrenches aren't necessary, but I was wondering if they are even available. I believe there is no hex section on 2.2 camshafts, at least on those with hydraulic lifters.

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Using special tools must be the easier way if not the cheapest.

Not so long ago I replaced the cam belt on my car and successfully used a chain Visegrip to remove the crank pulley nut and to loosened the cam pulleys nuts. You only have to put a piece of old drive belt on the crank pulley and a piece of old cam belt on the cam pulleys to protect them. An added advantage of the chain Visegrip is that the relatively short handle (about 8 inches) always catches on something (on the alt housing I think when removing the crank bolt and on another pulley when loonsening the cam pulleys' nuts) letting you work with both hands.

The tool is cheap and can be used for a number of other tasks.

Just my 2 cents.

Congrats on a successful repair Oscar. Though I tink you should have replaced the cam seals (cheap) just for peace of mind. What if they begin leaking in 20K ? But I might be the worrying kind for those things.

Cheers!

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The chain wrench grabs on the rim of the pulley, so with the crank pulley there is stress on the rubber layer and it's likely much higher than in normal service when driving the accessories. Might this be something to worry about? I plan on doing the 60,000 mile service next spring.

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Theres a much easier way. Get a bottle of Auto-Rx and follow the instructions and if the seals arn't torn or damaged most leaks go away. Theres an RX test underway by a BITOG member Aaron and pictures etc are available at http://www.rms13.com. Also checkout what id did for his compression in 1500 miles!

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AVK, I admit I did'nt think about thar aspect of using a chain wrench on the crank pulley, but my opinion is that the pressure needed to hold the pulley still while one loosens the nut is not suficient to harm anything. The pressure would have to be strong enoug to deform the metal outer part of the pulley to do any harm. But that's only my opinion not a certitude by any means. At least there are at this moment no apparent damage done to the pulley that I can see or hear.

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The torque applied to the rubber layer is the same as applied to the bolt, that is in the 100 lb*ft range (or say 150 N*m, but sure you are used to ft*lb for a long time now). This is in fact of the same order as the torque in the drive train when accelerating moderately. But I'm ready to accept that the pulley is over-engineered enough for that not to be a problem.

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Some have asked about the special made for Subaru wrenches...

 

They were a special-order item through our local Subaru dealership. It took about a week for it to come. I was under the impression that they were ordering the tools from a third party vender, rather than from Subaru itself. The wrenches I purchased were:

 

Camshaft pulley wrench -- item #499207300

Crankshaft pulley wrench -- item #49977300A

 

While it may not be necessary to have these wrenches to do the job, I found that they made doing the job a pleasure. I reasoned that since I was about to part with over $1000.00 by having the dealership do the job, $269.38 in comparison was a small investment towards making the job easier for myself to do as well as being able to use the tools over and over in the future, should the need arise.

 

Thanks guys for the great feedback!

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Thanks for suggestion! I did a lot of research before working on my 97 Subaru Impreza which has 157,000. I needed to replace my Front Crank Seal and O-ring. I too had an oil leak problem but put it off when I found out it was going to cost me $600+++ to fix it... so I decieded to do the work myself and when a mechanic made me mad when he installed my spark plugs incorrectly (Was not seated correctly which caused it to sputter at low RPMS). First, I purchased the Service Manual online (Which is a shame they only let you download a few at a time... boo Subaru!). The service manual is a must because if I didn't have that I would not have done the work myself. Next, I found this wonderful site which talked me out of purchasing the special tool from Subaru (which would have cost over $250) by using the Chain vise grip suggested by one of the members using a old belt that I cut to the exact size of the crank pulley(thanks user!). I held the chain wrench (under the car), attached to the crank pulley, and my friend, using his torch wrench, broke the bolt loose up on top. There was no damage to the pulley at all with the belt wrapped around it. We probably would not have gotten the crank pulley off without "Pulley Pullers"... a common tool you can get at any automotive shop. The job took a couple of people who never worked on cars before other than changing their oil about 12 hours (basically because I didn't have the chain wrench at that time which had to go out to get, eat dinner, and learn as we go). And to boot, the Subaru dealership sent me the wrong Timing belt (I ordered the right one... they just sent me the wrong one). Do you feel my pain? MAKE SURE YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TIMING BELT BEFORE DOING THIS JOB. IF you know how much work it takes to get to it, you will understand. Since this was my first "Shade tree" job and if you are considering doing a similar Oil leak job, here are some suggestions.

  1. We almost messed-up the engine seriously. Make sure you are lining up the markings on the Cam pulleys and the crank. All must be lined up with factory markings. I had the cam pulleys at "top dead center" but forgot about the crank (Does the Crank need to be lined up like the cams? I thought it did). Luckly, I caught the mistake before putting the car together. Pay very close attention to details.
  2. 2 absolutly necessary tools are: Chain wrench large enough to grab the Crank pulley (we used the Vise Grip Chain Wrench R20) and a Pulley puller for the crank pulley. You may not need the Pulley puller but why wait.
  3. Of course... the Service manuel.

I wanted to thank everyone who posted info regarding their oil leak. A job that was going to cost me $600 ended up costing me $200 and the satisfaction of doing a job right. As it turned out, my Crank seal was not bad (even though I replaced it). Oh, I didn't need the "special oil seal installer" either. A Combination lock from Masterlock worked Great! The O-ring was the worst! It fell apart in my hand. In fact, it didn't look like an O-ring it looked like pieces of black rubber band (The O-ring is apart of the Oil pump).

 

Thanks for everyones help! Oh, and If you need a 97 subaru impreza service manuel, let me know... I will send you the whole thing instead of parts like Subaru (that is just poor Stewardship...Subaru. Let people download the whole service manuel, or I will.)

 

Sincerely,

Kirk

 

 

 

 

 

 

Using special tools must be the easier way if not the cheapest.

Not so long ago I replaced the cam belt on my car and successfully used a chain Visegrip to remove the crank pulley nut and to loosened the cam pulleys nuts. You only have to put a piece of old drive belt on the crank pulley and a piece of old cam belt on the cam pulleys to protect them. An added advantage of the chain Visegrip is that the relatively short handle (about 8 inches) always catches on something (on the alt housing I think when removing the crank bolt and on another pulley when loonsening the cam pulleys' nuts) letting you work with both hands.

The tool is cheap and can be used for a number of other tasks.

Just my 2 cents.

Congrats on a successful repair Oscar. Though I tink you should have replaced the cam seals (cheap) just for peace of mind. What if they begin leaking in 20K ? But I might be the worrying kind for those things.

Cheers!

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