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#18899 of 19285 Subaru Legacy Limited sedan 1998
Feb 05, 2011 (6:05 pm)
I recently changed out the alternator on my legacy. I am pretty sure this has nothing to do with the temperature on my car, so I will say that coincidentally my car started overheating on the same day. I have checked the belts and all are running smooth. Both fans are going. I thought it might be a thermostat problem since my top hose was hot, but the bottom hose containing the thermostat was not. I switched that out and refilled my radiator and reservoir. I was hoping that would fix it, but it did not. Two years ago I had the HG blow out and had it professionally redone, replacing several polis in the process. I cannot find a leak anywhere accept right below the reservoir and I think that is just blowing off excess, very minor at best.
The only other thing I can think of is a temperature gauge malfunction, but the car is very hot so I guess that wouldn't matter. One thing I thought of was after I changed the alternator, I did go to a cleaning station and used the engine cleaner and power washer, maybe I knocked something loose. I don't see any loose connections though.
Any thoughts, I am stumped?
#18900 of 19285 04 Forester X oil leak
Feb 05, 2011 (7:05 pm)
Oil leaking from what I can see, the head gaskets. I also have the smell of burnt oil. I pulled the bottom plastic cover off and found oil looks like it has been dripping on the exhaust on both sides of the engine, more on the left side, thus the smell. I cleaned off the backside of the engine where all the oil was and ran the car. Could see an oil drop on the area just cleaned at the back end of engine block. It is not valve covers leaking as noted in other posts I have read. Coolant levels have been steady. I have had to add oil though.
Question 1 Is this a head gasket problem?
Question 2 Is Subaru finally acknowledging they have a problem?
Question 3 Who do I contact at Subaru?
I am not a happy camper. The car only has 72K miles and I take very good care of it. Head gasket problems was the reason I stopped buying Chrysler products. My Toyotas have never given me a days trouble. I also had a major A/C problem this past summer which, thank goodness, I was able to repair myself, so Subaru is not on my good friends list right now.
#18901 of 19285 Re: Updates, Big Help needed [girlcarbuilder]
Feb 11, 2011 (9:42 am)
Wow, you are all great and very helpful!
First of all, I am not a mechanic at any level...so I would need a lot of information if you need me to add coolant or cleaners. Plus, I am in 5 degree NH so probably not going to get under the engine anytime soon.
I wish you all lived near me to check it out!
First, the car has smoked lightly TWICE since early December. Just a trickle of smoke with normal temp gauge readings. NEVER overheated!!! The temp gauge went up *slightly* one day last week after stop, start, go, start again driving. I just turned up the heat again and all was good.
There is NO VISIBLE LEAKING of any kind. They told me that there will be no leaking as it only drips when the car is warm and then runs along the car.
I drove the car for about 150 highway miles on Wednesday and the temp gauge was perfect and the car ran fine. No smoking at all. No sweat smell.
Honestly, I just accepted a new job and will be working from home with limited traveling. My partner has a Lexus RX and all our long trips are in that car. I may just let it go for the time being. Just get my normal oil changes , brakes, etc.
#18902 of 19285 Re: Updates, Big Help needed [pathtomax]
Feb 11, 2011 (10:19 am)
This response is for you and Joey in PA. Plastic covers. I wonder if the cover has warped. They also use just a silicone gasket! I am more of an advocate for paper gaskets coated with a thin coating of silicone. There is a cover on the rear of the engine that looks like a rear main leak when it acts up. It has a history of warping. So I would not be surprised if the plastic has warped! Interesting enough, the replacement cover is beer can material! Since I am not sure which engine you are dealing with, I can only question those covers if they might be warped. If I understand correctly they are on the underside of the engine?
Pathomax, that is correct. The leaking will be more noticable after the car has been running. Look for where the oil may be running onto exhaust system parts and then look up! Yes, this is an under car ordeal. All it has to do is drip right down and hit that pipe before it hits the road. After a trip, when you get home, park the car and leave engine running either on ramps or hill. Look underneath and try to find leak. Make sure you do this procedure safely. Get repair manual to learn that. Another old trick is to put cardboard under the car and see where it drips while parked. Once you find the excess oil, clean it off with engine cleaner. Wal-Mart has best price. Get the Gunk, the Wal-Mart brand has a nasty smell to it. If you are running synthetic oil, it will come out more easily! Try a blend. We consider that cleaner a normal maintenance item and do it about every 10K miles on all engine makes.
On a final note, Brother in MO is not buying any more new Subies. New car will most likely be a Toy. Meanwhile, he is running these till a motor can no longer be rebuilt, replace or whatever. says a lot about the 94, 97 and 03 unit designs. This forum has raised some questions on our end about reliabilty.
As for distance and questions, brother uses a digitial camera with high resolution to show me what he is talking about. I also have him keep a Consumer grade Haynes or Chilton's repair manual which explains a lot to newbies who own cars. Exactly how I learned this trade! A wrench turning nerd!
Yes, you will seeing higher temps on your gauge with stop and go driving. That is because of a lack of airflow thur the radiator. Like I tell my students at church, good ears, eyes and communication with someone who knows something cuts your costs down a lot. No stupid questions.
One recent question was about smelling gas, then not. We checked out the car, it passed. I told him to keep nose going, but I think he smelled someone elses car! So far, that appears to be the case. Sure beats blowing up!
#18903 of 19285 Re: Updates, Big Help needed [girlcarbuilder]
Feb 11, 2011 (4:45 pm)
No offense but having dealt with Subarus for 10+ years, raced them, and daily driven them, I can say that the gauge should NOT fluxuate. The operating temp of the Subaru engine is above the opening temp of the thermostat and the only time the needle should move is if there is an issue of some sort with the engine or the cooling system.
Each gauge may be a little different but it should be in the same spot on your car once it is at operating temps. The only time I would say it *might* be different is if you were to drive in say sub-zero temps but even that is questionable.
The reason is that the gauge does not work linearly. It is a glorified idiot light on the subarus, where the middle where it rests is a representation of a RANGE of temps that is acceptable. Same is true on my CTSV, on the needle it goes to center and doesn't move. However my digital temp gauge on that car moves from 180-230 degrees.
Subaru Guru and Track Instructor
#18904 of 19285 Re: Updates, Big Help needed [girlcarbuilder]
Feb 11, 2011 (6:54 pm)
"... Plastic covers. I wonder if the cover has warped. They also use just a silicone gasket! I am more of an advocate for paper gaskets coated with a thin coating of silicone. There is a cover on the rear of the engine that looks like a rear main leak when it acts up.... If I understand correctly they are on the underside of the engine? "
I think the poster is referring to the plastic undertray under the engine that he removed to see the HG leaks. He is probably not referring to the plastic oil separator plate in the PCV system that is buried between the engine and the transmission and that can appear like a rear main seal leak and only leaks oil onto a clutch.
"... you will seeing higher temps on your gauge with stop and go driving."
You will only see that if you have a digital ScanGauge plugged into the OBDI port, like:
http://i49.photobucket.com/albums/f280/vintagefortytwo/Forester/Forester%20ScanG- - - auge/4SGcoverday.jpg
The ScanGauge shows that the needle gauge is an idiot gauge. The needle stays level and normal from 150F up until the normal range is exceeded. The normal range must go pretty high. I have seen 210 FWT (Fahrenheit Water Temp) displayed on my ScanGauge while idling in traffic at 100F ambient with the AC on, before the fans kick in. But I have never seen the needle rise.
#18905 of 19285 Re: Updates, Big Help needed [aatherton]
Feb 12, 2011 (4:51 pm)
Agree. I have a laptop based OBD-II tool (AutoEnginuity), that allows you to select and datalog any 6 of 20+ readouts simultaneously. You can see when the temp passes around 135 F and the fuel system switches from open (map) to closed loop (oxygen sensor), and all other sorts of fun things! The first big plateau is around 170 (probably when my thermostat begins to open), with a high of 210-215 F not uncommon. Hardly any differentiation in the position of the dash gauge in this range.
#18906 of 19285 Re: Updates, Big Help needed [aatherton]
Feb 13, 2011 (7:27 am)
Thank you for the compliments of my posts being well read! I see I left a word or two out even after proof reading. You are correct. I meant the oil separator plate on the back of the engine. Memory does not always serve me well when it comes to what parts are called! That happens when the snow stick to your hair all the time.....lol
As for temp gauges most are just that idiot gauges. I will add that I have seen a few rare OEM cases out there that actually moved! One of them on our 89 Mazda 323! So I do not discount when someone appears to have a sensitive gauge and complains about running hot. Your points should also help put our fellow poster in NH concerns to rest about overheating. On the other hand, as I point out to my fleet people, you see that gauge higher than normal, investigate! Call me! And....they do!
So far, normal maintenance and excellent diagnosis skills have kept me out of buying OBD II equipment. How do you like that AutoEnginuity? I have been considering The Auto Tap version market equivalent. Problem is, Subaru is not listed as being compatible last time I looked. Now we have a growing Toy fleet to consider as well. We look for auto equipment that has good electronics to buy up front to help avoid future trouble.
#18907 of 19285 Re: Updates, Big Help needed [pilot1226]
Feb 13, 2011 (7:47 am)
I become amused when I hear the government mandates adding "new safety equipment." I can see the need in adverse weather conditions like snow. But I always tell people, the best piece of any safety equipment is right between your ears! The law of physics will only forgive so much!
Best example I can think of is the story of a nurse who bought a new Chrysler from my brother only to return for another after discovering the traction control would not bail her out of a sudden 90 degree turn at 50 mph on a gravel road!
In other words, there are a lot of "I dots" aka idiots out on the road and no government mandate will get rid of them! Avoidance is the best policy! Sometimes, we are our own worst enemy! I always remind myself to slow down think about what I am doing before I become too unlady like! It is cheaper and takes less time to repair. Like an old mechanic, probably deceased by now, told me, " It takes a split second to screw it up and eternity to repair it." It is even more of a pain when it is my stupidity that did it and I have to fix it!
Yup, that best piece of safety equipment has bailed me out of some crazy stuff.....and it is not even government mandated. Maybe it should be?!?!LOL
#18908 of 19285 Re: Updates, Big Help needed [girlcarbuilder]
Feb 13, 2011 (10:53 am)
I bought the AutoEnginuity tool several years back because it was feature-rich, and the only laptop system at the time that also supported the (then new) CAN interface. It was a system to grow with, without added expense or retrofits.
Performance has been OK, mainly limited by my Subi's older ISO interface, which is simply slow. Faster laptops help with multistream data, but the delivery from the interface can be chunky. I suspect that CAN would probably be much better. Also, my early unit had a serial interface, and I am running it thru a serial to USB converter. Direct to USB might be better.
The Auto Tap does look interesting, and might be better. In some of their 'white papers', they talk about monitoring things like tranny temp, something I don't see available on A.E.
The OBD-II standard is positively ancient (over 15 years), and automakers have added hundreds of proprietary codes each, some thru other ports. You can get additional interface modules with some of these scan tools to read these (like ABS / Stability Control, advanced tranny functions, etc.).
Two years back I attended an auto electronics industry panel discussion where some of the proposed features of OBD-III was discussed. Telematics and other new technologies will change everything! Good luck with diagnosing a performance issue by ear without the right tools in the future.