Relatively new to Subarus and not real familiar with these engines. Bought one back in February 2010. In late March we moved 750 miles and during the drive began to smell a burning. We were in the middle of the mountains, so I just assumed it was something getting over hot, and it eventually went away.
It came back every so often, but quickly went away. Realized it was a coolant burning smell. Read other threads on here that said many Subarus do it, old and new, so wasn't REAL worried about it as it wasn't even that often. Assumed it was a small leak in a hose. Now it is coming back more and more and its time to do something. Randomly does it, and worse when you first start the car with the heater on. Once you turn the heater off for about 3 seconds, you can turn it back on and the smell is gone. You can some-what smell it from outside the car, but not bad and can't see smoke with the hood shut.
-Idle: Tach sits perfect, no bouncing. Car doesn't sit perfectly smooth, but I am used to my BMW which you can't tell it is on, so its hard to tell if its even rough or if it is just me.
-Temp: Sits perfectly still. Never any fluctuation at all
-Exhaust: colorless and odorless
-Oil: Time for changing, but doesn't look milky
Here are a couple shots of the leak I found. It is behind one of the heads... unless I am confused. Looks like it is leaking out of the valve cover. If it was, wouldn't that mean a blown head gasket and terribly running car? Am I looking at this wrong? It is mostly coolant, but unless I am confusing some of the dirt, it looks like it has some oil in it as well. Can a head gasket leak like this and not make it into the engine, and wouldn't the car run like crap? The coolant appears to be dripping off here and onto the exhaust piece you can see, causing the smell and small smoke when examining closely. I know these years have head gasket problems... this a sign mine is about to blow?
These shots were taking after the car sat for about 15 hours, last drive was about a 15 mile highway trip. Never wiped any of it off in the past before these pictures.
Thanks for any help, all is appreciated!