2003 outback smells like burning oil - Subaru Outback - Subaru Outback Forums
 
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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 04-09-2011, 10:44 PM Thread Starter
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2003 outback smells like burning oil

my car only has 65k miles- bought it from a grandma..after driving it for a while it smells like burning oil. oil level hasnt really gone down in since last change 2900 miles ago. no oil spots on ground. what is going on here??
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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 04-09-2011, 11:15 PM
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Well, these cars are well known for a variety of oil leaks, and the 2003+ models tend to leak oil when they have a HG failure (my 2004 HG failure weeped oil). It could be that the under cover is catching the oil, and thats why you aren't seeing spots.

What tends to happen, is the valve covers, head gaskets, or main seals can leak oil. Then as the oil leaks out, it gets blown back onto the exhaust headers. It doesn't take much oil to really stink things up. You might also want to check your CV Boots. If you have torn CV boot, it will sling grease all over the headers, and smell like oil burning.

I would recommend getting up under the car (or having a mechanic look under your car) and see if you have oil on the bottom of the engine. If you do, clean it all up, and then see if you can figure out where its coming from, and how much is leaking. Then go from there.

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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 04-10-2011, 12:00 AM
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Only smell I get from my 03 is a burning rubber smell every now and then. I think it relates to the AC compressor but not really sure.
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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 04-10-2011, 12:22 AM
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Check the CV boots.

2003 Outback: "Kaylee". 143,000 and counting.
Basics: Quaker State Ultimate Durability 5W30, PureOne oil filter, Fram air filter, Valvoline Maxlife Dex/Merc ATF, Mobil 1 75W90, Michelin Primacy MXV4.
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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 04-10-2011, 10:25 AM
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My '03 H6 has a leaky valve cover gasket, just leaks enough to get the head and frame wet but doesn't drip, and sometimes a little grease sneaks under the boot clamps on the CV joints and gets slung on the exhaust, that smells a lot like rubber burning.

Dave
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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 04-10-2011, 03:04 PM
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If it's the 4 cylinder model, check the Passenger side inner CV Boot.
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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 04-12-2011, 11:41 AM
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oil smell

my 2003 o.b. smells as well.. It stinks when sitting at an idle for a period of time. when driving the smell isnt noticable. I asume because the smell is being pushed away. I have yet to pull the bottom cover and look. I did pull the easiest s.p. wire to see that it was covered with oil !! not a good sign I take it.. How bad of a job is it to do the valve cover gasketts????? I bought the set already and it was priced right. I went fel-pro..

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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 04-12-2011, 11:45 AM
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On the H4 it's not hard to do at all, a few hours at most for both sides.
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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 04-12-2011, 06:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rockhopjohn View Post
Well, these cars are well known for a variety of oil leaks, and the 2003+ models tend to leak oil when they have a HG failure (my 2004 HG failure weeped oil). It could be that the under cover is catching the oil, and thats why you aren't seeing spots.

What tends to happen, is the valve covers, head gaskets, or main seals can leak oil. Then as the oil leaks out, it gets blown back onto the exhaust headers. It doesn't take much oil to really stink things up. You might also want to check your CV Boots. If you have torn CV boot, it will sling grease all over the headers, and smell like oil burning.

I would recommend getting up under the car (or having a mechanic look under your car) and see if you have oil on the bottom of the engine. If you do, clean it all up, and then see if you can figure out where its coming from, and how much is leaking. Then go from there.
Could this also lead to the dreaded P0420? Mine is back, 30k after replacing the sensors AND cats (190k total, so far).

Jay
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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 04-13-2011, 08:59 AM
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I don't think external oil could get you a P0420.

If you have exhausted the search for vacuum and exhaust leaks (even a leak where the muffler attaches) there's always the sparkplug anti-fouler trick...


Dave
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