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Old 01-27-2013, 02:31 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Question Where does the oil go?

I started a couple of threads in the Gen4 forum discussing my 2012 3.6 oil level issue (low oil light came on at 4k miles between oil change interval of 7500 miles). It was fixed by adding a quart of oil. The bottom line is that Subaru says it is OK if you burn a quart of oil every 1500 miles but most other people believe that is absurd.

One question that wasn't answered but probably applies to any car in general is this:

When a car "burns" oil between intervals, where does it go? I have no obvious oil leaks but other threads have stated that it can very slowly bleed out of seams throughout the engine. Wouldn't that end up with the outside of my engine slowly getting caked in oil?

The fact that people call it "burned oil" makes me think it is actually being burned (changing state) and must still be in the oil system. Wouldn't that result in a LOT of contaminents in the oil system and ruin it eventually?
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Old 01-27-2013, 02:55 PM   #2 (permalink)
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It means that the oil is getting past the piston rings and into the combustion chamber, and there it gets burned. In an ideal world, all of the oil would stay on the crankcase side of the piston and all of the fuel and fire would stay in the combustion chamber. While some cars come very very close to zero oil consumption (My stepdad's old 4runner had 15k MILE oil change intervals and burned no appreciable amount of oil in that time), SOME oil is burned. Some cars burn a lot of oil. A quart every 1500 miles is absurd. My '03 Outback burns a quart every 3000, and even that is not a good sign.
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Old 01-27-2013, 04:58 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Leaking seals or gaskets, worn or broken oil control rings, scored cylinder walls, worn valve guide seals - they can all lead to oil in the cylinders. The pistons are VERY efficient at moving air, and when there is an opening into the lubrication system that isn't supposed to be there, they will suck oil in like you wouldn't believe.

It can be as simple as a stuck PCV valve that is letting oil into the intake, and from there into the chambers. That is the first thing I would check. If oil pours out of the pcv valve hose when you take it off, there is a problem. The valve contains a ball that acts as a one way check valve, if it doesn't rattle freely when you shake it, it is no good. They are dirt cheap, so you might as well just change it while you are there.

If you have eliminated external sources, then you need to go inside. To see where it is going, pull the plugs and see if any are caked with carbon. If so, there is your culprit.

Then you need to determine if the problem is in the heads or in the block. A pro can do some testing for you like a peek inside the cylinders with a boroscope and a leak down compression test. He will give you the bad news (head rebuild) or the REALLY bad news (new engine required).

Good luck. Hopefully it's just a PCV valve..... I would push Subaru hard on this issue.

BTW it is REALLY bad to not check the oil routinely. 4000 miles is way too long, as you discovered. 1000 would be fine. I check mine more often than that.

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Old 01-27-2013, 05:10 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sleze View Post
I started a couple of threads in the Gen4 forum discussing my 2012 3.6 oil level issue (low oil light came on at 4k miles between oil change interval of 7500 miles). It was fixed by adding a quart of oil. The bottom line is that Subaru says it is OK if you burn a quart of oil every 1500 miles but most other people believe that is absurd.

One question that wasn't answered but probably applies to any car in general is this:

When a car "burns" oil between intervals, where does it go? I have no obvious oil leaks but other threads have stated that it can very slowly bleed out of seams throughout the engine. Wouldn't that end up with the outside of my engine slowly getting caked in oil?

The fact that people call it "burned oil" makes me think it is actually being burned (changing state) and must still be in the oil system. Wouldn't that result in a LOT of contaminents in the oil system and ruin it eventually?

I learned from my 03 OB - that my previous experiences of oil consumption (toyotas) did not apply. The 03 OB went through a lot of oil - even fairly early on in its life.
I spoke about this at length with my Subaru mechanic who USED to work for Subaru for a while - and has run an independent Subaru shop for years and comes highly recommended. He said it was very common for Subarus to go through oil more than some other cars - but he also attributed it to conventional oil use.
He said it was pretty normal.
My 03 OB in the end went through oil like crazy - never a leak though.
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Old 01-27-2013, 08:04 PM   #5 (permalink)
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- but he also attributed it to conventional oil use.

My dealer uses castrol gtx. Would a different oil burn less?
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Old 01-28-2013, 01:38 PM   #6 (permalink)
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My dealer uses castrol gtx. Would a different oil burn less?
I honestly dont know. But he insisted synthetic would burn less in general for my 03. I never tried it.
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Old 01-28-2013, 02:47 PM   #7 (permalink)
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First thing to try when an engine uses excessive amounts of oil is to change the PCV valve.......A sticky or defective valve can suck up a fair amount of oil.

The second thing to try is too drive it hard. Going up a long mountain as fast as you dare a few times may help. Anything that puts the cylinders under enough heat and pressure to seat the rings may be effective. The more miles on the motor before doing this, the less likely it is to be effective. I like to give new motors some full throttle runs just past 1k miles. If you already have 15k, it will take a lot more hammering. It will not likely work at all by 30k. Good luck.
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Old 01-28-2013, 08:21 PM   #8 (permalink)
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[QUOTE=sleze;503880]I started a couple of threads in the Gen4 forum discussing my 2012 3.6 oil level issue (low oil light came on at 4k miles between oil change interval of 7500 miles). It was fixed by adding a quart of oil. The bottom line is that Subaru says it is OK if you burn a quart of oil every 1500 miles but most other people believe that is absurd.

QUOTE]
Hi,

While the question has been answered, the oil consumption is certainly excessive. One thing that can affect how an engine consumes oil over its lifetime is the technique used to "seat" the piston rings during the break-in period.

How did you break-in the engine?

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Old 01-28-2013, 08:29 PM   #9 (permalink)
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I have same issue with my 2012 3.6R. The dealer keep saying its normal . as a matter of fact, I brought up same issue today during my 30K maintenance and dealer said that its normal ..again . oil level sensor is very sensitive according to them..whatever. Dealer said that just top it off whenever the oil level lights comes on
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Old 01-28-2013, 09:58 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Oil use is a common and exceptable thing in Subaru engines.. Due to the cylinder bore having (no sleeves) especially in 2.5 engines, so reason subaru wants you and should check your oil in between changes of 3000mi and every 1000 miles.
And to add a mechanic mentioned to also stick with every 3000 mi oil change due to it being a boxster engine.
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