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Old 03-10-2010, 07:01 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default High Oil Consumption was caused by turbo starting to fail

Hi all,

This is an attempt to give XT owners a possible heads up on one possible thing to look for when a turbo unit has not yet completely failed, but is in fact on its way out...

I'm happy to report that as a result of some excellent detective work by my mechanic at Faulkner Subaru in Bethlehem, Pa. we've finally been able to figure out why my '05 Outback with 120K has been suffering from a case of ongoing oil loss, with no outward signs of where it was going. The turbo unit was going south...and it was systematically pulling in and digesting small amounts of oil.

Over the past 6 months, any and all visible leaks were eliminated. For the last month and a half, and 1,500 miles, my mechanic & I have been tracking the unusually high amount of loss. Approximately 1 quart+ per 500-600 miles. After doing a series of compression checks (dry & wet) to verify that the rings or worse were not the cause, the compression turned out to be very good. What it was, was the turbo unit was on it's way out.

Now, for those of you who might be experiencing this problem with unexplained oil loss, please note, the turbo was not making any outward sounds that would indicate something was amiss. What we observed was the fuel millage remained relatively the same, no oil type smoke from the exhaust, and no leaks anywhere, however the loss of oil remained at a constant. The performance was suffering as I mentioned to the mechanic. He also noted either erratic boost, or a drop in the boost when he drove it. I also noted that in more cases than not, the Outback seemed to be stumbling off the line and obviously having a hard time with the (oil?+) fuel mixture. It was fairly clear that the only way the oil was being consumed was it was getting into the combustion system somehow and was being burned away slowly and relatively efficiently, but at that point we still could not be sure.

End result, the turbo is replaced with all the necessary parts. $2K charge, but I have to say, it has performance now like it did when I first got the XT, it's stronger now than ever...!!!

During inspection of the removed turbo unit, my mechanic showed me one particular item on the turbo. As I observed the main shaft of the turbo unit, it was quite evident one could see, feel, and observe axial slop from front to back indicating the bearings and possibly more were failing.

So the bottom line. If you are experiencing loss of oil with no outward signs like smoke, oil deposits, residue, or speckles on the rear near the exhaust system, and you have seen a marked reduction in performance, it might behoove you to have the turbo checked. Also, have the down tube (CCverter) checked to make sure it is not blocked up either, before something does go...


Steve Nordahl,
Bethlehem, Pa.
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Old 04-01-2010, 01:24 AM   #2 (permalink)
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I seem to be burning a bit of oil - don't drive the car particularly hard and was at a loss as to where it's going.

The car does stumble a little when I give it some welly when down around the 2k rpm mark.

I'll see about the turbo being a problem in that case.

Thanks for the heads up
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