2010 OB w/3.6 valve cover gasket leak - Subaru Outback - Subaru Outback Forums
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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 02-19-2019, 10:40 PM Thread Starter
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2010 OB w/3.6 valve cover gasket leak

My Outback is a 2010 3.6 with 198700 miles, all but about 200 put on by me. I noticed several days ago that she was apparently leaking a little oil. Her oil change was about 200 miles overdue so in she went. I did not mention the oil issue to the service representative but when the she updated me on the service she showed me the mechanics report that indicated a valve cover gasket leak and a possible leak in the front timing cover. The cost of the dealer repair was estimated at $3200. Kelley Blue Book gives me a trade-in value of $1600-$2400 and a resale value of $4000, both of which would be lower with an obvious oil leak. My hope is that someone may have had some experience in replacing these gaskets. My big question is, can this be accomplished without pulling the engine? I'm more then willing to tackle it, as is my air traffic controller son. Any all help, suggestions or just pointing us in the right direction is appreciated. Thanks


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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 02-19-2019, 10:47 PM
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On a 3.6 the front timing cover is a big job but certainly doable by anyone handy with a wrench and it can be done without removing the engine. I am fairly certain you can also do the valve cover gaskets without removing the engine (you may need to remove the nuts from the engine mounts and slightly raise the engine.

Before you do anything give the engine a good degrease and then confirm where the leak actually is, it may not be where the dealer advised.

Also try and find a local trusted non-dealer Subaru repairer as they are likely to do the job much cheaper than a dealer.

Let us know how you get on.

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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 02-19-2019, 10:47 PM
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Definitely can be done without pulling engine . I got valve cover kit from felpro with tube seals and valve cover gaskets. Make sure you replace the tube seals. I removed the battery and air box. You can get to most bolts from top and get to others from bottom if more comfortable.
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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 02-19-2019, 10:48 PM
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Originally Posted by craig1510 View Post
My Outback is a 2010 3.6 with 198700 miles, all but about 200 put on by me. I noticed several days ago that she was apparently leaking a little oil. Her oil change was about 200 miles overdue so in she went. I did not mention the oil issue to the service representative but when the she updated me on the service she showed me the mechanics report that indicated a valve cover gasket leak and a possible leak in the front timing cover. The cost of the dealer repair was estimated at $3200. Kelley Blue Book gives me a trade-in value of $1600-$2400 and a resale value of $4000, both of which would be lower with an obvious oil leak. My hope is that someone may have had some experience in replacing these gaskets. My big question is, can this be accomplished without pulling the engine? I'm more then willing to tackle it, as is my air traffic controller son. Any all help, suggestions or just pointing us in the right direction is appreciated. Thanks
Both valve covers and front timing cover can be done WITHOUT removing the engine.

Valve covers itll be easier if you remove the dog bone brace and take the nuts off the engine mounts. Then you can jack the engine for whatever side you are doing.

Front cover you may have to remove the radiator but at the very least you'll have to remove the fans.

Other than the parts, just time consuming. Cleaning the front cover will be the most time consuming.

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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 02-19-2019, 10:51 PM
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I agree with above as well. Felpro gaskets and tube seals. Also if you have any 90° angles on the gaskets where it meets a corner, but a dab of rtv in the corner.

I've always used ultra grey from permatex. Never an issue. You'll need alot if you end up doing the front cover.

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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 02-20-2019, 09:00 AM
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get a quote from an independent shop as seagrass said - ask for a recommendation in a new thread. Someone might be able to direct you to a soob-experienced independent mechanic near you.

change the PCV valve - they might sometimes increase an oil leak's severity.

although messy, you could just let it leak and keep the oil topped-off. But, if the spark plug tube gaskets leak, you will need to get that repaired.

oil down the front of the timing cover 'could' be from a leaking oil pressure switch.

ANY 9 year-old car with 200K miles may need a few repairs.

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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 02-20-2019, 04:57 PM
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*** Only replace the valve cover gaskets. $300, engine doesn't come out. Easy job with a 10mm ratcheting wrench. Replace your spark plugs while they're off - they're super easy with the valve cover off and hard otherwise.

Then do nothing and see how much the timing cover leaks. They usually just seap....very very very slowly, like just get the metal surfaces wet, not worth resealing. Clean it all off and see how long it takes to come back or drip - could takes years and be entirely benign.

And there's zero labor savings to doing them both at the same time so you're not missing any chance to save or accomplish anything by doing both now.

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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 02-21-2019, 11:35 AM Thread Starter
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Definitely will do a follow up. Thanks for the advice
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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 02-21-2019, 11:50 AM Thread Starter
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I really appreciate the feedback. I will be bringing it to a local shop we used for the wife's Elantra (tried talking her into the Crosstrek and lost) and pre-Outback for a price quote. I like Seagrass' suggestion to degrease to better identify the leak source, does anyone prefer one degreaser over another. Again thanks to all
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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 04-15-2019, 05:28 PM Thread Starter
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It's been almost 2 months since I posted my problem but I finally got around to "getting" it fixed and I would like to thank to all who posted a reply on my problem. After a weeks trip to sunny Florida (we flew) and some other obligations I took my oil leak problem to a local independent repair shop. A few hours after dropping off the car I got a call that the oil is leaking from the engine oil cooler adapter gasket. A couple of hours after that I paid the man $211 and drove away. He said once they cleaned off the leaking oil and grime they could see where it was coming from. Far cry from the $3200 my Subaru dealer quoted to fix a leaky valve cover or front timing belt cover, they weren't sure where the oil was coming from. Again thanks for the feedback and suggestions. He did say there was a very slight oil presence around the valve cover, he referred to it as sweating, but of no concern. With 199840 miles on her, I'm not concerned.

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