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I just had a new radiator put in my 96 Legacy. Because it's been using oil I asked them to check that out too. They performed a leak down test with results of cylinder 1 at 15%, cylinders 2 and 3 at 10% and cylinder 4 at 8% and stated they found everything in good condition. I didn't really understand those results but I did enough research to determine that those numbers mean that it's not likely the rings or the head gasket which is good. They said that it is possible that the valve seals are leaking internally to the tune of about $2000 to fix.

So my question is that given they didn't say it's definitely that, how likely is it to be that and is it worth doing? I don't mind paying it if it fixes the problem and will prevent further damage but don't really want to pay to have something done that may or may not fix the issue.

Right now I'm putting in one quart about every 1.5 weeks given about 600-700 miles driven per week. There is no visible oil puddle under the car where I park it so it is not an external leak, and there is a bit of smoke when it's started cold that only lasts a few minutes. The smoke does not have a blue appearance to me, but is more of a light to medium grey.
 

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If the $2000 includes the timing belt and components, water pump, thermostat, valve job on both heads, all the gaskets replaced, intake cleaning, all your fluids and use of the proper parts, then go for it.

Make sure the gaskets/seals along with the thermostat are from Subaru. Aftermarket seals won't fit proper and leak.
 

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how many miles?

oil leaks are pretty common on these engines.
common leak points are:
valve cover gaskets - pretty easy fix.
cam seals - more difficult, should be done with the timing belt and idler pulleys.
oil pump and crank seal - more difficult, should be done with the timing belt and idler pulleys.
oil separator plate on the rear of the engine block - you have to pull the engine.

replace the PCV valve, it can cause oil consumption. also check the hoses that connect in that area, they can become clogged.

but valve seals would be way down on my list of the cause of oil loss. it would also cause some blue smoke. and valve seals are not a common issue on these engines.

usually i would say to look under the car for an oil stain on the bottom of the engine , but since you just had it in the shop, I'M SURE they would have noticed and mentioned oil staining, right? most of the leaks above only leak when running and therefore may not cause a puddle in the drive way. but they will coat the under side of the engine in oil.

get a flash light, and a piece of rug or cardboard to lie on and take a look.
 

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+2 on checking the PCV valve. My daughter's X-Terra suddenly started consuming oil. On my advice, she changed out the PCV valve and, voila, back to normal. It's certainly a cheap enough part to replace.

Good luck!!
 
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