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Discussion Starter #1
Hi everyone, I’ve got a 2000 Subaru Outback limited with about 140,000 miles. Started it this morning and noticed oil streaming out of the timing belt cover. Seemingly just happened as it’s leaking oil fast enough the oil light would have come on last time I was driving it if it was leaking then. Trying to diagnose the problem and determine how hard this would be to fix myself. I’ve attached a couple pics with the leaky areas circled...worst leak area is near where the radiator connection circled in the first pic. Any thoughts or recommendations would be appreciated. Thanks!
 

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'01 OBW 3.0 VDC 184,000 Miles '19 OB 2.5 Base <2,000 Miles - Formerly '14 Impreza Sedan 2.0 5spd 66,000 Miles at trade-in
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Take the plastic guard off and take another pee.k See how far up it starts, gravity could be pulling it down to the bottom and misleading you
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Take the plastic guard off and take another pee.k See how far up it starts, gravity could be pulling it down to the bottom and misleading you
Hi Bgilly, I took off the smaller drivers side inspection portion of the guard and started it up. The camshaft sprocket is relatively clean and doesn’t initially appear to be the source. The oil did seem to be traveling along the bottom of the timing belt guard and pooling/leaking away from the original source via gravity suggesting something further internally as the source....I suppose I can take the drivebelts off, remove the entire timing belt guard, reinstall the drivebelts and start it up to isolate the problem....was hoping to get a good sense of what the job was before I did that....but I can do it if it’s the only way to isolate it. What components could be leaking in there...crankshaft?? Camshaft on passenger side seems to be a pretty far ways for the oil to travel. Thanks!
 

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Discussion Starter #5
And to clarify, this is not a slow or minor leak...it’s a constant stream of oil dripping when the car is started. It was about 2 1/2 quarts low after driving only a few miles....and I noticed it as a constant trail of oil in the snow all the way from and back to my house.
 

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2002 Outback
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There are 3 seals behind the cover, 2 camshaft seals and the crankshaft seal (which is in the oil pump). As mentioned, the oil pressure sender where it screws into the block could be a leak point. The oil pump body to block could be leaking but I would expect that the show up more on the oil pan. At minimum, I would plan on replacing those 3 seals and probably the timing belt which may be soaked with oil. Another possibility might be a leak at the oil filter gasket with oil spraying out (I've had this gasket blow out on a Ford and it emptied the crankcase quickly).
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks for your comments everyone. I don’t have the tool yet to hold the camshaft steady while I loosen the camshaft pulley wheel in order to remove the entire timing belt cover yet, but I now believe it’s the drivers side camshaft seal that is leaking. I can put my finger through the camshaft wheel and feel the outside seal and it’s noticibly loose (I can move it back and forth with my finger). I think the job seems to be the same though....go in and replace the outside seals and timing belt minimum, no? How difficult of a project does one consider this? I like DIY projects and work on our cars regularly, but it seems that typically the consequences of screwing up aren’t as dire as when you’re working with the timing belt.
Thanks!
 

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You don't need to hold the camshaft pulley to remove the timing belt cover. You need to hold the harmonic balancer to remove the larger part of the TB cover. To do that, I simply used one of the drive belts to hold it in place while using a breaker bar to loosen the nut. You can also prop the breaker bar against the engine compartment while bumping the engine, but this way is more gentle.

To find a good anchor point for the socket wrench handle I used to hold the belt, I removed the alternator. It only took a couple of minutes to do that. I was going to replace the drive belts anyway so I wasn't going to reuse it for driving purposes.



To hold the camshaft sprockets in place while loosening or tightening the camshaft sprocket bolts, this tool is really helpful. $25 online, about $44 at a local parts store:

 

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2 camshaft seals
1 crank seal
timing belt
All Aisin timing belt pulleys and timing belt tensioner

I would reseal the oil pump. Just the crank seal and an oring and sealant (Three Bond, The Right Stuff, RTV...)
If you have a 7mm oil pump, get a 9mm and replace it. Some 2000+ EJ's have 7mm oil pumps, i'm not sure which ones.

Water pump is 18 years old and would complete the entire front end reseal. But they rarely fail, give warning if they do, won't strand you, and are easy to replace later if need be or you end up needing headgaskets later lol. Get an AISIN/Subaru water pump and OEM water pump gasket - the metal stamped version is far superior to the flimsy cardboard aftermarkets. And thermostat and coolant while the cooling system is empty.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I think this is a job I’m willing to tackle. I’ll probably buy the Lisle pulley holder to make my life a little easier should the crank/camshaft bolts be super tight. The timing belt/water pump were replaced at ~ 80K miles but while I’m in there I’d agree prob worth the time/$$ to just replace water pump and all pulleys/tensioner as well.

One question, the mechanic I got a quote from mentioned I may need a product called a speedi sleeve because the spring behind the cam may have scratched the shaft....I haven’t opened that up yet to know for sure. Anyone know the likelyhood that this would’ve happened and the ease/difficulty of installing one of those if so?

Thanks!
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Do folks recommend taking out the spark plugs for the timing belt/seals job? Repair books says to but I never seem to see people do it in DIY videos.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Opened the timing belt cover and confirmed leak to be drivers side front cam seal. In a way, good this brought to my attention because the timing belt has lots of cracks....glad it didn’t snap. There was no timing belt guide on it....not sure how important that is, if it’s worth buying one or not?

Buying parts for replacing 2 cam seals, crank seal, belt, tensioner/pulleys, and water pump.
 

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This tool makes pulling the oil seals a piece of cake:
Lisle 58430 Oil Seal Puller

You could to some ghetto engineering by drilling a hole into the seal and pulling it out with a hooked tool, but if the drill bit slips, you can scratch the metal and get into deep trouble. The hook slides under the seal and you use the post as a fulcrum and push down on the handle and it pulls the seal out cleanly.
 

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I think @ntippet posted the inexpensive plastic belt guides are still a nice addition to put on cars that came without them.
 

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I had to install/adjust 5 of those things on my WRX - you don't want them if you can avoid them.

they are to prevent belt jumping time if a car is bumped/moved in such a way the crank 'could' be turned backwards.

Won't happen with an auto.
 

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You have received pretty good advice. Let me add a few things.

1] Since you are going to replace the seals, you might as well do the entire timing belt and pulley replacement. Use the Aisin kit. 2] You don't have to know much to replace the timing belt, pulleys and seals. Ask me how i know. But you do have to carefully watch and read the tons of DIY videos and directions. A caveman could do it thanks to all the people who post the videos and directions. 3] rsrocket1 has a unique way to hold the harmonic pulley while you loosen the cam pulley bolts. i've just put the bolt back in to hold the pulley which has some problems. But rather then go into a long explanation, just watch the videos. Tightening the harmonic bolt at the end of the proceedure with an auto trans is the most difficult thing since you have to hold the shaft via the trans flywheel. Again just watch the videos. 4] If the crankshaft seal isn't leaking, I wouldn't bother taking off the oil pump. But I'm not a good mechanic, I'm lazy, and I like to gamble.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
4] If the crankshaft seal isn't leaking, I wouldn't bother taking off the oil pump.
Others have any thoughts about the importance of resealing the oil pump while I’m in there? It’s OK as far as I know but there is an oily mess from the cam leak so hard to tell for sure. Would hate to have to redo this job for something so minor....but It is tempting to just replace the outer crank seal and call it a day...

If I did reseal....I have some Permatex RTV Ultra Black....would that work or does it have to be the Ultra Grey? Also, searching for O-ring part # if anyone knows it.

I live in the boonies so get to contemplate these sorts of things while I’m waiting for parts to ship...:laugh:
 

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Others have any thoughts about the importance of resealing the oil pump while I’m in there? It’s OK as far as I know but there is an oily mess from the cam leak so hard to tell for sure. Would hate to have to redo this job for something so minor....but It is tempting to just replace the outer crank seal and call it a day...

If I did reseal....I have some Permatex RTV Ultra Black....would that work or does it have to be the Ultra Grey? Also, searching for O-ring part # if anyone knows it.

I live in the boonies so get to contemplate these sorts of things while I’m waiting for parts to ship...:laugh:
Defiantly use the Ultra Gray. The Ultra Black is not the same by a long shot.
 
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