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"Jeannine", 2019 3.6R, retired: 2001 LLBean H6 3.0 creampuff 82.6k
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Discussion Starter #1
Hi folks,
My Jeannine (8900 miles) sprung an oil leak. Taking in next week for warranty repair. Would like to know the following info in advance, so I can understand what diagnostics and possible other parts might need to be done. I have a vague idea what a timing cover is, so please be simple (and kind). Dealer's senior tech is assigned to the repair.

  1. Is this just a simple matter of putting a new sealant on, or could it require more diagnosis to determine part(s) behind the cover or what is leaking?
  2. Depending on (1), does it mean having to take the engine out or something major?
  3. Does this typically take more than 1-2 days?
  4. What else to watch for? Are there any other specifics to be aware of, e.g. if they replace x, then they also need to replace y and z.
  5. Is this common?
AWD-Timing-IMG_20200222_100450.jpg AWD-Timing-IMG_20200222_100436.jpg
 

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Outback 2011 3.6R Premium
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This is not common as far as I am aware.

If it is simply a cam cover leak then no parts will be required except the required sealant (there is no gasket).

This would be classified as a “difficult” job which is why the senior tech has been allocated the job.

On the 2.5 engines they apply a thicker bead of sealant and then “finger tighten” the bolts and allow the sealant to cure overnight. Once the sealant is cured the bolts are torqued to specification. I am not sure if they use the same procedure on the 3.6 engine.

Seagrass
 

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This is a common leak point on the 3.6, just not common so young.
They don't need to take the engine out and there is nothing behind the cover to be concerned with. With the miles so low and the car so new, this has got to be a case where something went sideways on the assembly line and the seal had a defect. Very slim chance that the cover or mating face is marred, but that is what warranty is there for; they will take the cover off, clean and inspect, then apply new sealant.

As the 3.6's get up in miles they all will leak here eventually, it's a large cover. The FB generation 2.5's have a similar large cover that may also leak in the 200k+ mile range.
 

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2019 Outback Limited, 3.6, Wilderness Green
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Mine leaked at around 2500 miles IIRC (2019 3.6), is now leaking again at 6900 miles. They didn't know why it leaks, just resealed the cover and put it back together. Two day job, loaner car at the dealer. I would guess, by this thread alone, this is more common than Subaru might care to admit. Brings back fond memories of Detroit in the 60's and 70's: buy a new car, bring it home and it's leaking oil on your driveway inside of six months! It is kind of BS when you think about it.
 

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2015 3.6R Limited w/ES
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...I would guess, by this thread alone, this is more common than Subaru might care to admit. Brings back fond memories of Detroit in the 60's and 70's: buy a new car, bring it home and it's leaking oil on your driveway inside of six months! It is kind of BS when you think about it.
This thread alone? That was in reference to just yourself and the OP? I'd have to see at least 15-20 posts to buy into any claim of a "common" problem. I'm not saying there isn't something going on here (all 2019s, that's interesting), and I know this topic has come up before with the 3.6, but I see no reason to speculate on the failure rate. If you search this topic on the forum, as was already mentioned, there are other sources of leaks that may look similar to this one. This would not be the first time I've heard of a dealer wanting to perform a major service rather than simply taking the time to pinpoint the source, e.g.:

 

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2015 3.6 Outback (green)
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My 2015 had the timing cover leak at 58K miles.

Was covered under warranty and is a straight-forward flange seal job that is common in many automotive cases.

Jason
 

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2019 Outback Limited, 3.6, Wilderness Green
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“This thread alone..”. Okay, you got me, poor choice of words. I do know its happened to forum members Jazzy, and me, and Seven_Point_Supp, and BOBOBW, and PURE STI, and Vikingviewer, and those appear to be early miles 3.6 timing cover leaks. I also agree with you there may be something going on here - it is interesting these leaks at early miles.

I am going to speculate and say this may be more common than just those members alone as likely not all owners will crawl under their car and inspect for leaks. In my case it is tiresome, to me anyway, since it is releaking in the same spot a bit over 4000 miles later.

 

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"Jeannine", 2019 3.6R, retired: 2001 LLBean H6 3.0 creampuff 82.6k
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Discussion Starter #9
For additional background, I had oil changed at 3500 miles and again at 8500 miles; the leak was found at 8500 miles by my 3rd party service tech. He said it wouldn't be visible unless on a rack because the timing cover is vertical and drops are caught by an absorbent layer on ...umm .. "some under-carriage pan thing" (my words).
 

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So far, from what I've seen, this seems about as common as the pump cover leak on the 3.6R's HT-CVT. Another, somewhat unrelated (seal compatibility issue), defect that involves a pricey repair. Of course, as you said, one wonders how many have actually been inspected carefully enough to pick up on the issue. To then have the repair fail a few thousand miles later seems to be very unusual, but it could simply be a botched repair. I'd imagine leaks on low-mileage vehicles would be a lot easier to trace and monitor at least.
 

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For additional background, I had oil changed at 3500 miles and again at 8500 miles; the leak was found at 8500 miles by my 3rd party service tech. He said it wouldn't be visible unless on a rack because the timing cover is vertical and drops are caught by an absorbent layer on ...umm .. "some under-carriage pan thing" (my words).
For additional background, I had oil changed at 3500 miles and again at 8500 miles; the leak was found at 8500 miles by my 3rd party service tech. He said it wouldn't be visible unless on a rack because the timing cover is vertical and drops are caught by an absorbent layer on ...umm .. "some under-carriage pan thing" (my words).
I caught it on my back, but it's one reason I tell people sucking oil out of the top for oil changes is a stupid idea. You're never looking under your car for problems.
 

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2018 Dark Blue Pearl Outback 3.6R Premier
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My 2018 had the same leak around 50,000 miles. Repair has held up so far.
 

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Mine looked like that second picture just before 1000 miles... I cleaned everything up, cleaned up the plastic cover to track the leak... put UV dye in the crankcase, then got underneath there just before the 6000 mile oil change. Leak stopped. Dunno.

If it comes back, then it’ll get fixed (nothing to do right now).
 

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This is a common leak point on the 3.6, just not common so young.
They don't need to take the engine out and there is nothing behind the cover to be concerned with. With the miles so low and the car so new, this has got to be a case where something went sideways on the assembly line and the seal had a defect. Very slim chance that the cover or mating face is marred, but that is what warranty is there for; they will take the cover off, clean and inspect, then apply new sealant.

As the 3.6's get up in miles they all will leak here eventually, it's a large cover. The FB generation 2.5's have a similar large cover that may also leak in the 200k+ mile range.
try more like the 100K range for the seal to leak.. I just did mine on my 2014 FB 2.5L (65K when leak found) and the 2010 outback was repaired before 140K. If you go 200K and no leaks, you are going to be one of the lucky ones...
 

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00 Outback wagon 03 VDC wagon 18 Touring 3.6 white
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As trtrtr said I also had the leak on my 18 at 400 miles. They pulled the engine (on a 400 mile car ughhh) and replaced the entire cover. Did not just do a reseal. So far so good but certainly troubling that it is reoccurring and still happening a model year later.
 

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"Jeannine", 2019 3.6R, retired: 2001 LLBean H6 3.0 creampuff 82.6k
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Discussion Starter #17
As trtrtr said I also had the leak on my 18 at 400 miles. They pulled the engine (on a 400 mile car ughhh) and replaced the entire cover. Did not just do a reseal. So far so good but certainly troubling that it is reoccurring and still happening a model year later.
Do you think pulling was because it was so low mileage (mine being 8500)? Mine could also change once it's inspected, of course. Or possibly found more oil leak under the cover?

Just trying to think of things to be aware of (being as we're about 5 miles from Covid-19 epicenter in Kirkland I'm trying to get idea of repair days needed).
 

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I don't really think it was the miles. I got the impression that they thought that this was the best way to fix it for good. They told me they had done one other and they did the same on it. Don't know the miles on that one, didn't think to ask.
 

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I don't really think it was the miles. I got the impression that they thought that this was the best way to fix it for good. They told me they had done one other and they did the same on it. Don't know the miles on that one, didn't think to ask.
When I've had parts finally replaced for leaks like that... it's after the 2nd or 3rd try (depends on how many gaskets/points of failure there were)!
 

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"Jeannine", 2019 3.6R, retired: 2001 LLBean H6 3.0 creampuff 82.6k
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Discussion Starter #20
One advantage I have is that my 3rd party repair tech is good friends with dealer's service mgr so that's how I knew to ask for him as SI, so hoping that will be a golden ticket to a thorough inspection and effective repair. Ironically the service mgr was my fav tech 12+ years ago with prev 2001 before I went 3rd party.
 
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