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2000 Lancaster 2.5L
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29 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have an oil leak on my 2000 2.5L Outback. It has 141000 KMS on it. Japanese import, I'm in New Zealand. It's happened quickly and is more than just an occasional drip.

The mechanic says its the cam seals which need to be replaced and will take about 4 hours labour. After reading through this site and learning about the head gasket issues I'm wondering if I should get them done too when replacing the cam seals. I'm not sure about the relationship between the two, whether you'll need to take off the head to change the cam seals anyway. If so, which gasket should I use? Is the Original Subaru gasket made now any good?

It also brings up the question of Timing Belt change. This was done by the previous owner at 115000KMS, according to the sticker in the engine bay but I have no paperwork to go with it so i'm assuming the cam seals weren't done then. With only 26000KMS on the new timing belt is it worth putting a new one on or can you just put the old one back on?

I have photos of the oil leak in another thread i posted last week,http://www.subaruoutback.org/forums/66-problems-maintenance/47453-oil-leak-photos.html

Thanks for any advice.
 

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2000 Lancaster 2.5L
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29 Posts
Discussion Starter · #2 ·
more info

Just another piece of info - had another look this morning to check how much oil was leaking and I noticed that there was coolant present on the bottom of the timing belt cover. The coolant level is always pretty constant I haven't had to top it up much.
 

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2005 OBW 2.5L, 1989 Subaru Justy, RIP Blu
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7,355 Posts
This sort of goes under "as long as your there ....."

First replace the PCV Valve, it will take some stress off the seals.

Since this engine is strange to you (the car), you should do a complete belt change to have piece of mind.

Timing Belt
Water Pump
Cam Seals
Main Seal
re-seal the oil pump
Timing Belt
Tensioner
Idlers
Accessory drive belts.

Do all that and you wont have to touch anything for a 105,000 miles, or if it is a 60,000 mile interval (not sure where you are) only the belt will have to be changed next interval as the other parts can go till 105,000 miles OR 120,000 miles (60,000 mile interval).
 

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2000 Lancaster 2.5L
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29 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks for the reply Nipper.

My worry is that all sounds a bit expensive to me, and because I cant do it myself I'm sure the local mechanic would love me!

If the oil leak was just coming from the cam seals or valve cover (which after extensive research today I'm beginning to think it is) then that wouldn't really be an "as long as your there situation" would it? Should I just pay to get the cam seal and valve cover gasket changed and change the PCV valve?

Cash is low so I'm trying to come up with a solution to minimize any catastrophic engine failure whilst trying to keep my wallet happy.
 

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2002 Outback Wagon 2.5L Auto Weather Package
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1,969 Posts
If you think doing that list sounds expensive, wait until you break a few of the things on that list for not having done them as preventative maintenance. A timing belt goes, and you'll REALLY see the value. If you don't know that its been done yet, you should just do it. All of that stuff is basically on the front of the engine, so they're going to 'be there' to do it anyway - and that combines the labor cost down quite a bit. If you can't pay it all at once and the mechanic will take payments, go for it - you'll likely still pay a lot less than if you suffer one of those failures.

Also, since you mention coolant, check for head gasket leakage. If you haven't perused around here much yet, you may not know its a common thing. That's another situation where you spend on it now, so it won't cost you lots later.

Once all that is taken care of, just change your oil and other very basic maintenance and you should be golden for about as many miles as are on the car now.
 

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2000 Lancaster 2.5L
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29 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks Euchre but you may have missed a couple of points from my original post. The timing belt has only got 26000 Kilometres on it and I'm well aware of the consequences of it breaking.

The timing kit alone will double the cost of doing just the cam seals and valve gaskets so if they could be done without taking off the timing belts i'd prefer not to buy the timing kit. Can they be done without taking off the belt? I really don't know.

The head gasket problems I am aware of so if the mechanic does find a leak there then I will do the full list as I'm sure the timing belt needs to come off for that one. Out of interest what is the test for head gasket leakage? Is it just a visual or another kind?

Thanks for the advice.
 

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2005 OBW 2.5L, 1989 Subaru Justy, RIP Blu
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7,355 Posts
Well you have to remove a lot of stuff to get to the cam seals. That stuff is the same stuff you have to remove to get to everything else.

Anything over 120,000 miles on it will not last another 120, let alone 60. You can buy the parts yourself and let the mecahnic install them. Failure of the idlers can cost you a very expensive valve job. Failure of the water pump can do the same, but at the very least would be another labor charge (same as the cam seals). If the cam seals are leaking, the other seals will nt be far behind.

The entire job is cheaper then doing it twice or replacing the engine.
 

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(formerly) 03 H6 OBW , (presently) 06 WRX Sportwagon & 2021 Honda CR-V
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18,777 Posts
find out if the shop is going to pass their parts cost along, or if they have a markup - you may very well save some taking your own parts to them (this may affect how they warranty the work however.)

just have a conversation with the mechanic - they know they have some customers that are legitimately on a tight budget while others can just drop a car off and say fix it without even asking about the cost.

but it's a false economy to skimp on parts when you're paying someone else for the labor and the risk involved with a part's failure is so high.
 
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