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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a 2007 Legacy Outback 2.5i. I have had a small coolant leak (see photo). The leak appears to be coming from the timing belt cover at the top, next to the bolt you see just to the right of my upstream 02 sensor (orange). The leak appears to run down the cover to the left (towards downstream sensor) and drip down below. It is sporadic, spitting out a bit of coolant like you see at random times, then going a while with no leaking at all.
I have read a lot on this site and others about this type of coolant leak. Some say water pump, head gaskets, or even the timing belt cover gasket is to blame. I am going to do a coolant pressure test today. The hoses are all fine, no leaks. There does seem to be a small leak underneath too, which drips onto the cat (see IMG-7992). Again, very small so far and sporadic.
The problem I have is that from what I understand there should not be coolant free flowing behind that cover, so why would people suggest a timing belt cover gasket is the solution? Am I missing something? I also find it strange that if it were something deeper in the engine, wouldn't it be pooling up in the bottom of the timing belt cover. Why is it mostly coming out at the top? I also understand removing that cover is no easy task for a newbie like me, so I'm hoping I don't have to go there. Thanks for any help you can offer!
 

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The leak on the top of the timing cover is probably coming from the upper radiator hose connection to the metal water (crossover) pipe. It's not unusual, especially given the age of the car. There will likely be some corrosion on the water pipe under the rad hose that is compromising the seal. The screw clamp won't correct that. If the upper hose hasn't been replaced (it looks to be original factory type hose), remove and replace the upper radiator hose after cleaning the water pipe area. Also, use the specified spring-type hose clamp.

The lower radiator hose could be leaking as well, where it attaches to the thermostat housing, for the same reason.
 

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2008 Outback 2.5 4EAT in Granny Gold
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I'll second the vote for the upper radiator hose connection. With that much, you should be able to run a finger or paper towel (if hot) underneath the hose connection to see if that's the source. If it is the hose, you should replace the upper and lower hose, but a quick temporary fix is adding another clamp or two. Could be running down the hose from the radiator connection too.

If it was leaking from behind the timing cover, through the top, you'd have much bigger leaks down below. The water pump is on the other side too, behind the tensioner that is below the water pump and ac (picture below with cover off).

Automotive tire Motor vehicle Automotive design Rim Automotive exterior
 

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2008 Outback 2.5 4EAT in Granny Gold
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If you need some sympathy, you should reach out to this guy.

 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks again! I swore that upper hose was fine, but after I ran it hot and wiped with the paper towel, there is a small leak on the bottom of that hose. What a relief it's a simple fix--thanks a lot
 

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Outback 2011 3.6R Premium (sold Jan 22)
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As I mentioned in the linked post, above this is the most common coolant leak I see on a Subaru. Thankfully it is a quick, easy and cheap fix.

Seagrass
 
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