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2006, Outback XT, 2.5 DOHC Turbo
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181 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Hey all just did my airbag recall and they say I have a head gasket leaking oil from the passenger side.

I do notice some oil in that area but I have NO symptoms of bad head gaskets. To boot my engine had a bad exhaust valve and my mechanic pulled the engine and took care of that. They machined the heads, new head gaskets, the works. That was about 30,000-40,000 miles ago, approximately. I trust my mechanic.

I did my timing belt about 20,000 miles ago for an unrelated deal. I tried to pull the cams sprockets off to check the banjo filters and stripped 1 or 2 screws on the 3 screw cover that covers the bolt in the center of the cam sprocket.

My question is, could it be those sprockets leaking? I will try and post some pictures but these head gaskets have at the most 50k miles on em. I am finding it hard to believe.
 

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Lawn ornament XT
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14,366 Posts
head gasket leaks are pretty rare in XTs.

On the other hand valve cover gasket oil leaks are more common, especially the right-hand side in XTs.
 

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Master Caster
2005 XT, Mildly Modified...2006 XT Limited, Highly Modifed
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16,119 Posts
Where on the passenger side does the leak show? Front or rear of the engine, of is it just wet along the seam.

If you are just talking about an oil leak, that can be many things.

Up front is could be a cam seal if you think oil is coming out of the timing cover. AVCS can also leak as well as cam sensors. (they are in the rear of the head tho) As @rasterman mentioned the valve cover passenger side is more common. Certainly more common than a HG. It sounds like your mechanic was in there for valve work, or did he not split the head?
 

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2006, Outback XT, 2.5 DOHC Turbo
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181 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
He had the block out and heads off so I am sure he did head gaskets and valve covers. I don't know which brand he used. I will find out on Tuesday.

To answer your other question I think it's towards the back.

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. . Current daily driver is a 2017 Outback.
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50 Posts
. . Dealers love to over sell. . Only oil pressure passage is at the top of the block. . More likely to be a valve cover gasket or possibly a cam oil seal. .
 

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2006, Outback XT, 2.5 DOHC Turbo
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Discussion Starter #6
Got under it today finally. At first glance there does appear to be oil however it doesn't appear to be just from the lower head. Thoughts?


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2006, Outback XT, 2.5 DOHC Turbo
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181 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
Bump. I know they aren't great but any thoughts? Did the gasket fail at the top and leaking down the side of the engine? I am thinking maybe the Turbo line from the block could be loose?

I will update tomorrow after the mechanic looks at it.

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2005 OBXT Limited, VF37, STI intake, 5MT
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Nothing terribly obvious, but I also noticed the PCV hoses at the top of the valve cover were wet at the joints. This usually happens with an over-pressure problem or a poor-condition PCV system. If there is excessive pressure in the crank case (PCV system not doing its job), it will cause "low pressure" seals to leak (valve covers, PCV hoses, cam seals, etc). Since the underside of the block is usually very turbulent with moving air, a small oil leak and coat the underside of the engine, cradle, and car.

My advice would be to hose-down the suspect area with brake cleaner (leaves no residue and dries VERY quickly, but spray on a COLD engine. vaporized brake cleaner is a neurotoxin) and drive a few cycles, and re-inspect.
 

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Master Caster
2005 XT, Mildly Modified...2006 XT Limited, Highly Modifed
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vaporized brake cleaner is a neurotoxin
Ah, so now I realize what my problem is. I have been huffing way to much brake cleaner.

Better ween off it with some simple green, I don't wan to go cold turkey.
 

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2006, Outback XT, 2.5 DOHC Turbo
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Discussion Starter #10
You guys rock. I did clean the ever living crap out of my lower engine. I agree those breather hoses could be the source of my problems.

The question becomes what causes that. My PCV valve was replaced recently.

I really appreciate all the input. It's helped me immensely. Trail, simple green work well for cleaning engine bays?

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2006, Outback XT, 2.5 DOHC Turbo
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Discussion Starter #11
Mechanic says

*drum roll*

most likely the passenger side vent hoses from the valve cover, a little from the power steering and then the oil return line.

parts on order and go in today
 

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2005 OBXT Limited, VF37, STI intake, 5MT
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I don't wan to go cold turkey.
Me neither, the cheaper, the better. After cleaning my wounds, my hands get all tingly for 10 mins or so...

On a serious note, ever since I've read that story about the welder/fabricator that lost most mental capacity due to vaporized brake cleaner, I've been more careful.

TL;DR, guy goes to weld a gas tank that was hosed with brake cleaner to evap the gasoline fumes, hits a damp spot, inhales, and collapses. 3 days later, 80% brain dead, is bed-ridden for the rest of his life. Out at 40-something. No thanks...
 

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2006, Outback XT, 2.5 DOHC Turbo
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Discussion Starter #13
Replaced the passenger side breather hoses, secured them with hose clamps to be sure. Also replaced the turbo oil drain tube, BTW, that is a miserable job and I may do a write up for poor people doing in in the future. I sprayed the engine with some simple green and also replaced my power steering o-ring. Time will tell.
 

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Lawn ornament XT
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You guys rock. I did clean the ever living crap out of my lower engine. I agree those breather hoses could be the source of my problems.

The question becomes what causes that. My PCV valve was replaced recently.
Heat and age. I'd forgotten about those. I had a pretty juicy oil leak from one of those breather lines a few years ago. The rubber had become rock hard and chunks were falling off. I used one of the Free Range aftermarket replacements, not sure if I should expect it to last longer.

Good luck, hope you got it!
 

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TL;DR, guy goes to weld a gas tank that was hosed with brake cleaner to evap the gasoline fumes, hits a damp spot, inhales, and collapses. 3 days later, 80% brain dead, is bed-ridden for the rest of his life. Out at 40-something. No thanks...
Doesn't sound like he had all that much to start with. I mean, that is not how you inert a fuel tank.
 

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2006, Outback XT, 2.5 DOHC Turbo
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Discussion Starter #16
I think it’s the PCV valve that’s leaking. I am going to get a new one and then use a spring clamp to secure it. Hopefully that helps. I bought a pressurized refillable can to help hose off any dirty areas.


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dealers lie

. . Unfortunately dealers lie just as much as a used car salesman. .
. . They will replace your head gaskets (and cover gaskets) when all you need are valve cover gaskets. .
. .
 

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2006 Outback XT
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I have this same problem after i changed the valve cover on the left side. previous owner or mechanic thought it was a good idea to touch up old valve cover with RTV and send it back out leaving the cursed lower rear bolt lose.

after I changed the gaskets its leaked from the top cuz the hoses are 12 years oldish. screw clamps dont help old hoses either. I am curious about the PCV valve though. i have to pick up the expensive rear hose this week is it worth getting a PCV valve too?
 

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2006, Outback XT, 2.5 DOHC Turbo
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Discussion Starter #19
If it hasn’t been changed in 12 years I don’t think it would hurt. I just sprayed the entire engine in simple green and then washed the crap out of it. I will keep an eye on it now. I just wonder if I had a leak from the PCV in combination of the high pressure side of the power steering pump leaking a little too. Time will tell now. But I still maintain, head gaskets they are not.


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2006, Outback XT, 2.5 DOHC Turbo
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Discussion Starter #20
Now I am getting a small of burning power steering. I am wondering if the rack and pinion is on her way out. @rasterman , you ever heard of this happening?


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