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Discussion Starter #1
Well, the car is finally in the heated garage to dismantle all manner of things to access the left and right valve covers. I plan to also check the valve clearances while in there (H4 2005 2.5i). I got the air cleaner and all associated apparatus removed and am ready to move to the driver side. I want to have both valve covers ready to pull and pull them both at the same time.

I have an online shop manual that I am using for the job to which I have printed corresponding pages. I don't have the exact size feelers for clearances, so I plan on using .007" and .010". I don't suspect there will be much to change, however I am ready if there is.

If there is anything that anyone might think of, I am all ears.

I see that RTV (I have black, hi-temp) Sealant should be used where the gaskets meet the valve covers and in several other contact locations. I plan on going easy on the Sealant so it's not all over the place. I also plan to clean all mating surfaces to remove any old oil residue.

The main thing that holds me back is my bad back! So, it is one of these "take my time" kind of jobs that I can stop to take breaks whenever the back hurts!
 

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Can ya maybe document and take some pics. I have a 06 outback with 84 k on it and will probable have to do this in the near future.

Thanks

Mike K in SJ
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Yes,

Yes, I can do that!:17:

I have the right side pretty cleared and the left side, battery disconnected and completely removed. With that fuse box mounted on the left front inner fender, and the large conduit cable extending out of it, with branches off the conduit, I can see that the left valve cover will be a real fun-time -- NOT!

As I have mentioned before, I have problems with my back and need to be careful what I do and how much I do it. In other words, I need to be sensitive to my body when it tells me it is too damp in the garage and a bit too much bending over, it means it's time for a break or to stop for the day.

This is primarily my wife's vehicle, we have another vehicle, a truck which is primarily mine. Worst-case scenario is she drives my truck for a day or two until her car is back together. She is fine with that.

With how much oil which has leaked all around and under there, I really want to clean all that off so I can tell if the leak continues after this gasket/seals - changing, or if it has finally stopped.

While I am at it, the car was due for an oil change, I'm draining it now, I don't necessarily like doing it with the oil cold, however, it is full-synthetic, and I will be draining it for at least a day or longer, so I am confident it will be mostly changed! I'm going to try 5W-20 Full Synthetic to see if there is maybe some improvement in gas mileage. With the weather turning cold here, the engine should like the initial startup each time when it has not been run for a while. If this oil doesn't leak, it will be a miracle and mean that I got the problem solved for sure!
 

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The passenger side is pretty straight forward, but it is very cramped trying to get a socket/wrench in there. I was pretty liberal with the RVT when I did mine. Make sure you clean off any previous sealant before you put the new one on, since it wont seal properly otherwise. I also used a touch of RVT on the valve cover to keep the gasket in place while putting the valve cover back on. It has a tendancy to come off if it gets bumped during install. I haven't done the driver's side yet, because it wasn't leaking, but I will soon. It looks even more cramped. Good luck.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Well, I made some progress.
I got the oil and filter changed. It was due for that. I switched from the 5W-30 that I have been using all along (full-synthetic), and want to try the same full-synthetic but in 5W-20. So, I got the oil completely drained, filter off, no more dripping, so I put the new crush washer on the drain nut and installed the new filter and four quarts of the new 5W-20. I am anxious to see if this changes the leakage (hopefully, there will be no leakage), but more importantly, if it helps a bit with gas-mileage.

My back was beginning to spasm, a sign that I must stop for the day. Now that the car is back down off the jack stands from changing the oil, I feel I can get a real good start first thing tomorrow on the right valve cover!

Passenger side valve cover access:


Driver side valve cover access:


Thank you all for the comments and suggestions, I am not beyond asking for help, that's why we're here!
 

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Take you time! You health beyond everything else is first. Are you considering replacing spark plugs and plug wires? I am only saying since you are there. The 2.5 will use copper or iridiums, if you are on a budget go copper.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thank you!
I did replace them with Iridium plugs two months ago and the wires I replaced just this past summer. So, I am all set on plugs and wires!:29:
 

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:29: A local subaru tech told me for the drivers side if you need extra room. Loosen the two bolts for the engine mounts and lift the block up with a jack and a piece of wood.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Well,
My body let me get the right side apart, cleaned up, new gasket put on the cover, new rubbers on the spark plug tubes, new grommets on the bolts. I used a wedge of hardwood to temporarily secure the valve cover in place (about 2" from the adjacent horizontal frame member) after carefully installing the gasket. That maple wedge allowed me to put some pressure on the new gasket and spark plug rubbers.

I couldn't believe how hardened all the old OEM rubber gasket and spark plug rubbers were, they felt more like hard plastic than rubber.

I did get a few pics I will add here later.

As for the left side, I don't think I will go for that one today. I also decided to not check valve clearances. I figured between up and down, it would be too much with just jack stands, especially on my bad back. I came in to get a mirror to confirm the bottom of the new gasket is all in place before tightening down on the 10mm cover bolts.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Pictures, 2005 H4 2.5i right valve cover gasket & seals replacement

Put half a waterproof adult diaper underneath the valve cover.

Tied back two hoses after removing one bracket bolt near the ABS to give the one hose more slack:




Removing cover (came right off):


Removing rubbers (they were all hard, like plastic):


Cleaned cover gasket groove (was pretty clean already - as was the face of the right head where the gasket meets-up):


Installing new gasket (just fits)!


Used two maple wedges to wedge the newly-gasketed cover back into position and hold it firmly there, after installing new plug pipe rubbers!




The original bolts were so loose, I could have almost removed some of them without a wrench. I just snugged the bolts back up, rotating for even-tightening. The bolts are tighter than they were, but not too tight.

I decided to forego the driver side, even though I had already removed the battery. I also decided to NOT check valve clearances as the car has been running extremely well and no tappet noise. Not having a lift would have really been an up and down, underneath hassle in itself as the space I am working in is not that large. I had to keep the garage doors closed and the car within the garage as it was only about 40 degrees out. I heat the (partially-insulated) garage with a Modine heater which runs off my house boiler heating system.

I will wait and see if this stops the right side from leaking. If not, it may be the heads next. I'm afraid that would need to wait until next summer when I have more room in the garage with the doors open - OR, I end up hiring it out for my mechanic to do.
 

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Awesome write up so far and thanks for the pics. My 06 has 84 k miles on it . If I remember right the last time I changed the plugs I had avery small amount of Oil on some of the plugs.
My only concern is that I had my DR side head gasket replaced under warranty and the dealer snapped one of the valve cover bolts.
I cant for the life of me remember which side I had the oil on the plugs.

Mike K South Jersey
 

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Discussion Starter #14
So far, good news!
I checked the oil leak on the right side, where oil was always dripping off the oil filter. My wife drove the car about 60 miles yesterday. This morning, I looked under there and there was no new oil, at all! There was some older oil here and there that I wiped up and will keep an eye on this!
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Awesome write up so far and thanks for the pics. My 06 has 84 k miles on it . If I remember right the last time I changed the plugs I had avery small amount of Oil on some of the plugs.
My only concern is that I had my DR side head gasket replaced under warranty and the dealer snapped one of the valve cover bolts.
I cant for the life of me remember which side I had the oil on the plugs.

Mike K South Jersey
Thank you!
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Well, I just checked the right side for the oil leak that has been there since the car was new. The leak is gone. The oil filter I installed several weeks ago does not have a bit of oil on it. Before, the oil would all blow around while driving and would end up dripping off the oil filter. So, since the beginning (2005), I just presumed I had not had the oil filters quite the proper tightness.

I'm glad to see that I have the oil filter properly-tightened and that the leak is history. Now, to monitor the left side to see if those gasket, grommets and spark plug tube rubbers need changing.

It will also be interesting to see how little oil the car now uses, especially since I recently converted to 5W-20 (full-synthetic, as usual) weight oil for winter driving and may continue that weight all year round as I have noticed it has helped with the average gas mileage. Also, my replacing all the fluids with full-synthetic has made the difference of between 1 to 2 MPG improvement!
 
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