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2007 Outback H6 Bean Edition
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Discussion Starter #1
I'm trying to identify an oil leak in a 07 Outback 6-cylinder. Two photos are attached. Can anyone tell me what the part is with the blue wiring harness connected to it in the photos? The oil is either coming from that part, or around or very near it it. I need to do more poking around to figure out exactly where the leak is coming from, but am curious what that thing before I go messing with it. The area in question is the passenger side toward the rear of the engine.


 

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'14 3.6R Outback
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Um, is that on the Tranny?
 

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2007 Outback H6 Bean Edition
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Discussion Starter #3
I don't think so, but maybe I'm mistaken. I think it's farther forward and more outboard than that. Can try to get more pix if necessary.
 

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01 VDC, 05 R Sedan, 06 BAJA EJ257
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That is the Variable Valve Timing Solenoid. There is another plug toward the base of the assembly that is a switch that sends pressure signals to the ECM. It may just be a seal leaking. Clean it, drive a few miles at slow then fast speeds and check it again to see if its coming from beneath or through it.
 

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In case you're looking for more information, or parts, the solenoid with the blue connector is the Variable Valve Lift solenoid (aka Oil Switching Valve). The Variable Valve Timing solenoid (aka Oil Charge Valve or Oil Flow Control Valve) has a black connector, or at least this was the case the last time I checked.

The OSV's are located at the end of the head (both sides). The OCV's are on the camshaft cap (valve cover).
 

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2007 Outback H6 Bean Edition
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Discussion Starter #6
In case you're looking for more information, or parts, the solenoid with the blue connector is the Variable Valve Lift solenoid (aka Oil Switching Valve). The Variable Valve Timing solenoid (aka Oil Charge Valve or Oil Flow Control Valve) has a black connector, or at least this was the case the last time I checked.

The OSV's are located at the end of the head (both sides). The OCV's are on the camshaft cap (valve cover).
Awesome! That's really helpful, and thanks for providing the photos. Now that I know there are two, I checked the driver's side one and it looks fine. Also located the OCV's (front of engine, on valve covers, with black connectors, as you described).

Anyway, I'll clean up the wet OSV, and see if I can locate the leak. Will report back.
 

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2007 Outback H6 Bean Edition
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Discussion Starter #7
After some driving I have oil pooling on top of... I'm not sure what. It's circled in red in the picture below. View is from the firewall, looking more or less toward the front of the car. The part where the oil is leaking sits right at the base of the OSV (I think) and looks like you could stick an allen wrench in the top of it. Any ideas?



 

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Looks like a removable galley plug. The boss below it seems deep enough that there may well be a relief valve or spring device below it, and the plug is keyed so you could remove it to check/replace the valve or spring inside.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
A little probing has revealed that it is in fact a 5mm allen head. It took moderate effort to break it free. I backed it out a half turn, then re-tightened it. Now that it is moving, it is somewhat easy to turn at least 1/4 rotation past the point where it was "tight" before. Any idea what the torque setting is?

Does it need any kind of thread treatment, or might there be a seal under there that can be replaced? Not being sure exactly what I was getting into, I didn't unthread it all the way and look inside.
 

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The oil might be from the oil switching solenoid, which appears to be oily at higher levels. The oil might be migrating to, or blowing back and down, onto that area. If the leak were, for example, at the Allen key plug, it's not likely the solenoid (blue connector) would be as apparently wet with oil as it appears to be.

Rasterman is probably correct about the device -- a relief valve. It's part of the oil switching solenoid valve holder. I haven't found any more details about the valve holder.

Is all that oil after cleaning the area to better identify where the oil was coming from (post #6)?
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Is all that oil after cleaning the area to better identify where the oil was coming from (post #6)?
The oil pooling near the allen bolt is new. The surrounding oil may be more of a reflection on my cleaning skills or lack thereof. The old oil was fairly baked on and was resistant to wiping. It's hard to see down in there (camera actually does better since I can hold down inside the engine compartment) so I still can't tell whether it's dripping down from above or not. I may try putting some tape around the allen head to isolate it. And try to clean it up again, this time with chemicals. :eek:

I was surprised today when I looked and saw how MUCH fresh oil there was. It was noticeably more than there has been before. I was prompted to check because I could smell it burning a little when I parked.
 

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There's probably some engine spray cleaner that can flush all the oil away, or liquify it enough to absorb into paper towel or a rag. Some use dish detergent ("Dawn" has been suggested) to clean up oil.

Once the area is clean, it will have to be inspected regularly, perhaps after each drive, to detect where the oil is coming out, before it spreads or pools in other places. Given that there was so much fresh oil, this will probably work well.

I would be cautious with that Allen plug. If, as rasterman suggested, there's a spring and ball valve below, the plug could be holding it in place, and removing or altering the position of the plug could risk the valve coming apart or it's sensitivity being changed. It's more likely that it's just a plug, and if there's a spring-loaded valve below, it probably would have a separate adjusting screw below the plug, but that's only a thought . . . I'd leave it where it was until (if) it is confirmed that the oil is coming from around the plug. (The solenoid mount on my 2.5 doesn't have that Allen key part.)
 

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You can use athletes foot spray to find leaks.Just clean the area really well and make sure it's dry. Coat the area with he spray powder and once liquid hits it, t is much easier to see where it is coming form.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
After 120 miles of driving, including city/highway/mountains, there is no sign of the leak. I'm surprised and pleased.

Plain OM, I agree that the oil seemed more like it was coming from the OSS based on how high it had gotten above the plug. I'm not 100% sure it's good yet, but I'm cautiously optimistic. Thanks everyone for the very helpful input and knowledge. Nice tip about the foot spray BTW. I'm going to try that on a leaking Honda this weekend.
 

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Sorry to bring this back from the dead but there isn't much information on OSV oil leaks out there so here is my .02 cents that may help someone down the road... I've got an 07 Impreza wagon though.

Yesterday got a small amount of white smoke coming out from under the hood after driving in some traffic and then stopping at a stop light.

Poped the hood and looked to be a sensor between the dipstick and oil filler neck that was sweating some oil that was in turn burning up on the motor.

Brought it to the dealer this morning, said both my OSV valves were leaking and quoted me 29.99$ each valve plus 1 hour to change them so I'd be looking at a sub 200$ job. Please note I am in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.

Cheers,
 

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A little probing has revealed that it is in fact a 5mm allen head. It took moderate effort to break it free. I backed it out a half turn, then re-tightened it. Now that it is moving, it is somewhat easy to turn at least 1/4 rotation past the point where it was "tight" before. Any idea what the torque setting is?

Does it need any kind of thread treatment, or might there be a seal under there that can be replaced? Not being sure exactly what I was getting into, I didn't unthread it all the way and look inside.
You should be ok taking it out and and adding a bit of thread sealer to it, as people have stated before its just for manufacturing purposes (to make an oil gallery) there is nothing behind it and the thread is very slightly tapered. hope this helps you out. just tighten it up enough but not to much as you mat split the casing as I said it's tapered, its a kind of feel thing!!
 
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