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2012 Outback - 2005 Outback XT
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So after procrastinating for several weeks, yesterday I decided to tackle replacing my leaking RH valve cover gasket. I've done the job before on my previous OBXT, so I knew what to expect.

Got part way into the disassembly process (ignition coils removed) and I decide I might want to confirm the gasket I got was the correct one. It wasn't. I mistakenly ordered the LH gasket instead of the RH. Probably should have just stopped there. But I decided to check with O'Reilly and they had the Fel-Pro kit with both gaskets. So I ran over there and got it.

Got everything back together, started the car, and the cover started leaking like crazy. Crap.

At that point I figured I had rolled and/or pinched the gasket during installation. So after taking a break, I pulled it all apart again. I found the gasket to be installed perfectly in the track. No pinches. WTH?

I then inspected the mating services looking for defects or something that would prevent sealing. Found what looks to be some RTV from the cam retainer oozed on to the sealing surface. So I cleaned that up, reassembled, topped off the oil, crossed my fingers and tested it again.

No dice. Still leaking.

So at this point I'm at a loss as to why it continues to leak. Only thing I can figure is defective gasket that's just not compressing. So I ordered another. Haven't taken it back apart yet.

Any ideas?
 

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On the Super Mod Squad
2002 3.0 VDC Wag + 2018 2.5 Leg Ltd
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are you using any sealant in a few prescribed and desired areas for that job?

something like this:
Permatex 85144 The Right Stuff Grey Gasket Maker, 7.5 oz.

_______

and to make the job easier to get things on and off straight some say to jack each side of the engine.
(I would think this is a necessary thing on DOHC subarus).
 

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2017 Outback Premium 2.5 with Eyesight. 19mm Rear Sway Bar. Steering Dampener Lock Down. HID upgrade from retrofit source.
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216 Posts
Where is it leaking from? I did this job on my 08 and had no issue with the RH side. The lH side was a different matter. Stripped a valve cover bolt and had a **** of a time. Did you replace the spark plug tube gaskets as well? When I did the valve cover gaskets, I did use a few dabs of Permatex to hold the gasket in place, especially where the cover curved away from the head.
 

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2012 Outback - 2005 Outback XT
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
It's just leaking out the bottom of the gasket, maybe towards the back. Gushing. Thought maybe it was the rear cam plug, but it looked fine.

Yes I replaced the plug tube gaskets too. Not leaking from those.

Never had to use RTV sealant before. Last time I did the same job on my other car, installed the gasket dry. No issues other than scraped knuckles forearms. Might try a little this time.

Probably going to disassemble it tonight now that I've given myself a day to decompress. New gasket should arrive tomorrow.

LH gasket is weeping a bit too, but I'm going to push that off until another day.
 

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It's just leaking out the bottom of the gasket, maybe towards the back. Gushing. Thought maybe it was the rear cam plug, but it looked fine.

Yes I replaced the plug tube gaskets too. Not leaking from those.

Never had to use RTV sealant before. Last time I did the same job on my other car, installed the gasket dry. No issues other than scraped knuckles forearms. Might try a little this time.

Probably going to disassemble it tonight now that I've given myself a day to decompress. New gasket should arrive tomorrow.

LH gasket is weeping a bit too, but I'm going to push that off until another day.
@traildogck does a 2005-2006 XT engine need any sealant? (on or off the prescribed VC gasket swap,)....I know other subarus like it and its right in the service manual with pics and places to put it.
 

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2012 Outback - 2005 Outback XT
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Got a new gasket today. Tore it down and replaced it again. This time used RTV.

After about 3 hrs of labor, started up. Leaking.

I'm at a complete loss now.

Looks like it's leaking from between the two lower rear bolts, but the oil could just be running down to that spot. I removed those two bolts and put washers under the heads to get some more compression on the gasket, but it was still leaking just sitting there without the engine running.

The cam plugs at the back of the head feel dry.

I'll take it apart again tomorrow night, I guess, but I'm not even sure what I'm looking for at this point. This is the damnedest thing. Maybe a crack in the VC? Or God forbid, the head?
 

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OBW H6 VDC, Tribeca, XT6
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If it didn't leak that bad before and is leaking with two new gaskets then I would think a part was compromised or something isn't assembled properly.

*Did you pry or hit the valve cover to get it or the gasket off the first time?
Retrace all your removal steps - did you do anything with a tool, bad lighting at night, that may have compromised that area?

1. Make sure all the VC bolts are in place. Verify with online pictures.

2. verify none of the VC bolts are different lengths and in the wrong position...though memory tells me this won't be the issue on that engine

3. are you absolutely positive the gasket was installed correctly? LH on LH ? and it wasn't mirrored or upside down?

4. i'd get a very detailed bead on where it's leaking - use light, photos, mirrors, anything and everything to verify and pinpoint the source of the leak.

And I know this sounds dumb but make sure it is the valve cover gasket leaking.

5. disassemble and check the valve cover for damage. can't imagine it being the heads.
 

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^^^ ditto

Also . . .

It's just leaking out the bottom of the gasket, maybe towards the back. Gushing.
Looks like it's leaking from between the two lower rear bolts, but the oil could just be running down to that spot.
I think the latter ("running down . . .") is more likely.

If oil is gushing out when the engine is started, it has to be coming from an area where the oil is under pressure.

The area under the valve cover is not normally pressurized. It's open to the crankcase (through the large drain channels at the bottom of the block), and vented to atmospheric pressure via the PCV vent tubes. Because of this, the valve cover gasket isn't needed to hold back oil coming against it inside under pressure. Rather, it's purpose is to prevent seepage of the oil that is naturally in that area and normally drains down to the crankcase on its own. That's also why the bolts holding the valve cover on are shouldered and relatively lightly tightened (5 ft-lbs); there's no need for the gasket itself to be significantly torqued down like a head or thermostat gasket.

That being the case, I'd look elsewhere. I'm not familiar with the turbo, but I understand from the FSM that there's an oil line in that area, as well as an oil control solenoid, both of which work with pumped oil.
 

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2012 Outback - 2005 Outback XT
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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Front three bolts are the short ones.
It's not pressurized under the cover, but it is flooded from cam oiling. It starts leaking after about 5 or 10 seconds.
After sleeping on it, I'm thinking the issue almost has to be that bottom semicircular cam plug. It must be leaking and weeping around to the bottom.

Sent from my Nexus 5X using Tapatalk
 

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Outback 2.0XT, Audi TTq, Ducati M750
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I put the gasket and RTV on the valve cover, not the head (as instructed below), let it setup for ~15min, and then tightened it down, no leaks on the first try. You have to mirror the instructions since they show the cyl head, but otherwise it worked perfectly. Hold the valve cover up to the head and Sharpie the sides where the RTV should go, you're basically transferring the pattern so you don't have to wipe RTV off the cover three times because you're eyeballing it :27:

 
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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Getting ready to put it back together right now.

I couldn't get the cam plug out, put I removed old rtv, cleaned the surface with brake cleaner, and then put a thin layer of fresh black rtv over it.

I also applied rtv as shown above... same as I did previously.

Waiting for everything to skin over.

After I assemble it, I'm going to allow it to sit overnight.

Then if it leaks, I'm going to set the mother f*****r on fire.

Sent from my Nexus 5X using Tapatalk
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
So I got the lower cam plug out. It crumbled. At the local Subaru parts counter now.

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Then if it leaks, I'm going to set the mother f*****r on fire.
I hear you on that. I just pulled and resealed the whole oil pan.

Hopefully you can get it figured out. Maybe use Ultra Grey insted of black. And watch that the gasket doesn't roll when you try to slide it back on.
That's about all the advice I've got.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
So... I think the VC leak is fixed. Used way more rtv in the process than I'd care to admit. Let it cure up overnight before testing it this morning.
That's the good news.
Bad news is that I think it's still leaking from somewhere. Probably worse than when I started this project. Washed everything down thoroughly after the initial inspection, and then went for a test drive. There is smoke coming off the exhaust pipe, and I'm fairly certain it's not residual oil from before.
Going to closely inspect the oil lines next.

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Its not grease from a torn CV, is it?
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Nope. Not the turbo lines either.

De-greased it again. Then let it idle in the driveway for about 15 minutes. No smoke.

But there is oil dripping off the filter, either from the cooler or under the timing cover. When I test drove it without the lower cover in place, that oil must have blown onto the exhaust, or there was still some.residual oil from the previous leak.

Going to drive it a bit more and keep an eye on it.

Sent from my Nexus 5X using Tapatalk
 

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oil cooler gaskets leak, sometimes a whole lot.

if you replace it use some RTV,

I replace mine on my H6 , mine was clean of any flecks of crap when I removed the original gasket,

However, without RTV the new OEM gasket I put on leaks a little more then the old one..
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
oil cooler gaskets leak, sometimes a whole lot.

if you replace it use some RTV,

I replace mine on my H6 , mine was clean of any flecks of crap when I removed the original gasket, without RTV the new OEM gasket I put on leaks a little more then the old one..
Yep. Been there. Done that. I won't mess with it before the next oil change though.

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