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Discussion Starter #1
Hi! I would appreciate some help locating primary source of oil leak on my 2000 H4 Outback.
It has 130k miles and leak is not bad yet. I can run between normal oil changes without topping it off. But when I look from underside, oil is everywhere. Both head cover gaskets and head gaskets are wet. Most of the oil seems to collect to the back side of the oil pan, and rear pan bolts are really dirty. Does it leak from the pan gasket too or oil is just pushed there by airflow? Or is it rear crankshaft seal? Hope not!

Thanks!
 

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2001 Legacy 2.5
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450 Posts
Head gasket leaking, blowing back. I have the same thing. Wipe everything off and monitor closely daily and you'll be able to pinpoint the leak. If you've never done the valve cover gaskets, they could be leaking too, but most likely the HGs are seeping oil. Mine have been doing it for about 4 years now. As long as coolant/oil are not mixing, it can be driven indefinitely like this.
 

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'14 Subi OBW, '18 Subi Forester
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Start by cleaning or replacing the PCV valve. The crankcase needs to be at negative pressure or it will force oil out from the valve cover gaskets, the seals at the spark plug tubes, etc.

But yes, mine (at 105k) is leaking oil from the rear of the drivers side head, dripping down onto the steering box and onto the exhaust. It's a small drip, but it can smell nasty some days.
 

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2001 VDC/SC One of a Kind
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Start by cleaning or replacing the PCV valve. The crankcase needs to be at negative pressure or it will force oil out from the valve cover gaskets, the seals at the spark plug tubes, etc.

But yes, mine (at 105k) is leaking oil from the rear of the drivers side head, dripping down onto the steering box and onto the exhaust. It's a small drip, but it can smell nasty some days.
Dito. Clean or replace the valve, clean the engine and recheck.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks for advice!

Checked it out over weekend - no miracle it is head gaskets. I hoped that addressing other sources could slow it down, but doesn't look like that.
On a positive side, leaving engine undercover out seems to drastically reduce burning oil smell. I guess I will run it like that at least in the summer.

Otherwise the car runs great and it just a shame that such a simple and avoidable issue could kill it. Would I buy another Subaru? Probably not...
 

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2000 2.5's generally leaked coolant externally from the driver side head. Keep a very close eye on your coolant level. Even with a small leak easily missed I was adding about 20oz of coolant a week before I had the HG done. Original owners almost always get some type of parts cost covered from Subaru directly. So if your original owner its worth sending subaru a note through their Contact us link on the subaru.com site.

Oil leaking is probably either the oil pump o-ring seal very common, or valve cover gaskets which at this point should have been replaced or no doubt are leaking. Also there is a rear seal on this engine that can start to leak that could also be a factor. All of these could be contributing to the oil leaking. The HG leak is nearly 100% always coolant with that engine not oil.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
No, it is not my case. Coolant was leaking from passenger side, but it is taken care of with two bottles of "conditioner". Now it is oil and it is clearly coming from head gaskets. I wiped everything dry when changing oil and it easy to see. Oil is leaking mostly from passenger side, next to oil filter. Valve covers are seeping too, but for now they are dry.

And no, I am not the original owner, though I have it since 57k. I have no issues with repairing my cars and actually love to do it, but everything is good in moderation. Once it becomes PIA it is not fun anymore. Apparently there is no definitive cure for head gaskets, there is a good chance that it will reoccur and I have zero intention to do it twice.
 
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