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2011 Outback Limited 2.5i/2018 Crosstrek limited
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Discussion Starter #1
Today I changed the oil on our OB. Before changing I always take a good look around...mostly for leaky head gaskets but just a general looky loo for anything out of place. Today I noticed some oily sludge on the bottom of the filter and thought...uh...leaky head gasket. However, upon removing the filter I found the top rim that is crimped on the filter was failing and leaking oil....take a look at the pics...veryintersting
 

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2020 Hyundai Santa Fe Limited 2.0 T AWD
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That's why the new 4 cylinder engines where the oil filter sits right on top in a sort of cup, right in plane view are nice. Also making oil changes less messy.
 

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2016 3.6 Limited with ES
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Rare but it sometimes happens.

Subaru should give you a new one for free since the product contains a manufacturing defect, even though they aren't the manufacturer. I don't know if a manufacturer so wouldn't be very interested to have that back to study and they typically will give you a 6 pack for your trouble.
 

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No sign of oil above the filter?

Could it have been seeping past the gasket? (There appears to be oil stain/dirt above the seam. Granted, oil could migrate up in the air stream around the filter, i.e., from the seam to the area above, but the gasket would be the most common area for leakage.)

A few years ago there were recalls of some Subaru filters based on the manufacturing code printed on the filter. At that time the code began with "A" (the facility) and followed by 2xxxx. Those had fitment issues that would prevent the gasket from sealing properly.

Looking at your filter, the code appears to be A70302, which is the same plant, year 2017, day 030, shift 2.

I'm looking at a new one now; the code is A63251 so somewhat older but the same plant. Another from that same batch is on the car and so far not showing any sign of leakage.
 

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2008 OB Limited 2.5i, Portland OR USA
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No sign of oil above the filter?

Could it have been seeping past the gasket? (There appears to be oil stain/dirt above the seam. Granted, oil could migrate up in the air stream around the filter, i.e., from the seam to the area above, but the gasket would be the most common area for leakage.)
Yea, at first I thought it was pretty clear that the pinch seam was leaking. But your post made me look closer, and yes the bead has oil stain/dirt above the seam further around to the side in the images. All that this seam appears to be doing is to channel the oil around to somewhere else - be it gravity or wind driven - to where it can then leak down the side.

Gaskets are always a potential failure point. I once accidentally left one on the engine block mount when I removed the old filter, thus there were two gaskets in place once I installed the new filter - the old one on the block, and the new one on the filter. Fortunately, I caught the error in time because it was very obvious there was a problem - it literally sprayed oil out through the rubber-to-rubber interface on the two gaskets. It wasn't seepage - it was literally spraying - and we're talking a couple of quarts gone after moving only 500 feet!

Good eye, @plain OM.
 

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2011 Outback Limited 2.5i/2018 Crosstrek limited
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Discussion Starter #6
No sign of oil above the filter?

Could it have been seeping past the gasket? (There appears to be oil stain/dirt above the seam. Granted, oil could migrate up in the air stream around the filter, i.e., from the seam to the area above, but the gasket would be the most common area for leakage.)

A few years ago there were recalls of some Subaru filters based on the manufacturing code printed on the filter. At that time the code began with "A" (the facility) and followed by 2xxxx. Those had fitment issues that would prevent the gasket from sealing properly.

Looking at your filter, the code appears to be A70302, which is the same plant, year 2017, day 030, shift 2.

I'm looking at a new one now; the code is A63251 so somewhat older but the same plant. Another from that same batch is on the car and so far not showing any sign of leakage.
You certainly had the eagle eye on this filter...I took another look at the filter....the entire area around the filter...mount area was clean. Everything ran down the filter. I don’t know how it would have leaked between the gasket and mount...I hand tighten it snug every time...run it for a bit to check for leaks. I suppose it could have been a gasket leak but I don’t understand how...there was a part of the top rim that had no blue paint on it...

I will be reaching under the car every week or so just to wipe around the filter to check it though
 

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You certainly had the eagle eye on this filter...I took another look at the filter....the entire area around the filter...mount area was clean. Everything ran down the filter. I don’t know how it would have leaked between the gasket and mount...I hand tighten it snug every time...run it for a bit to check for leaks. I suppose it could have been a gasket leak but I don’t understand how...there was a part of the top rim that had no blue paint on it...

I will be reaching under the car every week or so just to wipe around the filter to check it though
Hopefully there will not be anything to wipe off.

In one of the earlier recalls, I believe the height of the lip at the top of the filter was incorrect. When tightening the filter, it caused the "top" of the filter to contact the engine block surface before the gasket was properly compressed. Unlike most filters with solid gaskets, this one is a hollow "P"; it has to be compressed, not too tightly as that can distort it. The recommendation to turn the filter 7/8 of turn after it first contacts the block is challenging as well.

I'll be looking under there as well!
 

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2008 OB Limited 2.5i, Portland OR USA
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I suppose it could have been a gasket leak but I don’t understand how.
Oil pressure may be hundreds of PSI as set at the oil pump's relief valve; quite a bit less elsewhere. Have you ever worked on plumbing in your house, where we're only talking 60-80 PSI? It really doesn't take very much to cause a leak past a gasket surface - a small nick, a defect in the gasket, whatever.
 

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2019 Subaru Forester Premium, Crystal Black Silica, Pkg 15
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This was the existing filter you were removing for the oil change, right, not the new one? Did you have any noticeable oil spots or stains in the driveway?
 

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I have experienced two faulty oil filters in just over 40 years of changing my own oil, so I know it happens. One was in 1981, and one was in 2013. Both were caused by defective or scarred gaskets. As others have said, it only takes a tiny nick or crease in the gasket to create a channel for an eventual leak. And sometimes you cannot spot the defect no matter how closely you inspect the new filter before installing it.
 

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maybe some old stock that should have been tossed was used? as Plain explained above.
 

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2008 OB Limited 2.5i, Portland OR USA
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A little off-topic, but I'm curious about what others think of using grease on the gasket surface.

I know they say not to do this, as the concern is that too much will be glopped on and it will move to the wrong location and close off an oil passage.

My practice: Remove new gasket, coat both sides with a very light layer of wheel bearing grease, wipe off all excess, then put it back on the filter and install it. I've never had a leak this way, other than the aforementioned accidental "double gasketing" incident that I recounted above.

It also aids in getting the full 2/3 or 3/4 turns when tightening the filter by hand - it's otherwise hard to apply enough hand torque to get there, especially with the small diameter Subaru filters in the recessed underside locations for Gen 3 engines.
 

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2005 XT, Mildly Modified...2006 XT Limited, Highly Modifed
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I wipe new oil on the ring right before install with a messy finger. That's what my Dad taught me to do near 40 years ago.
 

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I wipe new oil on the ring right before install with a messy finger. That's what my Dad taught me to do near 40 years ago.
Maybe the wheel bearing grease is why I had the incident of the old gasket sticking to the engine block. Your way is probably better.

Although at this point I have etched into my mental checklist for oil change "look at the old filter and make sure the old gasket is on the filter, not the block". Right up there alongside "reinstall drain plug" (don't ask me how I know that one - although it involved a sailboat, not a car!).
 

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Maybe the wheel bearing grease is why I had the incident of the old gasket sticking to the engine block. Your way is probably better.

Although at this point I have etched into my mental checklist for oil change "look at the old filter and make sure the old gasket is on the filter, not the block". Right up there alongside "reinstall drain plug" (don't ask me how I know that one - although it involved a sailboat, not a car!).

yeah, I put my keys under the jug of new oil lol!
 

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A little off-topic, but I'm curious about what others think of using grease on the gasket surface.
To satisfy myself that I read it before: I just looked at the Subaru FSM and it says there to apply a thin coat of fresh engine oil to the gasket. I believe the same instructions are on OEM filter cans. I'd avoid grease.
Never had a problem going 3/4 of a turn by hand, the other 1/8 of a turn requires a bit more leverage.
 

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2011 Outback Limited 2.5i/2018 Crosstrek limited
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Discussion Starter #18
Any sign of leaking in the past two+ weeks?
After the first 5 days or so there was nothing on the paper towel that put under there...over the next couple of days I am on the road a lot...900 or so km...will check again this weekend and post what I find.
 
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Discussion Starter #19
I got under the OB today and wiped around the oil filter. There was some black come off of it which hints that this one may be doing the same thing as the last one..now that I’ve wiped it clean though there won’t be same buildup on it as the last one when I do the oil change...I hate the location of the filter...hard to,get at and you can’t see it at all.
 

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Next time you change your oil filter, spend some time cleaning the flange mating surface until it is pristine enough to eat off of. I would also take a small flashlight and look for scratches or gouges in the metal.
 
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