('03-'05) 04 FXT Burning smell at idle after highway driving - Subaru Forester Owners Forum
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post #1 of 13 (permalink) Old 11-07-2011, 05:21 PM Thread Starter
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04 FXT Burning smell at idle after highway driving

Hey all,
My 04 FXT is burning something after driving at highway speeds. I can smell it when I idle, smells like oil, but Im not totally sure. Taking it in to subaru on wednesday, but I thought I would run it through the forum and see if this is a common problem. No visible oil on the ground, but noticable oil loss (at the dipstick) over time. Searched the entire engine compartment, and can not find any particular place where oil is leaking and burning.
Any thoughts?
Thanks,
Jarad

2004 FXT-Red
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post #2 of 13 (permalink) Old 11-07-2011, 05:50 PM
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I just had to have the the passenger side valve cover gaskets replaced on mine.

Richard
04 XT.... 98S
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post #3 of 13 (permalink) Old 11-08-2011, 09:01 AM
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Our XT is doing the exact same thing. Right side (passenger) valve cover gasket is leaking on the exhaust manifold a burning. It started last spring and then went away once the warmer temperatures came and started back up once we got below 70 degrees on a regular basis. It's not a really big problem. Just make sure to keep an eye on your oil level. It's most likely just a few drops burning. Anyone who's changed their oil and gotten just a couple of drops of oil on the exhaust knows that it only take a couple of drops to make enough smoke to smell for a while.

I'll be replacing the gaskets within the next few weeks or around the Christmas holiday.
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post #4 of 13 (permalink) Old 11-08-2011, 09:40 AM
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Yeah I have the same issue. It's intermittent, but most likely to happen after going up steeper grades on the highway.

It hasn't been a major issue for me so far though. I just keep an eye on my oil level (which we should be doing anyway because XT's can eat oil). When I changed to Rotella T6 there was a noticeable decrease in the smell occurring.

As long as there aren't other overt signs of problems (leaks, milky coolant etc. etc.) just keep an eye on it; kinda comes with the territory on our cars.

'04 FXT Premium, 4EAT
Java Black Pearl
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post #5 of 13 (permalink) Old 11-10-2011, 12:39 PM Thread Starter
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After a ton of looking around the engine compartment, cleaning it, checking it again, and then taking it to subaru, I found out that the oil filter that I had used on the last oil change was a bad fit. It was dripping just a small amount of oil on the exhaust, and from now on I am using only sube oil filters.....

2004 FXT-Red
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post #6 of 13 (permalink) Old 11-10-2011, 12:50 PM
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Before you condem the filter it could be an o-ring that fits between the oil cooler feed lines and the oil cooler adapter. Actually a common faiure part that points to the oil filter when it is not at fault. The oil filter bolt screws into the trans cooler feed. Heres a exploded pic http://opposedforces.com/parts/fores...llustration_1/ Its usually #1 just above #10. Pretty easy to get to from underneath when doing an oil & filter change.

Something else to consider.

2008 2.5XS 4EAT
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post #7 of 13 (permalink) Old 11-21-2011, 10:47 AM Thread Starter
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I will have to look into those o-rings. I had thought that the problem was fixed, but has reappeared recently. Im not too worried about it, but I would like to take care of it eventually.

2004 FXT-Red
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post #8 of 13 (permalink) Old 11-25-2011, 06:44 PM
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I'm having a similar problem and I have almost certainly traced it to the passenger side valve cover. I can see oil on the heads of two bolts near the exhaust manifold and see where it's been seeping over time.

Interesting to note that someone mentioned that it gets worse with colder weather as I have noticed this as well.

I will be changing out the valve cover gaskets and have just stumbled across this thread in my searches. Will update as to progress and results.

PS - Goodbye nasioc (selling my wrx) Hello Subaruforester.org! (bought my '04 XT in June or July of this year)
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post #9 of 13 (permalink) Old 11-25-2011, 08:06 PM
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i'm having this problem as well and it stems from the oil-cooler gasket that was talked about up above. I replaced it last weekend but it didn't have a very good fit and now the leak is worse. I fear it pinched itself while tightening. It's in a very odd spot and hard to see what you're doing when you put it back together. I ended up having to take all the exhaust covers off to get enough working room. Also the bolt to get it off is a 24mm and torques to 60ft-lbs. I'll have to take it back off and check it out. The oil leak and smell is driving me insane.
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post #10 of 13 (permalink) Old 11-28-2011, 04:37 PM
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Hmmm... Me too..

I just started noticing an oil smell as the weather turned cooler... and I can see where the oil is burning off and it looks like it could be coming from the rear of the passenger side of the valve cover gasket... I'm guessing the engine has to be pulled to change the gaskets... anyone done this yet?
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post #11 of 13 (permalink) Old 12-05-2011, 08:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveG2 View Post
I just started noticing an oil smell as the weather turned cooler... and I can see where the oil is burning off and it looks like it could be coming from the rear of the passenger side of the valve cover gasket... I'm guessing the engine has to be pulled to change the gaskets... anyone done this yet?
My friend and I just finished the job (2 valve cover gaskets / spark plug gaskets / and all 4 spark plugs) this weekend.

While the space is pretty tight it can definitely be done w/o pulling the engine.

I noticed the smell and knew it was coming from the passenger side. The two rear bolts on the valve cover gasket had oil on them and I could see where the oil was seeping onto the exhaust below.

Don't forget to attach the coil packs back up. Ask me how I know...
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post #12 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-17-2012, 01:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveG2 View Post
I just started noticing an oil smell as the weather turned cooler... and I can see where the oil is burning off and it looks like it could be coming from the rear of the passenger side of the valve cover gasket... I'm guessing the engine has to be pulled to change the gaskets... anyone done this yet?
Yes, this can be done without pulling the motor but you do need some extra room to work. My buddy did mine and it took him 4 hours to change the gaskets on both sides and replace the plugs without the use of a lift (he's a factory subaru tech). He told me the best way to do it is to disconnect the pitch stop, loosen the motor mounts and pop the axles free from the gearbox so the motor can be moved to one side or the other, depending on which side you are working. He said trying to do it without the extra room is just plain foolish.

If you are doing this job then go ahead and put in new plugs while you're at it. The extra room you'll have without the valve covers makes the plugs much easier to work with. Otherwise they are a PITA!
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post #13 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-17-2012, 01:42 PM
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I've had this issue - Burning smell @ idle - on my '04 FXT as well.

I had the all the valve cover and spark plug gaskets changed by a local Subie tech when I had the T-belt/WP/etc. done.

Mine still smells so need to take another look.

I wanted to advise anyone pulling the Coil on plugs (CoP) / coil packs /plug wires on the DOHC EJ255 to be very careful. My Subie tech said the 'clips' often break on the higher mileage vehicles, and they have to replace that part of the harness - not just the coil wire! I can't confirm that but be aware.

GL,
Td
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