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Old 11-17-2011, 06:54 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Burning oil smell, but oil level is fine-please Help

I bought a 2000 Forester LE a month ago. Its a 1 owner has 200k. Tons of maintenance records that indicate everything has been kept up. I started noticing the burnt oil smell after I have been driving awhile, not in the cabin but after I park. Last night I got out of the car while it was running and through the light of the headlights I could see white smoke but can't find any leak. I had the oil change when I first bought it and the oil level is perfect. So I don't understand this smoke and smell if my oil level is fine. I'm in California and may have to drive to Indiana soon but kinda weary with this going on. Any idea what may be causing this. Thanks.
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Old 11-17-2011, 07:01 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by jc76 View Post
. I had the oil change when I first bought it and the oil level is perfect.
Some oil probably got splashed onto the exhaust heat shielding or the exhaust plumbing itself when the old oil filter was removed. Fairly common occurrence. It generally takes awhile to burn off, depending on how much got splashed.
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Old 11-17-2011, 07:02 AM   #3 (permalink)
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could be a cracked axle boot that is leaking grease or diff oil on the exhaust.
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Old 11-17-2011, 07:49 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Some oil probably got splashed onto the exhaust heat shielding or the exhaust plumbing itself when the old oil filter was removed. Fairly common occurrence. It generally takes awhile to burn off, depending on how much got splashed.
Well I noticed the smell before the oil change, but not on the test drive,go figure. Im thinking of getting the engine degreased top n bottom so I can see where its coming from. The car has had some engine gaskets replaced in the past but according to the records its been a couple years. I don't think it would still be burning that oil off after that much time. My CEL light is on but that's due to the cat. P0420 code. My temp is fine never goes past the half mark.
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Old 11-17-2011, 07:56 AM   #5 (permalink)
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flibida may have nailed it. Cv boots are a known wear item and can be prone to cracking and slinging grease with age.
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Old 11-17-2011, 01:28 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Checked the boots they are solid and were both replaced at 160k. It only does this smoking sometimes, couldn't get it to do it today. Still has me puzzled.
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Old 11-18-2011, 05:09 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Check underside seams of cylinder heads-block. If oily seam, then HG failure is likely. It will drive a long time w/ this leak however.

good luck
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Old 11-18-2011, 05:24 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Another possible culprit is steering fluid weeping from the steering rack and dribbling onto the exhaust system. My 04 has been doing this for three years now, it leaks just enough that after about forty minutes on the road you can smell it after you park. It also makes a fint wisp of white smoke on contact with the rear catalytic converter (which is where it happens to be landing on my car)
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Old 11-20-2011, 03:24 AM   #9 (permalink)
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+1 to TexasForesters comment. Though I've also experienced the CV boot rip/grease slung on the exhaust smell too. But that smells like burning grease, not burning oil.
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Old 11-20-2011, 03:39 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Rocker cover gaskets?
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Old 11-20-2011, 06:57 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Check what texasforester said. Look up around the head gaskets. I have a small leak there now and i've been experiencing the same problems as you. Burning oil smell, and a little smoke. Mine is leaking from the head gasket and drips back on to the heat shield. One drop will make it smell like you are burning a bunch of oil.
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Old 11-20-2011, 04:53 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Could be the separator plate next to the rear main seal.
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Old 11-20-2011, 05:12 PM   #13 (permalink)
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i have this prob too
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Old 11-28-2011, 08:36 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Thanks for all your replies. I still can't figure it out, but all my fluid levels are full so wherever the leak is its gotta be tiny. I may have to drive across country so I'm on age a little thinking its gonna blow up in the middle of nowhere, but don't have the cash take to a mechanic. Guess ill take my chances. I drove it 240 miles round trip on Friday and it did fine. Guess we'll see. Lol.
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Old 05-22-2013, 08:08 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Sorry to reopen a old post, but mine does the same thing. Smells like burning oil. How long wouldn't last if it was a HG failure? I don't wanna pay the grand or more for HG replacement.
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