('03-'05) oil splatter near front passenger side axle - Subaru Forester Owners Forum
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post #1 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-18-2017, 06:14 PM Thread Starter
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oil splatter near front passenger side axle

2005 forester X auto.

I'm getting a small amount of oil splatter around the front passenger side inner CV boot. Not very much but I seem to notice it happens after driving at highway speeds. I see no leaks from anywhere on head gaskets, valve cover gaskets etc! the engine is very clean and when checking the engine oil it remains at the full mark. No oil ever hits the pavement. In fact the engine if very clean with no oil leaks visible at all. I also have checked the front gear oil and it too remains at the full mark. I see no rips or tears in the CV boots or any signs of anything leaking around the front differential or transmission. It was suggested that I check the front differential vent tubes and they are both clear of any obstructions. This is driving me nuts, something is slowly leaking and getting splattered on the firewall and hitting the exhaust but I cant pinpoint from where. Any ideas or has anyone had symptoms like this before?

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post #2 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-18-2017, 08:55 PM
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You sure it's oil and not power steering fluid (ATF)?

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post #3 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-19-2017, 08:30 AM Thread Starter
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It could be power steering fluid and that's something I have been keeping my eye on as well. However I don't notice the level dropping in the reservoir. But I do see some type of oil near the frame where the power steering line goes. I've cleaned it all up and i'm keeping a close watch. It may be hitting the axle and getting splattered to the back.
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post #4 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-19-2017, 08:34 AM
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If you could post some pictures of the splatters, that might help identify the source.

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post #5 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-19-2017, 08:40 AM
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Originally Posted by mdown62 View Post
<snip>I don't notice the level dropping in the reservoir. But I do see some type of oil near the frame where the power steering line goes. I've cleaned it all up and i'm keeping a close watch. It may be hitting the axle and getting splattered to the back.
A little oil can go a long way. If you can see the level go down (in any reservoir) that's a serious leak.

A slight drip from the area of the oil filter will coat the underside of the car over time - maybe quickly. Clean it up carefully. Keep watching.

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post #6 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-19-2017, 02:37 PM Thread Starter
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This is the best pic I can get. You see a little bit of fluid hitting the heat shield and what you don't see is a little bit of splatter that ends up under the firewall. The power steering lines look clean as far as I can tell. One thing for certain, it never leaks with the car at idle and not driven. It only shows up once the car has been driven for a while. I'm just going to keep an eye on engine oil, gear oil & power steering fluid & ATF levels. But the leak is so slow that it may be some time until I find the source.
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post #7 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-19-2017, 03:52 PM
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Criminy. That's the cleanest engine underside I've seen in a while. Are you sure you've got a Subaru? Maybe a wicked witch cast a spell on it and turned it into a Toyota?

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post #8 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-19-2017, 04:43 PM
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Try to figure out exactly what the fluid is. Your options are engine oil, ATF or brake fluid. ATF stinks and is reddish. Brake fluid is very thin and may be corrosive. Engine oil is fairly easy to spot.

If you get stuck and want to try something weird, switch to an oil that's different in color. Brad Penn is green in color.

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post #9 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-19-2017, 04:55 PM
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I really can't be for sure but best guess would be the clamp on the CV axle boot was bad and leaked? Lines up perfectly in the image but it's hard to tell.
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post #10 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-19-2017, 06:26 PM
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I really can't be for sure but best guess would be the clamp on the CV axle boot was bad and leaked? Lines up perfectly in the image but it's hard to tell.
The grease inside a CV joint is . . . grease. It's rather heavy and probably won't spread badly. I don't recall any unique smell, but you should be able to tell grease from oil drips.


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post #11 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-19-2017, 07:00 PM
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The grease inside a CV joint is . . . grease. It's rather heavy and probably won't spread badly. I don't recall any unique smell, but you should be able to tell grease from oil drips.
Yes indeed I agree with you on that. I just know when that grease gets heated up from exhaust or engine temp it's less grease and more ooze. CV axle would be quite warm at highway speed with the surround radiant heat and road temps.

Once again I said I am most likely wrong but seeing a pattern like that just gives me think CV axle. Unless something else has leaked on to the CV axle and then been doing that pattern to me says flung during rotation. But it might be my brain seeing an axle boot right lined up with that leak and trying to piece it together too.
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post #12 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-20-2017, 05:11 AM Thread Starter
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It does not appear to be grease. The axle boot is real clean with no rips and I do not see anything oozing where the axle attaches to the differential. so I doubt it is a bad seal. anyways, I have it all cleaned up now and will be checking it daily. Hopefully I can at least identify what type of oil it is. The car rides fine with no unusual noises. I'm kinda leaning towards a pin leak in the power steering line near where attached to the rack. I was thinking of putting some Lucas Power steering stop leak in there to see if it stops but that's only if I can pinpoint the source.
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post #13 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-25-2017, 12:19 PM Thread Starter
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Well I went ahead and put some UV dye in the motor oil and I'm happy to say that is definitely not the problem. I also added some Lucas stop leak to the power steering fluid and I will be adding some UV dye to it as well so I can be sure that is or is not the problem. My hunch is that Blingstrom may have been correct in guessing that the inner boot was leaking. Its just mind boggling that it does not look heavy like grease and there's so little of it at this point to be certain. But it could be getting cooked by the exhaust pipe and liquefying. Oh well, soon i'll know if its a power steering leak or whether I will be putting new boots on my axle
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