Subaru Forester Owners Forum banner
1 - 13 of 13 Posts

· Registered
1998 Forester S
Joined
·
51 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi everyone,

It has been a while but now I need some advice. I am on a road trip for research my Masters when things started going wrong.
I drive a 1998 Subaru Forester S auto (Dohc) with 200,900 miles as of writing this. Before leaving I checked my oil and it was at the L, I added a bit to get it to f @199500 miles(been having trouble with oil loss, see history below) I left my city in Kansas when I got a flashing CEL. I pulled over and then checked the manual. I then restarted and the CEL was solid and drove to a Subaru dealer in Wichita KS. They looked at it and charged $100 just to look. It was a misfire on cylinder 4. They recommended plugs and wires.
video of inspection:
6309842
I had changed the plugs about 15k miles ago so I figured it was the wires. I actually had a cheap (aftermarket) set of wires and a coil in my car as a just in case. I swapped the wires and went on my way. The CEL stayed on but then went off. I then was on my way to Austin Tx and I started to get overheating issues. Temp kept creeping up but I never let it go in the red. I would either back off throttle or pull over. I added more coolant as needed. I made it to Austin where the car ran fine for 3 days. I then left for Albuquerque NM when after an hour I noticed mist from the hood. I was confused and then noticed the temp gauge was past the red. I pulled over and popped the hood and one of the radiator lines burst and had sprayed coolant all over the engine bay. I then had a tow truck tow it to an autozone where I bought a new hose, which didn’t quite fit right so had to cut off 2 inches from each side and swapped it in. I checked the fans and they work. The oil was again L so I topped it off and I refilled the radiator at about 200250 miles. I then went on my way and temps seemed fine. I then got a blinking cel again on the road at around 200800 miles. I pulled over and everything seemed okay. Made it to Albuquerque NM and the next day (today) I swapped to a cheap spare coil pack. Got it installed and idled fine but when I went to R or D it ran terrible. I then parked and swapped to the old coil pack and it seemed okay but was getting some Hesitation or misfires when pulling always from lights. I went to autozone and had them check the codes. P0304 and P0303. They recommended plugs. So I’m just stumped. Are the problems related or separate? Should I need new plugs after 15k? Should I just pickup an oem coil pack and wires and swap them? Any advice would be helpful since I still have to make it all the way back to Kansas and then St. Louis in the next couple weeks and I really can’t afford a big repair.

tldr:

last 20k car history

@~184,000 12/27/20
-I had a split cv boot and power steering boot so I swapped the cv axle and replaced steering boot.
-Changed the spark plugs with nkg iridium lx
-got an alignment

@~187,000 5/13/21
-I was getting concerned about oil loss and noticed coolant drips. My Forester also needed a new timing belt so I brought it to a dealer in St Louis.
I indicated that I thought it might have a blown head gasket since I’m seeing both coolant and oil loss. They looked at it and determined it was camshaft seal, valve cover, oil pan and baffle plate are leaking as well as the water pump is leaking.
had all that fixed with an engine reseal, timing belt and water belt replacement. Cost $~2800

@~193000 8/22/21
-I noticed oil leaks/ excessive oil loss and that my transmission pan is dented.
-My oil change place also brought this to my attention.
-I brought this concert to the dealer and they looked at it. They used dye and found no new leaks and stated that it was residual oil and that the transmission pan was not a concern.

@199000 11/26/21
Oil continues to run low. I changed the oil and I measured it was about a quart low.

@199500 12/15/21
oil was L and I topped it off.

Driving for tx when Car had check engine light flash then solid.

Went to Subaru dealer in Wichita and the suggested plug wires for check engine light.
Identified oil leak and said on engine craddle. Oil is coming from top side.

Changed plug wires in parking lot.
Check engine light stayed on then stopped.

On the road and Started to get near overheating 2 or 3 times.

12/16 - 12/17/21
No issues in Austin TX

@200257 12/18/21
Left Austin and car started “smoking”
Car was overheating, no warning light, and coolant All over engine bay because a hose burst open. Oil was also low again. Fans seems to work.

@200819 12/18/21
Check engine light blinked and came on

@200909 12/19/21
Changed the coil pack first thing but ran rough so swapped to the original old one. Solid check engine light still on but might be from before.
Went to autozone and had them check the code. Codes were P0304 and P0303, cylinder 3 & 4 misfire. They said it just needs new plugs which is what Subaru said but they were changed around 185000.
 

· Super Moderator
2010 X Limited, 2.5L NA, 4AT. Purchased as the second owner in 2020 with ~126K miles.
Joined
·
2,730 Posts
You've got an older car and a lot of things need to be fixed. I recommend you carry a cheap OBD2 code reader with you so you can know something right away. I really can't say for sure. I'd pull the plugs and see if they are fouled or fuel soaked. Visually inspect the wires. Clean the electrical connections at the coil pack with spray cleaner. Plan on buying a new car.
 

· Registered
1998 Forester S
Joined
·
51 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I actually got a obd2 I think but it is buried under my camping kitchen. I need to relocate it to a better spot. The wires are new and visually look fine. I don’t have the socket to check the plugs on the road so I’ll have to wait till I’m back home. I’ll clean the connections for now. I couldn’t afford to get a new car before the pandemic let alone now with the crazy prices.
 

· Super Moderator
2010 X Limited, 2.5L NA, 4AT. Purchased as the second owner in 2020 with ~126K miles.
Joined
·
2,730 Posts
I understand but just looking at that video and reading your text, you've got a number of serious problems developing. And it looks like you don't really do mechanical stuff. The overheating is an immediate problem. Deal with that first. Also locate those oil leaks. Crawl under there, clean it up, and see where the oil is coming from. It's possible that these two are related with the onset of head gasket failure. If you lose an axle, you won't be driving home. Simple. As far as the misfire, get that cleaned up and see how it goes.

You can't have a car this old and not work on it all the time. Not if you want to drive it.
 

· Registered
1998 Forester S
Joined
·
51 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
So I brought my Forester back to the dealer that did the Engine reseal (same Tech as well). They concluded that the overheating and check engine light were the result of a bad radiator cap and replaced it. They also concluded that the oil was residual and there was no active leak, Also said it drove well. This is frustrating since they claimed the same thing last time and wiped down the oil. This means any new oil is from between the two services. I pushed them on me having to add a qt every 500 miles or so and that other places pointed out the leak; he claimed that it has to be internal because there is no external leak. I asked if there is anything that can be done and he basically said No, and that its an old car and will do that. I pointed out that I lose more oil now then when I got the engine sealed. He also said it could be the pcv valve but he acted as if it can't be fixed. I find those statements a bit contradictory. I had a 93 Impreza with a 1.8l and I replaced the pcv on it. Can't the pcv on the DOHC EJ25 also be replaced?
I also don't understand the check engine light with relaction to the radiator cap, the codes were misfires. I asked him about that and he claimed the misfires could be from the engine getting too hot. That does not make sense to me. I also asked if he found combustion gasses in the coolant and he said he was never able to get that tool to work and talked about another process he did about pulling the vehicle out of the bay which I didn't understand.

Is this a bad technician? Does others have good or Bad experience with service at Dean Team Subaru in STL?

The car seemed to run fine from the service and on some errands Friday.
 

· Super Moderator
2010 X Limited, 2.5L NA, 4AT. Purchased as the second owner in 2020 with ~126K miles.
Joined
·
2,730 Posts
Your comments do suggest contradictory information. Sorry you don't have confidence with the service. It is an older car with several problems.

A bad radiator cap will cause coolant loss and overheating. Overheating can cause misfires. Overheating can cause oil leaks. Is the car overheating now?

Locate the oil leaks and isolate the sources. Do not let oil levels drop below recommended levels.

My dad had an old Chevy he drove to and from work for a couple of years. It had a straight six in it and it burned so much oil that he bought his oil by the gallon and kept it in the back seat. :)
 

· Registered
1998 Forester S
Joined
·
51 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
The car did not overheat when I drove it from the dealer to my family's house (~25 miles). I have a several hour drive coming up and I will probably check for oil leak locations during that. I have been keeping at least a quart of oil in the car but I guess it is time to upgrade to a gallon. 😂
 

· Super Moderator
2010 X Limited, 2.5L NA, 4AT. Purchased as the second owner in 2020 with ~126K miles.
Joined
·
2,730 Posts
Well that's good, looks like temperature control is back. Keep a close eye on that.

Manage that oil loss and try to find out where it is going.

When I first got my car (used), I was shocked to see oil consumption was up around 1 qt every 500 miles. Shocked! No leaks. So, I upped the viscosity of the motor oil to 10w-30 and added the Lucas Oil supplement per directions, 1 qt with every 4 of oil. My consumption dropped drastically. I recently implemented a cleaning regimen at oil change using the Sea Foam High Mileage additive according to directions. I'm kind of embarrassed to admit to these things but it's true and they seem to be working to reduce consumption. I still carry a couple of quarts of oil/supplement in a cardboard box on the floorboard of the back seat. :)

You need to move fairly quickly on those drive shafts. A Subaru boot kit with grease costs about $40 USD plus the labor. Two boots per axle. Or you can go ahead and replace the axles with aftermarket parts for just a bit more money. If you need to defer the repair so that you can continue to live your extravagant lifestyle, get some moly grease to refill the boot(s) and find a way to seal the boot. Goop, tape, pixie dust, whatever.
 

· Registered
1998 Forester S
Joined
·
51 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I was having a look at my car today and checked the coolant overflow. I didn’t even drive it today and It is mostly oil, like what is this technician smoking? This has to be a head gasket.
Automotive tire Motor vehicle Automotive design Wood Automotive exterior

Drinkware Plumbing fixture Cup Fluid Wood
 

· Super Moderator
2001 Forester S, 4EAT
Joined
·
6,599 Posts
@mattmers Your mechanic is smoking really good stuff and not sharing! ;) That's oil like I have never seen before. Even when I drove my 2001 for 30,000 miles with leaking HG, it never did that.

Also Do not start the engine again, I can't imagine, how bad the oil is looking as well, is the oil even lubricating the engine? Have you looked at the dip stick and oil filler cap to see if t here is any creamy/milky substance?
 

· Registered
1998 Forester S
Joined
·
51 Posts
Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I checked the oil dipstick and it has always been just oil. Again this time it was just oil and it was low again. I must be getting lucky (If I can say that) and oil must have a positive pressure over the coolant at the HG breach location.
 

· Registered
1998 Forester S
Joined
·
51 Posts
Discussion Starter · #13 ·
So brought it back to the dealer and they finally said the head gasket is blown. They think the head gasket blew from the overheating. They recommended the head gasket replacement that would cost $2700. They said They would be willing to bump down labor and get it down to $2500 though. 😂

So my options are probably new car or repair.
If I was to get this repaired What all would you recommend I get replaced while they are in there?
 
1 - 13 of 13 Posts
Top