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2006 FXT 5mt
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51 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Hi, I am new to EJ255, but not EJ253. I came from an 06 X 4eat.

I love the car, but my friends and I got it on a lift and it leaks a lot of oil/coolant.
  • I check and refill my oil every time I get gas
  • In 300 miles, it has went from halfway between low and full on the dipstick to slightly below the low mark
  • Oil comes out dark, but clean. Oil does not have any coolant in it. (At least not noticeable on the dipstick. I will change oil soon even though the dealer I bought it from claims they just did it, I don't know about that because the oil is very dark, could just be crappy oil)
546899


I can't tell where it is leaking from because there is fluid literally everywhere on the bottom of the engine. My friend thought potentially the upper banjo bolt on the turbo.

One idea I had was getting an underbody carwash to clean most of the heavy gunk off then seeing where it starts leaking again. I didn't realize until time of writing this post that I am also leaking coolant. I am definitely not leaking power steering, despite the awful condition hoses. I've been watching the power steering fluid levels and it stays the same, there is an air leak somewhere, because it whines, but I am nearly positive that's the hose right up top.

If there are any pictures I can take that might help better identify it, let me know, any help is appreciated.
 

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2001 Forester
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1,892 Posts
I think given you have coolant and oil leaking under there. You have leaking head gasket. The only way you know 100% if coolant is mixing in with oil is to send oil sample off for testing. I had oil and coolant loss. I saw signs of oil leaking and coolant leaking under neath the vehicle. There were no visible signs oil showing up in the coolant, however it was showing up in the oil samples I sent of twice for testing, 2nd sample had higher coolant levels than the 1st sample.
 

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2006 FXT 5mt
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51 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
I think given you have coolant and oil leaking under there. You have leaking head gasket.
Ouch. That's what I am worried about, I will take of the exhaust manifold and see...

Is there any reason to worry about it if coolant isn't noticeably mixing with my oil?

As in, if I do an oil change and see no froth, is it still fine to daily drive? I just bought the car Saturday from a dodgy dealership, claimed "nothing wrong with it" didn't believe them but was willing to take the L...
 

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2001 Forester
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Can't give you a definitive answer whether it would be safe to drive. It comes down to how much risk you are willing to take. But since you have no oil sample to send for testing no way to answer. Frothing/milky means nothing. Coolant reduces your oils ability to lubricate the engine, so it depends on risk and just how much coolant is in the oil. And even with an oil sample, you still have to make a decision as to how much coolant you are willing to allow in the oil. Also how how fast is the coolant mixing in with the oil, at what rate. I had a very very slow HG leak, it took years for the coolant to show up in my oil sample. However if I had a fast leak, it would not have been years.
 

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2006 FXT 5mt
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51 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
Can't give you a definitive answer whether it would be safe to drive.

Coolant reduces your oils ability to lubricate the engine
True, that makes sense. I will take a look at it without the exhaust manifold on there and update. Still open to other's suggestions.

Thanks, appreciate your advice
 

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2004 FXT 4EAT
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837 Posts
I wouldn't jump to conclusions just yet. I would give it a good clean (warm the engine for about 5 minutes first), spray a can of engine degreaser at it and give it a good wand-wash. Run it and keep a close eye on where the oil and antifreeze might be coming from. Oil makes a huge mess. It attracts dust and has the ability to travel upwards once there's enough dust/dirt...

Spilling a few drops of oil when adding oil leaves quite a mess...
 

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2006 FXT 5mt
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Discussion Starter #7
@GuusV yeah I don't want to jump to conclusions yet anyways XD

I will definitely MAKE SURE it needs head gaskets before I replace it, because that is something I can do, but do not want to do.

If I am going to rebuild the engine, I'm gonna want to throw in nice manley, mahle, and APR parts. I don't want to spend that money hahaha
 

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2004 FXT 4EAT
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@cproo12 Awesome!
I did just that last summer. new Pistons & rings, new crank bearings and new push-rod bearings. Runs like a charm again! I went with mahle rings and bearings. I ended up using Fel-Pro gaskets. This is now the 4th time I've done heads on a Subaru and have used Fel-Pro every time. Zero complaints!
 

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2008 Forester XT 5-Speed Manual
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967 Posts
My understanding of head-gasket leaks is that they tend to be internal and not external: eg : a head gasket leak will involve some variation of exhasut gasses forcing their way into the coolant races, or coolant gets in the oil channels, or coolant/oil gets burned in the combustion chamber. Given that: my understanding is that any external leak of oil and/or coolant is probably not a head gasket issue, but somebody please correct me if I am wrong.

That said: just because you have external leaks, it doesn’t mean you don’t also have internal leaks. An external coolant leak could be indicative of a failing head gasket if it you have pressurised exhaust gasses forcing their way into the coolant races, and pressurising that system resulting in an overflow. In that case, this would be evident as the leak would come from the coolant overflow reservoir or the rad cap.

At this point I wouldn’t rule anything out. The recommendation from @GuusV to thoroughly clean the engine and then look for leaks is a good one. You might consider getting a bunch of white shop towels/rags and (after cleaning things thoroughly) wrapping all of your pipe/hoze fittings with them along with any other spots were fluids could potentially leak and then running the engine for awhile. Then you can inspect the variuous white rags to see which have collected oil and coolant, in order to narrow down the search for your leaks.

Otherwise for the coolant: I would just straight-up recommend replacing your radiator. The stock subaru radiator with its plastic end-tanks is known to fail after roughly 100k. A good aluminum radiator from koyorad or mishimoto should fix that. Another OEM unit will also do but they eventually fail.
 

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MY05 Forester 2.5 XT 5MT
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Your first pic looks like item 15 here:
546925

opposedforces.com
21328AA011

Fifth pic could be the half moon seals for the camshaft oil seal - You wont know until you get in there sadly.

+1 On thoroughly cleaning the underneath with brake cleaner and rags and see where the leaks develop

With that amount of coolant underneath, I wonder if the cooling system is being pressurised? A sniffer test with a block tester with tester fluid will change colour when looking for combustion gases in your coolant, which could signify a head gasket failure.
 

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2006 FXT 5mt
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Discussion Starter #11
@TMX Since the very rusted out hose in the first pic is for coolant, I am thinking that might be where coolant is leaking out of, but I didn't get a good look at the back side of it.

As far as front camshaft seals go, the timing cover is very cracked, like whoever did it was impacting all the screws back in and cracked almost every single one of them. Makes me concerned about what kit they used, so I am tempted to redo the timing belt, pump, tensioner and pulleys with an Aisin kit since it is so easy to do for insurance (unless this engine blows itself up anyways)

I could replace camshaft seals, cover, and inspect camshaft sprockets while I'm in there too.

@The Tinman Rides Again Good call on the radiator. Right now it has some Chinese radiator installed. Never understood a reason for performance radiators. That makes sense.
 

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2001 Forester
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My understanding of head-gasket leaks is that they tend to be internal and not external: eg : a head gasket leak will involve some variation of exhasut gasses forcing their way into the coolant races, or coolant gets in the oil channels, or coolant/oil gets burned in the combustion chamber. Given that: my understanding is that any external leak of oil and/or coolant is probably not a head gasket issue, but somebody please correct me if I am wrong.

That said: just because you have external leaks, it doesn’t mean you don’t also have internal leaks. An external coolant leak could be indicative of a failing head gasket if it you have pressurised exhaust gasses forcing their way into the coolant races, and pressurising that system resulting in an overflow. In that case, this would be evident as the leak would come from the coolant overflow reservoir or the rad cap.

At this point I wouldn’t rule anything out. The recommendation from @GuusV to thoroughly clean the engine and then look for leaks is a good one. You might consider getting a bunch of white shop towels/rags and (after cleaning things thoroughly) wrapping all of your pipe/hoze fittings with them along with any other spots were fluids could potentially leak and then running the engine for awhile. Then you can inspect the variuous white rags to see which have collected oil and coolant, in order to narrow down the search for your leaks.

Otherwise for the coolant: I would just straight-up recommend replacing your radiator. The stock subaru radiator with its plastic end-tanks is known to fail after roughly 100k. A good aluminum radiator from koyorad or mishimoto should fix that. Another OEM unit will also do but they eventually fail.
Head gaskets can leak internally as well as externally. There are no definitive indicators. My 2001 leaked both internally and externally. Coolant leaked into the oil, oil and coolant leaked outside and possibly coolant leaked into exhaust. Exhaust can leak into coolant.

The OP should follow as suggested, cleaning the engine to see where leaks maybe coming from. May want to send oil samples off. May also fix the coolant line as someone pointed out. But I would not rule out leaking head gaskets.

Sent from my Pixel XL using Tapatalk
 

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Head gaskets can leak internally as well as externally. There are no definitive indicators. My 2001 leaked both internally and externally. Coolant leaked into the oil, oil and coolant leaked outside and possibly coolant leaked into exhaust. Exhaust can leak into coolant.

The OP should follow as suggested, cleaning the engine to see where leaks maybe coming from. May want to send oil samples off. May also fix the coolant line as someone pointed out. But I would not rule out leaking head gaskets.

Sent from my Pixel XL using Tapatalk
LEAKS : Your idea of pressure washing bottom is a good start: while driving, the high-speed-air-flow under the car will move all fluids into places where they are not expected .... just use all the other ideas here to follow-up after a good-hot-soapy UNDER-CARRIAGE cleaning. DO NOT use soapy water above the lower panels, or top-down, as it can do real damage to Wiring & Electrical Components around the Engine......
 
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