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2012 Forester 2.5X Mt
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Discussion Starter #1
After researching on here and reading whatever I can, I think my driver side cam carrier is seeping oil on top and possibly on the bottom of the engine. From what I have read this is the only mating surface where sealant is used instead of a preformed gasket is used like on the valve cover and head gasket surfaces. On top there is an area where the sealant is prominently squooshed out and there is oil seepage around this area. I am still under warranty but before I goto the dealer to possibly have this fixed I was wondering how involved it is to reseal this. My concern is do I live with a little seepage and keep an eye on it or have the dealer pull it apart. It looks pretty involved to get to this, so my thought is I would rather not have the dealer go ripping this apart to just gunk it up with new rtv sealer and either still have it leak or leak even more since I am a firm believer the factory knows what they are doing more so then the dealer.
Any thoughts regarding this are greatly appreciative
Thanks
Ken
 

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2013 Forester Automatic
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After researching on here and reading whatever I can, I think my driver side cam carrier is seeping oil on top and possibly on the bottom of the engine. From what I have read this is the only mating surface where sealant is used instead of a preformed gasket is used like on the valve cover and head gasket surfaces. On top there is an area where the sealant is prominently squooshed out and there is oil seepage around this area. I am still under warranty but before I goto the dealer to possibly have this fixed I was wondering how involved it is to reseal this. My concern is do I live with a little seepage and keep an eye on it or have the dealer pull it apart. It looks pretty involved to get to this, so my thought is I would rather not have the dealer go ripping this apart to just gunk it up with new rtv sealer and either still have it leak or leak even more since I am a firm believer the factory knows what they are doing more so then the dealer.
Any thoughts regarding this are greatly appreciative
Thanks
Ken

Ken,

We have an issue with our 2012 Subaru Forester with the Cam Carriers as well. The Subaru dealer said that in order to fix it will be about $460.00 in parts and $2537 with labor. This is ridiculous for a car that is this new.
 

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2011 Forester Premium auto
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174 Posts
We just had this repair performed. After countless trips to the dealer and after taking apart and resealing just about everything else in that area, they finally did what they should have done to begin with. They pulled the motor, pulled the cam carrier and resealed everything. After a few weeks, I haven't noticed any oil residue yet, although I'm not holding my breath.
 

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2013 Forester Automatic
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Going to take out the engine to repair the cam carrier on my 2013, 24,800 miles.
I'm going to see if they'll do both sides, since the driver's side is moist. It's the passenger side that's actively leaking. Just another one of those compromises of a flat-4...must take the engine out for what would be a breeze to fix if it were an inline-4.

It took them a week to drop the engine and repair the leak. So far, so good. What a pain for such a simple glitch....
 

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2011 Forester
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I've just been told I have this leak on my 2011 Forester... Wonder how widespread this problem is. I am no longer under warranty unfortunately.
 

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2011 Forester Premium auto
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Update: after a few months, my driver side is still dry but there appears to be early signs of a leak developing on the passenger side now. It also seems a little sludgy on the driverside on the bottom where the head gasket is but it could just be residual from the other leak.
 

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2011 Forester 2.5X 4EAT
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I've had/have this problem with mine as well.
The dealer supposedly fixed it in an afternoon when I originally bought it in December, but that turned out not to be so. I have a CPO with a warranty so I took it back and they "fixed" it for no cost in early February over 2 days or so, but I still smell burnt smell from the pass-side occasionally (much less often than previously though).

I'm not used to boxers, so I'm having a hard time looking around in the bay. There is definitely staining from burnt oil on the pass side near the spark plugs, but I can't manage to see any actual fluids.

For now, I'll just keep it in mind and make sure they check it whenever I go in for a service. Admittedly though, the problem / threat of problems is keeping me from spending any money on mods.
 

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2011 2.5X Premium PZEV 4EAT
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I have a small leak, passenger side, front bottom corner, that does a slow drip on the exhaust shielding , causing a burning smell. Originally thought it was the valve cover, or maybe the cam carrier, but have not been able to pinpoint the source.

BUT, yesterday, did a second "major" attempt to trace the leak (top & bottom covers removed, leak area wiped squeaky clean, short drive, jacked up car, removed RF wheel; flashlight, mirror) and noticed only a single oil drop on the bottom of a small metal block that has a grounding strap attached. This metal block (sorry no photo yet), about ¾" square by 2" long, is attached (I think!) to the bottom corner of the timing chain cover by a single 12mm bolt, and the leak sure looks like it's from that bolt. This is a crowded area, right at the mating of the valve cover and cam carrier, and difficult to access without a lift.

Has anyone had experience with this? The FB25 is so new that I haven't found any posts about front cover leaks at this particular point. Quick fix? Am thinking of removing the bolt and the metal block and trying RTV.
 

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2012 Forester 2.5X Mt
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Discussion Starter #9
I am the original poster. Had my car since new and from day one have had a faint burning oil smell that seems more prevalent on the passenger side when sniffing around. I now have 57000 miles and never did anything with the cam carrier. Nothing leaks that I can see and it has never left a drop of oil on the ground. Just some seapage around the valve covers and cam carrier that has not ever gotten worse. I am curious to see what you find and if you post a picture. Maybe this is the source of my oil smell since day one.
 

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ken270741, thanks for your info. Am working the problem now, have to wait a bit before re-tightening the bolts (am also RTV'ing two nearby bolts; one at bottom of cam carrier (12mm) and one at bottom of valve cover (10mm), that appeared "moist" after a second test drive. Shucks. After re-tightening, then have to wait 24 hrs before more driving. Will do another post (on this thread, unless someone decides it belongs elsewhere) when I have more info.

By the way, that "metal block" I'd mentioned is NOT a separate piece as it appears from underneath, but instead is part of the chain cover casting. Diabolical.

As for your leak source (if any) did you check the top of the exhaust shielding? Where my leak(s) drop onto the shielding, there is obvious black residue. But, it's hard to find unless the bottom plastic cover is removed (easy, if you **** the wheels and do some contortions). Any way, if you find burnt stuff there, it'll help you zero in on the leaking area.
 

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A cautiously optimistic update to my bandaid fix to the three small leaks described in my earlier post. I'll call this "The Boxer-muda triangle", as it involves the crowded junction of (1) the chain cover, (2) the valve cover, and (3) the cam carrier, all on the passenger side, all within 2" of each other, and all directly above where the exhaust system makes a 90º turn from across the engine front, then to the back of the vehicle. To help locate this spot, there is also a grounding strap that attaches to the bottom right (passenger) corner of the chain cover (I miss-identified this earlier as a separate metal block, but it's part of the chain drive housing casting). So, removed the three suspect bolts, cleaned, injected the bolt holes with red (high temp) RTV, also coated the bolts, and during finger tightening, got lovely visible squeeze-out both ends. Let it cure overnight, test drove 15 miles this morning at mostly 55 mph, and after 5 hours, can't see any leaks.

To early to say. We have a trip planned to Albuquerque late next week (400 miles round trip), and will post another update after Aug. 21st.

Ken 270741, the censors didn't like my "cocking the wheels" as I worded it. Assume you understood what the **** stood for. ****-a-doodle-doo!
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Thanks for the update and info. I'll have to take a deeper look at that area when I get back home and have some time.
Ken
 

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Photo test

Haven't had success attaching a photo to my previous posts, but here's another attempt. This shows the "Boxer-'muda Triangle" close up (the referenced bolts are 10 and 12 mm). This photo taken from the RF wheel well; engine front is to the right.
#1 . The chain drive cover (bottom right corner), and also the grounding strap and it's attachment point: at first I thought this was a removable metal block. Nope, it's part of the entire casting. 12mm bolt.
#2 . The valve cover; 10mm bolt..
#3 . The cam carrier; 12mm bolt.
So far, the bandaid fix posted earlier seems to have helped 1 & 2, but 3 may still be a problem. Too early to tell. Will update after Aug. 22nd Albuquerque trip (400 miles round trip, hot, mountains, and 75mph I-25 stretches).
 

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Update to my "bandaid" fix for three spot leaks. Bottom line: this is worth a try for IDENTIFIED spot leaks. Cheap (a few bucks for RTV and bandaids), and "DIY-able", except for back surgery. After a three day, 500 mile trip, the RTV fixes to the three suspect bolts described earlier, have held with no noticeable change. The leaks at (#1) timing chain and (#2)valve cover bolts both stopped. The leak at (#3) the single carrier bolt is no longer a slow drip, but more of a discoloration, which will leave a damp spot on the finger, so it was helped, but not stopped. The best part is that the burning odor is mostly gone, except for the built-up residue on the heat shield that is still slowly burning off, and hardly noticable.

Attached is the original photo of the leaks, before any fix attempt, and the after RTV fix and 500 miles.
 

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Thanks. This definitely sounds like the leak my car now has. Is it worth it to go back to the dealer?
It doesn't sound too bad of a fix but its still under the extended warranty until December. Idk if messing around with it would look bad if it doesn't work and has to go back anyhow.
Also there it still seems to be seeping oil from the driver side valve cover gaskets. So far it's been to the dealer 3 times and the leaking persists.
 

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Thanks. This definitely sounds like the leak my car now has. Is it worth it to go back to the dealer?
It doesn't sound too bad of a fix but its still under the extended warranty until December. Idk if messing around with it would look bad if it doesn't work and has to go back anyhow.
Also there it still seems to be seeping oil from the driver side valve cover gaskets. So far it's been to the dealer 3 times and the leaking persists.
Yes, try the dealer, because DIY "spot" fixes such as mine are too iffy. As you said, any work you do would probably invalidate your warranty. You have a strong case, with the driver's side also being suspicious.

If you don't have an "audit trail" of past dealer service receipts, have them print you a copy.
 

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Do you think they will do the spot fix because it seems they aren't able to seal it properly ?
 

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Do you think they will do the spot fix because it seems they aren't able to seal it properly ?
Well, with their unsuccessful history of repairs, anything less than pulling the valve covers for new gaskets (and maybe even the cam carriers and timing chain cover for resealing, depending on the leaks) would make me skeptical, and I'd say so. If the next repair doesn't work, then you're faced with yet another trip, and your warranty expires soon.

I don't know if dealers try, or would admit to trying, the shortcut RTV method...does anyone have experience with that?
 

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My 2011 2.5x w/84,000 mi just recently started giving off the burnt oil smell. No oil drips on pavement but dipstick down 1/2 quart between oil changes. Took it in to the dealer. Here is what they say it needs: Replace timing cover seals:$ 986, Replace valve cover gaskets:$ 435, Replace both rear cam caps: $ 300. Total bill $ 1700. I am taking it to a good independent mechanic for a comparative quote.

Seems like I have the same problem. It seems this is becoming a common problem.

It is Nov and 3 months since you used the RTV on the bolts. Is the RTV still holding?
 
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