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2005 Forester Automatic
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
First time poster as I wanted some advice.
My '05 Forester bucked on the road a couple weeks ago. I pulled over and turned off the car to check the oil, unsure of what else to do (no CE lights, just the buck, which was pretty surprising to me).

The oil level was ok and I checked again after letting it sit for a bit when I got home, so I took it to the dealership. The service guys found a cam seal leak and low oil pressure. Can a leaking cam actually cause this? I wasn't aware that that would be high enough pressure to do so.

Best course of action? If the car bucked does that mean engine damage? What's my next step?
 

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2019 Crosstrek 2018 Forester XT
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Welcome. I don't think so but wait for better answers.

For now find out what the people who are working on the car say. Find out exactly and come back here with the information and we'll try to help.
 

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2006 2006 & 2010 Forester automatic
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I've had our '06 "buck" on me.

Low oil pressure can cause the cams to revert to "safe mode". The cam timing on our cars is partially based on oil pressure.

Our motor was bad enough it is being replaced. Yours is not that bad.

I do expect yours was a one-time thing.

And no...the cams reverting to safe mode does not always throw a code(off the top if my head, I don't remember that code).

Sent from AutoGuide.com Free App
 

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I would take a stab at saying that low oil pressure could be a problem with the oil pump, or oil pump drive. A plugged oil galley might upset pressure through an engine, but I don't know how likely that would be.
 

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2010 Forester Premium X AT
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The oil pump pressure is not directly applied to the cam seals. Oil is basically flung around in the head and that's all the CAM seal is preventing from dribbling out where the cam comes out of the head to access the T-belt.

As long as the leaking cam seal doesn't create a low oil condition (run the pump dry), low pressure is not related to a leaking cam seal. I think you have two completely independent issues going on.
 

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2012 XT Touring 4EAT
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First time poster as I wanted some advice.
My '05 Forester bucked on the road a couple weeks ago. I pulled over and turned off the car to check the oil, unsure of what else to do (no CE lights, just the buck, which was pretty surprising to me).

The oil level was ok and I checked again after letting it sit for a bit when I got home, so I took it to the dealership. The service guys found a cam seal leak and low oil pressure. Can a leaking cam actually cause this? I wasn't aware that that would be high enough pressure to do so.

Best course of action? If the car bucked does that mean engine damage? What's my next step?
Welcome aboard!

If oil is leaking out of a cam end seal, then oil is leaking. That should not affect oil pressure, unless it leaks so much that your oil level is too low (not your situation, from your description).

When the service guy said "a cam seal leak and low oil pressure", did he imply that these were a single problem? Or closely related? Suppose you had "a flat tire and a clogged fuel filter"?

Subaru's Active Valve Control System does use oil pressure to control the valve timing (or at least control it some of the time) - which leads to the question: what brand and weight of oil are you using? When was it last changed? Any oil additives? If oil is leaking out of the AVCS seal, then it will affect oil pressure but probably not in a 'catastrophic engine failure" way.

While I have not seen this on a Subaru, both Toyotas and Hondas with variable valve timing are rather sensitive to motor oil. In particular, too heavy oil will cause all sorts of oil pressure problems, mostly of the not-permanent-damage variety.

You might try flushing your engine. Add a pint of Techron or Seafoam or MMO to the oil - drive another 1000 miles or so and then drain the oil when the engine is hot. Change the filter and replace the oil. Try a synthetic - say Mobil 1. You did not indicate the model Subaru that you own. The N/A (non-Turbo) cars are not hard on oil so many different brands will work fine, but since you're having a problem you might try to eliminate as many variables as possible.

You might use a genuine Subaru oil filter. The pressure relief valve in the oil filter seems to be a challenge to the aftermarket oil filter folks.

You need to get the oil pressure issue resolved. In the 'old days', low oil pressure usually meant bad crankshaft or big-end bearings - your motor was shot. Now-a-days, the oil is doing a lot more tasks and oil pressure measurements are taken in a variety of locations, so you can have 'low oil pressure' but the 'big-end' of your engine is just fine. In fact, the whole engine might be just fine, save for a sensor or hydraulic seal.

If you can get the oil pressure issue resolved, then there or other steps which might help a leaking cam end seal (or, if you're really a nice person, you could have the cam end seal changed).
 
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