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2014 Forester 2.5
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5 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Hi to All,

I hate to bring fluid issues to the community this time again, but...

- 40,000 miles, 2014 Forester (CVT)
- Car loosing about a tenth of an inch of coolant from the reserve tank every ride
- No detectable leak, no trace of coolant anywhere in the engine bay or under the car
- No visible contamination in coolant
- Exhaust fumes pristine
- Radiator cap looks in good condition (but haven't tested it)
- No bubbles in radiator (haven't run chemical test yet)
- Oil, oil cap, bear no traces of coolant
- No noticeable changes in oil level, never saw a drop of oil under the car but the ground strap on the right hand side under the engine (facing front) has been covered in oil for a year or so (but never to the point of dripping - see picture attached)
- Car feels "normal" when driven (never over-heated)

I am a newbie on the forum with no experience in mechanics... and, unfortunately, I am not confident that I can blindly rely on the only official Subaru service available where I live (overseas).

If anyone familiar with the issue was kind enough to assist me in narrowing down the diagnosis and options I face, that would be of great help.

Thanks for reading that far on a subject that took so many pages already.


Notes:

- The car has a history of services by Subaru every 3,000 miles or so (severe schedule due daily short rides in dusty mountains)
- Where I live, Subaru services the car with 5w-40 oil and they went for green Castrol coolant as early as 30,000 miles (I only found out after servicing was done)

 

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Registered
Sahuarita, Arizona USA 2018 Forester Limited
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2,273 Posts
Exactly how are you measuring your coolant loss?

I wouldn't have my car serviced at a Subaru dealer that does not use the recommended oil and coolant.
 

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2014 Forester 2.5
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5 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
ForesterBill,

Thanks for the quick reply

- coolant: the fluid level in the reserve tank is coming down a tick every time the car is used (which of course I can only spot once the car is dead cold on the next morning). The reserve tank last emptied in about two months (starting from max level).

- the non OEM Subaru coolant coming from Subaru certainly was a complete surprise... the 5w-40 oil grade was less of a shocker to me (maybe wrongly so?) as I understand that recommendations seem to vary depending on countries... I remember one post on the forum showing the oil specs from Japan with 5w-40 included in the list. This being said, I agree with your comments and was not left under the impression that the service was "best practice"... I hope to identify a credible alternative for the next servicing...

In the meantime, I wonder if there can be any other explanation to the symptoms listed in my initial post than a gasket failure?
 

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Sahuarita, Arizona USA 2018 Forester Limited
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2,273 Posts
It sounds like you are measuring properly. How many miles do you drive in those two months during which the reserve tank empties?

I also had a mysterious disappearance of coolant on my 2010: Internal coolant leak?

After a Blackstone oil analysis indicated no coolant contamination in the oil, I came to the conclusion that a certain amount of coolant loss from evaporation was normal. Drove that 2010 for 197k miles without ever seeing a leak. Just kept topping it off as needed with Subaru Super Coolant.
 

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2014 Forester 2.5
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5 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
Compared to what you describe in your post, my coolant is vanishing at a much quicker pace... the reserve tank emptied in about 1k mile only! (I only drove very short distances recently).

Btw I never smelled coolant (as opposed to some burnt oil smell after a drive, typically when the oil temp gauge indicated over 105c-110c for a while)
 

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Premium Member
2019 Crosstrek 2018 XT
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14,137 Posts
Put the piece of cardboard under engine. Check I morning
 

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Registered
Sahuarita, Arizona USA 2018 Forester Limited
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2,273 Posts
That amount of coolant loss would indicate a leak of some sort, either external or internal.

If the bottom of your 2014 is anything like my 2018 there is a large plastic splash shield covering almost the entire area beneath the radiator and engine. This plastic "skid plate" could easily mask an external leak. Remove the cover and look for evidence of an external leak. Leave the cover off for a few days of driving and, like adc suggests, put a piece of plain cardboard under engine compartment overnight. Also check around the heater core for a leak.
 
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