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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi everyone. I'm looking for some help in diagnosing an oil leak. I have a 2009 Forester with the 2.5L non-turbo. My wife took it in for an oil change and the tech said it was leaking oil and recommended having the rack and pinion inspected. He didn't say if it was leaking engine oil or power steering fluid.

I declined the inspection and took a look myself. The rack and pinion did have oil on it, but it was black like engine oil. I checked my power steering reservoir and it is still full and the fluid isn't that black. I tried to check all the fittings for the steering lines and I didn't see any leaks there.

I wiped everything down and there seemed to be oil on a bunch of different surfaces that I'm guessing was thrown around by the shafts.

What I'm looking for is some recommendations on where to look for potential oil leaks. The under side of the engine is super tight so I had a hard time even seeing where everything was. Most of the threads on here indicate that leaking is usually at the valve cover gaskets. What's the best way to get a good look at those? Do I need to remove anything?
 

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2010 Forester
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For a 2009 I'd suspect head gasket. Do a quick browse through here for that topic and you'll find lots of pictures.
 

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2010 Forester
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It's not the end of the world. Have you replaced the timing belt yet? If not, bonus! Take it in, they can pull the heads and do the belt, pulleys, waters pump, etc. For that price you have a solid engine for another 100k miles. Find a local independent Subaru specialist. For help with that, add your location to your profile. Stick around, lots to learn here.
 

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2010 Forester 2.5 XPremium 4EAT
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@Dougie Fresh

I would also suspect a heag gasket leak as the likely cuplrit, if it looks like engine oil.

Check the cross member underneath the engine that sits below the engine base, that's a common place to find oil that has leaked.

Ultimately, the best (initial ) thing to is get the car on a safe lift and inspect it yourself, along with a Subaru minded mechanic necessary and look carefully for evidence of any head gasket seepage.

As orndog points out, if it is the heads they could be repaired alongside a new timing belt anfd accessories install. That's what I did and saved myself a ton of money. Once the MLS gasket is on the engines generally are good as gold.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
It's not the end of the world. Have you replaced the timing belt yet? If not, bonus! Take it in, they can pull the heads and do the belt, pulleys, waters pump, etc. For that price you have a solid engine for another 100k miles. Find a local independent Subaru specialist. For help with that, add your location to your profile. Stick around, lots to learn here.
The previous owners replaced the timing belt at 103,000 miles. I'm at about 121,000 now. Luckily they did all the service at a nearby Subaru dealership. I'll call them again and see if that included any of the pulleys/tensioner.

There's an independent shop with great reviews on my way to work so I'm planning on stopping in there today or tomorrow to see if they can help diagnose it.

Thanks for your help everyone.
 

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Sahuarita, AZ 2018 Forester Limited
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Might have to clean it up and/or put ultraviolet dye in the oil to determine the source of the leak.
 
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