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1998 L 5-speed
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12 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello All,

While changing over to my winter wheels on my 'trusty' '98 forester, I decided to take a look at the fluids and suspension components. Lower Ball joints need to be replaced for sure, but the most concerning problem is the muddy looking coolant in my overflow tank. I took a quick whiff and I could smell oil :( . As a modern day citizen I made a quick google search and 95% of the time this means head gasket failure. I check the gasket and there is no visible leaking from the gasket--completely dry. What IS leaking is the valve cover gaskets and well as what looks like to be the timing cover (I dont know why this is). Does anyone have an idea what might be the issue? Is there any explanation as to why the coolant would be oily besides the head gasket? I DO know that I will definitely be flushing the whole cooling system. I wouldn't think much of it normally, but ill be traveling in mid January and hopefully not have the engine crap out on me.

Thanks,

Mike

YouTube link showing above: oil in coolant 98 forester - YouTube
 
G

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The head gasket doesn't need to show a leak from the outside to be leaking. The leak could be on the inside and would still spit oil into the coolant passages. Oil on the timing cover could be simple as spilled oil when doing an oil change to blown cam or crank seal.
 

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Registered
1998 L 5-speed
Joined
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12 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
The head gasket doesn't need to show a leak from the outside to be leaking. The leak could be on the inside and would still spit oil into the coolant passages. Oil on the timing cover could be simple as spilled oil when doing an oil change to blown cam or crank seal.
I don't notice an issue driving at all. temp stays low and the oil looks normal. My plan is to drive it until it dies as its not worth much at all. any idea how long it might last? 99k on the engine
 
G

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No idea how long it will last, but it will eventually go. Seeing as it's not overheating you still have some time left. Keep an eye on the temp gauge and if it ever starts overheating, shut it off and get the head gaskets changed to avoid warping the heads. When you get them changed you might as well do the timing belt/idlers/water pump while the engine is out.
 

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Registered
1998 L 5-speed
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12 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
ill be traveling about 250 miles to do a two day winter driving event in two months. risk it? I only drive 500 miles/month normally.
 
G

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Well if you're out of town and the head gasket decides to go and you start overheating, you're screwed. You'll have to pay to get it replaced anyway, why not do it now?
 
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