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Discussion Starter #1
Hi Folks,

Read a post in a Forester forum (this one? can't find it) back in November that said using synthetic motor oil in a 1998 Forester caused the seals to dry out. Just had the camshaft and crank seals, valve cover gaskets, and valve cover / spark plug grommets replaced. They also did the timing belt, plugs, wires and water pump.

Why replace the seals? Oil was seeping out the engine and burning on the exhaust; none on the driveway. Started a couple weeks ago.

Anyway, $720 later I need to know if I should continue using synthetic or go back to regular oil?

Oh, bought the car new in April 98 and think synthetic was put in after about 500 miles. It just passed 60k.

More questions:

Where is the water pump? I bought one for them to replace but don't see it. It is listed on the invoice though not separately charged.

Why can't I find a Chilton's or Haynes for the 1998 Forester? What is an alternative that won't cost $300 - cost based on searches in this forum.

Thanks
 

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Well, sythentics don't dry out seals in my opinion. What I can see would be an issue is that you didn't let it break in long enough on dino before switching over to synth. Dino oil allows enough friction to let parts get friendly with each other. After 10k or so their friendly enough and it's ok to switch over to synth.

Honestly, in your situation, if oil loss were still an issue, I'd switch over to something like a 10-30 Valvoline Durablend. That's just really, really good dino oil...not really a blend. And in NC that should fit your climate just fine. My brother lives in Greensboro ;)

Seek out a service manual on CD via ebay. If you can't find one, .....PM me :)

Welcome to the forum!
 
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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks BigC - since posting I ran across a thread elsewhere that talked about problems with the gaskets in the '98; maybe that was the problem.

Do you know if the Chilton "SUV Repair Manual 1998-2002 Domestic & Import" manual covers the '98 Forester well? Or if the Haynes Legacy does - I don't know if the Impreza/Legacy are similar to the Forester.

Thanks again.
 

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No, I don't know if the Chilton's SUV manual covers the Forester or not. What I would say is that Subaru is a Subaru is a Subaru. If your familiar with one, the others aren't that hard to figure out...at least since the early 90's. I think the B9 tosses a monkey wrench into that theory a bit but...oh well.
 
C

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Discussion Starter #5
Hey I also own a 98 TwinTurbo, and I have had the same experience. The oil seeps onto the exhaust, burns and spews off smoke via the intercooler snorkel. This happened when I switched to synthetic lube.

My car is now on 79,000 km

I replaced the gaskets but the problem only shifted to another position.

However, I noticed that the leak only appears on the side with the turbo (RHS), the other side (LHS) is clean, and there are no leaks onto the ground. So I wonder if this is really a gasket/lube/heat issue???

Any similar experience?
 

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That might be a better question for the folks that haunt the Engine(turbo) section. I have heard from some of the local STI owners that they run nothing but dino as it doesn't as readily leak past seals/rings etc as synth does. They say that the engines are built looser so there's not as much friction build up. Again that's not me saying it, I don't have a turbo and probably never will.
 

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#8 Post ho
1999 Subaru Forester
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Sorry to hear about your bad luck :cry:

I've been running mobil 1 for about 3000 miles now..

Taking my car in for a service for the first time in a week, I'll see if they notice anything with my car

It's been running smoothly and I havent' had any problems with oil consumption even @ 3k miles

We'll see if I've damanged anything, but my guess is that everything is a-ok with my car

I've got a 1999 with 97k 'n climbing
 
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Discussion Starter #8
There is a theory held by some people that leaking synthetic oil is caused by the use of synthetic oil in older vehicles because the material that some of the seals and gaskets are made of in some older vehicles is incompatible with synthetic oil. The theory is that the syn oil rots some seals and gaskets and is so slippery, compared to dino oil, that it slips past some seals and gaskets. However, the automakers for years have used seal and gasket materials that are not rotted by syn oil and that syn oil can't slip past. It seems to me that a 98 vehicle would not be old enough to possibly fall under this theory. And its just a theory. In my opinion, no one's proven for sure why some vehicles leak syn oil, especially when the same vehicle will NOT leak dino oil. Its also my opinion that since you've used syn oil since you bought the vehicle, the leaks would have started long ago if they were due to the syn oil. Use good quality seals and gaskets and make sure they're installed and the parts tightened correctly. If leaks occurr with syn oil, switch to dino and see what happens. If leaks still occur its not the fault of the syn oil, obviously.
 
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Discussion Starter #9
Thanks folks! Now the question becomes - do I have to do anything special if it is necessary to switch to dino? I read somewhere about gumming up, or some such thing. I sure do appreciate the company ;)
 
J

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Discussion Starter #10
No, you don't have to do anything special. Just drain the syn oil, change the oil filter, and pour in the dino oil. Then check periodically for leaks.
 

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The convert formely known as Lexusfreak
2003 XS
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Might want to consider a 'Higher mileage' dino oil. 8)
 
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