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Discussion Starter #1
Hello all--long time lurker, first time poster. This forum has been a fantastic resource for me, thanks for all the help! Now, my current issue:

My WRB '03 Wagon (bone stock) has a whisker under 25,000 miles. All service has been performed at the dealership, and all my records support this. Its about due for an oil change (3,000 mile intervals). Sunday, I strolled out to check the oil, as the spousal unit planned to take it on a 300 mile road trip the following day. To my surprise, it was a quart and a half low--odd, as this motor has never leaked or consumed a drop of oil. I threw in a quart and sent her on her way. As she pulled out, I noticed a new oil drip spot on the garage floor where the motor was--uh-oh.

The next day, as she's driving back (she was practically home already), she called and said the rear of the vehicle was covered in oil. Sure enough, the back was a greasy mess. Threw in 2 more quarts--and the oil level barely hit the dipstick. Gulp. I begin to suspect a broken ring, and figure a new short block is probably in my future.

I call the dealer to come haul this thing away. As it sits on the flatbed, I notice quite a bit of oil around the filter. Well, I guess that explains the mess in the garage...

In explaining all this to a friend of mine, he suggested that its possible that the car wasn't burning any oil at all, and that the sole cause of the oil consumption was the filter leak--the leaked oil was vaporizing under the vehicle, blown upward at the rear and ultimately deposited on my rear deck and window. No word from the dealer yet on their theory...

My question is twofold:
1. Anybody ever heard of a filter leak alone causing something like this? I was roughly 2700 miles into the oil change when this filter failure occurred.

2. Assuming he is correct and the dealer simply clamps down the filter, should I trade this thing? Reportedly, the engine never got hot, no idiot lights lit up, and it sounded fine when she brought it back from the road trip (no clattering, etc.) I fear for my valvetrain and turbo specifically.

Sorry for the long first post. Any opinions?
 

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I could be as simple as a bad filter seal.
My '04 with about 10K on it "lost" a quart. They didn't know what happend so they put that UV dye in it and added a qt of oil.

Have them inspect it under warranty and add the dye. They will be able to find the leak and fix it.

I take mine in on Friday for an oil change and leak inspection.

Let us know what happens!
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Well, for anyone with interest, the dealer called this afternoon and told me they could find nothing wrong with the car, save the trashed filter. Their theory is a blown seal, which I can buy, but find it odd that the seal hung in there and did its job for ~2700 before giving up. Compression check of two cylinders checked out OK. The rep said they drove it around quite a bit this morning, and it seemed to be fine. Guess I'll put some miles on it and monitor for excessive wear...

Incidentally, the dealer agreed to pick up the tow charges and wash the oil off--which I guess they could've stuck me with, but they didn't, so I'll give 'em an "atta boy"---Ramsey Subaru, Urbandale Iowa.
 

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If the dealer addmitted to the screw up...........

I would press fora an extended warranty.

If there was any problem from lack of oil, It might not show until your 3/36000 is gone.

Since you didnt run hot I wouldnt think there is an immediate problem (Did your wife mention any overheating signs?)

My wife had a Saturn that burned oil all the time and one time I got lax on changing it and didnt check it, And when I did, It was as you mentioned.......No oil showing on the dipstick!

Two months later it collapsed a lifter.

We just gave it to a friend that would fix it up for himself (Had 90000 some miles on it) and we were waitin for it to die anyway to get a new car..;)

Like I say, If I were you I would want some kind of WRITTIN guarantee/extended warranty to protect myself from what may (probably wont) lead to early problems.

THIS is the reason that when I got my WRX and the "free" oil changes for a year..........

I went and picked up the oil and filter FROM them and did em myself:)

.02
Shotgun
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Shotgun,

Yeah, I'm kind've kicking myself for turning my vehicle over to someone else for something like routine maintenance--I used to do all my routine stuff myself. Now, I'm old and lazy. While I hate to complain, because everybody is human, in 15+ years of changing my own oil, I never had a problem with an improperly installed filter that I put on....

The wife said she was looking, and the temp. gauge sat rock-solid where it always sits--no overheating or even any irregularity in temp.

Call me paranoid, but last night I was listening to the motor and thougt I might have heard a very faint clicking--but wasn't sure if it was always there. Now, it'll probably drive me crazy.

Incidentally, in talking with the dealer, they indicated that engine parts that might have worn excessively during the incident (lifters, valves, etc) were covered under the 5 year/60,000 powertrain warranty. Maybe if I drive it hard enough, I can force the failure of any weak parts before then.
 

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Yuck...I dont like the part where the dealer said they "drove it around for a while" I've heard too many stories of abuse...and people later catching them by having datalogging equipment in their car....but, dont try to lose sleep over that either :p
 

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I've had a bad filter cause an oil leak but it happened right off the bat, not 2700 miles later. It might be true though. I think I'd check the PCV system just to make sure it's working right. A bad PCV will tend to pressurize the crankcase, etc and create leaks. Normally with a good PCV these areas run under a slight vacuum.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Dale:

If a bad PCV were pressurizing my crankcase, am I correct in assuming that I would see this manifest as in increase in pressure on my boost gauge? If so, I think I'm cool there, because its readings, thus far, are normal.
 

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wreckzer said:
Shotgun,

Yeah, I'm kind've kicking myself for turning my vehicle over to someone else for something like routine maintenance--I used to do all my routine stuff myself. Now, I'm old and lazy. While I hate to complain, because everybody is human, in 15+ years of changing my own oil, I never had a problem with an improperly installed filter that I put on....

The wife said she was looking, and the temp. gauge sat rock-solid where it always sits--no overheating or even any irregularity in temp.

Call me paranoid, but last night I was listening to the motor and thougt I might have heard a very faint clicking--but wasn't sure if it was always there. Now, it'll probably drive me crazy.

Incidentally, in talking with the dealer, they indicated that engine parts that might have worn excessively during the incident (lifters, valves, etc) were covered under the 5 year/60,000 powertrain warranty. Maybe if I drive it hard enough, I can force the failure of any weak parts before then.
Old?....Hell, Join me!.......(48yrs)

The clicking you are hearing is just the normal sound of your Boxer engine,.......No sweat.

And I would assume if the engine had any major friction internally it would have raised the temp.

My only worry would be the Turbo not getting enough cool oil since it was reciruculating the lower amounts that would not have time to cool down.

If she wasnt in boost alot it probalby didnt hurt it.

Just be glad I wasnt driving...........;)

Just put the service invoice in a safe,.......Just in case

I guess Im just to dam anal about sht...:)

Shotgun
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I stashed all my notes and the service invoice in my folder, and drove it about 130 miles yesterday, city and highway--for now, this thing is fine. Not leaking any oil, boosting normally, etc. The only thing to complain about for now is the odor of the oil that appears to be scattered about the underside of the car--eventually that'll burn off. Thanks to everybody for their input and keeping me sane. Compliments to the folks at Subaru for building a motor as seemingly bulletproof and flexible as their 2.0, because apparently this thing can operate normally with a little over 2 quarts of oil! (For a little while, anyway...)

It's incidents like this that periodically remind me that its probably a happy accident that an internal combustion engine works at all.
 
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