Smoky 97 Legacy: oil leaking onto manifold

Discussion in 'Subaru Legacy' started by wayne, Nov 1, 2003.

  1. wayne

    wayne Guest

    I have a 97 Legacy wagon, standard transmission, basic model. Lately I've
    been noticing (and smelling) smoke coming out of the engine compartment
    and I traced it to some oil that somehow is getting onto the exhaust
    manifold right where it forks under the transmission. When I look under
    the car after a trip, I can see smoke coming from the fork. Not much oil
    is on there but enough to generate smoke.

    I got under the car and tried to find a leak but so far I
    haven't been able to spot one. I did noticed a drop of oil hanging at the
    bottom of the oil filter so I changed the filter and so far no oil on it.
    But I'm not sure if that is where the oil was leaking from. It could
    have splashed on there from somewhere else. From where? I don't know and I
    still can't find a leak. It seems to be oiliest around the steering
    gear/rods area.

    Has anyone experienced this problem? I sure would like to know the

    wayne, Nov 1, 2003
    1. Advertisements

  2. wayne

    CRGILL Guest

    try checking the passenger side front half shaft. The inner boot tends to dry
    out & split due to the heat from the nearby exhaust, throwing grease onto the
    exhaust & causing the smoke & smell. Recommend have a replacement refurbished
    half shaft fitted rather than just replacing the boot & grease, as the
    universal joint is almost certainly already buggered (that's a technical term

    CRGILL, Nov 1, 2003
    1. Advertisements

  3. wayne

    Jim Stewart Guest

    Yes, front crank oil seal.

    My car looked just the same way. Get under it and feel around
    the timing belt case. If you get oil on your fingers, clean
    the case and check again after a moderately long drive.

    It is deceptive because you don't see much of a drip and it
    doesn't always show itself after a short drive. Mine was making
    the transmission skid pan and the exhausts around it covered
    with oil but very little in the front where it was coming out.
    After the fix everything was dry as a bone after a long drive.

    To properly fix the problem, you have to remove the oil pump,
    locktite the 5 backplate screws, change the o-ring and seal,
    clean and reapply PVC sealer to the mating surfaces and reinstall
    the oil pump.

    Now the oil pump is on the very front of the crankcase and
    to get to it, you have to remove the fans, the fanbelts, the
    radiator, the fanbelt pulley, the timing belt covers, and the
    timing belt.
    Jim Stewart, Nov 1, 2003
  4. wayne

    TG Guest

    Also check the small drip port along the bottom of the timing cover,
    anything leaking behind the cover cam seals,crank seal, oil pump) will
    escape hear and blow right onto the Y pipe. Very common and easy to fix. TG
    TG, Nov 1, 2003
  5. wayne

    wayne Guest

    Can I tell there's a leak by taking off the side timing belt cover(s)?
    Will there be a build up of oil there? How about if I take off the
    cover after a moderate drive?

    wayne, Nov 1, 2003
  6. wayne

    wayne Guest

    Where is the drip port?

    wayne, Nov 1, 2003
  7. wayne

    Tony Hwang Guest

    I'd replace PCV valve first, just in case.
    Tony Hwang, Nov 1, 2003
  8. wayne

    TG Guest

    "along the bottom of the timing cover"

    That was a bit of a joke but if you look/feel along the bottom seal where
    the front and rear timing covers come together there is a small
    hole...usually rectangular for leaking oil to escape from before it
    accumulates enough to cover the belt. TG
    TG, Nov 1, 2003
  9. wayne

    TG Guest

    you might see a trail where oil has run down from the cam seal but probably
    not a leak from the crank area. Get a good flashlight and give it a try. TG
    TG, Nov 1, 2003
  10. Hi all, I have just removed the engine from my 92 Legacy (Liberty). The
    crank front and rear seals, the oil seal behind the right cam shaft and the
    seal behind the cam shaft carrier left front are all rock hard - ie leaking
    like a sieve. The rear crankshaft seal is a pain to replace as you have to
    remove the engine.

    Before this I stripped the power steering pump as it too was leaking.
    bottom line is Subaru seals harden with heat and age and must be replaced

    If you have a leak at the exhaust fork, then Id suspect either the power
    steering, or the rear seal.

    Paul and Paula news, Nov 2, 2003
  11. wayne

    Pete D Guest

    Never heard such crap in my life.
    Pete D, Nov 4, 2003
  12. wayne

    Pete D Guest

    Cam seal area is very likely and easy to fix.

    Pete D, Nov 4, 2003
  13. wayne

    TG Guest

    I have also had this "crap" happen. TG

    Never heard such crap in my life.
    TG, Nov 4, 2003
  14. wayne

    wayne Guest

    I would have to remove the timing belt cover first right?

    wayne, Nov 5, 2003
  15. wayne

    TG Guest

    You were asking if you could see anything by removing an end cover and that
    is what I responded to. TG
    TG, Nov 6, 2003
  16. wayne

    John Eyles Guest

    I have a 97 Legacy wagon, standard transmission, basic model. Lately I've
    I have almost the exact same car (but it's an Outback) and the
    exact same symptoms.

    I have been assuming it's the rear main crank seal, which really sucks
    if so, because I just had the clutch replaced and coulda fixed the
    seal then if I'd been thinking.

    One respondent here suggested checking the PCV valve and hoses, as that
    can cause excessive pressure in the crankcase and cause seals to leak.

    An earlier respondent said:
    Well, I HOPE that's the case with mine, because I'm due for a timing
    belt replacement soon. But, the location of mine (and it sounds like
    of yours) suggests rear rather than front seal. But as you said, it's
    kinda hard to tell exactly what's going on.

    Good luck (to us both), John

    P.S. Please followup with anything you learn (and I'll do the same) !
    John Eyles, Nov 6, 2003
  17. wayne

    TG Guest

    Every time I have a leaking front crank seal, cam seal, oil pump the problem
    always shows itself as oil being blown back onto the Y pipe while driveling,
    lots of smoke and smell when you stop but no visible sigh of oil. These are
    problems I have had many times but I have never had a leaking rear seal. TG
    TG, Nov 6, 2003
  18. wayne

    LCB Guest

    I had the same exact same sounding leak on my 97 OB. It's got 140K and
    just last week I was told I have to replace head gaskets. I don't know
    how much this issue is related to my head gasket problems but I'm
    suspicious. I had the main seal replaced with the timing belt at 105K
    ...... so I don't know... Thanks for letting me vent....
    Good luck..
    LCB, Feb 7, 2004
    1. Advertisements

Ask a Question

Want to reply to this thread or ask your own question?

You'll need to choose a username for the site, which only take a couple of moments (here). After that, you can post your question and our members will help you out.