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Oilish Smell from car when hot - NA 2.0 Legacy

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Old 12 January 2018, 09:57 AM   #1  
tickle_me
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Default Oilish Smell from car when hot - NA 2.0 Legacy

Hey guys! I fairly recently bought a 1999 Subaru Legacy TSR with 170k kms, and noticed after a wee while of driving a hot smell coming from the engine, noticable when I stop and get out. I've read a couple of forum posts similar to this which suggested Driver's side (RHD) rocker cover gasket or PAS pump? One response said that if there is oil visible on top of the engine block it'll likely be the PAS pump (there is a small amount of oil visible on the top of the block). Anyone support this? I'd get it checked out but I'm a student and haven't got a massive budget for these things!

Aside from that, when cold it sometimes suffers from irregular power in the lower revs (<3k), any ideas what that could be? Check engine light often comes on a few minutes after driving when cold and dissapears after a few seconds. If it means anything I filled it with a tank of 91 Octane fuel, planning to fill it with better fuel once it's empty to see if that makes a difference.

Apologies for the long post but I love my Subie and would like it running as best as I can!
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Old 12 January 2018, 01:18 PM   #2  
jaygsi
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I have a oil smell on mine, and when been sitting for a while smoke comes out of engine when warms up, its the rocker gasket on mine, always replace both sides, i would only use OEM, but you can get get cheap kits. can send you link if needed.

As for power loss have you given it a service?

Also buy a code reader there cheap as chips, mine cost me 15. Will tell you what fault is then.
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Old 12 January 2018, 02:09 PM   #3  
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Is the steering pump noisy? If so the oil on the top could very well be from the pump. Most likely culprit is the o ring in the pipe at the top of the pump. Replace that, bleed the system and hopefully the oil/fluid will dry up.
The clips subaru use for the PS (and coolant) pipe work aren't the best and can let in air after a time, so replace those with jubilee clips.
It could be both the gasket and the pump. The gaskets are available from import car parts, on my wrx both sides were about 80. It's an awkward job to do yourself but not impossible. I think a garage would charge 90 minutes to 2 hours labour.
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Old 12 January 2018, 11:14 PM   #4  
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Originally Posted by jaygsi View Post
I have a oil smell on mine, and when been sitting for a while smoke comes out of engine when warms up, its the rocker gasket on mine, always replace both sides, i would only use OEM, but you can get get cheap kits. can send you link if needed.

As for power loss have you given it a service?

Also buy a code reader there cheap as chips, mine cost me 15. Will tell you what fault is then.
With the rocker covers, is it a huge issue if I left them other than that it'll continue to lose a little bit of oil? I don't know if it means anything also, but even when cold the coolant and oil levels seem way too high - I plan to drain out the excess at some point soon!

I haven't given it a service since I've had the car, but it was serviced last December at our local Subaru specialists, though looking at the records it looked like more a warrant of fitness check rather than a full service (I have full service history for it from the last 10 years!).
I was thinking I'd get it checked out at some point, a mate of mine is a mechanic so he might be able to check out the codes for me very cheaply!
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Old 12 January 2018, 11:22 PM   #5  
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Originally Posted by jaygsi View Post
I have a oil smell on mine, and when been sitting for a while smoke comes out of engine when warms up, its the rocker gasket on mine, always replace both sides, i would only use OEM, but you can get get cheap kits. can send you link if needed.

As for power loss have you given it a service?

Also buy a code reader there cheap as chips, mine cost me 15. Will tell you what fault is then.
If indeed it is the rocker gasket is it a huge problem if I left the rocker gaskets as they are? I have no problems spending money on making sure it's mechanically in good nick but if the only issue is the oily smell it won't bother me... As long as I know the smell isn't something catastropic I can live with it!

I haven't given it a service, given that I haven't had the car that long, but might be worth getting it checked out - I have a mechanic friend who might be able to check for me and read the codes too!

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Originally Posted by Cambs_Stuart View Post
Is the steering pump noisy? If so the oil on the top could very well be from the pump. Most likely culprit is the o ring in the pipe at the top of the pump. Replace that, bleed the system and hopefully the oil/fluid will dry up.
The clips subaru use for the PS (and coolant) pipe work aren't the best and can let in air after a time, so replace those with jubilee clips.
It could be both the gasket and the pump. The gaskets are available from import car parts, on my wrx both sides were about 80. It's an awkward job to do yourself but not impossible. I think a garage would charge 90 minutes to 2 hours labour.
What noises am I looking for? A noise when the car is sitting there or when steering? Where abouts is the sterring pump located? Sorry for all the questions, I have some rudimentary knowledge about engines and DIY servicing but not so much knowledge about the EJ20 - you could say I'm newish to Subaru!
Thank you for your reply! Is it a huge issue to replace them, or is it something I needn't worry about? As said above I can live with the oily smell as long as it's not indicating a major issue with the engine!
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Old 13 January 2018, 08:40 AM   #6  
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As long as you keep an eye on your oil levels the rocker cover gaskets shouldn't be too urgent. As long as you can live with the smell and the smoke.
If the exhaust is wrapped you don't want oil soaking into the wrap as it can build up and catch fire.
Again, steering pump isn't too urgent, they can whine for a long time. For the steering pump you're looking for a while that rises in line with engine revs but gets louder when steering, especially at low speed and full lock.
The steering pump is driven by a belt at the front of the engine, on the top left side as you look at the car.
the o ring that can fail goes into this spout:
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Old 13 January 2018, 07:11 PM   #7  
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Originally Posted by Cambs_Stuart View Post
As long as you keep an eye on your oil levels the rocker cover gaskets shouldn't be too urgent. As long as you can live with the smell and the smoke.
If the exhaust is wrapped you don't want oil soaking into the wrap as it can build up and catch fire.
Again, steering pump isn't too urgent, they can whine for a long time. For the steering pump you're looking for a while that rises in line with engine revs but gets louder when steering, especially at low speed and full lock.
The steering pump is driven by a belt at the front of the engine, on the top left side as you look at the car.
the o ring that can fail goes into this spout:
Gotcha, I think that must be it! Turns out there is a whine with the engine, so must be to do with the sterring pump. Thanks for your help!
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Old 13 January 2018, 07:34 PM   #8  
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You don't need to replace them straight away, but you will loose oil and will need to keep topping up more and more as they get worse.

I always service a car as soon as I get it. Unless it's a heap of rubbish then I will leave it abit. Try doing oil change yourself. Will make your engine last longer. And use decent oil. If you do gaskets go else where 80 plus vat and postage is silly for gaskets.



Quote:
Originally Posted by tickle_me
If indeed it is the rocker gasket is it a huge problem if I left the rocker gaskets as they are? I have no problems spending money on making sure it's mechanically in good nick but if the only issue is the oily smell it won't bother me... As long as I know the smell isn't something catastropic I can live with it!

I haven't given it a service, given that I haven't had the car that long, but might be worth getting it checked out - I have a mechanic friend who might be able to check for me and read the codes too!What noises am I looking for? A noise when the car is sitting there or when steering? Where abouts is the sterring pump located? Sorry for all the questions, I have some rudimentary knowledge about engines and DIY servicing but not so much knowledge about the EJ20 - you could say I'm newish to Subaru!
Thank you for your reply! Is it a huge issue to replace them, or is it something I needn't worry about? As said above I can live with the oily smell as long as it's not indicating a major issue with the engine!
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Old 14 January 2018, 06:35 AM   #9  
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Originally Posted by jaygsi View Post
You don't need to replace them straight away, but you will loose oil and will need to keep topping up more and more as they get worse.

I always service a car as soon as I get it. Unless it's a heap of rubbish then I will leave it abit. Try doing oil change yourself. Will make your engine last longer. And use decent oil. If you do gaskets go else where 80 plus vat and postage is silly for gaskets.
I would have done the oil as soon as I got it but I have a record of its last oil change which was pretty recently! Not so about the coolant though, is it worth changing that?
Also noticed a tear in the belt that runs the alternator/PS pump which worries me about the others, I have prrof of a cambelt change but not the other belts... I'll probably change them as a precaution!
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