Baja Oil Issue

I have a 2004 Subaru Baja 4 cyl non-turbo engine. It began using oil after 200000 miles in a strange way. It would be full then drop to nothing showing on the dipstick after about 2500 miles.
I replaced the engine with an A rated engine with 45000 miles on it. This engine does the same thing @ around 2500 miles after an oil change.

My friend has a Toyota and she said her car did the very same thing and they were able to remedy it by replacing the oil sending unit. Is this an option for the Baja engine? My mechanic says this is not the problem…

Can anyone think of another reason this may be happening?

What does your mechanic say is the problem?

In the meantime you need to check your oil more often than 2500 miles.
Maybe every 500 miles until things are sorted out.
Don’t let it go lower then the “add” mark on the dipstick.
Do you do much high speed highway driving?
Oil consumption can increase at high speeds.

What weight oil are you using? Salvage yard engines are always a crap-shoot…They ALL claim to have “less than 50,000 miles”… Right…

And what if that A rated engine with only 45k miles only saw one oil change during that time.

Has there ever been a salvage yard that sold anything other than a “guaranteed good” unit… :wink:

Not checking the oil regularly just exacerbates any problem that may exist and an oil pressure sending unit will not cure any oil consumption problem unless the sender is leaking. That’s easy enough to detect.

If the engine is not leaking oil then it’s burning it past the rings and/or valve seals; generally the former. Normal wear, lack of regular oil changes, overheating, or running the oil chronically low can all cause this problem.


Forget all about the oil sending unit, unless it’s leaking. Does your oil pressure gauge show acceptable oil pressure at idle?

Any lower end engine noises at idle?

check the oil level every week. Top off as needed. Start stocking oil in the garage, so that you won’t have to head to the store every time

Next oil change, you might want to consider high mileage oil. If it decreases the rate of oil consumption, good. If it doesn’t change anything, go back to the regular oil you’ve been using.

Most well ‘broken in’ engines will burn a quart per 1000 miles and that oil useage is considered well within standard specifications. Check with a Subaru service department as to the tolerated oil consumption for the Baja. With a consumption of 1 quart per 1000 miles your would be down 2.5 quarts in 2500 miles. Monitor the consumption more closely and determine what the actual oil consumption is and then return for discussion.

You replaced the engine in an 11 year old car with 200000 miles on it just because it was going through some oil? The payback on that is going to be never.

Check your oil every time you fill up with gas and unless it is losing significantly more than 1 qt
per thousand, just add oil as needed. I would buy the oil by the case or 5 gal jug. Brand doesn’t matter, just get the right viscosity.

The dipstick shows “full” for 2500 miles, then shortly thereafter it shows “empty”? And the replacement engine does the same thing? That is indeed a confounding thing.

I think you should do the proper experiment to verify this. Check the dipstick once a week, record it in a little book you always keep in the car, and always when the car is parked in the same spot, in the AM before driving it, and on a level surface. I expect you’ll see the oil is gradually getting lower and lower, rather than all at once.

I inherited my '88 Supra 8 years ago with about 225k miles on it. It was burning/leaking a quart of oil nearly every tankful. Replacing seals and running it with top tier gas and a good detergent oil, I now have it burning a quart about every 1500 miles. It now has 296k miles on it.

@GeorgeSanJose: Yes, I thought the same thing. I don’t know if OP meant the level was okay until 2,500, then suddenly drop…or if it dropped over the course of 2,500 miles, seeming “sudden” (relatively speaking) to OP.

It could have been written more clearly.