CarTalk.com Blogs Car Info Our Show Deals Mechanics Files Vehicle Donation

My 2000 Subaru Legacy has been leaking oil

As the title says, my car has been leaking oil. I noticed it several months ago and took it to a shop and they said that it it might be leaking from the engine seals. I think they replaced all but the rear seal, because that would have cost a lot more because they would have to pull the engine.

It seemed ok for a while (or maybe I just didn’t notice), but now I’ve noticed that it continues to drip oil, but since it hasn’t been fixed by replacing the other seals, I am hesitant to bring it back to the guys who worked on it the first time.

I looked under the car and hood and tried to see if I could tell where the oil is leaking from but it’s not apparent to me. I looked at the oil pressure sending switch and, as far as I can tell, I don’t see any dripping there, although it does look kinda grimy around that area, but it’s hard to tell if it’s oil or just run-of-the-mill dirt.

I took a few pics in hopes that someone could point me in the right direction.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Any ideas?

When they replace the oil, do they replace the crush washer under the plug? They are supposed to. It will leak oil if they don’t.

Look where the bellhousing meets the engine. Is the oil concentrated in that area?
If so, it could be your main seal but could also be the oil separator cover. That’s behind the flex plate. They used to be made of hard plastic and they have a tendency to crack, weeping oil. The replacement is made of cast aluminum.
It is is the main seal/oil separator cover, I’d get that done when you get the clutch serviced*.

(*yours is stick, I take it? I don’t see an oil cooler under your filter, as one would see with an automatic).

Edit: looking at the top two pictures, is that oil weeping from under your timing belt cover? Wipe that up, clean it and see if it comes back. That kinda points to the cam seals, oil pump seal, etc.
Usually that’s part of a timing belt job. Has that ever been done.

I’m talking about this area (red). It shouldn’t really look wet. I’m wondering if it bleeds from under that timing belt cover down onto the oil pan, onto the cross member and onto your floor.

I’m with RemcoW on this.

If it continues to drip after wiping off the area he mentioned, the timing case cover needs to come off so that you can inspect everything under there.

I’ve worked on a few Toyotas with with leaking oil pumps and front crank seals. The timing case cover would contain some of the oil, but eventually it got so bad that it would continuously drip.