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Subaru check engine code P0011

I have a 2005 Subaru Forester with Turbo that has about 51,000 miles on it. Last week the check engine light came on and went off again the next day. This week it came on again, and as it was also time for its regular oil change, I took it in to my trusty neighborhood shop, where they told me the code triggered was P0011, the camshaft position, and that it was also 2 quarts low on oil with no leakage that they could see! He thinks there may be a problem with the turbo, and said if any more oil goes missing in the next few weeks I have to take it in to the dealer for a likely expensive fix. I came home and fished around on the internet and found all sorts of opinions on this code, everything from “take out the filters and you’ll be fine” to “This particular engine with turbo has been re-evaluated by Subaru to be a “severe service” engine under all driving conditions.” Do I have a faulty turbo? Does Subaru know about it? I bought the car in November 2005 after it had been on the road for a year with a previous owner, and have no idea how often or if they changed the oil. I have records of all my oil changes since I’ve owned the car, but info on the internet seems to advise Subaru will claim no responsibility if I have to have the turbo replaced. Any thoughts?

P0011 : A Camshaft Position - Timing Over-Advanced or System Performance (Bank 1))

I believe this is a system performance problem. A lot of people seem to get this code just before the turbo kicks the bucket. The filter they are referring to is the screen filter in the turbo oil line designed to protect the turbo bearings from any large particles in the oil. But, if you have a sludging problem, the screen gets clogged, and starves the turbo’s bearings, causing failure.

Also, a hard to find oil leaking problem in a lot of different turbo cars is the turbo itself. The oil is held in by seals that may go bad. One such way to find this kind of leak is to unhook the intercooler hoses and check for oil. Bad seals will allow oil to get sucked into the intake charge, and through the intercooler. If oil is found here, a turbo rebuild or replacement is probably warranted.

Turbo charged cars require extra care to prevent early turbo damage. They are very sensitive to oil weight, and type. The wrong oil can cause an early turbo failure. Aso, they do not like low oil and extended oil change intervals. You need to keep the oil clean when you own a turbo car.

Personally, I would not buy a car whose service records were not available. And, if the car is Turbo-equipped, the risk is even greater, due to the need for more frequent oil changes, and in some cases the need for special motor oil with those engines.

Since Subaru has recently changed their oil change interval for Turbo-equipped engines to 3,500 miles (the “Severe Service” maintenance schedule), it would be wise for you to adhere to that schedule, even if the maintenance schedule that came with your car allows for less frequent oil changes.

The problem is that the oil in Turbo-equipped engines tends to “coke” as a result of the extreme heat generated in the Turbocharger. This “coked” oil damages bearings in the Turbocharger and is then circulated through the engine where it damages the main bearings. Hopefully that damage has not already taken place, but since it appears that your engine is using oil, it is possible that this scenario is being played out.

My thoughts are to take the car to the dealership, as long as you have faith in them, and see what they tell you. After their assessment, you will be better able to make a decision regarding repair, replacement, or whatever.

Subaru will replace the turbo if you produce oil change receipts and it is actually failing. It is covered for 5yrs/60k miles.

Get in the habit of checking your oil every third fuel fillup. Some engines simply consume engine oil. How long since you last had oil change or checked oil in miles?

Forget what you read on internet. Realize the negative gets posted and rarely the positive.

Take it to the dealer next time as you have 9k left on your warranty to hopefully sort this out.

Nothing special is needed for turbo Subaru’s just dino. And unfortunately they spec’ed up to 7500 miles on standard dino. They reverted on that in 2007 and recommend 3750 miles.

I would not be super concerned about first owner since it only was 1 year of ownership it sounds.

Thanks for the info so far. I have my oil change receipts, most show mileage since oil change in the 4000-4500 range, a couple in the mid-3000 range, and just one that was close to 7000 a couple years ago. I checked the dates and figured out that was the summer my grandfather died, and I made several 2-hour interstate trips to my parents’ town, so the mileage was up but the time interval was similar to usual. I am taking the car in to the dealer to investigate further.

I’ve developed an almost identical problem with my 2005 Forester Turbo… Just over 40K miles, CEL went on, a few miles later, ominous clunking noises fr under the hood. Luckily, just pulling into home. Had it towed to dealer, who identified code P0011 & claimed that always just meant it was overdue for an oil change. Which it wasn’t, like you I’ve been religious about oil changes. Oil was low, but no evidence of leak. I went a couple rounds w/the service folks, finally gave up. Engine light is off & car seems to be running fine, but I’m afraid something might blow up. My neighborhood mechanic (not a Subaru specialist) said the code can indicate either timing belt or cam shaft issues. Curious to hear what your dealer said.

Save your breath. miss Y1 has had no activity since March.

My dealer said it was fine…I was skeptical, but I have the piece of paper that shows I took it in and said “look for this specific problem” and they said it checked out OK.
Still driving the car, made sure to get the oil changed as soon as it even got close to time for it, and have been keeping an eye on the oil. It did burn a little by oil change time, but not much, and so far nothing else has happened, though I’m always kinda paranoid that something will. Hopefully not!

Hmmm, I sure hope you’re right. I’ll let you know if I discover anything else & keep my fingers crossed for both of us!