Subaru Outback Limited 2001


Daughter came home from 3 hr. drive and I smelled something that seems liked it was burning. Hubby saw antifreeze leaking on garage floor. Took car to local mechanic we have used for 30 yrs. and he said there was probably a leak and added 3 qt.antifreeze. I remembered the recall from Subaru where they added something to the radiator for this recall. Regular mechanic was booked so I took it to the Subaru dealer where purchased. He told me it was not antifreeze but an oil leak and the underside of the car was covered with oil that was coming from a gasket. I told him it definitely was antifreeze on our garage floor and game him the name of the mechanic who said it was antifreeze. He then said he would do a pressurized test. He called back and said one side was oil and the other was antifreeze and the 100,000 mile warranty would only cover half the repair? I have a call into Subaru customer service. Any ideas would be appreciated.


We had the timing belt serviced on our 03 impreza at the recommended interval. Since we’ve no local Subaru dealer, we took it to another (reputable) garage and the mechanic visually “checked” it - okay!. Many miles later, noticed coolant leak and to make a long story short, replaced the belt and the water pump on a trip some 1,200 miles from home. We did get it in time, but it seems the water pump is every bit as much a “wear item” as the belt but the owner’s manual doesn’t tell you that! Was your timing belt (and water pump) replaced at the recommended mileage? Did your daughter notice any overheating? Am thinking (I’m no mechanic) that the water pump failed (coolant leak) and overheating may have caused a gasket failure (oil leak). Good luck!


Any Subaru good will warranty on head gasket problems are pretty narrow in nature. Coolant leak they may cover, oil leak they will probably not.

The real sticky factor you have here is this.
Your daughter was driving the car. Was the vehicle overheating and if so, how long did this continue?
Subarus use an aluminum engine and they will not tolerate overheating at all.
If your daughter operated this car for a while in an overheated condition there could be a number of major problems; depending.


Car has 94,000 miles on it. Last week I had called Subaru and was told timing belt should be changed at 110K which we figured we would do at Thanksgiving. We are having new water pump and timing belt put on when gaskets are replaced. No overheating took place, no lights on. Thanks


Car wasn’t overheating and no lights were on. She just had oil changed a week ago. We have it serviced regularly and her dad usually gives it the once over about once a month when we visit or she visits. I was annoyed that dealer at first said no antifreeze leak only oil leaks and then when I insisted it was antifreeze on garage floor and told him first mechanic said it was antifreeze test he then ran pressure test and said one is oil leak and then other is antifreeze and bill was cut in half.


Being down 3 qts. of coolant isn’t real good. This may be enough to allow the coolant level to fall below the temperature sensor and so the engine could have overheated and you wouldn’t know by the sensor light or gauge. I think you caught it in time but in the future I would pay very close attention to the coolant reservoir level. It sounds like there is a small leak somewhere for the coolant to be that low.

It would be nice to know where the oil leak is at. If it is just from the drain plug gasket that is a simple fix.