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Subaru Baja Engine Issues



  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 8,391
    My guess is that this is not "piston slap," but something else caused by the work performed. Does the '03 2.5L have hydraulic lifters? Perhaps, if so, they unintentionally allowed one (or more) of the lifters to drain and did not check them prior to reinserting. One way to narrow down the issue is to take a screw driver, place it against the head/valve cover on each side and put an ear up to the butt of the driver. You should be able to clearly hear from which side the sound is coming. If it is the same side as the work was performed, that should help strengthen the thought that this is was caused by the work.

    Does the car otherwise run smoothly? If so, it is likely that they at least set the timing properly. Keep after them - this sounds like a resolvable situation (in your favor!).
  • fba01fba01 Posts: 1
    my '03 has been has never had any problems at any altitude. it sounds like air and/or fuel flow is being impeded.

    I have my maintenance done at 'Nice Car' Subaru shop in Fort Collins. Bob, the owner, is a Subaru fanatic and would probably discuss this with you.
  • caliberchiccaliberchic Posts: 402
    Be sure to post a review for "Nice Car" if you have a moment. See the banner at the top of the page to take you to the review page.
  • I noticed a small oil leak at the bottom of the Oil filter of my 06 Baja (with 80k mostly highway miles). I changed the oil and filter and still notice a small amount. I can't tell where it is coming from? I don't see any stream. Of course, now that I changed the oil it is very clean and harder to see.

    Anyone heard of this? Did I damage the seal? Does this sound like something serious? At this point the leak is barely noticeable - but I tend to worry.

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Well, a loss of oil can be catastrophic, while a new oil filter runs a couple of bucks.

    So I would begin by replacing it. Make sure you wipe the surface clean and be sure the old gasket doesn't stick on (that set more than a few CR-Vs ablaze around 2002 or so).

    Also, don't overtighten it else it might pinch the oil filter gasket. I'd even dab some clean, fresh oil on the gasket so it slides on smoothly.

    If it's not there, I would tape a clean paper towel under the car overnight and use that to help trace exactly where the leak is. Use a plumb bob.

    Best of luck.
  • Thanks for the suggestions. At this point I don't see anything on the ground - there is a plastic cowling under the filter so any oil is caught there. What I have seen so far is extremely modest - maybe I left something on the gasket or overtightened. I was mostly concerned that there might be a leak in something expensive such as head gasket, oil pump, etc - but just a little dab on the oil filter.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587

    I'd just check the oil level each time you stop for gas, that should be often enough.

    I think there is an oil light if the level gets low, too (not sure about that).
  • Thanks again. I regularly check the ground and under the car each day - so I doubt that this will get by me. I actually had it at the dealer yesterday as well - they had to replace the cat converter (under warranty luckily) and they took a look. They said it was from the oil change and wiped it off. I think something else is happening - but I will monitor as well.
  • hi... fyi...
    the dealer replaced numbers 2 and 4 pistons, and by god,
    what a miracle, the obnoxious piston slap was eliminated !!!
    praise the heavens above the i had (and have) an extended
    warranty......... 1800 bucks later.....
    shame on subaru, the latest consumer reports car issue,
    lists the same engine for 2003 as being extraordinarily problematic,
    as it received an all black circle, noting that customer complaints
    were overwhelming....
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Not due to piston slap, by the way, but rather due to head gasket failures.

    So piston slap wasn't all that common.
  • There's a washer that has to be replaced every time you change the oil filter. Most places don't carry them. I buy six or so at once from the dealership and then make sure anyone changing my oil uses one. Otherwise, it will leak every time. Substitute washers don't seem to work and you can't reuse the the old one.
  • sdycus10sdycus10 Posts: 3
    Just an update on my '06 Baja Turbo that dies at high altitude (driving on I-70 to go skiing). Multiple Subaru engineers, techs, district managers, etc have duplicated the issue while driving my car. Everything except the engine has been replaced, but still no fix. This has gone on for 12 months. I am losing faith in Subaru.
  • Glad I found this forum, hope someone can offer some advice.
    Here's my problem. Bought a 2003 Subaru Baja about a month ago from a used car dealer, several hundred miles away. Of course within a week of getting my Baja home I notice a little leaking oil, so I took it to a local repair shop; no problem was located. Now it's leaking a lot more oil, so I took it to a Subaru service shop were they found 2 leaking gaskets; cost to repair: $2600.
    My question: Are head gaskets considered lubricated components? I ask because this car has a 60-day warranty which covers all lubricated components. The used car dealer refuses to reimburse me for what he calls "an oil leak"; he also became belligerent and blames me for the damage! :sick:
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Sounds like a rotten dealer.

    Time to lawyer up, if you ask me.
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 8,391
    Strictly speaking, head gaskets are not lubricated components. Examples of those would be internal moving parts in the engine or drivetrain components such as U-joints, CV joints, differentials, etc. Head gaskets are merely a barrier to prevent the lubricants from going where they are not supposed to go. In this case, they failed. I suspect the previous owner sold the car for this reason, the dealer knew about it, and then sold you the car at an inflated price without disclosing the defect.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    They are seals for the engine, though, moving parts that are lubricated.

    Wonder if that matters?
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 8,391
    It might be up to a court of law at that point. This is a "guarantee" from the seller, nothing more. In the end, unless a customer challenges in court, the parts covered are left to the interpretation of the seller. :mad:
  • ellorensellorens Posts: 1
    2 questions 1st i have changed my oil several times and have not replaced this "special" gasket, whats up with that? and no oil leaks .2nd i just hade my emmisions done on my car it passed perfect however when i left my check engine light has come on and it will not go off, what should i do
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Borrow or purchase a code reader, and let us know what the error code is.
  • pkassubepkassube Posts: 1
    I have serviced my Baja regularly and ever since last summer there is a smell of burnt oil. Now it has started leaking. The Subaru dealer recently replaced the oil pump and the timing belt. They said the leak was from the oil pump. Now the leak is much worse and an independent garage is saying - head gasket, lifters.... $2000 - $4000!!!! From what I am reading, the Subaru dealership should have known about the possibilities and looked at this when they had it ripped apart!! :mad:
This discussion has been closed.