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Cost to pull engine & do seals

lorettsloretts Posts: 21

I have a 1996 Subaru Impreza LX with 179,000 miles on it. Bought it at 125K. It is a reconstruct vehicle. The body is in great shape. In January I had to put new struts on to pass PA inspection. While under the car, the mechanic found a great deal of built up oil, not sure just where leaking from.

He carefully power washed the underside to get rid of the built up oil. He changed the oil and put a dye in all the fluids that shows up under a black light. Today we went over the results. The two valve cover seals are leaking, the front and rear seals are showing leaks. We thought the power steering pump was leaking, but that is not showing up under the scope.

He said that it would be cheaper to pull the engine and fix all three than to do each one separately. I put a new timing belt in at 125K, but if there is oil on the belt that will have to be replaced.

Price, around $1200.

I am wondering if this is a fair price and given the cars age, worth the fix. I did spend $1100 for the new struts and that was a stretch on my cash. Not able to buy a new used car, and even if I did, I would probably not be able to get anything decent for the money I could spend.

The engine has not been burning oil. It gets changed every 3-4K. I check levels frequently and haven't to add oil, just barely any when I have. It runs great, handles well and everything works; except for the passenger electric window which is a little slow on the up and down.

Any thoughts on this? Any questions I should be asking? Anything else I should consider before doing this?



  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 13,149
    It's not a critical issue at this point, so you can easily plan for it as part of normal maintenance even a year or more from now. If the leaks are slow enough to allow significant crud buildup over the years, it might not even be something you need to address during your ownership. Or, if you do, it can be done during the next normal timing belt change (another 50,000 or so miles from now). If you didn't replace the water pump during the first T-belt replacement, that *could* force the issue before the belt is due, but you might make it no problem.

    Definitely replace the water pump at that time, though. Otherwise, you're inviting an unwanted (and potentially costly/damaging) breakdown later on.

    The fact that you don't need to add any oil over the 3/4K time frame makes me feel confident that these leaks are currently minor issues. You might even be able to slightly tighten the valve covers and resolve those particular leaks.
    2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2008 and 2013 Subaru Forester(s), 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup
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