2013 Subaru WRX Oil Leak Repair

2013 Subaru WRX Oil Leak Repair


Mark: Hi, it’s Mark Bossert from Top Local.
We’re here with Bernie Pawlik of Pawlik Automotive
in Vancouver.
Vancouver’s best auto service experience,
20 time winners of Best Auto Repair in Vancouver
as voted by their customers.
Not somebody just giving them a gift, that’s
people actually voting for them and saying
this is the best.
These guys know what they’re doing and we’re
talking cars.
How are you doing, Bernie?
Bernie: Doing well.
After an intro like that, it just puts a big
smile on my face.
Mark: So we’re talking about a 2013 Subaru
WRX.
It had an oil leak problem.
What was going on with this vehicle?
Bernie: Yeah, so the car came into our shop
for a maintenance service and inspection,
and one of the things that we found was there’s
some oil leaking from the front of the engine
timing belt area, a variable valve timing
solenoid, somewhere around that area, and
it needed further exploration and repairs.
Mark: So what was involved in repairing those
leaks?
Bernie: So all that was involved was actually
removing the timing belt cover and accessing
the timing belt, because it’s all hidden behind
there.
We found some cam shaft seals leaking, as
well as variable valve timing solenoid gaskets
leaking as well.
Mark: So do you have some pictures?
Bernie: I do, I do, and by the way, so we
replaced the timing belt at the same time
and we can talk a little more about that,
but let’s just get into the pictures here.
So there we have our beautiful 2013 WRX.
Awesome little high performance cars.
There’s a good view of the front of the engine
with the timing belt off.
The timing belt sits in this area here.
If you can just follow the mouse pointer,
it kind of loops around here.
There’s the crankshaft sprocket and this is
a dual overhead cam engine so it has four
cam sprockets.
Cam shaft seals here, which we replaced.
Water pump also, which is very important to
do at the same time as the timing belt.
Mark: And this is a flat-six, right?
Bernie: Flat-four.
Yeah, this is a turbocharged flat-four, inter-cooled
turbo flat-four.
Subaru doesn’t make any turbo-sixes, although
it’d be a pretty awesome option because it
would go even faster, but yeah, this is a
four.
Mark: And a lot of room in the front.
Have you pulled out the radiator?
Bernie: We removed the radiator.
Here’s a view actually of the engine compartment
with everything back in.
You can see it’s a lot tighter, but we did
remove the radiator on this job.
It’s a standard transmission, so not too difficult,
and just to access the bolts on the front
of the camshafts, it’s a little easier to
access everything with the radiator out.
Not difficult, doesn’t add a lot of extra
time to do that.
This is the whole package assembled.
This is the intercooler.
This keeps the charge air cool that’s being
blow basically blown into the engine by the
turbochargers.
As you compress that air, it gets hot. and
so if you can keep it cool it has more density.
Once upon a time, a long time ago, turbochargers
never had intercoolers and this was a big
performance upgrade to intercool a turbo.
There’s nothing that’s been made in the last
15, 20 years that doesn’t have an intercooler
on it.
And that’s the same with supercharged engines
too.
So it helps boost the performance just by
keeping the air at a certain temperature.
Now for other pictures we get into the meat
of the job.
So this vehicle has variable valve timing.
This is one of the performance features of
this engine.
So these are the camshaft sprockets.
If you look at some of our other podcasts
and videos, you’ll see that we do a number
of timing belts on Subarus, but most of them
are there the lower performance 4-cylinder
versions and they don’t have variable valve
timing.
So these sprockets are quite a bit more complex,
more expensive as well.
There’s one really good thing about this engine.
Most vehicles with variable valve timing,
you have to have special special tools to
lock the camshafts in place.
And this engine, you don’t.
These actually have pins that locate the cam
sprockets on the engine, which is a fantastic
feature because you can just look, put the
cam sprocket on, just line the timing belt
marks up and away it goes.
Whereas on most other engines you have to
remove the valve cover, you have to lock the
camshafts in a certain position by specialty
tools to do it and then bolt everything up
while everything’s locked into position.
So Subaru has made this job reasonably, I
won’t say easy to do, but reasonably easy
to do.
So it’s kind of kind of a nice, refreshing
treat.
Less complicated of a job.
This is the variable valve timing solenoid
and this is the gasket and this was one of
the items that was leaking.
So these solenoids control oil flow to the
variable valve timing, the cam gears and getting
against electrical signal.
The engine has oil pressure, changes the oil
flow through the cam, and that that changes
the valve timing.
We talked about maintenance on cars, modern
cars, this is why it’s critical to change
your oil at regular intervals.
Any sludge, you can see there are very small
holes.
Any sludge that builds up in these will cause
a malfunction of this system, or low oil level
for that matter too.
So critical to change your oil at the required
interval.
Mark: Okay.
There’s a few issues here.
So first, variable valve timing accomplishes
what?
It seems like a lot of complication.
Bernie: Well, opening the valves of the engine,
the intake and exhaust valves, there’s a certain
optimum time to open them, but it’s different
at idle than it is when you’ve got the engine
revving at 6,000 RPMs or halfway in between.
So if you can vary the time the valves open
and actually for that matter, vary the lift
of the end of the valve, which this engine
doesn’t do, but some engines do.
You can vary the lift of the valve, the opening.
You can control the horsepower of the engine,
you can improve the fuel economy and exhaust
emissions.
There’s a number of things you can accomplish,
so that’s why variable valve timing is pretty
much standard on most engines nowadays.
Not all, but most.
Mark: Timing belts.
Subaru, I thought they used dry chains.
What are they using a timing belt for?
Bernie: Yeah, well interesting question.
So, up until about, Subaru, the 6-cylinder
engines, which they introduced around the
2000 model year, those are all timing chain
engines, but the four cylinder up until about
2010, 2011, used a timing belt.
Then they changed to a chain drive, but this
engine still maintains the timing belt right
up to modern, right up to, I’m not sure if
a 2020 has gone to a chain, but certainly
2018 still has a timing belt.
So you might wonder, well, is that an inferior
technology?
And the answer is not really.
I mean they’ve incorporated all the variable
valve timing and everything that needs to
be done.
The disadvantage with a timing belt is that
there is a set interval where you must replace
it because it will break.
With a timing chain, it’s theoretically supposed
to last the life of the engine, but timing
chains are very complex.
There’s a lot of pieces to them.
Tensioners to keep them tight and things that
wear out.
We’ve done podcasts on Range Rovers where
a number of them, this is a problem with that
engine.
100,000 kilometres, the timing chains are
rattling and you’re faced with a six, in Canada,
a $6,000, $7,000 bill to do the replacement.
That’s a lot of money for something that,
like a timing belt job can be anywhere from
$1,000 to $2,000 depending on the car if you
do it complete and there’s a set interval
to do it.
So you know, Subaru so far, with the timing
chains had been reliable but I owned a six
cylinder Subaru, around 250,000 kilometres,
I mean every once in a while I’d start the
car and the timing chain would rattle.
So, you know, that car is long gone because
it kind of wore out.
They’re supposed to last the life of the engine,
but a lot of cars they don’t and they can
be very expensive to replace.
Timing belts, at one time, also used to be
kind of an inferior design.
I mean I think of a lot of older, oh, take
Subaru for example, they used to have an engine
that had two timing belts.
One went to the right bank, one to the left.
Some of those would break at 50,000 kilometres.
Fortunately there was no engine damage but
highly unreliable.
And you know, you’d be lucky to get a hundred
thousand kilometres out of them.
And there are many other cars, you know, in
the eighties and nineties that were like that.
You’d go like in the 1970s when timing belts
started coming out, I mean they didn’t last
very long either, but they’ve made them very
robust.
They last a long time.
You know, 150, 200,000 kilometres is not abnormal
for a timing belt.
Mark: So do these WRX motors have the same
head gasket issues on the older ones that
other Subaru 4-cylinder engines have?
Bernie: No, they don’t.
These use a much more robust gasket and we
don’t run into the same issues.
It’s pretty rare.
I mean over the years, the dual overhead cam
engine is not just a WRX engine.
They did put them in some of the other Forester
models.
We do the odd head gasket in those, but pretty
rare and never done one on a WRX yet.
So they’re pretty robust.
They’re much better designed, much better
built.
Mark: So there you go.
If you’ve got some leaky oil issues with your
WRX Subaru or any Subaru, the guys who specialize
in Subaru in Vancouver are Pawlik Automotive
and of course every other make and model of
car right up to Porsches and Teslas and all
sorts of stuff.
Guys to see are Pawlik Automotive, you can
reach them at (604) 327-7112 to book your
appointment.
You have to call and book ahead because they’re
busy.
Or check out the website, pawlikautomotive.com.
Hundreds, over 350 blog posts, videos on repairing
all makes and models and all kinds of types
of repairs.
All makes and models of cars and trucks.
Over 350 videos on YouTube.
Check it out.
Pawlik Auto Repair.
And of course, thanks so much for listening
to the podcast.
We really appreciate it.
Leave your comments or your likes below.
Thanks, Bernie.
Bernie: Thanks Mark, and thanks for watching.

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