HELP!!! I LOST A QUART.

Messages
19
Location
Austin, Texas
I am driving an '02 Subaru Impreza WRX and recently changed my oil from the OE Dino to M1 SS 10W-30. The change came at 2600 miles. I put in the recommended volume and checked it and went on my way, no problem. I made a few long distance trips in the car. I have also been driving it a little harder lately around town. Saturday, I pulled into gas up with 3,989 miles on the odometer. I checked the oil and there was only 3/16 to 1/4 inch showing on the dipstick. Hey! What's that about I thought. No big deal. Perhaps I was a little early in pulling the dipstick. I waited for the oil to drain back into the pan, checked it again and still the same reading. Now I am getting concerned. I thought, where did all that oil go? I waited a little longer, checked it, and the same thing, 1/4 inch, maybe. Now I am freakin' out. I buy a $5.49 (cough) quart of the M1 SS from the gas station and make my way over to the Subaru dealership. Well, I spoke with a mechanic that my salesman hooked me up with and he explained to me that in Subarus the dipstick reads empty when the oil volume drops below 3 quarts. This was confirmed when we pulled the dipstick and found the car to be almost full by me putting in that one quart earlier. Just below the line on the stick as a matter of fact. O.K. I have a few questions. Has anybody heard of this before? I can understand why Subaru gives such a tight tolerance on there sticks, but it seems odd to me. I am new to Subaru however. Also, where and how did I lose that quart. I mean it was only 1400 miles. Is that common, uncommon what? The WRX is a turbo charged motor and it has been hot here in Texas and, it has been driven somewhat hard. But hey, a quart +? Is there cause for alarm? Should I be concerned or is this normal. It doesn't seem normal to me. Help!
 
Messages
79
Location
RTP, NC
Um... did you check for leaks? Beyond just looking at your driveway for drips, you can try putting the car up on ramps and examining the underside (particularly the filter and oil pan) for oil residue that might indicate a leak. Going through a quart in 1400 miles is somewhat unusual, though. If by chance you still have the old oil you might try measuring its volume to see how much was actually in there.
 
Messages
1,874
Location
Ocala, Florida
Brian, Let me explain a situation and see if this seems to be the same for you... My escort, 1.9L 4cly engine, full when left jacksonville fl, ran to texas and back, and was one qt low at the end of my trip. Now, it might have been low in the middle of the trip and I didn't know it, and most likely was, but here is the deal.. I drove like I stole the car, 90+mph.. what this does it creates so much oil pressure that it will force the oil around the piston rings thus once it gets to a basic normal oil pressure at those speeds it doesn't consume any more and just rides at the 1qt low level. Now before and since this, my car has never used any oil, of course I haven't driven it that hard since. I suspect you'll find that this may be what is or has happen'd if you're driveing that hard. Just a thought... bob
 
Messages
349
Location
Quebec, Canada
quote:
Originally posted by BOBISTHEOILGUY: I drove like I stole the car, 90+mph.. what this does it creates so much oil pressure that it will force the oil around the piston rings thus once it gets to a basic normal oil pressure at those speeds it doesn't consume any more and just rides at the 1qt low level. Just a thought... bob
Bob, Maybe it's because I haven't had breakfast yet, but I'm not understanding you on this one. [I dont know] Are you telling me that Brian should've seen blue smoke coming out of his exhaust? Regards, Oz
 
Subaru designs the dipstick that way for a reason. You should never let your oil get more than a half quart low with a 4-quart sump. But beyond that, it sounds like your engine is not yet broken in. Did you follow the manufacturer's recommendation on break-in? When is the first scheduled oil change? What is the recommended oil viscosity?
 

Brian Jones

Thread starter
Messages
19
Location
Austin, Texas
Member # 67, Um...Yes I checked for leaks. At work where I park in the same spot during the work week. And of course in my garage where I park every night. Under the car and behind. No leaks.
 
Messages
48
Location
Northeast US
Just a quick hello to all on the forum, this is my first post of any kind as I usually just read what's happening back and forth to try and gain a little appreciation and knowledge. **************** My extended family has leased / owned 3 Subaru vehicles with the 2.5L flat four. When I leased my brand new '96 Outback, I switched it to M1(5-30) at about 4,000 miles. It used about a quart every 3k from that point forward. I never switched it back to dino for the remainder of the lease. It was noteworthy to me that, out of all my new vehicles, this was the first that actually used any oil between changes. On the recommendation of how much I liked the car, some relatives purchased a '97 Outback. This vehicle didn't get switched over to M1 (5-30)at about 15k and it used nearly no oil between changes. Another Soob, a '00 Forrester with the 2.5L (although SOHC by this time) was added to the family fleet, and it was switched over to AMSOIL (5-30) around 5k. This time, oil consumption was about 1/2 to 3/4 of a quart every 3k. I believe that with around 45k on the clock, it's now below that. As an aside, none of the vehicles were driven like grannymobiles or racecars, just a good mix of hwy and city, high and low speed. After speaking with a few fellow owners when the cars were in for service, it seemed a common feeling that the flat four isn't really broken in until at least 10k, even better would be 15 ~ 20k. I think as the owner of a nice WRX you come across as concerned about your turbo and heat by switching to synthetic for extra protection. But my slice of Subaru history seems to indicate that you have to bite the bullet and really wait before switching to synthetic. I think the high quality synths are basically extending the break in period. Sorry for the longwinded replay of history. I know it's purely subjective since it's what my experience has been with Soobs so use the info as you wish. DF
 

Brian Jones

Thread starter
Messages
19
Location
Austin, Texas
Member # 67, Um...Yes I checked for leaks. At work where I park in the same spot during the work week. And of course in my garage where I park every night. Under the car and behind. No leaks.
 
Messages
874
Location
Pacific NW
Something I haven't seen answered: If ring seal is poor because break-in wasn't completed before switching to synthetic, does it work to switch back to dino to complete the process? In the same vein, do group III oils or EP additives affect break-in such that they should also be avoided during that time? (Speaking only about engines that aren't factory broken.) David
 
Messages
11,006
Location
Canberra ACT Australia
Brian I own a Sube Outback with 2.5 boxer engine. Out of 25 vehicles I've owned it is by far the worst for checking the oil level. It has a really weird dipstick with a notch and a hole in it, and owners manual unclear on what is the full mark. Maybe yours is the same? I've found the vehicle has to be left o'night with dipstick removed and then check in the morning to get any consistency re level. Another thing I noticed is that the level is totally different depending on which side of the flat part you read. Sube engineering sure had some fun in mind for us owners me thinks? Great cars Subes, just loathe that **** dipstick!!
 
Messages
5,785
Location
Dixie
I believe diesel fan is 100% correct ...I've found it's best to wait until the oil consumption stabilizes at a low level before converting any engine to synthetic. I'd wait at least 7500 miles on a VW/Audi engine, for example.
 
Could this not be the effects of exaggerated fuel dilution ? The rapid burning off, of the fuel in oil when you gunned it, after "taking i gently" while breaking in ? ? BTW knowing how these Scoobies can go, I'm not the least bit surprised... [Big Grin] FWIW, IIRC local Scooby's here, in SA, run a 5W40 at a minimum, with many running a 5W50 or sometimes a 5W60.
 

driven2services

Administrator
Messages
0
Brian, I read somewhere that the suggested motor oil viscosity for the Subaru WRX was 5w-40 and that the use of 0w-40 would void the warranty. I realize that you are using 10w-30 but my point is that a higher viscosity oil would be a better choice for this application. A typical 5w-40 motor oil would have viscosity of about 25% higher at high temperatures and I would think that this would reduce oil use by close to 25%. Some cars really do need a higher viscosity oil. Subaru may have recomendations that are different in the USA from what is required in other parts of the world. I believe the article I read was from the UK but I am not sure. If I can find the article again I will post a link to it. Remember that in the USA we have corporate average fuel economy requirements from the EPA. This will often cause an auto manufacturer to recomend a thiner oil such as 5w-30 instead of 5w-40 anywhere else in the world.
 

Brian Jones

Thread starter
Messages
19
Location
Austin, Texas
I am about to reach 5000 miles on the car. It seems that I may have been a bit premature on switching over from the OE Dino to Synthetic. Am I absolutely correct on this assumption and if so what now? Drain it and put back in a Dino? I haven't lost anything since my first post. No leaks. Any thoughts. ThanX, B.
 
Messages
48
Location
Northeast US
Brian - what does the owner's manual state for the applicable grade(s) and / temp ranges? *** My 2cents, but I'd use a 10W-30 dino w/new filters @ 3k change intervals for the next two or three oil changes. I wouldn't strech past 3k changes since your Soob is TC'd and frequent cheap oil changes will give you a little extra piece of mind if you're driving it hard. By all means practice proper turbo cooldown before shutdown. I'm breaking in my new Mitsu 2.0L (no TC [Frown] ) on MobilDrive Clean (dino not blend). I'm not especially concerned whether it's got the best basestock or additive package out there since I usually drive pretty conservatively and I'm changing oil and filter every 3k. It should more than suffice in that role during my own imposed extended break in.
 
Messages
48
Location
Northeast US
quote:
Originally posted by diesel_fan: Brian - what does the owner's manual state for the applicable grade(s) and / temp ranges? *** My 2cents, but if permitted in the manual I'd use a 10W-30 dino w/new filters @ 3k change intervals for the next two or three oil changes. I wouldn't strech past 3k changes since your Soob is TC'd and frequent cheap oil changes will give you a little extra piece of mind if you're driving it hard. By all means practice proper turbo cooldown before shutdown. I'm breaking in my new Mitsu 2.0L (no TC [Frown] ) on MobilDrive Clean (dino not blend). I'm not especially concerned whether it's got the best basestock or additive package out there since I'm changing oil and filter every 3k. It should more than suffice in that role during my own imposed extended break in.
 
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