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urgent help needed asap
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Old 01 Aug 2010, 08:59 AM   #1 (permalink)
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urgent help needed asap

Hi guys, I yesterday put a deposit on an 03 plate WRX. The car has had one owner from new, 52k on the clocks and fsh. Completely standard never been messed about with.

The all seemed great, started it up from cold, no knocks or bangs, smoke or anything concerning looking.

However there was 2 things iv picked up on. The coolant level was a bit low (not empty, but just slightly below the minimum mark). When i checked the oil i noticed the level was a little bit above the maximum mark on the dipstick. The oil was very clear though, not creamy, and i couldnt see any creamy gunk around the oil cap. The last service took place under 1000 miles ago, and it passed an MOT 10 days ago.

We test drove the car for a good 10 miles at least, including mixed driving on motorway and country lanes - the car seemed to perform well and pulled smoothly, went up to around 100mph - i made sure i kept a close eye on the temperature gauge and it never moved passed the middle mark.

However the fact the water was low and oil a bit high has really started to play on my mind since last night and im tearing my hair out being concerned that the water could be leaking into the oil. If this was the case, what checks could i do to verify this? would the car not run properly? Would the coolant system pressurise or not? would there be exhaust gas in the coolant?

Im an apprentice mechanic so i could take a block test/sniffer kit thing and test that - also going to get the coolant topped up and road test it again and see if it goes down maybe?

The rest of the car seems perfect, the guy seems very genuine - he said he hasnt topped the oil up or anything as it was serviced last than a 1000 miles ago and so hasnt ever checked it.

Any advice will be very much appreciated.

Andy
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Old 01 Aug 2010, 09:26 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Re: urgent help needed asap

If your an apprentice mechanic its a good way to learn,
I havent heard anything that makes me think its a head gasket yet, so its a little down on water, what about topping it up and seeing if you use any over a few days ?
No signs of water in the oil as it just goes milky, clear oil 1000 miles after a service isnt such a big shock is it ? its just clean,when did u check the oil level? warm/cold or hot and which line were you looking at( the subaru has a confusing dipstick with various lines on it),

The water level isnt much better on them as that can rise or drop a little also,
Id say drive it but keep a eye on things.
hth
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Old 01 Aug 2010, 09:41 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Re: urgent help needed asap

As bob says doesn't sound like a headgasket problem, it's not smoking or overheating etc. I'd just top the water up and then go for another long test drive and see if the level goes down.
Also at 52k don't they do a coolant change on the service, maybe not topped it up to the max????
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Old 01 Aug 2010, 10:12 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Re: urgent help needed asap

Thanks for the replies. Iv not actually picked up the car yet, i get it next weekend, hence why i want to check this out before i hand over the full amount.

I checked the oil level when cold and then again when hot, guessing that the two small holes in the dipstick represent the min and max markings.

The oil did seem clean, however it was actually more of a reddish colour as opposed to golden/clear - this confused me a little bit, are some fully synthetic oils sometimes a different colour?

I checked the coolant again after the roadtest, and didnt seem to have gone down anymore than the small amount that was in the expansion tank - if it was seeping into the oil galleries through a gasket leak would it go down quite rapidly?
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Old 01 Aug 2010, 12:28 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Re: urgent help needed asap

I asked the guy last night to top up the coolant and to check the oil and see what he thinks, iv just had this reply....

"I have topped up the coolant to the maximum mark on the reservoir. This took less than a pint. Given the coolant system capacity is 7.7 liters; it's not surprising the car has been running at its normal temperature as indicated on the temperature gauge.

I checked the oil level, making sure I wiped the dipstick properly first. There are three marks on the dipstick; upper level, lower level, and a third mark that indicates where the oil may expand to when the engine is warm. I found the level to be just below the third mark. So I conclude from this that it was slightly over filled at the last service. As I said in my last note, I haven’t noticed a detrimental effect."

does this sound right? in which case i may have been over reacting slightly?
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Old 01 Aug 2010, 01:35 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Re: urgent help needed asap

What about getting it inspected by a subaru specialist? may cost you a few but its peace of mind, it does sound like all is normal, any 2nd hand car sale is a gamble.
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Old 01 Aug 2010, 01:57 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Re: urgent help needed asap

Their is a subaru specialist very local to him that do vehicle inspections, i may see if they can look at it before i hand over the cash.
I do feel more at peace about it now, as i wasnt aware of this 3rd mark on the dipstick, and i suppose less than a pint in a 7.7L system isnt horrendous.
The red colour oil i have bee informed is most likely to be a high performance oil as many of these are indeed red.
Hopefully all will be well, please keep any thoughts and comments coming though...and thanks to everyone responding
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