I just traded in my beater '06 Honda Accord for a '12 WRX with about 75,000 miles on it. Luckily I bought the biggest, baddest warranty I could from the Toyota dealership that had it for sale because my local Subaru dealer found some problems...
The Toyota dealer claimed that the car had "undergone a 140 point inspection" and was caught up on maintenance and "100% stock". On the test drive I noticed the exhaust didn't sound stock. When I mentioned it the salesman assured me that it was and that's just "how the WRX sounds". The only reference I had was my buddies STI with an after-market exhaust so I believed him. I had my uncle (a mechanic that works on buses) look over it with me and everything seemed to be in good shape. Brand new tires and breaks; nearly complete service history; new clutch; hoses weren't brittle; etc.
After driving it around conservatively for about 200 miles I decided to really get on it on a highway ramp and heard a hissing or "whooshing" sound that I've never heard in any car, turbo or otherwise before (buddy has an STI, brother drives a SAAB 900 turbo).
So when I got home I took a look at the air filter. It looked like it had been gummed up with tree sap and road tar or something... Not what I would call caught up on maintenance. I did nearly all the maintenance on my Honda so I went about the basics on the WRX. I jacked it up and did an oil and oil filter change. The oil didn't look excessively dark or anything. The exhaust definitely did not look stock. The mufflers were removed but it looked like the cat and the resonator were still intact. Went to remove the spark plugs and... lets just say I rage quit.
Even with the air filter replaced the whooshing sound didn't go away so I took it to my local Subaru dealer thinking I had some kind of vacuum/boost leak.
I had them inspect everything and they found that, besides the exhaust, I also had a performance clutch and a kart-boy short-shift kit installed by the previous owner. I wonder if I could sue for false advertising or something - anyway, the downside was that they found a oil on the hose leading away from the intercooler leading them to believe that the turbo is passing on oil through the intercooler - most likely meaning I had a leaking seal and would require the turbo to be replaced. The hose clamp was essentially spinning freely from the oil. They think the sound I'm hearing is boost leak from that.
I invoked my warranty and the Subaru dealer is going to do the work next week.
My question is:
Is it actually safe to be driving around in this condition? The Subaru dealer didn't make it seem like a big deal at all. They told me "the engine will just burn the oil, you may smell it - keep an eye on the oil level." He told me not to even worry about driving it hard?! At the least I'm pumping oil into my intake, at most I could blow my turbo, right? If I break the turbo and send bits of metal through the entire engine...
I'm already driving very softly (trying to keep it under 3500RPM) but should I quit driving it altogether until fixed? Once the new turbo is in is there anything I can do to flush the intake out or will it just suck everything through and sort itself out? Anyone have anything like this happen to them before?