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footbkosec20 06-15-2010 10:40 PM

Uppipe oil leak...HELP
Have an 04 wrx i swapped the stock uppipe out for a Grimmspeed ceramic coated pipe with a flex joint. Needless to say, deleted the cat and the EGT.

After install, i got smoke coming from the engine bay but dimissed it as the PB blaster burning off as well as some oil that had leaked out of the return line from the turbo.

Finally i have noticed spots of oil on my driveway and wherever it is parked. Finally got the car in the air and found something interesting. Since the uppipe from Grimmspeed has the flex joint in it, I can see oil is leaking out of this joint and onto the heat shield over the exhaust manifold and then burning off thus giving me smoke.

I have searched enlessly and have found that I could have a problem with the banjo bolt on the oil feed like for the turbo as well as the copper crush washers.

Any opinion on what would cause an oil leak DOWN the uppipe??

RcrsWetDream 06-15-2010 11:37 PM

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Well that could be a hell of a bad seal inside the turbine, leaking oil down the pipe. Have you checked your oil to see how much you've lost through the turbo? I wouldn't think that oil will flow out of the pipe, it's probably running down the outside somewhere, and cooking off on the pipe and not so much on the flex, so it looks like it's coming out of the flex. It could even just be some oil that managed to find it's way on the pipe but it sounds like it's a bit more than that.

How did you install the uppipe? Pull the turbo or from the bottom? If you pulled turbo were you hard on any of the banjo fittings?

footbkosec20 06-16-2010 07:32 AM

Uppipe was installed from below. Exhaust manifold was removed along with shield and the engine had to jacked up about 2 inches to make room for the stock pipe to come out.

It may be leaking down the back of the pipe, i was unable to check that last time I had the car in the air. Oil was just changed and I dont appear to be losing oil that fast. I have been checking it everyday just in case.

During the pipe install however, the oil return line for the turbo came off and we did not know. Once everything was back together, I fired it up and saw oil gushing onto the floor, awesome. Eventually got it back on which wasnt easy, but didnt see any leaks.

I have a buddy that works at a car dealership. Im trying to see if I can get it on to one of the lifts to get a better look.

RcrsWetDream 06-16-2010 08:57 AM

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Yeah I'm gonna guess the oil line is jacked up somehow... Either loose at the turbo or it somehow got cracked when you were raising the engine up. Those lines don't like to bend.

footbkosec20 06-17-2010 08:37 PM

Just an update, got the car up on a hydraulic jack and found the oil return line for the turbo doesnt seem to be secured properly. Will have to get it take care of, will update when done.

footbkosec20 06-28-2010 07:25 PM

Update, the leak is actually coming a seal right above the uppipe. There is a picture, sorry but its hard at the angle i was taking the picture at. The uppipe is visible and the leak is coming out right below that bolt with the copper washer.

Any advice what this could be? Not sure if its a bad gasket or what...


footbkosec20 06-28-2010 07:27 PM

sorry, pic link was busted.


footbkosec20 07-02-2010 11:20 PM


wagonracer 07-05-2010 01:25 PM

Is that the valve cover ? That's what it looks like to me, and would make sense. That's supposed to have a brass and rubber grommet, and it looks like the rubber's missing. Those come with valve cover gasket kits, but a dealer should have them and shouldn't cost more than a buck. I may have some of those laying around if you can't get them individually. Let me know

RcrsWetDream 07-05-2010 01:55 PM

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^ agreed, looks like your valve cover.

footbkosec20 07-07-2010 08:10 AM

Just trying to verify my ends, this pic was looking in from the passenger side wheel well. The leak isn't actually coming from the bolt or washer, its actually coming out where these two shields meet. I was told this could be the valve cover or possibly the head gasket.

This leak is directly above the uppipe. you can actually see the exhaust manifold heat shield that was hacked open to get around the O2 sensor. If it is the valve cover gasket, what am i looking at in terms of difficulty in replacing it?

SubeNewbie 11-17-2010 09:31 PM

I had this same thing happen to me in my 02 wrx after i had an aftermarket header put on. i had it looked at all over town they all gave me different answers. one shop said it was the valve cover and another said it was an oil line into the trubo. neither of them was right but i thought it was the valve cover too so i went with that. i had the gasket changed on the passenger side where the leak was from. next day i had an even bigger oil spot in my driveway. i took it back to them and they said they dont know why this happened and gave the car back without fixing it. i was pissed i took it to subaru the next day and they opened up the valve cover and saw that it was my half moons that needed to be changed and the idiots at the other shop should have noticed it right away when they changed the gasket. just goes to show how big of an asshole people are if they arent getting paid for that part of service. anyway i had subaru call the shop and there head mechanic let the owner of the shop know how much of an ididot he was and that he needed to fix it. he ended up fixin it for half the hourly cost and i tell u he didnt have it in the shop for more then 2 hours.

so this might be your problem too idk just wanted to give u my input and help

footbkosec20 11-18-2010 09:14 PM

I would like to give a good update to this thread. Ive had a lot of useful information sent my way through this thread and would like to supply anyone in the future that runs into the same problem I did with some useful tips.

First I will start with the car. Its an '04 WRX in alpine white, gorgeous and strong as hell. I started with modding this car as really anyone would. I purchased a TBE system and decided to se aside a Sunday where my brother and I could get the job done. The car came with some "home made" downpipe that was catless and honestly, a piece of crap. All else is stock. I purchased the following items:

1 GrimmSpeed Ceramic Coated Uppipe
1 ERZ Catted Downpipe
1 SRS Cat back Exhaust system
All necessary Gaskets and fasteners.

I purchased the Catted downpipe as preference as I didnt necessarily like the sound the catless ones produced. I also want it to pass PA inspection in case I end up moving to Pittsburgh. The uppipe is fantastic and resists heat like a champ. This is obviously catless to prevent grenading my turbo. I had heard good reviews about the SRS exhaust and decided to give it a try since it was only $250.

Let me say, the components all together give a mean boxer rumble that I was dying to have. It was perfect. Installation as Im sure everyone here knows, was simple besides the uppipe. Regardless, it all installed and was awesome.

My drive home yielded the smoke from the engine bay that prompted this thread. I had wrote it off as PB blaster that was all over the place. As the problem persisted I began to worry I had messed something up. I continued to monitor it and found that while the engine was smoking, i got a terrible burning oil smell. I knew what was burning, but not from where.

Upon taking the car back apart the following weekend, i had found the uppipe flex portion completely caked in oil. During install, the oil return line for the turbo had accidentally come off the turbo itself. I had thought this was the problem and ended up buying a new rubber hose, cut it to length and installed it with some better metal hose clamps. I was stricken to find that this did not solve the problem. I had taken the car apart 3 more times and each time found that the oil drip was coming down the valve cover. I kept thinking the oil was leaking down the backside and spent all my time searching for other sources. I was scared that the turbo housing had cracked.

Through this thread, I received a possible tip that the problem could be the valve cover gasket. Another check with the car apart suggested that could definitely be the problem. I searched the web endlessly to find next to no info. I ended up finding a thread on NASIOC of someone that had done it before but didnt really lay out the process. They did provide parts needed for install however.

Things needed:

Right and left Valve cover gaskets

Spark Plug gaskets
13293aa051 x 4

The rocker gaskets that go on the bolts.
13271aa071 x 16

This is what was listed and this is what was bought, although I only did the passenger side.

To install, I had to remove the front passenger wheel, air intake box, and some other miscellaneous parts. It took while to get all the bolts loosened. We eventually got it, swapped the gasket, the spark plug gaskets and the new valve cover bolts when putting the cover back on. Threw everything back together and drove it hard for about 10 min to be pissed again as I will still smoking, still leaking oil from the gasket. Exact same problem.

I ended up letting this go for a few weeks as I had started school and really had no time to take care of it. I eventually decided to give my car up to a mechanic. In case anyone is in northeastern OH, it was Maroun Motors of Canfield OH. They inspected it and called me back to tell me the valve cover gasket was the problem. I told them I already replaced it, but they gave me a good price so i decided to let it run.

After all was said and done, it turns out that the HALF MOON cam seals were the issue. The one for the passenger side was shredded and was the source of my leak.

Moral of the story, if you plan on doing this yourself, do not forget the half moon seals. This small plug caused me more grief than anyone should have to deal with. Also, the total price for the mechanic to do the whole job was under $200. It may be worth your time to just let a mechanic do it. I wish i had done it way earlier.

Its over with, finally..

wagonracer 11-19-2010 12:10 AM

Glad to hear it is finally solved, and thanks for letting us know what the problem actually was. It's a little bit surprising, in that having worked on a lot of Subies over the last couple of years, esp. the last few months (working at a shop), that I've never seen oil leaks at the half moons. Those are Fuji-bonded (silicone) in when the heads are installed. Interesting....

Enjoy the smoke free ride !Thumbs Up

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