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Old 01-24-2022, 08:14 PM   #1
daddy4count
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Default Chronic Oil Cooler Leak

Ladies and gents

Most of us have probalby run into the dreaded oil cooler gasket issue... in fact I've replaced mine twice and had a professional do it once. That's 3 gaskets in about 2 years.

My problem is that when removing the oil filter for a change it is losening the bolt that holds the cooler on. Typically I will just tighten it back to torque spec and move on.

Unfortunately over time the cooler comes loose enough to cause the gasket to fail (like it bunches up and gets squished). It's happening at about every other oil change.

I looked at an aftermarket oil cooer, but that doesn't replace the unit... just attaches to it. I also looked at relocating my oil filter, but those kits look kind of hinky...

So... is Loctite my only recourse? Or do any mad scientists here have another idea to make it right? I would love some insight if anyone else has delt with this in this way?

Pretty much looking for a way to stop changing that gasket over and over. That sucker is a real PITA to fit right...


Thanks!
d4c

- 2007 WRX wagon, stock EJ255, 5MT -
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Old 01-24-2022, 08:31 PM   #2
BlueSTI4Me
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Loctite and move on to the next leak.
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Old 01-24-2022, 08:42 PM   #3
KillerBMotorsport
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Loctite or just remove it. Many 2009 WRXs came with no OEM cooler from the factory.
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Old 01-25-2022, 07:36 PM   #4
daddy4count
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BlueSTI4Me View Post
Loctite and move on to the next leak.
Indeed... strangely this is my only confirmed leak. My power steering pump looks like it has a leak, but I'm not losing fluid so...



Quote:
Originally Posted by KillerBMotorsport View Post
Loctite or just remove it. Many 2009 WRXs came with no OEM cooler from the factory.
So... tell me more about this removal you speak of..? Is there a delete kit or something out there?

Removing it is simple enough, even routing the coolant lines back onto themselves seems logical and simple enough...

But will the filter still fit without the cooler housing above it..?

I must investigate further...



Thanks all
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Old 01-25-2022, 08:26 PM   #5
Max Capacity
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Just saying, how come you seem to be the only one with this issue ?

I replaced the gasket on my oil cooler some 146,000 miles ago. It has never leaked.

Have you inspected the sealing surface ?
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Old 01-25-2022, 09:50 PM   #6
daddy4count
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Max Capacity View Post
Just saying, how come you seem to be the only one with this issue ?

I replaced the gasket on my oil cooler some 146,000 miles ago. It has never leaked.

Have you inspected the sealing surface ?
That's a fair question.

I wondered the same thing after having replaced it myself. I figured I could have done it wrong, or there might be an issue I can't detect.

I took it to a mechanic I trust (he's worked on 3 of my 4 Subies and always done top notch work) and they found no issues other than the bad gasket. But he's also not cheap, so I didn't want to keep taking it back to him every year or two.

I kind of assumed it was a more widespread issue, but apparently not? I mean, tons of people have experienced it. Just not as often as I have..?


Side note: If I didn't have to wrench off my oil filter every time I feel like it wouldn't be such an ordeal. I feel like it sticks to the bolt way too hard. I have to use a pipe wrench to take it off.

And yes, it only goes on hand tight. I never use tools to tighten the filter.

So maybe this is the real problem and the gasket issue is a side effect..?

It's frustrating to drive around burning oil all the time. Tiny leak, but stinks anyway... and I'm constantly checking my oil levels due to the paranoia.

I dunno.
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Old 01-25-2022, 11:36 PM   #7
benflynn
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Id replace the bolt.
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Old 01-26-2022, 06:12 AM   #8
KillerBMotorsport
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Quote:
Originally Posted by daddy4count View Post
So... tell me more about this removal you speak of..? Is there a delete kit or something out there?
You'd just need to get the block stud from a WRX that came from the factory with no oil cooler. The non-turbo models likely came this way as well, so it might be worth looking at some parts diagrams.

Then just remove the cooler/stud and replace the stud with the short non-cooler version and put the filter on.
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Old 01-26-2022, 08:39 AM   #9
Elbert Bass
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Two things.
I would have my torque wrench calibrated - 40 ft.Lbs is much tighter than any hand tightened oil filter - unless the threads are damaged on the filter end of the oil cooler bolt.

I would be sure that the leak isn't coming from the wrist pin plug on the right bank case half front behind the timing cover. Those are prone to leak as well.
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Old 01-26-2022, 10:38 AM   #10
pigboat_2
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I am a strong second for deleting the oil cooler. On the 07 wrx, you also have that angle adapter plate to contend with, which is another 3 o rings to fail and leak. I've dealt with it on three of my own Subarus.

https://www.subaruforester.org/threa.../#post-7717046

This post (#3) should outline deleting the oil cooler, part numbers, torque specs etc. The other thing you should get to delete it is a newer EJ255 water pump that doesn't have the provision for the oil cooler. Look for say, a 2008 FXT water pump. There are many models from the 07-08 era up till the end of the 2.5L that forewent the oil cooler from the factory.

My thoughts on the oil filter being so tight though, is not oiling the o ring on the filter enough.
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Old 01-26-2022, 03:27 PM   #11
benflynn
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U could pull the pump outlet and tap and plug it easily

Also I run an coolant filter on my jeep, if I was doing this Id use that water line for a filter. Keeps the coolant nice
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Old 01-26-2022, 04:00 PM   #12
Max Capacity
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FWIW, my oil filters can be removed by hand, I don't need a wrench. Maybe you put them on too tightly.

Sometimes I use a Vibrant silicone hose coupler to get a batter grip around the filter. I have one leftover from the old boosted Honda Civic day's.
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Old 01-26-2022, 04:58 PM   #13
Jedi03
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mine had been repaired supposedly right before i got it...no issues yet, put on as tight as can by hand then removing always have to use filter wrench...maybe go a little tighter on it? the bolt that is...but may also recommend get new bolt and start there...if its elongated then can cause issue too
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Old 01-26-2022, 08:11 PM   #14
Max Capacity
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I believe the directions on the oil filters say, 3/4 turn after gasket contacts. Do you wipe oil the gasket on the filter ? You're supposed to do that too.
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Old 01-28-2022, 06:14 PM   #15
daddy4count
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KillerBMotorsport View Post
You'd just need to get the block stud from a WRX that came from the factory with no oil cooler. The non-turbo models likely came this way as well, so it might be worth looking at some parts diagrams.

Then just remove the cooler/stud and replace the stud with the short non-cooler version and put the filter on.
I should have known to look into this to begin with. Thanks for the info, I'll check into it further.

As for everyone else, thanks for the responses! This thread has been super helpful.


I think to start I'm going to replace the bolt. If it's that simple I'm willing to go through crawling around underneath the car again, LOL.

If that doesn't work I'll look at deleting.

As for oil changes... I was taught from my first car to always lube the oil filter before you put it on. That means oil in the filter as well as around the lip and gasket.

The tightest I put the filter on is when it stops moving easily with my hand. Basically I'm looking for a little resistance and then I stop. I never go heavy handed on the filter. Which is part of why it boggles my mind that it is always so hard to remove.

I've tried changing the oil when it's still hot (not that hard to pull off... was a recommendation on another forum... didn't make a difference)

I've tried changing it at 1500 miles

I've tried using a plastic scraper to help pry the filter off while trying to turn it.

Always end up grabbing a pipe wrench and pulling until it breaks free.



This is one of my only consistent gripes about my car. Everything else I've been able to fix, figure out or pay someone to do it for me.

She's a great little runner. If I can figure this out it will be a huge cross-off my list.


Thanks again! I'll let you know when I get it sorted.

D4C
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