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So I have a 2011 STI and ever since I switched to Rotella T6 5w-40 from whatever the previous owner used, I have had this reoccurring oil smell In my car when I stop at a stop light and Start back up again. I have tried to find the source of the problem But cant seem to figure it out. I had Oil present in my intercooler and thought maybe that was the problem. So I put an AOS on and it still hasn't fixed the problem. I know I've seen all the posts about this same problem on here but those offered little to no help so I've decided to post myself. I've checked my valve cover gaskets and they are fine, I've checked my downpipe, Upipe and headers for oil spots and there are none. There was no shaft play in my turbo and there was no oil in the hot side so i'm at kind of at a loss for what to do, I was losing a bit of oil before and but after installing the AOS it seemed to have stopped but the smell is still there and makes me very uncomfortable. Any Ideas? (Sorry if I posted in the wrong Place I'm new)
 

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Have you replaced the PCV valve assembly? I know you said you installed an AOS but some retain the factory pcv valve and others delete it.

Did you get this car recently? Maybe you're just smelling down pipe fumes, that is provided the car is catless.
 

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  • You don't smell oil in the inter-cooler from outside. Whether that was an issue or not depends . . . and if you really have an issue, the AOS is a bandaid - though it might help you in in not running the sump very low.
  • You wrote you checked your valve cover gaskets, but they are a common cause of the symptoms you describe - especially on the turbo side - and you may never see oil on the ground even if it's smoking really badly. The clue is that it occurs when you start till it burns off the exhaust.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Have you replaced the PCV valve assembly? I know you said you installed an AOS but some retain the factory pcv valve and others delete it.

Did you get this car recently? Maybe you're just smelling down pipe fumes, that is provided the car is catless.
The smell started even when I had the factory exhaust and the AOS I got completely deleted the Valve. Not sure if that helps
 

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  • You don't smell oil in the inter-cooler from outside. Whether that was an issue or not depends . . . and if you really have an issue, the AOS is a bandaid - though it might help you in in not running the sump very low.
  • You wrote you checked your valve cover gaskets, but they are a common cause of the symptoms you describe - especially on the turbo side - and you may never see oil on the ground even if it's smoking really badly. The clue is that it occurs when you start till it burns off the exhaust.
The Problem I have with the valve cover gasket theory is I cant even smell it in the engine bay, ill come to a stop in say a parking lot and quickly open the hood and not even a hint of oil so I feel like if It was a leaky valve cover I would smell it when I opened the hood.
 

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The smell started even when I had the factory exhaust and the AOS I got completely deleted the Valve. Not sure if that helps
Is it possible that your are smelling the AOS venting to atmosphere? I dont have and AOS but dont the ones that delete pcv have a hose the just vents.
 

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Is it possible that your are smelling the AOS venting to atmosphere? I dont have and AOS but dont the ones that delete pcv have a hose the just vents.
Yes that could very well be it but its venting down the down pipe tunnel near the bottom of the car so I don't feel like it would make its way up to the fresh air intake into the cab.
 

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Yes that could very well be it but its venting down the down pipe tunnel near the bottom of the car so I don't feel like it would make its way up to the fresh air intake into the cab.
I think its possible, i mean you only smell this when you come to a stop. Did you notice this smell before you installed the AOS?

Are you absolutley sure you dont have any visible oil leaks? Any smoking from the engine or exhaust system while running or on cold starts?
 

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I think its possible, i mean you only smell this when you come to a stop. Did you notice this smell before you installed the AOS?

Are you absolutly sure you dont have any visible oil leaks? Any smoking from the engine or exhaust system while running or on cold starts?
The smell first appeared after my first oil change and I was completely stock then, no AOS. Since then I have put in an upipe and a downpipe and I would inspect all of them for oil spots to see if it showed signs of leaking oil on to exhaust and nothing, I have checked the underside of both valve covers and there is nothing, Granted I did check a while ago. Ill wait for my car to cool down and get back under there to see if I can spot anything.
My exhaust smoke shows nothing out of the ordinary, hardly any smoke if i'm honest and cant smell any oil coming from it.
 

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I occasionally but rarely smell my AOS vent after I have stopped my car. But it's its foul, not a normal oil smell.

Soonish after I bought my STI with nearly 100K on it, I had the same issue. It got worse, and worse and worse - and when it looked like my car was going to catch fire at lights I figured it out.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I occasionally but rarely smell my AOS vent after I have stopped my car. But it's its foul, not a normal oil smell.

Soonish after I bought my STI with nearly 100K on it, I had the same issue. It got worse, and worse and worse - and when it looked like my car was going to catch fire at lights I figured it out.
I wish It was easy to find. Ive had this problem since around january and It ceases to amaze me how it has somehow gone unsolved for this long. I guess ill keep looking and hope i find something. Thanks for your help!
 

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Valve cover gasket are a bit of a PITA, but not expensive or difficult if you have tools to work there. It a turbo Subie. Just bite the bullet and remove the stuff on the side you are doing . . .
 

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Valve cover gasket are a bit of a PITA, but not expensive or difficult if you have tools to work there. It a turbo Subie. Just bite the bullet and remove the stuff on the side you are doing . . .
Yeah that seems to be a recurring theme that i've figured out on subies, everything ive done to it usually ends up being a PITA to install? but its so worth it once you get to drive it.
 

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Yeah that seems to be a recurring theme that i've figured out on subies, everything ive done to it usually ends up being a PITA to install? but its so worth it once you get to drive it.
Valve cover gasket are a bit of a PITA, but not expensive or difficult if you have tools to work there. It a turbo Subie. Just bite the bullet and remove the stuff on the side you are doing . . .
Ok well whatever was producing the smell just got worse. Either it was a small leak that I couldnt find that just tuned into a big one or its a new leak. I looked under my car turbo side and there is oil splattered on the trans, my downpipe and dumptube. Not sure what it is but now I need help identifying it.
here is the link to the pictures. If anyone can help me figure out what it is it would be appreciated.
 

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I though you said you checked everything......

Hard to tell in that picture. I see the axle boot is missing the clamp and possibly torn up on the edges. Is that cv boot grease that is splattered all over the place or is it oil?

Id recommend replacing that cv boot and clamp and then cleaning EVERYTHING up real good. You can then put some miles on the car and recheck it.
 

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Well considering Last week I was under the car installing my up pipe and waste gate in this exact spot id say this is a very new leak or an existing leak that got really bad all of the sudden because i know I would've saw this before. To me it looks like splattered oil as from what ive seen CV grease is black and not this light of a color. I tried to smell it on a rag but I couldn't smell anything or maybe my nose isn't functioning properly so it makes it harder to identify. My guess is an Oil line is leaking but Im not entirely sure yet because it makes it hard to find a leak with oil on everything.
 

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Well considering Last week I was under the car installing my up pipe and waste gate in this exact spot id say this is a very new leak or an existing leak that got really bad all of the sudden because i know I would've saw this before. To me it looks like splattered oil as from what ive seen CV grease is black and not this light of a color. I tried to smell it on a rag but I couldn't smell anything or maybe my nose isn't functioning properly so it makes it harder to identify. My guess is an Oil line is leaking but Im not entirely sure yet because it makes it hard to find a leak with oil on everything.
Grease colors can vary depending on the manufacture. The outer can be a green/grey/black. The inner can be a clear/tan/brown color. Usually the grease colors will darken over time due to wear and contamination. Either way id still replace that axle boot before it gets worse.

You now have discovered a leak. If you arent sure where its leaking from, clean everything off real well with brake clean and compressed air. Start from the top and work your way down. After you have cleaned everything, put some miles on the car and visually recheck everything again.
 

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Grease colors can vary depending on the manufacture. The outer can be a green/grey/black. The inner can be a clear/tan/brown color. Usually the grease colors will darken over time due to wear and contamination. Either way id still replace that axle boot before it gets worse.

You now have discovered a leak. If you arent sure where its leaking from, clean everything off real well with brake clean and compressed air. Start from the top and work your way down. After you have cleaned everything, put some miles on the car and visually recheck everything again.
Thanks for the advice, Just ordered a new boot and will get to cleaning around the area and see what I can find(y)
 

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Doesn't look like oi. to me. - I hope that not OPs oil! :)

Could be oil and grease, but oil runs and clearly there is only grease in some places. where it did not run at all.
 
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