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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
So lately ive been noticing a very very slight oil leak from my car. Its a 2011 GV sti with 78K. The oil leak I believe is coming from the oil filter itself. Now before I continue with this, I will answer the obvious. Yes I change my own oil and yes the filter is tight. I follow a 3K OCI religiously regardless of oil brand. I always use a Subaru blue oil filter and never anything else. They are OEM Subaru filters from the dealership. I purchased a box of oil filters a long long time ago and have been using them for years. I will also like to add that I always make sure im not double gasketing it. Meaning, making sure the old o-ring seal comes off with the old oil filter at every oil change. I also make sure I clean up after the oil change. Meaning brake clean and compressed air. I also double check for leaks after the oil change with the engine running and of course no leaks. So thats how slow/slight this leak is that it isnt right away noticeable.

With that all being said, this is a very very small leak to the point of maybe a couple of drops here and there on the under panel. Ive looked carefully and its not wet at all from the oil cooler lines. The coolant lines and the cooler itself are dry. Its also not wet from the mating surface between the oil cooler and oil filter. Its literally seems to be coming from just under the lip of the oil filter itself. Even the lip of the oil filter is dry! Ive been noticing this pretty much on my last couple of oil changes as well. This seems to have happened ever since I converted to ELH. Call me crazy but I never had this issue before with my oem ported manifolds and cross pipe. And yes, heat shields were removed from that set up as well.

So on to my question. Is it possible that the heat from the ELH can possibly be causing the oil filter to get too hot and or damaged to the point of causing a slight leak? I wish I would have taken pictures but I guess I will have to just give an in general hand drawing of what im talking about.
Tin Wheel Tin can Drink Rim


The black drawn hand drawn line is where im talking about. A leak from there, just under the lip of the oil filter. Mating surfaces dry, cooler dry, cooler lines dry, lip of oil filter dry. Its literally just under the lip of the oil filter that seems to be leaking. This is not the first time or first filter that this has happened to.

Any thoughts on the possibility of heat causing this? Im wondering if maybe I should try to rig up a heat shield for the filter itself and see if it changes anything.
 

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No. The amount of cooling you would get from the oil in the filter itself, would far outweigh any radiant heat from the header. Air is a poor heat conductor and has a low heat capacity. More likely filters are just garbage. Personally, I've been using the Mazda branded Tokyo Roki filters since day one, and have never had an issue.
 

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No. The amount of cooling you would get from the oil in the filter itself, would far outweigh any radiant heat from the header. Air is a poor heat conductor and has a low heat capacity. More likely filters are just garbage. Personally, I've been using the Mazda branded Tokyo Roki filters since day one, and have never had an issue.
+1 to the Mazda filters.
N3R1-14-302

I order mine on Amazon and picked up a bag of drain-plug washers at the dealership because the Mazda ones don't fit.
The Mazda filters are the same as the Subaru filters they used to use 5+ years ago before they switched suppliers.
They have extra capacity too over the newer blue filters.
 

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+1 to the Mazda filters.
N3R1-14-302

I order mine on Amazon and picked up a bag of drain-plug washers at the dealership because the Mazda ones don't fit.
The Mazda filters are the same as the Subaru filters they used to use 5+ years ago before they switched suppliers.
They have extra capacity too over the newer blue filters.
I assume you meant same manufacturer and pressure relieve valve spec and not capacity, which was less on the original Subaru Black filters.

But yea, RX-8 filters or bust. Plus, always a kick seeing the reaction of the Mazda dealer when you tell them what car you're using them for :LOL:

Maybe the seal is dry rotted and leaking on your stash of blues? Depends on how you've stored them. This is why I'm hesitant to order filters in bulk or pick up someone's old stash of blacks.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
No. The amount of cooling you would get from the oil in the filter itself, would far outweigh any radiant heat from the header. Air is a poor heat conductor and has a low heat capacity. More likely filters are just garbage. Personally, I've been using the Mazda branded Tokyo Roki filters since day one, and have never had an issue.
Interesting. Its just strange that ive never had this issue over the years and all of the sudden the past 2 oil changes Ive noticed this. The only thing that I can think of is that I went ELH and removed my previous sandwitch plate since it wouldnt fit with the ELH. Since then, its been ELH and regular oil filter to oil cooler connection. Its the only thing I can think of that changed since 2021. Over the last couple of weeks ive had the car on the lift to do work. Everytime, id remove the under panel and check up on this. Just to see this drip coming the from the oil filter. Id also clean it off before finishing up for the day. Repeat the following week or 2 later. I just find it strange that the filters are leaking out from what seem like the seam of the cartridge.

I assume you meant same manufacturer and pressure relieve valve spec and not capacity, which was less on the original Subaru Black filters.

But yea, RX-8 filters or bust. Plus, always a kick seeing the reaction of the Mazda dealer when you tell them what car you're using them for :LOL:

Maybe the seal is dry rotted and leaking on your stash of blues? Depends on how you've stored them. This is why I'm hesitant to order filters in bulk or pick up someone's old stash of blacks.
Maybe but I dont think so. I think if it were the seal, its would be leaking from that mating surface area. I think it would aIso be a much quicker and pronounced leak. I had an oil filter seal fail on me once before like 10 years ago. It made a huge mess real quick. The funny part was, when that happened, the car had sat for a week without running. It must of happened on the first start up and sprayed on the way to work that morning. Thank my lucky stars I had an oil pressure gauge that tipped me off of something being wrong and made my spidy senses tingle lol. It found it strange that it happened 1000 miles after an oil change. I believe this happened on my second year of ownership and never happened again. Of course Subaru blue oil filter.

I purchased the box of 12 oil filters probably like 6 years ago. I do 2 - 3 oil changes a year at 3K OCI. I keep the filters stashed in the back of my tool box. All the filters are individually wrapped in plastic like how they came in the box. I also keep them in their box together so its not like they're out there just all loose and rolling around and stuff. Its just seems odd to me that the filters are leaking from what appears like the seams of the cartridge.

Maybe these things really are trash??
 

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Take the filters back to the dealer. Ideally, bring a used one with a leak too. They are pressure tested at the factory, but no QC process is perfect, and sometimes these things show up after some heat cycling. If the dealers is any good, they should swap them out for you.

It's not uncommon for high volume products like this to have recalls, but you won't know about them unless you search the manufacturer's website. Every manufacturer has had them. You just can't make a million commodity items perfectly every time.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Take the filters back to the dealer. Ideally, bring a used one with a leak too. They are pressure tested at the factory, but no QC process is perfect, and sometimes these things show up after some heat cycling. If the dealers is any good, they should swap them out for you.

It's not uncommon for high volume products like this to have recalls, but you won't know about them unless you search the manufacturer's website. Every manufacturer has had them. You just can't make a million commodity items perfectly every time.
Yeah I mean if it was a recent purchase sure, id have a shot if i still had a receipt. I could claim a parts warranty or even just a return and exchange. Unfortunately this was a very long time ago and I dont have a reciept. Just imagine the look on the parts guys face.... "Hi, I purchased a box of oil filters from here like 6 years ago and now they're leaking. Can you just swap them out for me" 😂

Come to think of it, now that you mention quality control, I remember there was a recall back in the day on subaru blue oil filters for leaking. I think I may have to investigate a bit further into this. Maybe I have a batch of recalled filters, maybe not. I'll have to check out each of my remaining filters and see what their production numbers are.

recall_notice_02052013_for_distribution.pdf
 

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I had a brand new blue filter randomly fail causing my oil pressure to never exceed 55 psi. I opened it up and found no issues with it that I could find, so once I'm through my allotment of blue ones I'm switching to mazda or purolator.
 

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15 yrs with the blue Subaru (Honeywell) filters on FXT, LGT and STI. They are not the best or worst filter. There is always the possibility of getting a bad one (any brand) as jedi03 stated. I'd change it and move forward.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I had a brand new blue filter randomly fail causing my oil pressure to never exceed 55 psi. I opened it up and found no issues with it that I could find, so once I'm through my allotment of blue ones I'm switching to mazda or purolator.
Thats crazy. I think im in the same boat as you. I have 6 more filters in my stash so once im done with those, I think I will switch to Mazda or the Purolators.

15 yrs with the blue Subaru (Honeywell) filters on FXT, LGT and STI. They are not the best or worst filter. There is always the possibility of getting a bad one. I'd change it and move forward.
Oh im sure. Ive seen my share of bad oil filters on cars before as well. My concern is that its not the first time that this has happened. Ive noticed this on my previous oil change and the one before that as well. Reguardless, I will keep an eye on it and change it at my 3K interval. Im almost at the half way mark. According to my records, my last oil change was March 5th of this year.
 

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oil cooler o-ring? I had one of those leak on a forester and it looked like it was the filter that was leaking.

I had no idea there were complaints about subaru oil filters. Are the mazda ones really that much better? if so, why?
 

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oil cooler o-ring? I had one of those leak on a forester and it looked like it was the filter that was leaking.

I had no idea there were complaints about subaru oil filters. Are the mazda ones really that much better? if so, why?
A while ago (well before 2015?) the Subaru filters were made by the same company as the current Mazda filters.
This company was Tokyo Roki.

At some point the 'contract' to produce the filters for the whole OEM Subaru lineup was lost by TR and won by Fram.

The filter elements became of a lesser quality (cough cough Fram sucks) but were still 'adequate for OEM', so it is what it is.

The Mazda filter (Tokyo Roki) compared to the current Subaru filter (Fram) has better filter elements and is actually of a larger capacity, both of which are advantageous.

Will YOU notice a difference yourself, maybe not, but longevity wise it may have it's impact, and im sure in applications where there is more stress it will have larger benefits.

They also cost basically the same, so it's kind of one of those 'might as well' things.
You may not see the benefit, but it certainly won't hurt.
In fact, you either win or don't notice a difference lol.
 

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The Mazda filter (Tokyo Roki) compared to the current Subaru filter (Fram) has better filter elements and is actually of a larger capacity, both of which are advantageous.
Better how? What's the media type? filtration specs? Flow capacity? Bypass pressure rating? If you KNOW any of this, please share. Up until now no one has produced this knowledge, (or at least not that I've seen) and have only stated that it's better for completely subjective reasons. If you're going to sell it as a product that can improve longevity, you really need something to back that up. Alternatively, maybe a compiled list of premature engine failures due to the OEM filter failing/defects and compare that to some other brands to establish a 'normal' defect rate.

The Suby blue filters are no longer produced by Fram. Plus Fram has been bought/sold a few times over the years with accompanying changes to management to 'better fit market demands', or 'improve' this and that. None of this matters as much as you think, because the build specs are all provided by Subaru, so no matter who makes it, they all have the same performance specs. Now if the OEM supplier has a QC issues, that absolutely does throw a wrench in the works, and as I said earlier, ALL OEMs at one point or another has issues. Especially with a commodity item like an oil filter.

This thread has gone OT, but for those that MUST have bigger, and believe the people who designed the engine and oil filter specs might have known what they were doing (otherwise, why do you even drive a Subaru), then just get an Ascent Oil Filter (cough cough, we sell both on our site if you want the part No). Same filtration, bypass, burst rating, etc. and about double the filtration media.
 

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Better how? What's the media type? filtration specs? Flow capacity? Bypass pressure rating? If you KNOW any of this, please share. Up until now no one has produced this knowledge, (or at least not that I've seen) and have only stated that it's better for completely subjective reasons. If you're going to sell it as a product that can improve longevity, you really need something to back that up. Alternatively, maybe a compiled list of premature engine failures due to the OEM filter failing/defects and compare that to some other brands to establish a 'normal' defect rate.

The Suby blue filters are no longer produced by Fram. Plus Fram has been bought/sold a few times over the years with accompanying changes to management to 'better fit market demands', or 'improve' this and that. None of this matters as much as you think, because the build specs are all provided by Subaru, so no matter who makes it, they all have the same performance specs. Now if the OEM supplier has a QC issues, that absolutely does throw a wrench in the works, and as I said earlier, ALL OEMs at one point or another has issues. Especially with a commodity item like an oil filter.

This thread has gone OT, but for those that MUST have bigger, and believe the people who designed the engine and oil filter specs might have known what they were doing (otherwise, why do you even drive a Subaru), then just get an Ascent Oil Filter (cough cough, we sell both on our site if you want the part No). Same filtration, bypass, burst rating, etc. and about double the filtration media.

Some info. Obv alternative applications but the videos posted have some info.

While it’s incremental results from bench testing, like i said, they cost the same, and the worst that can happen is they perform the same.
 

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sorry to send the thread off on a tangent, but that's why we're here right? ;) Hope you find your leak or it goes away with the next filter. Thanks for the info re: tokyo roki.
 

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What results? Bench testing? Please post.

That vid has zero data except for subjective observations, and the Suby black filters are what come from the factory on EJs and considered a break-in filter. There is about half as much media in them. I would never run them a full OCI, especially if you're going to push to the factory recommended OCI. Shouldn't matter to most here, since enthusiasts often change oil long before the recommended interval, but a safe assumption to go by is the loss area, the larger allowable particle size (poorer filtration), or, lower media area will give a higher pressure drop across the media.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Pretty good video about the oil fitlers. I didnt know the OEM blue subaru filters were so......crappy LoL.

Anyways I pulled the car in today and inspected the oil filter. Yup same result still even after cleaning it up last week. I took some pictures this time to help give an idea as to whats going on here.

Wheel Tire Automotive tire Light Bicycle wheel

Automotive tire Automotive fuel system Motor vehicle Rim Gas

Automotive tire Fluid Plastic bottle Gas Water

Automotive tire Cylinder Gas Drinkware Liquid


It really does look like a leak from the cartridge. As you can see, everything else is dry. The dirtyness on the block just above the oil cooler is just debris. After I do oil changes, I usuallly just spray brake clean and hit it with a blown gun to to dry it all off. I guess thats where its collected over time. None the less, I checked that out too and its dry. Its just dried up debris.
 

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