After running at interstate road speeds, there is a "clutch-type" smell coming through the vent system. This can easily be detected standing beside the vehicle upon shutting down. h

Asked by Mar 14, 2016 at 09:23 AM about the 2008 Subaru Outback 2.5 i

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

The local Subaru dealer found and replaced torn rubber boots on the front
axel thinking this was the cause of the odor but it still occurs. The clutch,
brakes and similar parts were checked and found to be OK.

2 Answers

237,365

Might be oil leaking burning off the exhaust, or residual grease from the torn CV boot. Have another mechanic look it over for you if the dealership can't help.

4,290

It can take many hours of running to "cook off" the grease residue that sprayed onto the cat conv, so be patient. Eventually you'll notice (with a flashlight aimed down from the passenger side windshield aiming FORWARD under the right motor side) if you have a FRESH motor oil seepage coating the old dried grease...and even see it from underneath the motor too if it's dripping onto the exhaust. THAT would be a right side head gasket oil leak, for which there is NO recourse (trust me) except to replace the HGs ($1400-1800 with a good indie wrench). Oh...but you may get lucky if you notice that any oil leak emanates from the TOP of the right side of the motor rear, where the stupid $15 high pressure variable valve solenoid oil pressure switch cracks and spews oil all over the right side of the motor. But if this upper area is dry, and you're leaking oil, it' the HG. (Sorry). So check that oil pressure switch immediately, as it's a 10 minute fix if leaking. If you can't see an oil leak just drive around normally to further "cook off" that old DOJ boot's messy grease. Wiping with a rag and spray-cleaning MAY speed up the process, but be even smellier in the meantime. Usually it's just better to let it cook off as there are too many cracks and crevices in those exhhaust heat shields to try to clean them up thoroughly by hand or stinky sprays. Hope you dodge a bullet....

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