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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey fellow Ascent owners. Like many others, I have experienced the gas smell in the garage. After checking the oil level, it was about 5/8" above the fill line. It was filled to spec and checked to be at the full mark during the last oil change. My Subie is currently in the shop, where the field tech/dealer team are "collecting data." I'll post as I know more.

Meanwhile, I have an Ascent loaner from the dealer. For the last few days, I've noticed that it, too, has left a gas smell in the garage. Sure enough, this morning, checked the oil, and it's up to the first twist on the dipstick. I posted a photo. Of course, I have no idea if they overfilled it in the first place, but have a hard time believing they would.

Please join in and check your oil level! I'd like to see how many other owners are experiencing high oil levels. I realize this isn't terribly scientific, but I think it will help us all if this turns out to be an issue. When checking oil, please, make sure it's legit (level-ground, cold engine, wasn't overfilled in the first place, etc.).

I'm not sure that there is necessarily a correlation between the gas smell/high oil level. The smell is somewhat objective, given some people may be more sensitive to it. Others may store fuel or lawnmowers in their garage that mask it. But, the high oil level seems to be a concern. I've never owned a vehicle that actually created oil as I drove it. :smile:

We love our Ascent. I'm 100% happy with the car, and I tested every other 3-row out there. We pre-ordered on day 1, and have truly enjoyed owning it. I'm hoping we iron out these early bugs, and our Subie is part of the family for years to come.

Let's try to be as detailed and accurate as possible. Not sure how it will all turn out, but if a significant number of Ascent engines are passing fuel into the oil, that's going to be a big issue. Of course, chime in with any ideas for other explanations or thoughts on the subject.
 

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I checked my oil yesterday and it is about a half inch over full (checked cold). I took delivery 2 weeks ago and did not check the oil until now.

Yesterday, while working around the vehicle putting on mud flaps, I did notice a strong gassy odor that was stronger near the front wheel wells. This is a garage with gas cans and other gas equipment in it so I was not sure until I was this close.
 

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Don’t have an ascent yet but I do have a 18 crosstrek. And yes it does the same. I’ve been told it’s the low friction rings they have to use to meet some epa requirements now that cause it. Not saying it’s supposed to do it but yea.
 

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Out of curiosity, are there any hypothesis as to how this it happening? I have not had any unusual fuel smells or elevated oil levels.
I have two hypothesis for fuel passing the “weak” (or low friction) ringland:
1. The pressure of DFI is greater than the compression stroke cycle pressure
2. DFI injectors are leaky at rest, loosing prime pressure (and some ppl reported longer startup crank time)

Fuel is very volatile, turning into vapor fast at higher temp, and it’s transported from crankcase to TB via PCV then out past the carbon (GAC) intake filter
 

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I think if you all are going to do this test, you need a standard, starting benchmark. IMPO that starting benchmark should be with an oil level at the exact top mark. Turbo cars will will also burn oil, it's a natural function and greater with boosted cars. Both of my cars have run air-oil separators. One of my cars also leaks a little.

The only way I know I am losing oil (or gaining it in this case) is to keep my dipstick on the top mark. I monitor my level and I can watch it fall, either from the separators, burning or the leak. My oil levels never rise. And the only accurate time to check is when the car has sat for several hours. Pulling it at the gas station will render a low reading, when it all drains back after sitting for several hours is the only accurate time you can get a level reading. Especially with a horizontal motor.

I suspect these cars were all overfilled when they were built. I also suspect this was done to head off any "oil consumption" issues that been common in Subarus since they started racing for cafe' numbers.

I think all data will be conjecture unless all testers drain their oil and start with common, consistent and repeatable benchmark starting oil level. Not just what the car came with.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I think Trey T has posted up the leading hypotheses on this issue. We're not the only engines experiencing this, and field data from other manufacturers are pointing in the same direction.

I've had direct experience with two Ascents that have had multiple oil changes and are well beyond the "overfilled at the factory" assumption. Add that to the several other people on this forum experiencing the exact same symptoms after an oil change, and I would think it would interest all Ascent owners to keep an eye on this. To reiterate, my Ascent, and a few others on this forum, are in the shop now being examined by field techs. It's not like we were given a simple "Oh, don't worry about that, it's normal" response. Clearly, Subaru knows it wouldn't be good if a significant amount of fuel is finding its way into the oil.

Thanks to those who chimed in already. Hopefully, others will check theirs, and we can get a feel for how common this is among fellow Ascent owners.
 

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Hmmm this is interesting. I checked mine with about 3,000 miles and sure enough its about an inch above the full mark. The engine is cold. I plan to change the oil soon and will certainly keep an eye on it closely after that. I have checked it periodically and at pick up in December, but honestly didnt really pay attention too much and just made sure it was full. Thanks for the heads up.
 

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don’t have an ascent yet but i do have a 18 crosstrek. And yes it does the same. I’ve been told it’s the low friction rings they have to use to meet some epa requirements now that cause it. Not saying it’s supposed to do it but yea.
So, at what point is overfilled too much vs. the overfill mark on the dipstick? (not the dipstick at the dealer). Usually overfilling results in a crankcase pressure that can blow out main seals. It can also cause a clogged up pcv valve. Injector pressure regulator maybe? What ever the case, the fuel smell is more likely a problem than not.
 

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Testing...

Make sure you all are testing as follows:
  1. Engine cold
  2. Car on flat ground (that means at the curb doesn't work for some people where their road is banked for water run-off). I use the parking lot or garage at work.
  3. Pull, wipe, put back in.
  4. Pull again, measure with dipstick straight up and down (the thinner oil moves easier along the dipstick than thicker ones).
  5. Wipe, put back in, pull out and measure again.

Use the measurements from #4 and #5.
 

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Wondering...

Wondering if engine braking would help the rings seat better and help reduce blow by
I'm wondering if there's actually a problem. Four or five people of four or five thousand members of this forum and the FB group isn't many people at all.
 

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Just checked my oil level and it is right on Mark after 4600 miles. Took delivery in January 2019.. Don’t seem to have the same overfill issue..
It’s not supposed to be overfilled. Even though I’m giving SOA the benefit of a doubt and be optimistic about it, we’d be a giant fool to believe that SOA intentionally overfilled it. I only said it based on my observation and I have no proof.

Someone asked a very good question, “how much overfilled is too much?”

Boxer engine (sit near oil level), vs inline engine (sits far away from oil level), is more susceptible to oil flooding into the cylinder at rest if crankcase is flooded.

Somebody take a tape measure and estimate. I’m willing to bet, 2-3” above full mark will cause a lot of problems
 

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When I started seeing topics on here, I went out and checked my oil with just 200 miles on the car. Oil has been properly filled on mine... (March 2019 delivery). No gasoline smell and the car is parked and warmed up in the garage.
 

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I hate to be a stickler here...I will re-iterate my previous post.

You all need to start with a common benchmark. As I have said before, You all want that to be the full mark dead nuts and then gather your data from there. Starting observations on a dipstick that is over full to begin with doesn't yield suitable data for discussion. If you want real data, you need real controls.

I know I don't have an Ascent, but that doesn't matter when it come to mechanical forensics
 

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FWIW, we test drove an Ascent today and I popped the hood on the one they had on the showfloor and it smelled like somebody dumped a bunch of gas in the engine compartment. That said, the different Ascent we actually test drove had no smell what-so-ever when I popped the hood after the test drive. Unfortunately, I did not pull the oil dipstick in either vehicle.
 
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