Camshaft seal replacement question


I have a 2009 Subaru Outback with an oil leak that’s behind the timing belt. From what I can tell it’s looking like the mechanic is going to tell me the cam shaft seal will need replacing and from what I can gather the average cost is pretty high considering I just had major work done on said Subaru and can’t comfortably afford another high bill.

I was wondering if this is something I could do myself. I am very interested in learning more about my car and fixing it aside from just oil changes and I’m seriously hoping this is a place I can start.

If I can, it would also be awesome if someone could show me how or point me to some good resources.

I’m still fairly new to the space so I sincerely hope this is allowed.

Thank you all for your time and patience.

paging @TLAR

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There are plenty of us which have been deep into your engines. Many are happy to give advice, but Allen Wan typically has time to help on projects which interests him. He does not typically post on Talk, but he is at the space most nights.

Do some YouTube searches to confirm; but on many car getting to the ‘bad’ part is often more work than the actual replacement.

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I can’t think of any shaft oil seal where getting to it isn’t sevaral times more work than changing the seal. Especially behind the timing cover, keeping the engine in time, and if it is an interference engine, avoiding bending valves is also a concern.

That said, it is still a DIY capable job, just possibly more involved than one would first guess.

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Do you think it would be best to leave it to the mechanic for this one?

See if someone with Subaru specific experience can chime in. Yours might be one of the easier ones.

Eventually, I’m going to finalize my parts list, and do all the parts in the way of a camshaft seal on one of my cars. But due to age, and other factors, I’ll be doing some extra work, with a roughly $1K parts list, and most of a long weekend under the hood.

Camshaft is at least easier than crankshaft…

Dunno on your Subie, but on the MX5 there are hex flats on the camshaft where you can put wrenches on them to hold them in place. It makes it much easier to keep the timing when replacing those. You may want to see if there are custom tools or techniques like that to hold the camshafts in place. YouTube and web forums are your friends on things like this.

Oh, and while you’re in there, replace the timing belt.

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I have a 2007 Outback and have a workshop manual downloaded from some time ago. I will dig it up and see if the section for timing belt/cam seal replacement is there. Our engines should be the same.
You may want to consider doing the timing belt, water pump, and everything else under the timing belt cover (because it sucks to get to it again if you need to some miles down the road) while you’re at it.
It will definitely take quite a bit of hours but doable as long as you have enough time available to do it.
It’s not that difficult just time consuming.