Toyota and Subaru have a big problem with the way the oil pans of 2022 GR86 and BRZ cars were sealed up. On these applications, Toyota and Subaru opted for a room temperature vulcanizing (RTV) sealant in place of a conventional gasket on the oil pan. This isn’t the first time we’ve learned about RTV problems when used at the oil pan – Ford has their own issues, but that’s a story for another day. In many documented cases of the Toyota GR86 and the Subaru BRZ problem, too much RTV was applied to the oil pan at the factory which is leading to oil starvation and eventual engine failure. This is an especially big deal considering that both vehicles are marketed as track-ready, and yet, they can’t survive a track day.
How is RTV Causing Engine Failure with the 2022 Toyota GR86 and Subaru BRZ?
The problem is that the dried excess RTV is falling off at the mating surface between the block and the pan and when the RTV debris falls into the pan, it gets sucked into the oil return pickup, which of course is no bueno! If the debris is large enough the return line could clog or the return screen, which is a mesh net at the oil pump, could become occluded, leading to oil pump failure and subsequent engine failure.
What Can Installers do to Help Identify Excess Use of RTV For These Applications?
Obviously, as is the case with most applications, dropping the oil pan to inspect is no small task. Thankfully, there are two easier ways to help identify potential issues with excess RTV sealant used on the 2022 Toyota GR86 and the Subaru BRZ and both should be quick and easy.
1. The 2022 Toyota GR86 and Subaru BRZ use a spin-on style oil filter; so, when a customer with one of these vehicles is in for oil change service, the installer can quickly cut the filter canister open and inspect the filter media for any RTV debris. If debris is present in the filter media, there is a good chance that larger debris may be stuck in the oil return line or the screen that protects the pickup at the oil pump.
The presence of even small bits of RTV in the filter media would be cause for concern and the customer should be notified and educated on the issue if they’re unfamiliar. If necessary, there’s one additional step that can be taken to confirm that RTV is a problem with the vehicle:
2. With the oil drained and the oil pan drain plug removed, feed a borescope into the oil drain hole, and visually inspect the interior of the oil pan for excess RTV at the mating surface and throughout the pan. Note: this method still won’t allow a visual on the pickup screen.
The presence of debris in the filter, compounded by a visual of excess RTV inside the pan would necessitate dropping the oil pan, re-application of RTV, then flush and refill the engine with clean oil.
When Indulging Your Customers by Going the Extra Mile Leads to Business Growth
There may be installers, particularly those in quick service, asking themselves “who has time for things like this?” We understand that in most service bays time is money and efficiency is critical to the bottom line– but in cases like this, that time is well spent. It only takes a few minutes to cut open a spin-on oil filter and that few minutes could help save your customer from the inconvenience of being stranded on the side of the road in their brand-new Toyota or Subaru. Customers will recognize the courtesy of you looking out for their best interest, instilling trust, and likely creating a repeat customer.