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Old 03-19-2013, 06:32 PM   #1
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2000 SL2
Default oil leak question

Besides warping plastic valve cover and the whole piston issue do these DOHC engines have a propensity to leak in other areas? Mine has 155k miles on it and it goes through oil faster than it should. Do the main seals have a tendency to leak?

I just changed the oil and the oil covering everything underneath reminded me that one of these days I should probably do something about it. My valve cover leaks a little, but I don't think it can account for all the oil underneath, even with gravity coming into play. Just picked up an aluminum cover, that will be an afternoon project one of these days.
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Old 03-19-2013, 08:05 PM   #2
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Default Re: oil leak question

Quote:
Originally Posted by trouttrooper View Post
Besides warping plastic valve cover and the whole piston issue do these DOHC engines have a propensity to leak in other areas? Mine has 155k miles on it and it goes through oil faster than it should. Do the main seals have a tendency to leak?

I just changed the oil and the oil covering everything underneath reminded me that one of these days I should probably do something about it. My valve cover leaks a little, but I don't think it can account for all the oil underneath, even with gravity coming into play. Just picked up an aluminum cover, that will be an afternoon project one of these days.
Valve cover gasket is the top one. Follow the gravity flow. Rear main seal, crank seal and the front timing cover. What oil do you use? How much oil do you use?
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Old 03-19-2013, 08:29 PM   #3
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Default Re: oil leak question

How often do you get the RPM over 3000? I find the revving the engine is the biggest source of my oil burning. That is, the biggest oil consumption for me is when I go on a road trip and drive over 70 MPH at an extended period. This will burn the oil. If I don't do these road trips, I burn less than a quart per oil change.
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Old 03-19-2013, 09:50 PM   #4
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Default Re: oil leak question

I'm leaning towards rear main. I haven't spent too much time searching around the engine. The valve cover doesn't seem to be leaking bad, I don't have rivers of wet oil flowing. However pulling a plug wire off and it was covered in oil.

It's using about a quart every 700-ish miles. I don't think it's burning much of it. Seeing the exhaust in the headlights on the cold days this winter did not have any tint of blue. I know that's not real scientific but if it was burning that much you'd see a little at least.

I bought the car in December and had a shop change the oil right away. I think they used pennzoil. I just changed it the first time myself today. I use Quaker state high mileage stuff 5W30 as I've had good luck with it in my other cars.

I'm pretty light footed with the car. Generally shift at 2500 rpm and don't go any faster than 65. Besides it needs a new clutch one of these days.

I know my way around cars, I was mainly wondering if they had a common leak problem besides valve cover. It's my beater-mobile to get me to work and run around town so I don't want to spend a ton of money on it. I've definitely been liking the 37mpg the last couple tanks of gas.
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Old 03-19-2013, 09:53 PM   #5
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Default Re: oil leak question

I should also say there's never a puddle of oil under the car. Just a drip here and there
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Old 03-19-2013, 10:12 PM   #6
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Default Re: oil leak question

Yep, they leak... through the oil control rings.

At 155k, unless there was a rebuild in its history or insanely good maintenance it should be burning oil rather heavily by now. It's possible for it to leak from other areas, but most of your oil is probably being burned. The catalytic converter takes care of it mostly so you shouldn't be able to see the oil in the exhaust. Make sure to put a fixed orifice PCV valve on it as that can reduce some oil burning. Part number is PCV 1009 at Autozone.
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Old 03-19-2013, 10:38 PM   #7
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Default Re: oil leak question

When you do the clutch you can check the rear main. They usually do not leak. If bad they make a puddle on the ground.

Quote:
Originally Posted by trouttrooper View Post
I'm leaning towards rear main. I haven't spent too much time searching around the engine. The valve cover doesn't seem to be leaking bad, I don't have rivers of wet oil flowing. However pulling a plug wire off and it was covered in oil.

It's using about a quart every 700-ish miles. I don't think it's burning much of it. Seeing the exhaust in the headlights on the cold days this winter did not have any tint of blue. I know that's not real scientific but if it was burning that much you'd see a little at least.

I bought the car in December and had a shop change the oil right away. I think they used pennzoil. I just changed it the first time myself today. I use Quaker state high mileage stuff 5W30 as I've had good luck with it in my other cars.

I'm pretty light footed with the car. Generally shift at 2500 rpm and don't go any faster than 65. Besides it needs a new clutch one of these days.

I know my way around cars, I was mainly wondering if they had a common leak problem besides valve cover. It's my beater-mobile to get me to work and run around town so I don't want to spend a ton of money on it. I've definitely been liking the 37mpg the last couple tanks of gas.
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Old 03-20-2013, 12:17 AM   #8
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Default Re: oil leak question

Thanks. I've already done the PCV swap.

My old Jeep had a bad rear main and it would smell like burnt oil bad when I drove it. Fortunately it was a 2 piece seal so I was able to replace it by dropping the oil pan and removing the rear bearing cap. Messy job but all in all not bad. With the saturn I only smell burning oil for just a couple minutes every once in awhile when on the highway.
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Old 03-20-2013, 12:26 AM   #9
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Default Re: oil leak question

Entirely different design, no relationship other than location on rear of engine.
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Old 03-20-2013, 07:59 AM   #10
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Default Re: oil leak question

Check the oil drain plug too. Significant leaks that are not burned should eventually appear on the outside of the engine somewhere.

Oil on the spark plug boots in the plug wells is likely a leaking donut seal for the cam cover at that well. No place for that oil to go from in the well until you remove the boot and plug.

Worn valve guide seals can leak increasing oil consumption.

Extensive use of engine braking can increase oil consumption thanks to higher RPM and high Vacuum.
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