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Old 11-26-2016, 05:06 PM   #1
DTMartin
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Default Road trip blues! Oil and coolant leaking from below timing belt cover

Long time reader, first time poster. Broken down on road trip in West Texas (Amarillo) and need some help. Culprit-2000 Saturn LW2,V6, 120,000 miles. Cam shaft sensors and radiator replaced 2 years ago, uncertain of timing belt.

Problem started with gradual coolant leak of unknown origin. Last week a lovely brown crud erupted from my coolant reservoir. No oil loss at that time, so I suspected "Dex-Cool sludge". Cleaned and flushed all of the system till it was flushing clear and replaced upper and lower radiator hose. Drove for a week with no problems so I embarked on my move from Denver to Austin. About 70 miles outside of Amarillo, engine overheated, fortunately able to pull into a truck stop. Oil and coolant were low. Replaced oil and coolant completely, then carefully made my way into Amarillo. Pulled into a Walmart parking lot and had lost 3 quarts of oil and had the typical milkshake oil/coolant in the coolant reservoir. Throughout the entire time, I have never noticed coolant in the oil. Yesterday I noticed that the milkshake mixture was draining from behind/bottom of timing belt cover where the water pump is suspect and being spread over the entire passenger side of the engine, making a pin-point diagnosis impossible (headed to degrease/spray down engine in a moment to help localize under observation). Due to being on the road and not having a garage to work on, I'm wanting to be aware of other possibilities that might be causing this issue. I wouldn't believe that a bad water pump would cause oil and coolant to mix, would it? I am not getting any lights, check engine, low oil pressure, or anything. After reading the forums, a couple of suspect issues would be the oil cooler, head gasket, timing belt cover gasket, and valve cover gasket. I cannot see leakage by the oil cooler and the valve covers have some minor weeping, but nothing that would cause such dramatic oil loss. I'm also not having problems starting the car, so makes me doubt head gasket/pressure loss.

Any ideas would be greatly appreciated!!!
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Old 11-26-2016, 07:24 PM   #2
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Dizzy Update

Just had code reader pull up the following codes:
P0300- multiple random misfires
P0304- misfire in cylinder 4 detected
P0328- knock sensor 1, circuit high input (bank 1)
P0116- engine coolant temperature sensor 1, circuit range, performance

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Old 11-26-2016, 07:33 PM   #3
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Default Re: Road trip blues! Oil and coolant leaking from below timing belt cover

I can't comment on the origin of the oil leak. However, your mileage and the fact that you don't know if, or when, the timing belt was changed gives me cause for concern. The timing belt should be replaced at a 100K mile interval. A member here recently had his timing belt stretch and jump teeth on the timing gears resulting in bent valves during a long highway drive. He drove it with 120K miles on the timing belt and knew he was pushing his luck. He had to get rid of an otherwise well running vehicle because the cost of the repair was near the value of the car.

Be very careful with this. A timing belt job can run up to ~$700.00, but bent valves and potentially damaged pistons may result in an engine rebuild or replacement for many hundreds of dollars more.

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Old 11-26-2016, 08:10 PM   #4
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Default Re: Road trip blues! Oil and coolant leaking from below timing belt cover

Has the thermostat been replaced? That and spark plugs should've been replaced at 100K miles along with the timing belt.

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Old 11-26-2016, 08:34 PM   #5
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Dizzy Re: Road trip blues! Oil and coolant leaking from below timing belt cover

Pierrot,
Thanks for your comments. The car is relatively new to me and has run just fine. During the inspection, they were unable to tell if timing belt had been changed. While flushing the cooling system last week, the thermostat appeared to function as expected. I am getting ready to dig into everything and utilize information from other post on the codes and how they relate to the ignition system. My primary issue still remains solving the oil in coolant mystery and resolving the leak.

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Old 11-26-2016, 09:36 PM   #6
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Default Re: Road trip blues! Oil and coolant leaking from below timing belt cover

You can't see the oil cooler. Its buried in the 'V' section of the engine block, the same place where the thermostat is found when you decide to pull the central intake manifold and outboard runners, fuel rail, injector assembly and miscellaneous items on top of the engine. I doubt anyone can tell if the timing belt is worn, torn, damaged, whatever, unless the timing cover is removed. Unless you have records of maintenance, the timing belt, water pump and fuel filter are major replacement items every 100k miles. A worn timing belt isn't the reason for coolant and oil loss but the oil cooler is a prime suspect. Search for past threads about oil cooler leaking from damaged seals. Pictures and drawings are in some threads.

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Old 11-26-2016, 09:44 PM   #7
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Default Re: Road trip blues! Oil and coolant leaking from below timing belt cover

There is an engine oil cooler located in the "V" of the engine below the intake manifold. Leaks have been known to occur at the cooler resulting in the mixing of antifreeze and oil.

See post #11
http://www.saturnfans.com/forums/sho...il+cooler+leak

The DTC's have me worried (Diagnostic Trouble Codes).

From the 2000 Saturn L81 FSM
P0116 - ECT SENSOR PERFORMANCE
This DTC will set when:
* Modeled and actual ECT difference greater 12 degrees C or 22 degrees F
* Engine running
DIAGNOTSTIC AIDS
DTC P0116 indicateds that the ECT readings are valid but deviate more than 12 degrees C or 22 degrees F from the calculated value the ECM expects to see.

Possible causes:
* Shifted (skewed) sensor
* Loose or intermittent connections in ECT circuit
* Corrosion or resistance in ECT connector/wiring
* Thermostat malfunction
* Cooling fan malfunction
* Extreme ambient temperature

P0328 - KNOCK SENSOR 1 HIGH FREQENCY
Knock sensor are used to detect engine detonation. The ECM will retard the spark timing based on signals from the knock sensor module. The knock sensors produce an AC voltage signal this proportional to the amount of vibration the engine is experiencing. The ECM records a fault when the engine noise exceeds a certain threshold (based on egnine load and speed). After 20 faults have been recorded, this code will set.

DTC PARAMETERS
DTC P0328 will set if there is a fault in knock sensor system and the following conditions are met:

* ECT is greater than 40 degrees C (104 degrees F)
* Engine run time is greater than 10 seconds
* Engine speed is greater than 2000 RPM
* No ECM internal fault cpdes are set

DIAGNOSTIC AIDS
To locate an intermittent problem use the Scan tool (GM's) to monitor knock sensor 1 voltage with engine running. Wiggling wires while monitoring knock sensor 1 may locate area where a short to voltage may exist.

Possible Causes:

* Valve lifter noise
* Belt tensioner (timing)
* Loose bracket
* Low Octane Fuel in High Ambients while Pulling loads
* Piston/Cylinder bore scuffed


P0300 and P0304 are a bit more self explanatory. The problem here is that they could be mechanically generated as could P0328. If timing between the cam and crank gears is no longer correct it can influence the appearance of each of those DTC's. In a worst case scenario it could indicate a serious failure in the valve train (thus suggesting a timing problem).

Please remember, I cannot see what's going on. I'm a virtual on looker giving assistance and opinions. I'm worried that there has been a significant mechanical failure, but I could, of course, be completely wrong about that. In the short run I believe that it's best not to drive this car at all until you know what's wrong with it so as to avoid creating a problem or exacerbating one already present.





...
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The blessings of liberty erode in my country.
Gov't's grown bigger, but a chance exists that it will be reduced. I'm cautiously hopeful.

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Old 11-26-2016, 10:02 PM   #8
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Default Re: Road trip blues! Oil and coolant leaking from below timing belt cover

Quote:
Originally Posted by DTMartin View Post
Pierrot,
Thanks for your comments. The car is relatively new to me and has run just fine. During the inspection, they were unable to tell if timing belt had been changed.
I'm glad to be of help!

Was this car purchased from a private party? It's not uncommon for an owner to sell a car prior to, or around the time of major servicing such as would be required at the first 100K miles. They'd rather lay that responsibilty and cost on to an unsuspecting new owner. I don't know if this happened to you - I would hope that it didn't - but it's happened to more than one member here in the L Series Forums of SaturnFans.





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The blessings of liberty erode in my country.
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Old 11-26-2016, 10:07 PM   #9
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Default Re: Road trip blues! Oil and coolant leaking from below timing belt cover

Thank You both! VERY valuable information and a lot of important areas requiring careful inspection. I will proceed with caution and work down the list of causes for each code while digging to the root of the leak.

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Old 11-27-2016, 02:13 PM   #10
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Default List of Oil Cooler Assembly gaskets/seals (including lines)

After degreasing the engine and observing the leak, it appears that my problem is a leaking oil cooler. I have called every parts store in Amarillo and no one has any of the gaskets/seals required to go through the system and replace them all. Has anyone done this procedure and are you aware of the specifics list of seals required for the oil cooler assembly and lines? Is there a post on this I have missed?
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Old 11-27-2016, 05:03 PM   #11
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Default Re: Road trip blues! Oil and coolant leaking from below timing belt cover

I don't know if this helps at all. My son had a coolant leak on hos 2003 L300 which I just could not find the source of. It went into my indie garage and they found the issue, which was in the V of the engine. The area had not been disturbed since it was manufactured, so they replaced a whole bunch of seals, new T stat housing and intake gaskets.

My total garage cost was $815.28 of which $337.28 was labor. As they had the whole intake manifold off I got them to replace the spark plugs as well. So I have no reason to go into that area for another 100,000 miles by which time it is likely to be with another owner.

Here is the list of parts they fitted by part # and what they charged me. Hope it helps;

Seal # 9129999 Qty 2 @ $7.90 each
Seal # 12992647 Qty 4 @ $12.28 each
Spacer # 905501955 Qty 1 @ $27.42
Seal # 11076852 Qty 6 @ $6.02 each
Seal # 90409175 Qty 2 @ $2.71 each
TStat Housing # 55353492 Qty 1 @ $73.76
Intake Gasket # MS96102 Qty 1 @ $49.86 each
Spark plugs # APP3924 Qty 6 @ $9.21 each
Intake Manifold Set #MS96102 Qty 1 @ $57.36

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Old 11-27-2016, 06:05 PM   #12
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Default Re: Road trip blues! Oil and coolant leaking from below timing belt cover

Try using advanced search here with L300 oil cooler leak as key words or something similar. A list of threads will show and clicking on threads with a paper clip symbol should show threads with pictures or images of parts damaged Here's one hit; http://www.saturnfans.com/forums/sho...il+cooler+leak.

If your oil cooler is leaking, damaged, gmparts may be the only online source for OEM replacement parts as oil coolers in my estimation aren't being made by aftermarket manufacturers. Oil coolers aren't high wear parts and very few members post about them. Google for GM parts, there are several online with all showing the same parts diagram. You'll have to try every online source then try ebay and used parts (online). O-rings and gaskets are either custom made, cookie cutter style. O-rings come in many sizes, thicknesses and material for handling gas, liquid, acids, high and low temperatures. The majority can be matched if the original is measured for ID x OD x thickness. Flat gaskets are either ready made or home made using the original as a pattern and gasket sheet bought to suit.

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Old 11-28-2016, 03:58 AM   #13
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Default Re: Road trip blues! Oil and coolant leaking from below timing belt cover

The following links show most of the part numbers listed by floridasl22002 for the resealing work on the engine oil cooler.

Look at item no.s 33 (not required unless damaged), 34, 35, 36, and 39 in particular. Expand the parts diagram to locate these items in the first link.

http://www.wholesalegmpartsonline.co...category=19398

http://www.rockauto.com/en/catalog/s...ld+gasket,5424

floridasl22002, in your parts list one item is shown twice, MS96102 (Fel-Pro intake manifold set). Do you know why this is? According to the Fel-Pro on line catalog only one set is required per vehicle.



...
295,000 miles-it keeps on rolling!
The blessings of liberty erode in my country.
Gov't's grown bigger, but a chance exists that it will be reduced. I'm cautiously hopeful.

Last edited by pierrot; 11-28-2016 at 04:09 AM..

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Old 11-28-2016, 09:22 AM   #14
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Default Re: Road trip blues! Oil and coolant leaking from below timing belt cover

Pierrot,
Yes I noticed that too. At the time I just paid the bill, so I need to talk with my indie garage and ask why 2 of the same part? It may be another part they fitted and just got the part number wrong. ??

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Old 11-30-2016, 10:26 AM   #15
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Default Re: Road trip blues! Oil and coolant leaking from below timing belt cover

Quote:
Originally Posted by floridasl22002 View Post
Pierrot,
Yes I noticed that too. At the time I just paid the bill, so I need to talk with my indie garage and ask why 2 of the same part? It may be another part they fitted and just got the part number wrong. ??
Pierrot,
This post was very useful to me as the part showing twice did turn out to be the gasket set charged twice. My indi garage apologised profusely for the error and I now have $49.86 back in my pocket! My learning lesson was check my bills before paying for them!!

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Old 11-30-2016, 11:43 AM   #16
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Default Evaluating Sparkplug's

I now have everything apart and and have confirmed that the water pump is functioning perfectly (newly sealed after inspecting blades), that the timing belt was changed(complete bar code and label 95% legible, no glazing, no edge frays, all teeth perfectly intact, and coolant/oil dripped down back side of cover), and that the oil cooler was in fact the culprit. Based on Pierrot's comments of concern and since I'm "all in" at this point, I pulled the plugs for replacement and am curious if anyone has any knowledge to share about evaluating these unique plugs and any commonalities with the previous codes:

1) P0300-Multiple Misfires Detected
2) P0304-Cylinder 4 Misfire Detected
3) P0328-Knock Sensor 1 Circuit High Input (will be evaluating sensor wiring and cleaning connectors today with CRC electrical cleaner)

*Pictures show the plugs in sequence as looking at the engine, so 1,3,5 on top and 2,4,6 on bottom. Both 3 & 4 plugs had gas/carbon buildup above the plug seal and the tip on 4 is definitely darker.

*Based on evaluation of the plugs, and minor weeping around both valve cover gaskets, is there anything that stands out that I should be aware of that needs immediate attention? I am doing this work in the parking lot of a Walmart, I would prefer to dig further into the valves when I am at home and have all the comfort and tools of my own garage.
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Old 11-30-2016, 04:57 PM   #17
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Default Re: Road trip blues! Oil and coolant leaking from below timing belt cover

Your plugs look about normal with only one black from something, oil? A compression test might help if a compression gauge and preplanning anticipated this procedure but not absolutely necessary. I recently replaced my spark plugs. My car is just shy of 100k miles but I wanted to replace them for a suspected starting issue. It was fuel related. My plugs, like yours, are platinum tipped for 100k mile service. Mine were clean with a tan color. You can look up spark plug charts for images of how they wear, become contaminated from magic liquids added to fuel, incorrect heat range selection from experimenting, oil fouling, lean and rich fuel mixtures. I'm accustomed to instant starting for EFI engines and learned about this from a car back in '97 when EFI was just being introduced. No pedal action needed whether in summer or winter. Spark plugs are one of the keys to reliable starting, long life and best performance. The Bosch platinums are perfect for our engines. The only precaution is separating any external oil coating the exterior surfaces of plugs coating the center and side electrode upon removal and being misinterpreted as an oil consumption problem with worn piston rings or valves when its likely a cam cover gasket leak.

Is there a cam cover gasket leak allowing oil to seep into the spark plug chambers, coating plugs with oil? The best way to assess plug wear are by physical inspection and general seat of the pants feel - the overall engine running at idle and while driving. My car has the same smooth idle as it was when I bought it with 15k miles (now around 97k). All attributed to normal wear and tear, periodic maintenance and mostly due to state of the art EFI with O2 sensor monitoring for tight, clean emissions control as well as all around compromises for fuel economy and the occasional lead foot for moving around when needed. No fuel or oil additives used, just regular gas from any station with the lowest gas price.

I think the general misfire code and #4 plug misfire are related and may be the plug, worn piston rings, valve stem seals, burned exhaust valves, damaged coil pack assembly. Take your pick. Hopefully its just the plug, fouling from something.

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Old 11-30-2016, 06:13 PM   #18
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Default Re: Road trip blues! Oil and coolant leaking from below timing belt cover

Quote:
Originally Posted by fdryer View Post
I think the general misfire code and #4 plug misfire are related and may be the plug, worn piston rings, valve stem seals, burned exhaust valves, damaged coil pack assembly. Take your pick. Hopefully its just the plug, fouling from something.
I share these sentiments, especially about the plug fouling. If I were unable to perform a compression test at this time then I would go ahead with replacing the spark plugs and see how things go after that. It could be that the engine will run well and the engine misses will be corrected, but who knows? There's only one way to find out.......and I certainly hope for the best for you!

...
295,000 miles-it keeps on rolling!
The blessings of liberty erode in my country.
Gov't's grown bigger, but a chance exists that it will be reduced. I'm cautiously hopeful.

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Old 12-09-2016, 10:34 PM   #19
DTMartin
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2000 L-Series 3.0L Wagon
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Just wanted to give a proper Thank You for everyones help! Your assistance has been incredibly helpful and I appreciate each of you taking the time to share your valuable experience!

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