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Old 09-04-2019, 06:05 PM   #1
Saturn072014
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Default Mystery oil leak on passenger side of engine area.

2009 XE 2.4 Saturn Vue.

Started noticing spots of oil on driveway.
Looked under vehicle and noticed a lot of oil drops hanging down on the passenger front side of the frame area.
Pressure washed underneath side of vehicle to clean everything up so I could get an idea where it was leaking from.
Drove about six miles back and forth to work didn't notice anything leaking after that.
Check transmission level it seemed to be good.
Engine oil level is down but I don't really know if that's just normal usage or not right now as its been awhile since I checked it.
Read were faulty PCV system could cause leaking seals by over pressuring the engine.
Tried to learn some information about the PCV system but that doesn't seem to come very easy on this model. Apparently it doesn't have a PCV valve. There only seems to be a tube that runs from the valve cover the air breather. I tried getting a vacuum reading from both ends of the tube and the dipstick but didn't read any vacuum at all.
Can anyone shed a light on what is normal on this vehicle. Thanks.

Picture shows where tube attaches. The plastic intake breather has a crack in the corner of the fitting that has been there for a few years now. Be careful you don't crack yours as this was easy to do.


Attached Images
File Type: jpg 490384108.jpg (156.3 KB, 22 views)

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2009 XE 2.4 Saturn Vue.

Last edited by Saturn072014; 09-04-2019 at 06:07 PM.. Reason: Add Model info.

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Old 09-05-2019, 06:23 AM   #2
waiter21
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2003 VUE 2.2L
Default Re: Mystery oil leak on passenger side of engine area.

On my 2.2, there is no PCV valve. Theres a small orifice on the intake manifold. If that orifice is plugged, it will cause the symptom you have..

How many miles on your Vue?
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Intake_10_800.jpg (124.9 KB, 12 views)

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2003 Vue - 2.2L with Manual Trans. (Swapped)
Originally had 2.2L and Auto trans.

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Old 09-05-2019, 07:10 AM   #3
Saturn072014
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Default Re: Mystery oil leak on passenger side of engine area.

Quote:
Originally Posted by waiter21 View Post
On my 2.2, there is no PCV valve. Theres a small orifice on the intake manifold. If that orifice is plugged, it will cause the symptom you have..

How many miles on your Vue?
170,000
So how do you test this? Do you have the same tube also?

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2009 XE 2.4 Saturn Vue.

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Old 09-05-2019, 09:45 AM   #4
rb6667
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2004 L-Series 2.2L Wagon
2004 L-Series 3.0L Wagon
Default Re: Mystery oil leak on passenger side of engine area.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Saturn072014 View Post
170,000
So how do you test this? Do you have the same tube also?
Waiter 21 brings up a very good possibility. Try this: Take a thin piece of paper(dollar bill) etc. Start the engine and hold it up to the fitting on the valve cover. The paper should flutter. If it does not, the PCV is not functioning.

As a last resort, if you have a good air compressor. try and blow air into that fitting on the valve cover. ( Seal the fitting well when doing this) I did this one time on a 2.2 and heard a very distinct "Pop". Then I had vacuum on that port. Yeah!

If still no vacuum on that port shown on Waiter 21's picture is possibly blocked. You will have to remove the intake and clear that port. A new gasket will be required as well.

The worst possibility is that the whole valve cover will need to replaced as the PCV valve is built into the valve cover. It is not serviceable and might be badly clogged.

Let us know what you find.

...
2004 L-Series Wagon 2.2
2004 L-Series Wagon 2.2
2004 L-Series Wagon 3.0

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Old 09-05-2019, 01:47 PM   #5
Saturn072014
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Default Re: Mystery oil leak on passenger side of engine area.

It was my understanding that the vacuum should be coming from the air intake breather side not the valve cover side.
Although that would be a good idea I guess I can try both sides.

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2009 XE 2.4 Saturn Vue.

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Old 09-05-2019, 02:18 PM   #6
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Dizzy Re: Mystery oil leak on passenger side of engine area.

I guess the other thing that confuses me is that the port seems to be in the intake manifold but the hose runs from the air intake breather to the valve cover.

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Old 09-05-2019, 06:51 PM   #7
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Default Re: Mystery oil leak on passenger side of engine area.

Tried the paper idea with just a regular sheet of paper it would actually pull a small amount vacuum on the valve cover side. Could not pull any vacuum on the air cleaner side.

Drove about 50 miles each way today and it started throwing some oil once again. Could not really notice any noticeable drop in the dipstick level. I had just clean the plastic valve cover shroud and it has spots on the end near the belt it appears that the leak somehow gets on the belt and gets slinged up all around the passenger of the engine.

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2009 XE 2.4 Saturn Vue.

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Old 09-05-2019, 07:48 PM   #8
waiter21
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2003 VUE 2.2L
Default Re: Mystery oil leak on passenger side of engine area.

I think the hose to the air cleaner is the air supply for the crankcase. Crankcase air is sucked through the orifice and into the intake. However, if the orifice is plugged / restricted, OR, if ring blowby is excessive and the orifice can't handle the volume, it will blow oil into the air cleaner.

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2003 Vue - 2.2L with Manual Trans. (Swapped)
Originally had 2.2L and Auto trans.

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Old 09-06-2019, 02:33 PM   #9
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2004 L-Series 3.0L Wagon
Default Re: Mystery oil leak on passenger side of engine area.

Quote:
Originally Posted by waiter21 View Post
I think the hose to the air cleaner is the air supply for the crankcase. Crankcase air is sucked through the orifice and into the intake. However, if the orifice is plugged / restricted, OR, if ring blowby is excessive and the orifice can't handle the volume, it will blow oil into the air cleaner.
Very good point Waiter 21 Vacuum on the valve cover might not be correct. An open and unrestricted port would be more accurate. Thanks for the clarification.

Regardless, The OP poster may be dealing with 2 problems here. Restricted PCV system and possibly a leaking front seal.

Saturn 072014. Were you able to send a good blast of air into the valve cover using a strong air compressor on the fitting? That solved my problem. As mentioned, I heard a very distinct "POP" something got unclogged. Got lucky apparently.

Then my PCV system worked correctly and the motor stopped blowing oil out the front and rear main seals.

Let us know what you find.

...
2004 L-Series Wagon 2.2
2004 L-Series Wagon 2.2
2004 L-Series Wagon 3.0

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Old 09-07-2019, 09:33 AM   #10
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Default Re: Mystery oil leak on passenger side of engine area.

Quote:
Originally Posted by rb6667 View Post
Very good point Waiter 21 Vacuum on the valve cover might not be correct. An open and unrestricted port would be more accurate. Thanks for the clarification.

Regardless, The OP poster may be dealing with 2 problems here. Restricted PCV system and possibly a leaking front seal.

Saturn 072014. Were you able to send a good blast of air into the valve cover using a strong air compressor on the fitting? That solved my problem. As mentioned, I heard a very distinct "POP" something got unclogged. Got lucky apparently.

Then my PCV system worked correctly and the motor stopped blowing oil out the front and rear main seals.

Let us know what you find.
I haven't tried compressed air yet. I guess I'm leery about that blowing something else out in the process.

...
2009 XE 2.4 Saturn Vue.

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Old 09-18-2019, 03:59 PM   #11
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Default Re: Mystery oil leak on passenger side of engine area.

Update:

September 17th 2019 removed intake manifold to check the small hole in the center to see if it was plugged and causing the oil leak problem. Did find out that the hole appeared to be plugged a little as it got better bigger when I cleaned it. I could read a little bit more vacuum after I was done cleaning. Appeared to read about 1 inch vacuum on both the gauges I had that would actually read some movement. Also seem to pull more vacuum just by putting my finger on it and using the paper also appeared that there was a little more vacuum than before I cleaned it. I sprayed throttle body cleaner into the small orifice on the intake manifold when I had it off the car to help clean it. I noticed that if I sprayed the throttle body cleaner in the small orifice for a few seconds and let it build up it would start spraying out of the four intake holes in the manifold . There is a small hole in each intake tube about 1 inch in from the surface and nearest the end towards the small orifice I could actually stick a wire inside there they all appeared to be open as they all had throttle body cleaner spraying out of them.
To remove the intake manifold I would recommend unhooking and pulling off the throttle body first which I had to pull it off in order to pull the whole thing out in the end anyway and this also gives you greater access to some of the other fittings. There is also a vacuum line just above the throttle body I removed if you look carefully at the connector you can kind of figure out how it works. There is a nut on the dipstick bracket holder that has to also come off. There's also an electrical connector just above the throttle body must go to some kind of manifold air pressure sensor that I had to remove.There's a connector that goes to the throttle body and then there's another connector that goes on down towards the bottom of the engine I believe.one of the hardest things was a connector on the bottom of the manifold and that had a tie wrap type connector holding a wire loom down at the bottom that I cut off at the tie wrap with a pair of wire cutters. For right now I decided to reinstall the intake manifold with all the old gaskets just to see if this was going to stop my oil leak problem or if I would have to pull it off again for some reason.

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2009 XE 2.4 Saturn Vue.

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Old 09-18-2019, 04:18 PM   #12
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Default Re: Mystery oil leak on passenger side of engine area.

Here is some pictures I could not get added to my above post in time.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Closeup small orfice before cleaning1.jpg (51.5 KB, 11 views)
File Type: jpg Intake with Throttle body 1.jpg (88.5 KB, 11 views)
File Type: jpg Intake before cleaning1.jpg (90.9 KB, 10 views)
File Type: jpg Vacuum line fitting1.jpg (192.0 KB, 9 views)
File Type: jpg Without intake in the way 1.jpg (90.8 KB, 10 views)

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2009 XE 2.4 Saturn Vue.

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Old 12-03-2019, 10:07 AM   #13
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Default Re: Mystery oil leak on passenger side of engine area.

Thought I would give an update since I haven't really driven the car very far since I fixed it. I drove over 300 miles 2 different times in the last week and all the oil leaks seems to have been stopped so apparently cleaning that orifice fixed it.

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