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Old 09-27-2007, 08:15 AM   #1
klcl
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Default Oil Leak? Not oil pan, not valve cover, not front oil seal.

96 SL1 (SOHC) auto 95K. This car has a slow oil leak maybe 6 -10 drops that I can see when I park the car after being driven (The oil leak drops near the oil pan drain plug and stops after the 10 drops or so). I redid my valve cover gasket and I am sure that it is sealed good and there is no leaks from the cover. I checked my front oil seal on the passenger wheel side and there is no leak there. I clean off my oil pan so I am pretty certain it is not the oil pan but somewhere above the oil pan and between the valve cover at the back of the engine block. Does anyone know the possible source of the leak? Thanks.

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Old 09-27-2007, 08:43 AM   #2
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Default Re: Oil Leak? Not oil pan, not valve cover, not front oil seal.

My DOHC was leaking oil out of the head gasket. Not a lot but enough to leave a few drops on the ground and coat the backside of the engine. Look where the head meets the block.I fixed it when i did my engine rebuild.

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Old 09-27-2007, 09:11 AM   #3
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Default Re: Oil Leak? Not oil pan, not valve cover, not front oil seal.

I redid my camcover gasket (head gasket) as per Wolfman's instructions and it is sealed good (no oil when i run my finger along the bottom of gasket):
http://www.saturnfans.com/forums/showthread.php?t=26532

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Old 09-27-2007, 09:29 AM   #4
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Default Re: Oil Leak? Not oil pan, not valve cover, not front oil seal.

I'll toss out a few possibilities. The oil pressure sensor can leak, sometimes profusely. There is actually a rubber seal on the oil plug. That might be leaking. Oil filter not tight enough? Timing chain cover? There's always the dreaded rear main seal. It's rare but, the head gasket can leak oil.

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Old 09-27-2007, 10:56 AM   #5
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Default Re: Oil Leak? Not oil pan, not valve cover, not front oil seal.

Ok seems like i mixed up my terms here. I redid my valve cover (camcover) gasket but not my head gasket (where the cylinder head meets the engine block). For some reason I thought there were the same. Oil filter and drain plug does not leak. So it appears the head gasket is the most likely source of my leak since the leak is below the valve cover and above the oil pan and only a few drops after it is driven. Would the oil pressure sensor or rear oil seal leak this way?

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Old 09-27-2007, 12:05 PM   #6
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Default Re: Oil Leak? Not oil pan, not valve cover, not front oil seal.

My 97SC1 has the same issue. (129k miles)
I've sealed the cam cover with great care and carefully looked at all potential leak points.
99% sure it's at the front (timing chain end) of the head/block interface.
I'm not going to do anything unless it gets many times worse or I'm into the motor for another reason like a cracked head or cam chain problem.

Last edited by Bill Murray; 09-27-2007 at 12:10 PM..

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Old 09-27-2007, 12:18 PM   #7
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Default Re: Oil Leak? Not oil pan, not valve cover, not front oil seal.

Pressure wash everything and put a oil dye in the oil, then watch for leaks.

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Old 09-27-2007, 01:00 PM   #8
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Question Re: Oil Leak? Not oil pan, not valve cover, not front oil seal.

The tranny has "oil" in it also. Look around there to be sure it is not the leak source. Or the intake, oil gets in there from the EGR route. Stranger things can happen.

BTW, how is your oil consuption rate? (qt/miles) 1 qt /per 3000 miles is the factory acceptable rate.

Have you searched the help sections? It is a very powerfull knowlegde collection and discussions. Plus many photos are online from people rebuilding their engines.

I hope this helps.

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Old 09-27-2007, 01:44 PM   #9
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Default Re: Oil Leak? Not oil pan, not valve cover, not front oil seal.

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Originally Posted by rossao1 View Post
The tranny has "oil" in it also.
If it does, the OP has bigger problems. The tranny should ONLY have ATF. If the leaking substance isn't rosy pinkish red, either (1) it's oil, or (2) the tranny fluid (and, by implication, possibly the tranny) is WAY beyond shot. (Or [3] someone has put gear lube in the manual tranny; it's not unheard of.)

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Old 09-27-2007, 03:47 PM   #10
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Default Re: Oil Leak? Not oil pan, not valve cover, not front oil seal.

Thanks for all the replies. It is definitely not ATF and not leaking around the EGR. Oil consumption is about 1/2 qt every 1000 miles so no real complaints there. I already did a cleaning of the area in question and the leak is in the area above the oil pan and below the valve cover gasket on the backside of the engine closer to the timing chain area so I tend to agree with Bill_Murray and johnny95sl2 that it is the head gasket. So again like Bill_Murray unless it gets a lot worse I guess I will live with it. Those annoying oil drops on the driveway don't look too cool though.

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Old 09-27-2007, 05:28 PM   #11
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Default Re: Oil Leak? Not oil pan, not valve cover, not front oil seal.

Quote:
Originally Posted by klcl View Post
Thanks for all the replies. It is definitely not ATF and not leaking around the EGR. Oil consumption is about 1/2 qt every 1000 miles so no real complaints there. I already did a cleaning of the area in question and the leak is in the area above the oil pan and below the valve cover gasket on the backside of the engine closer to the timing chain area so I tend to agree with Bill_Murray and johnny95sl2 that it is the head gasket. So again like Bill_Murray unless it gets a lot worse I guess I will live with it. Those annoying oil drops on the driveway don't look too cool though.
drip pan....or go buy some cat litter ... alot of places do sell driveway cleaner for that......they can be pretty powerful too....I had a bottle drop out of my hands and splash around...and some got on my shirt...by the time i got home to take it off I had a big red burn on my skin......

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Old 09-27-2007, 07:42 PM   #12
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Default Re: Oil Leak? Not oil pan, not valve cover, not front oil seal.

Could be the driver's side of the oil pan; there are lots of braces and stuff in the way of getting a good visual.

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Old 09-27-2007, 11:46 PM   #13
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Default Re: Oil Leak? Not oil pan, not valve cover, not front oil seal.

There are also lots of things bolted into the rear side of the block. Oil pressure sender, CPS, etc; IIRC, there are some oil galley plugs threaded down back there.

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Old 10-05-2007, 07:06 AM   #14
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Happy Re: Oil Leak? Not oil pan, not valve cover, not front oil seal.

Update. Got some jack stands and got under my car with the engine running and I could clearly see the oil dripping from the oil pressure switch (otherwise referred to as oil sending unit or oil pressure sensor). Replaced the switch ($9 at Advance auto) and no more leaks, very happy and thanks all for the help.

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Old 10-05-2007, 12:25 PM   #15
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Default Re: Oil Leak? Not oil pan, not valve cover, not front oil seal.

Quote:
Originally Posted by klcl View Post
Update. Got some jack stands and got under my car with the engine running and I could clearly see the oil dripping from the oil pressure switch (otherwise referred to as oil sending unit or oil pressure sensor). Replaced the switch ($9 at Advance auto) and no more leaks, very happy and thanks all for the help.

Where is the oil sending unit located? On the firewall side i take it.

I think my consumption is a combination of leaking and burning, I see the oil on the block but no drips on the drivway. I did the MMO soak once

John,

200 miles to the quart [wadiya want for $200.00?] my Wife saves enough on gas driving this car to off-set the cost of 1qt/week

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