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Where's my oil leak?

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Old 12-06-2017, 02:07 PM
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Where's my oil leak?

I hate to post a stupid thread like this, but was hoping you guys could help me with identifying the source of my oil leak. I've got a slow leak, maybe a drip a day, but it's certainly enough to be annoying and spot up my driveway.

It looks like it's coming from the bell housing of the transmission which made me think it's the rear main seal. However, I smell oil burning when stopped in traffic, making me think it's dripping on the exhaust (no smoke from exhaust or anything). I've recently done valve cover gaskets (that were leaking at the time), and the oil cooler gasket. It doesn't look like those are leaking now, but I should probably take another good look to make sure.

Is there anything else that I should be looking for? I really hate to pull the transmission and clutch to do the rear main if that's not the issue. It definitely looks like it's coming from the back of the motor and I'm not sure what else it could be. Appreciate any feedback you guys may have. I'd love for it to be an an easy little sensor gasket or something, but I can't ever seem to get off that easy.
Old 12-06-2017, 03:01 PM
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Clean up everything thoroughly and I mean THOROUGHLY, then you can trace where the leak is coming from. You can use UV dye additive in your oil and a black light if you want but it's usually not required on light automotive use since you can see the top/bottom/sides of the engine very well.

I would be surprised if a RMS causes an oil burning smell, typically those leaks happen at the very bottom/center of the bellhousing and leak directly onto the ground, burning smell is typically from something up higher and it "burns" as the oil runs in close proximity to the exhaust system. It could be you have developed another valve cover leak, I would inspect the PCV system to ensure you don't have a clogged pcv valve or valve cover (put a vacuum pump on the valve cover and suck vacuum, you can test with a shorter piece of tube as a "baseline" test and it should take a lot more effort once connected to the valve cover since there is a greater volume of air) a clogged system will build pressure until it blows the gasket. There is a baffle that becomes clogged at the top of the valve cover/pcv and is a known issue, requires removal to clean.
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Old 12-06-2017, 08:58 PM
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Thanks for the tips. I'm with you on the burning oil smell not being a RMS, so good to have some reassurance there. I'll look into the PCV system. Makes sense that a failure there could be causing blow outs in the valve cover gasket.

As much as I don't look forward to doing valve cover gaskets again, it's a lot better than going after the RMS, especially when I'm at 115k miles so if I go in there I really should go ahead and do a new clutch as well which gets into a decent chunk of change.

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