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Robot
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227 Posts
Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hi all. This is for a 3.7l auto 4WD SLE. 98000 miles.

Came home after work today and noticed a considerable amount of oil on my garage floor. Looking underneath I see oil is splattered and coated all over the place. No idea where leak is from, drain plug and filter are clean.

Seemingly must have started leaking yesterday and I drove all day on it today without noticing, didn't sound funny at all. Looking for advice though, do I dare drive this to the shop (25 miles) or is this a tow job? What kind of damage could this be?



 

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US Army 19yrs and ......
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Holy shit......I'd call that major.

I'd check the oil filter first........ I've had the seal on an oil filter co bad before; and I was doing north of 135 mph when it happened
 

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Robot
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227 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
I'll have to check again but the filter seemed bone dry. Also I think if the filter was leaking it would just be on the road and not all over my undercarriage. I'm speculating its leaking onto the drive shaft and thats whats spraying it all over.

Can't go look again right now, I'm fully dressed in a damn santa outfit, kill me.
 

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Yikes! Definitely check the oil filter and your oil level before taking it to the mechanic for a proper assessment! Given the location of the "spray", it looks like it's somewhere on the bottom of the engine, maybe a seal near the pan perhaps or even near the bell-housing between the engine and transmission? More pics and investigating with a flashlight are in order... Regardless, that looks like alot of oil loss, it's gotta be a seal somewhere down low. Good luck man, hopefully it's not as bad as it looks.
 

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So what's actually low on oil? Only the engine and trans even hold that much oil. I would check the trans cooler lines first. I'm surprised you didn't smell it while driving.
 

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Premium Member
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Did you get a picture of the transmission where it mates to the motor? The first thing that comes to my mind is the rear main seal, but that's probably just because I know mine is on it's way out the door
 

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Tough luck... Good luck with the fix !!!
 

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Robot
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227 Posts
Discussion Starter #11
Update, because I'm still dealing with this:

Dec 2016 - I pay the dealer ~$1600 to replace the rear seal plus towing charge. Ouch, but all seems well...

Dec 2017 - It gets cold out again and its oil spray all over again. Too annoyed to take back to dealer, park it for the rest of winter.

Spring 2018 - I literally do nothing except change the oil, runs fine, zero drips, drive it until the end of summer.

Winter 2018 - Parked again, no spray but just started carpooling to save money.

Feb 2019 - Have a newborn baby so can't carpool any longer, it is freezing cold but the truck starts and no oil issues. Runs all spring/summer/

Nov 2019 - First freezing weather of the year and sure enough it is spraying oil again. Currently at 120,000 miles.

Now I'm not sure what to do, it only seems to happen when its cold out or is transitioning to cold weather. I'm unwilling to spend thousands on new seals that seemingly have no effect and work fine for 60% of the year. A friend told me to check the PCV valve as that may be causing overpressure issues, but when I look into it our trucks don't even use one? Any ideas out there for something to look into?
 

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Robot
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227 Posts
Discussion Starter #12
UPDATE: FIXED! (hopefully)

Took off the resonator box to get at the PCV orifices and cleaned them out with drill bits. They didn't seem very dirty at all and sure enough it spewed oil when I put it all back together again.

I needed it fixed before Xmas and I took it to a independent mechanic this time and they confirmed it was leaking from the rear main again and I scheduled it to be replaced again later that week. But when I went to pick it up that same day I found he was taking a second look at the PCV system again, only this time he actually found something. The PCV ventilation hose was totally clogged at the 90 degree bend with an oily/watery sludge and we suspect that this is what freezes up and causes the crankcase to overpressurize. We cleaned that out really good, tried to remove as much moisture from the resonator box as possible and put it back together. Its been a few weeks now and not a single drip as far as I can tell, so basically a $0 fix in the end.

340117
 

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Premium Member
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784 Posts
Two things:

#1. Glad you got it figured out. It's a good feeling when it costs nothing.

#2. Thanks for updating your thread. Maybe it will help another guy down the road.
 

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So do we dare ask how that crap got into the hose? Since this only flared up when cold (less than freezing temperature), its a water source from "somewhere". Is your coolant system leaking?
 

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Condensation, not an actual water source. Like on a glass with a cold drink in it. Condensation forms on the warm side of the glass, right? Cold weather, warm engine, condensation forms on the inside of the motor. Not a lot, but a little. Infrequent use of the vehicle and/or lots of short trips where the motor doesn't reach or maintain optimal operating temperatures causes this condensation to not be able to burn off and it accumulates on the inside of the oil fill cap as goopy white stuff, and it accumulates on the inside of the valve cover where it is often sucked into the PVC hose and causes that goopy white deposit there too. If that hose eventually gets completely clogged with that stuff, it will cause lots of pressure to build up inside the motor and the pressure will look for a way to get out. In this case, the rear main seal was "The Weakest Link"!
I find this whole case study to be incredibly fascinating! It all makes perfect sense, and that local mechanic is a genius!
So glad you shared the guys rindings!!
 

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The goopy white stuff... Yeah, I had that built up in the oil cap when I bought my truck. As a commuter/DD, my truck always goes 30 minutes per trip, so it disappeared. I'll add potentially a bad thermostat making the engine run too cold. I had to replace that hose since it swelled up and was not tight around the valve cover nipple.
 

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Robot
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227 Posts
Discussion Starter #18
Still no leaks, and its real cold here again. Its fairly easy to get at those hoses to inspect them for buildup as preventative maintenance. There was a lot of condensation in the resonator box and there is a lot of surface area in there for it to collect, I think doing the delete and replacing it with a pipe might help as well, so I may try that in the springtime.

Its funny how I met the guy too. Found a full rim/tire laying in the middle of a backroad one night. Grabbed it and posted on the local Facebook group. Turns out he lost it off his trailer, and his auto shop is just 2 blocks away from my work in the city. (Chico's is his shop in Saskatoon if anyone is local :) )

Little frustrated that I was so close to finding it out myself, but I didn't expect that particular tube to get clogged as its fairly wide in diameter compared to the orifices. I didn't inspect it closely enough.
 
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