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oil smell?


kskwsde's Avatar
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02-05-04, 09:04 AM   #1  
oil smell?

I drive a 1998 chevy lumina LTZ with a 3.8 liter engine. Lately I have noticed that when I change the oil, the bottom of the oil pan has oil leaking on it from somewhere...I put on a new oil drain plug with a gasket on it but that has not prevented it. In addition when I drive it, I can smell a very slight smell like old or burnt oil. There is no leak around the filter, only on the oil pan.

Someone told me the smell could be because oil may have splattered in the wind and landed on the catalytic converter, which would make a nasty smell when it burnt, or else there could be a leak somewhere too.

My question is, where are all the possible places I could have an engine oil leak? Would putting on a new oil pan and pan gasket fix this problem? And is there anything I can on my own to determine where the leak (if any) is?

Thanks,
kevin

btw, i change the oil regularly ever 2,500 miles, only use quaker state engine oil for high mileage cars, and fram oil filters. the car has about 120,000 miles on it


Last edited by kskwsde; 02-05-04 at 09:34 AM.
 
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the_tow_guy's Avatar
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02-05-04, 10:00 AM   #2  
Two things to check:

1. Are the pan bolts snug? CAUTION: do NOT overtighten, but sometimes you can fix a pan leak with a slight snugging up of the bolts.

2. Valve cover gaskets. This may be where the leak originates, you just notice it on the pan because of gravity.

P.S. Don't waste your money on "specialty" oils, i.e. "high-mileage"; they are strictly profit-enhancements for the oil companies. My wife's '95 Camry has 170,000 miles on Sam's Club oil and the Chevy 350 in my wrecker has 245,000 miles (that's NOT a typo) also on Sam's Club 10w-30 @ about $.90/qt.

 
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02-05-04, 10:01 AM   #3  
I believe those 3.8 lumina's are famous for leaking oil from a plug where a distrubutor would go. Since they use coil packs instead of distrubutor they just plug the hole.

Hope this helps,
Dan

 
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02-05-04, 10:23 AM   #4  
hi thanks for the quick replies, i've got a couple questions:

tow_guy, is there any where i could reference that would tell me what amount of torque needs to be applied to those pan bolts?

and DAN, approximately where on the engine can i find where the distributor *would* be if there were one on the 3800 engine?

i will also check the gaskets to see if they are hard or worn out and leaking. thanks for the great advice

kevin

 
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02-07-04, 06:20 AM   #5  
Normally I would direct you to the autolibrary link, but it is apparently not working. Best bet would be to pick up a d-i-y manual, either Haynes or Chilton, from your local parts store or book store. It will come in handy anyway if you are going to have the car for a while.

You'll probably be looking at around 50-75 in/lb. I normally use a 1/4 drive ratchet and socket which will give you less leverage, meaning less torque. Makes it a little less likely to snap off a bolt than if you use a 3/8 with a longer (normally) handle on the ratchet. You could even use a nut driver, I suppose (if you can reach all the bolts) which would just about gaurantee that you wouldn't be able to get enough torque to break one, unless you're King Kong.

 
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02-19-04, 01:55 PM   #6  
I found this book online, but haven't purchased it yet:

Chevrolet Lumina & Monte Carlo Automotive Repair Manual 1995 - 1998 models (Haynes Automotive Repair Manual Series)
by Jeff Kibler, Jay Storer, John Harold Haynes, Haynes Publishing

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg...glance&s=books

Do you think this would be a good buy? Will it give me the information I need for troubleshooting and possibly repairing, or is it not detailed enough?

 
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02-19-04, 02:12 PM   #7  
If you don't want to buy the factory manual I would suggest an all data subscription for 25 bucks a year.
http://www.alldata.com./

 
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02-19-04, 02:19 PM   #8  
The manual in the link is only selling for 11.99 used....Does this contain all the same information as this subscription, or does it least contain the information I would need to address the problems I described in this post? I would rather not have to renew my subscription every year if I can get away with making this one-time purchase?

Would this be a useful book for what I need??

thanks,
kevin

 
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02-20-04, 07:11 AM   #9  
anyone have an opinion on this book - good or bad?

thanks
kevin

 
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02-20-04, 01:54 PM   #10  
anybody?

thanks,
kevin

 
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02-20-04, 02:24 PM   #11  
The Haynes manual are good and will have the info you seek
It's worth $12
If you think you might have more work to do down the road consider alldata
Haynes isn't as specific or up to date and can be missing some details, but they should have torque specs
If the 95-98's all had coil packs, the manual might not show the "former location" of the dist.
It really should be on top in the front or back of the engine
Someone here should know

 
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02-20-04, 02:26 PM   #12  
thank you very much, i think i am going to order the manual and see what it has to offer - for $12 i guess i can't go wrong

 
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02-23-04, 06:04 AM   #13  
Just in case your still looking-
Yesterday afternoon a buddy a buddy dropped by needing a master cylincer replacement in his Pontiac Bonneville
It has a 3.8
Probably the same as yours
I poked around a bit and believe I found the cap that Dan mentioned
It was on the left (if you're in the drivers seat) side up near the top
I would call this the back of the engine (tranny side)
It was leaking a bit

 
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02-23-04, 10:27 AM   #14  
no distributor...

...on a buick V-6 for many years...and no plug where it used to be...in fact, the distributor was in the front of the engine. dan is probably referring to 2.8, 3.1, 3100 chevrolet engines...they had a rear distributor and the oil pump drive goes in that hole since DIS was introduced on those engines. and yes...they have an oring and they are a common leak point.

since iol leaks can come from a zillion places, why not have it checked by someone that can do a dye test...fluorescent dye added to the oil, run the vehicle and then expose it to high intensity black light...wherever that dye has come out, the black light will show it.

 
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