164K miles and leaking oil. Suggestions please!


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Old 11-28-05, 06:47 PM
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164K miles and leaking oil. Suggestions please!

98 Lumina 3.1L V6 164k miles

It is running well except difficult warm start. My driveway was getting black spots, and when I checked engine oil, it was short by 1 pint after 2000 miles.

Last week I bought a tire at PepBoys, I asked them to see if they could repair it. They said to get the engine cleaned first (at some other place) and bring it back for dye test.

I don't know a place where engine can get cleaned. But I have heard before steam cleaning causing new problems?

1) Is it true that steam cleaning is bad for sensors (and what not)?

2) Who steam cleans cars?

3) How accurate is the dye test?

4) The car has been leaking oil slowly at oil pan gasket for years, but I didn't have to add oil before engine oil change. Whatever the diagnosis may be, the engine would have to come out. What else would you do with the 164K engine while it is out?

5) One nagging thought: is it worth the trouble?

Thanks.
 
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Old 11-28-05, 07:41 PM
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Well, lets start with the consumption. If you had a new car and it used 1 pint in 2000 miles, the car maker wouldn't call that excessive. At 164k miles in an 8 year old car you are putting a LOT of miles on - 20,000 miles a year. Without even looking at it I can predict the most likely locations for oil seepage at that many miles - oil pan gasket (which you already know) and front or rear main bearing seal (more often the rear). Valve covers also a possibility but you would see the residue farther up the sides of the engine vice just down low.

Skipping the other questions, I would guess it's not worth the trouble unless you are really tired of oil spots on the driveway. It's worth perhaps $3000 and you could be into a pretty significant % of the value of the car if you get involved in repairing oil leaks at this point. You might price having the oil pan gasket replaced as it would be cheaper than the main seals and might be worth the $ since you already know it is a problem and it may reduce the leakage to a tolerable level.

My $.02 worth.
 
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Old 11-29-05, 04:37 AM
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Thank you, Tow Guy. Just the kind of advice I need to hear.
 
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Old 11-30-05, 03:00 PM
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1 pint at 2000 miles hmmm my old 97 chevy truck with 280,000 miles leaks out a quart every 2000 miles been doing that for several years. I bought a nice big metal pan at the zone for about 10 bucks and set it where I park every night. I painted it black to match the pavement it catches every drop and I don't have to pay the 450 bucks to have the rear main seal replaced, besides it will just start to leak somewhere else if I fixed it Heck I figure save your cash for that nice new Lexus you have been wanting, me I have my eye on a nice new Chevy 2500HD. Next time you stop in at the mall take a look at the front part of the parking lot parking spots they are all usually covered with oil/antifreeze or something, old high mileage cars are supposed to leak a bit. On the steam cleaning you are correct to be leary of blasting water onto a highly complex electrical system, with proper care though a person can spray degreaser onto the lower parts of the engine and avoid unnecassary risk when washing it back off, a water hose works just fine no need for high pressure blasting. Dye test is surprisingly accurate but excrutiatingly slow it may take a week or two for the dye to show up with such a small leak but it will pinpoint the location if that part of the engine was cleaned. Another bad part of cleaning is that you may make the leak worse as the crud can sometimes act as a stopper then you are forced to take action, some things are better off left alone and this sounds like one to me LOL. Good Luck
 
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Old 12-01-05, 06:04 PM
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That engine is also known to leak oil out of the plug where the distributor would go in a distributed engine. This is not at all an expensive repair. A couple of hours labor and an o-ring. It is located below the throttle body in the block at the trannsmission. You may be able to see it with a flashlight. Good luck.
 
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Old 12-01-05, 11:17 PM
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I agree with rob...I have seen MANY of those 3.1 liter motors leak out that dummy shaft (where the distributor would go if it had one). I usually put a new o-ring on the shaft and also install a gasket around the base just for extra measure. IF I were you I would take it to a different shop who is willing to diagnose it. I clean alot of them off with carb cleaner and then blow it dry with the air hose so that it becomes easy to see the leak....never had much luck with the dye for oil leaks. I wouldn't recommend spraying water everywhere under that hood unless you know EXACTLY what you are doing and don't drench your electrical or ignition components.

These particular engines are VERY bad for the intake manifold to leak coolant so if you havn't already had that done you most likely will have to soon. Kind of a big job...basically the whole top of the engine must come apart...mucho $$$. Just keep an eye on your coolant level.
 
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Old 12-02-05, 01:46 PM
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You should be able to clean the engine real good yourself with a degreaser (I use that abreasive power stuff that most people use on bathtubs) and an old toothbrush. Once you get it clean, you should be able to find the leaks and at least fix the easy ones yourself (like the valve cover gasket).
 
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Old 03-26-08, 04:35 PM
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I have the same problem with my 92 lumina. How do you remove the dummy shaft to replace the o-ring. I took the hold down clamp of and tried to remove the plug. It turns, but won't come out. I even put a vise grip on it and pulled up. Still cant get it out. Any help would be appreciated
 
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Old 03-26-08, 06:11 PM
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Take a long prybar or screwdriver and put the tip of it in the area between the engine block and the oil pump drive. Now take a hammer and give it a good tap. Should pop it up enough to grab it with pliers and pull it off. The oil pump shaft may come out with it, make sure it goes back in and fully seats before putting the oil pump drive back in.
 
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Old 03-26-08, 06:52 PM
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Originally Posted by flyerfan67
I have the same problem with my 92 lumina. How do you remove the dummy shaft to replace the o-ring. I took the hold down clamp of and tried to remove the plug. It turns, but won't come out. I even put a vise grip on it and pulled up. Still cant get it out. Any help would be appreciated
Once you remove the Upper Intake and move fuel line out of the way, you have enough room for a channel locks. If it takes alot of effort, use a small pry bar. It will come out, it just the o-ring is hard as a rock. Replacing the O-Ring is a very common repair.
 
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Old 03-27-08, 06:16 PM
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Thanks, i will try it!
 
 

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