I need to locate external oil leak

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  #1  
Old 11-19-07, 12:52 PM
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I need to locate external oil leak

98 Plymouth Breeze 82k miles

I found a puddle of engine oil on the driveway where I always park this car. The engine is so dirty on the outside that I cannot locate the leak. Is there an easy way to clean the engine exterior just to locate the leak? Thanks.

EDIT: It leaks about 1 quart in 1500 miles.
 
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Old 11-19-07, 01:07 PM
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Not really. You CAN use an engine degreaser, but you have to very careful about where you apply it and how you rinse it off. Better plan might be to compile a list of possible sites for leakage and eliminate them one at a time by selectively cleaning the area near that site. Here's a start on the list of likely leak points:

Front & rear (left and right) crank seals
Oil pan gasket
Valve cover gasket
Cam end seals
Oil pressure sending unit
 
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Old 11-19-07, 02:12 PM
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Check the drug store for aerosol spray talcum powder (body powder). Spray it around the underside of the motor until you get a thin white coating all around. Wait a day and check for telltale brownish streaks. Follow them up to the source of the leak.
 
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Old 11-20-07, 04:38 PM
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That engine is known to leak from the head gasket at the back side of the head under the intake. Near the fire wall! Just a possibility to look at. I`ve replaced a couple in the last couple yrs.
 
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Old 11-21-07, 06:55 AM
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Thanks for the replies. Only two things I can change easily, valve cover gasket and oil sender unit gasket. Others will cost me a few hundred dollars. Actually, all may be going bad simultaneously. Oh, well...

Head gasket was replaced earlier because of water-oil mixing. I hope it is not leaking again.

EDIT: 98 Plymouth Breeze 2.0L 82k miles, head gasket and timing belt replaced earlier.

I am going to degrease the engine or powder it with talcom powder his weekend and see where it leaks. I will pay attention to those leak-prone spots. Thanks again.
 
  #6  
Old 11-25-07, 12:59 PM
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Close inspection of the car revealed that the leak was not engine oil. It was transmission oil. Engine (passenger side) was clean from top to bottom, front and back (firewall side). Just the transmission part (driver's side) was covered with oil. Leaks were at transmission oil pan gasket and transmission/half shaft seals (both left and right). Leaks at the seals are minor.

So, the conclusion is that engine oil is not lost to leak, but to burn. That is 1 quart for every 1500 miles. How come then I don't smell it in the exhaust? I stop the car with engine running, and walk outside to sniff the exhaust. No oil burning smell. Oil must be leaking through rings only when gas pedal is pressed. Makes sense?

98 Plymouth Breeze 83k miles 4 cylinders 2.0L

By the way, it is losing water, too. Slight but steady. No oil in water, vice versa. Head gasket was replaced a few years ago. I added radiator sealant. I need a week or two to know if it stopped the leak.
 
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Old 11-26-07, 04:12 AM
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FWIW, I think you'll find that the car makers don't consider oil consumption excessive until it approaches a quart in 1000 miles even on a brand new car.
 
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Old 11-27-07, 09:56 AM
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Thanks. That's assuring. Every once in a while I get a whiff of oil burning smell. I used to think it's coming from another car! Seriously, I didn't know engine can burn that much oil without making a blue smoke.

Engine oil drained. No water. Refilled with straight 30 oil plus an additive (CD2) that some people on internet swear to work. Will see in a few weeks if they were paid by CD2 or real.
 
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