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Leaking oil filter.

For years I changed my own oil and never had a problem with oil filters leaking. I always use Penzoil oil and Fram filters. I also had Toyota dealers change oil when I was there for service. My current vehicle is a 1990 Toyota 4WD pickup with the 3VZE F6 engine. I'v had it since it was new.



Then I decided oil changes were too much of a bother so I had it done at the service station I frequent and at a local (not so) quick change place. Seems like every time then I had a leak from the oil filter which I corrected by tightening the filter. I blamed the competency of the latter places.



Then Tuesday I changed my oil. Old filter was on very tight but it came off intact. Installed a new Fram (I've always used Fram), checked it and seem fine. I hand tightened it and then use my filter wrench to turn it about another half turn until it seemed tight enough.



Then after parking overnight I had a small leak. I was busy so couldn't deal with the leak immediately. Then the next night, no leak even though I had done nothing. After second night I again had a small leak so I tightened the filter more. This morning, no leak.



So I'm puzzled. Did I initially over tighten the filter so it didn't properly seat? Or not tight enough? Or what?
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Comments

  • edited January 2009
    Are you sure the filter gasket came off with the old filter? There have been times when the gasket will stick to the mounting surface and separate from the filter, especially when the filter is on too tight. Then, you have a 'double gasket' problem with the new filter, and the old gasket can blow out, causing a bad leak.

    Also, check to see if the mounting surface was damaged at some point when you were getting changed. Yes, I'm suggesting you remove the filter again to inspect for all this. Clean it up and re-install if everthing looks good.
  • edited January 2009
    Sure the filter is really the problem? Many oil sending units are located near the filters and cold weather/age often does them in.
    As to why it's an on again/off again thing maybe it has something to do with thermal expansion and contraction of the metal on the sender where it seals against the plastic.
  • edited January 2009
    I always check to make sure the old gasket came off and the old gasket came off and is still on the discarded filter waiting to go to our transfer station hazardous waste collection.

    I did do a quick check and wipe before mounting the new filter. The leak has apparently stopped so I'll wait until the next oil change I do and try to remember to check. However a couple of times ago the change was done by a Toyota dealer and no problems. And this pattern has repeated.

    So for now I'll just monitor the situation.
  • edited January 2009
    The oil sending unit is something to check out if the leak persists. I'm going to monitor and see what happens. If no more leak, then I think it has something to do with the oil filter and gasket.

    On my pickup, the filter is mounted in a spot that is difficult to visibly inspect. I have to remove the front skid plate to change the filter. Just getting a band filter wrench on and tightening was a major hassle without removing the skid plate.
  • edited January 2009
    Check the threaded tube the oil filter screws onto. The oil transfer tube screws into the block. It may have an o'ring seal under it. If that tube is loose, or the seal under it is old and cracked, you could have a leak.
  • edited January 2009
    i never use hand wrench to tighten on my fram filter??? i just hand tighten it firmly on.. i don"t know how hard it is to get to yours, but if you can get a hand wrench on it i see no reason you can"t get a grip on it by hand??? i also add a little grease on the rubber gasket so it stays pliable, hope the leak stops. the only thing i screwed up one time was i over tightened the oil pan bolt. thank god for autozone????
  • edited January 2009
    The leak has stayed stopped for the last two days so I think I've solved it for now. Though next time I may try not tightening the filter so much to begin with.

    My grip and hands & arms are on the weak side so I've always used a filter wrench to tighten the filter.
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