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06 Crown Vic - Oil Leak

Started a few months back. Drivers side. After a a couple thousand miles, I’ve lost 2.5 quarts. Mechanic says it’s the oil pan gasket, oil filter housing and pile pressure switch. Quoted $1008 to fix it. Car has 148k on it.

Only issue beyond that is possible transmission? When going cruising speed and I hit a red light to slow down and it turns green a second later when I haven’t fully stopped, if I try and start going again, there’s lag. The car is slow and won’t pick up speed for about 10 seconds. I usually let off the gas and give it a few seconds and then we’re good.

No issues otherwise or during any other driving conditions. No noises, grinding or the like. Trans fluid is pink and clean.

Been this way for the past 3 years. Wasn’t before that.

Should I fix the oil leak with this condition?

Yes, you should fix the oil leak… but continue to check your oil level.

Yes, that lag is not unheard of with the AOD transmission in your car. They don’t like to downshift back to first easily. A good transmission tech can adjust the throttle cable to partially correct this.

The oil leak could be one of the things your mechanic listed but I really doubt it’s all three. If it started right after an oil change, you could have a leaking oil filter gasket, or worse it could have been double gasketed. I say worse because if double gasketed, it could suddenly and catastrophically fail and you could lose all your oil and possibly the engine if you don’t shut down quick enough.

The oil pressure switch would be a second choice if it got damaged at the last oil change. They are usually located right next to the oil filter and can be hit by the oil filter wrench when removing the oil filter. They usually dump oil a lot faster than you are experiencing though.

Both of those are not very expensive to replace. I assume by oil filter housing, he really means the oil filter mount, which I doubt would leak.

Oil pan gasket don’t usually start leaking all of a sudden like that. They generally start leaking very slowly at first and gradually get worse over time.

The cheapest way to fix this might be to just get another oil change and see if that doesn’t solve the problem. Use a good mechanic, not a quick oil change place.

And you might consider an ATF exchange for your transmission. Fresh fluid can do wonders both for performance and adding life to the transmission.

Edit: for the ATF exchange, use a good mechanic or the Ford dealer to insure that you get the correct ATF and not some generic that may or may not work. The dealership would be your safest bet on this even though it may cost a little more. In the long run, it isn’t that expensive for the potential payback in transmission life extension. Do not use a national chain transmission shop.

@keith So the trans fluid hasn’t been changed since 2015 when I had everything serviced, top to bottom. The mechanic said today that he wouldn’t touch it with my miles as flushing it could blow the seals. Problem is, I have no idea who to believe.

The oil leak has been going for a year I want to say. Can’t be too sure. Noticed it when my car started ticking. Oil was low/non existent and had it changed. Was fine. Started again, same thing. So not sure exactly when it started.

@old_mopar_guy It’s nice to hear but this car is drive by wire. There is no cable. Nothing to adjust.

I’m sorry, but you are of course correct. I read the '06 as '86. You should, in your case, get the trans fluid and filter replaced.

It will not blow the transmission to have the ATF changed. The reason your mechanic told you this is you are reporting a problem with your transmission. Often times, the transmission is worn out and an ATF change won’t help, but after the ATF change, the transmission quits and the customer blames the technician for the damage. It was going to happen anyway but the customer will never believe that.

But in your case, I suspect that you may have some “sluggish” valves in the transmission’s valve body and the transmission should have plenty of life in it. An ATF change will help free up the sluggish valves and get it to shift like it used to. However, if the transmission does quit shortly after, it was going to anyway and the ATF change was just a waste of money. In your situation, I’d take the chance that the ATF does help and the transmission has plenty of life left, unless you have more facts about it that you haven’t disclosed yet.

As for the oil loss, you should check your oil every time you gas up. That is just prudent for a vehicle of this age and miles. Since this has been going on for over a year and not just the last couple of months, I find it odd that your mechanic shotgunned almost all the possibilities of the leak except one of the most common and that is the valve cover gaskets.

The most expensive fix he listed was the oil pan gasket, but when you have an oil leak anywhere on the engine, the oil flows down the side of the block to the seam where the oil pan meets the block. It always looks like the pan gasket is leaking but usually it is not, The mechanic should be able to find the trail of oil going back to the actual leak.

How frequently do you change the oil?

@keith

I will try the trans change first and see if that helps. If it does, I’m more comfortable getting the oil issue fixed.

He did mention valve cover I believe. He also said it was hard to see what was leaking because it was so dirty and everything flows down. He suggested getting it steam cleaned and driving it a bit to pin point again. Then on the flip side he lists all those things that “are” leaking?? Was a bit odd to me.

@kurtwm1

Every 3K. Used to be every 6K due to mostly highway driving. Oil has never been black or cruddy. Always took care of things.

You can get a UV dye and put it in your oil. A couple of weeks later, look for the trail with a black light after dark. The other way is to look for the wet dirt. If you had one of those old fashioned dusters that gardeners used to use, you could dust the engine in talcum powder. You will find the leak almost immediately that way.

I would NOT recommend getting your engine steam cleaned. If not done right and all the wiring, sensors and hoses protected, you can do a lot of damage.

@keith

I like the powder idea. May try that. I don’t know. I’ll have another mechanic look. First the trans flush/filter.

We’ll see after that. Last issue is recent, happened twice. The cluster shutdown for a second while driving. Blink of an eye. The second time, same thing but lights came on and it dinged. Again, split second.

I know it sounds like everything is going but it’s not. Just love this car and I know it has lots of life left.

Also, thanks for all the info and suggestions.

Clean your battery terminals.

If the oil pressure switch is leaking you should replace that tomorrow. A leaking oil pressure switch can leak a lot of oil and the next time the engine runs out of oil the engine may seize, then swift transmission down-shifting will no longer matter.

Ask your shop to verify the pcv system is working correctly. If it fails and the crankcase becomes overly pressurized, assorted engine oil leaks often result. It seems unlikely the pan gasket, oil filter gasket, and oil pressure sensor gasket would all fail at the same time. Not without some sort of overall oil-system problem like a defective pcv system. Make sure they measure the oil pressure using their shop gauge too.

@keith

Ordered some dye and a uv light. I will try that first to see if it helps narrow things down.

Appreciate all the replies!

@keith @old_mopar_guy

So the trans was flushed/filter changed in June 2016 w/126k. They said I’m not due until 180k and would be a waste. Should I do it anyway?

One problem down. The battery posts were really corroded. Sprayed, brushed and cleaned them. Going to install some pads to help prevent that in the future.

Just waiting on the dye kit and light before I pinpoint (hopefully) the oil leak.

OK, you are only 22k from the last ATF change so it should be good as long as the correct fluid was used. I don’t know if this will work for you, but in the Saturn forums where this was a common issue with Saturn’s, they had a procedure called a reverse slam. It’s not as drastic as it sounds.

Saturns used to have a problem with the reverse ports and valves in the valve body because they are used less than the drive circuits, they would gum up a little. The procedure was to put the hand brake on solid, sometimes they would back up to a tree or wall for safety, and then just put it in reverse and let it idle for about 30 minutes. That would clean out the reverse circuits and the problem would go away. It worked best right after an ATF change but could be done at anytime.

You should at least check your ATF for color. If it is bright red, then you are good. If it is brownish or a faded red, or worse, black, then get the fluid exchanged. If it is just a faded red, a drain and refill might do but if it is dark brown, you will need the full flush and filter.

I do kinda agree that you need to address the oil issue first. Checking the oil at each fill up is the very minimum you should do.