Holy list of repairs...all for a SLOW oil leak?

windstar
oil
leaks

#1

I’m 99% sure I’ve found a trustworthy, intelligent mechanic. What I need help with is deciding whether my van is better off signing a DNR or whether these maladies aren’t as serious as they sound. Any input?



My 2001 Ford Windstar went into the shop to be checked for a very slow oil leak (of unknown origin), and to check the P0171/P0174 lean codes.



I noticed a few drops of oil (so I thought–nothing red, green, or chocolate milk-colored) under my van, an since it just rolled over the 100,000 mile mark, and due to some less-than-stellar car-buying choices in the past, must last another 2-3 years (pronounced: “UPSIDE-DOWN!”), I didn’t want to take chances.



Today, I get this proposed bill:

-Front crankshaft seal: $200

-Oil pan gasket: $280

-Transmission pan gasket: $140

-Upper plenum intake manifold seal: $190



The mechanic steam-cleaned the engine and used oil dye and transmission fluid dye for the diagnostic (no charge if I get any of the fixes listed), and said the only REAL critical fix is the front crankshaft seal replacement.



What should I do? Are these fixes signs of a deteriorating car (it’s lived most of its life in Buffalo, NY!). Is this a fair price to pay to keep a car in this condition running?



-nj


#2

At todays labor rates and problematic accessability to everything I’d say the costs are close.

Myself, given a choice and a tight budget would have the front crankshaft seal changed and the plenum seal replaced (this one may cause a fuel/air mixture fault).

The other leaks, (while they should be looked after) can be put off until you have the extra money.

Just keep an eye on each and if they leak faster, fix them.


#3

At todays labor rates and problematic accessability to everything I’d say the costs are close.

Myself, given a choice and a tight budget would have the front crankshaft seal changed and the plenum seal replaced (this one may cause a fuel/air mixture fault).

The other leaks, (while they should be looked after) can be put off until you have the extra money.

Just keep an eye on each and if they leak faster, fix them.


#4

Ahh Geez.


#5

I’m thinking that the oil pan gasket replacement will be necessary because I bet pan removal is part of getting to the front crank seal. Chances are good that when the pan comes off, the pan gasket will also come off in many pieces.

So those two are probably a good idea, and as states the intake manifold seal could be the cause of the codes (and at this mileage they can stand to be changed anyways). The transmission pan gasket can wait until it’s time for a fluid and filter change, because it has to come off then anyways.

Honestly, I think the prices are pretty good. The method he used for leak tracing is excellent and pretty much foolproof.


#6

They are all very possible although it would indicate three different problems.

Oil leak Item #1 & 2. Likely only one of them is a real problem, but I can’t see it from here.

[b]Transmission leak[/b] Item 3  Transmission oil leak Independent from either of the two leaks above.

 [b]Intake manifold  [/b]Item #4   I would guess this is the lean codes issue, unrelated to the oil leaks.

#7

The good news is that you’ve found a good and honest mechanic. I’m not familiar with the Windstar setup, but I suspect he’s recommending the front crank seal to prevent contamination of the timing belt.


#8

[b]You may need all these gaskets and seals replaced, or you may not.

Transmission and oil pan gaskets can leak just because the mounting hardware is loose. And this hardware can come loose all by itself. So try snugging up this hardware to stop leaks prior to replacing the gaskets.

For the front seal, if it is leaking, try an oil such as VALVOLINE MAX LIFE. This is formulated to swell up seals slightly to stop oil leaking.

The upper intake manifold gasket is another story. If this gasket is leaking, that would be the one to replace first.

But all these other systems that are said to be leaking can be monitored just by checking the fluid levels periodically. I mean if there’s not a major puddle under the vehicle, it’s not a major leak.

Tester[/b]


#9

I agree with tester on this. You would have to leak a LOT of oil to recoup the cost of the repair of any of the other seals.


#10

Unless ‘Gates’ is wrong, the Ford Windstar has a timing chain.


#11

If its running ok just learn to top off/check your engine oil now every fillup or every other.

And don’t park it in my driveway :slight_smile:


#12

A few drops of oil? Measure the oil loss and post back anything more than a quart per thousand miles would be a concern for me. You mentioned that you just turned 100k with a 2001, which is about 15k a year or 1100 miles a month . . . how much oil do you lose by dripping per month? Did you know that expensive Harley Davidson motorcycles drip oil all the time? Old VWs and expensive air cooled Porsches drip oil? C’mon, measure the loss and think about it. A few drops isn’t going to kill you in the next few years.


#13

For a front crank seal on a car with a timing chain you have to pull the oil pan. So that makes sense to me. I’m amazed they broke the cost down to that detail.


#14

You do not need to remove the oil pan to change the crank seal. It is a simple matter of removing the drive belt(s), pulling the crank pulley and changing the seal. The seal is mounted in the timing chain cover and is easy to get to with the front tire and splash shield removed.
~Michael


#15

You do not need to remove the oil pan to change the crank seal. It is a simple matter of removing the drive belt(s), pulling the crank pulley and changing the seal. The seal is mounted in the timing chain cover and is easy to get to with the front tire and splash shield removed.
~Michael