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Leaking Unknown Fluid From Top of Engine Block - 2005 Camry

This is from my 2005 Camry with 155k on it.


You can see videos of the engine with with the leaking fluid on these videos that I created for my squeakiness serpentine belt. Any idea what this fluid may be?



The fluid looks wet and fresh after I drive, but I haven’t noticed a shortage of oil or power steering fluid.

The places you’ve circled in the first photo are where a valve cover might spring a leak. Leaking valve covers are the most common cause of oil leaks, and that type of leak is usually pretty easy and inexpensive to fix. One caution: See those two bolts on either side of where it says “16 valve”. Folks withthis type of leak tend to want to fix it by tightening those bolts. Doing that will usually damage the valve cover. So don’t do that. Those bolts must only tightened very slightly.

The way to fix this is to loosen those bolts, remove the valve cover, and install a new valve cover gasket, carefully following the manufacturer’s recommended procedure. Takes a shop about 1/2 hour and the gasket costs about $20. The reason why oil leaks form there is b/c when the engine is running oil is squirting at a pretty good pressure and volume all over that area under that cover to lubricate the camshafts and top part of the valves.

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Thanks for the advice. Seems to be a common problem. We’re do I find the specs on the bolts holding the valve cover down?

Why do you need specs ? Just use the correct size wrench to remove bolts then just snug them up after you put the new gasket. For an engineer you sure ask some strange questions . Even I can put new gaskets on and bolt the valve cover back on.

Oh there is not like a specified torque?

Haha as an engineer i have not been allowed to pick up a wrench

You can find torque values in the FSM, or possibly Chilton’s, and the like. You don’t want to over torque the valve covers…

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The torque spec for the cylinder head cover is 8 ft-lb.
Those two nuts on either side of the “16 Valve” only hold the plastic cover on, after removing the plastic cover you will find 10 bolts holding the cover on.

Don’t buy the cheapest gaskets you can find. If the actual cover is stamped sheet metal, check to see if the bolt holes are dimpled in. If they are use the rounded end of a ball peeh hammer to dimple them Lightly out.

The valve cover is aluminum DO NOT used a ball peen hammer.
Ball peen hammer + cast aluminum = very bad.

A Chiltons or Haynes repair manual would have that info. It’s a fool’s errand to attempt to diy’er repair your own car without that sort of basic information at hand. If you can’t find a copy of one of those manuals at your auto parts store, surf over to rockauto, they’ll likely have them for sale there. Type in your car info, then look for the “literature” tab.

If you want every last tidbit of repair info for your car you’ll need a factory service manual. It’s probably a multi-volume set and will set you back several hundred dollars, unless you can find a copy on CD ROM. IMO diyer’s should purchase the factory service manual at the same time they buy a new car. That’s when it is easiest to source. I’ve always done that, and the expenditure has always paid itself back in spades.

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That is NOT the valve cover, it is an engine cover and it does NOT have a gasket. My guess, you just had the oil changed and the oil change technician, aka grease monkey, spilled a little oil around the oil fill cap. some oil stuck to the bottom of the cover and followed along the edge and is dripping off. It will stop soon.

But, look at the front of the engine behind the bottom pulley, aka harmonic balancer, aka crankshaft pulley and look outward from there to see if there is any more fresh oil. The front seal could be leaking a little oil onto the harmonic balance where it gets slung outward, some of it hitting the bottom of the engine cover where it migrates down to the edges.