Oil Leaks

MY 2003 Windstar has 77,000 miles on it. I recently switched mechanics. When I went for the last oil change they said I had oil leaks and recommended they do a dye test to see where the leaks are, I agreed. They found 3 leaks: front crankshaft seal - $138, Oil Pan Gasket - $373 and Timing Cover & Or Gasket - $960. They said from a priority stand point the oil pan leak should be fixed. I really don’t want to put a lot of money into it because there are some any things as well. I use it mainly for around town with some occasional long trips. And I haven’t seen any oil under it when it has sat for a while. Is it a high probability while on a trip the oil pan could fail all at once? Will I get some warning the problem is getting worst by seeing oil under it when it’s parked for awhile? Would appreciate any advice and thanks.

I would switch mechanics again and get a second opinion before I would spend about $1500 on oil leaks. If that many oil leaks really existed the Windstar would be dripping wherever you parked.

If I were to inspect a 2003 vehicle and NOT find any oil leaks, then I would be surprised. I think someone needs to make a boat payment.

You apparently don’t leave any drippings on the ground. Any smells like stuff burning? Do you have to regularly add oil between oil changes? If so, how many quarts per how many miles?

I’d say, like missileman, that you probably need to change mechanics again. This place is fishing for work.

Unless they loosened the oil pan bolts its not going to catastrophically fail. (Actually, just snugging the oil pan bolts in place can do wonders). Just check your oil about every other gas fill up - which everyone should do anyway - and drive on.

Agree with missileman; get another mechanic, and see how serious these leaks are. On a Windstar that old, I would invest in a cookie sheet with kitty litter on it, place it on your garage floor, and check the oil regularly. Most oil leaks are not serious and just adding a quart very now and then is cheap.

No drips on the ground?? Not to worry…

The FIRST step in correcting any oil leak would be to gently tighten the fasteners that hold the parts together…You may find them surprisingly lose. But repair shops make little money tightening bolts…

How much oil is the vehicle using?
If you had significant oil leakage you’d be seeing it in your oil usage. And your driveway would be covered in oil spots.

IMHO their revenues are down and they’re hoping you’ll help keep their business alive by paying for unnecessary work. Seepage through any or all of the mentioned gaskets, even if it did exist (and it might) would in no way affect the operation or longevity of your engine, as long as the level in the oilpan is kept above the “fill” level. The way the system works is that the oil pump draws oil up from the pool in your oil pan and pumps it through an enclosed system into the critical areas that need it. Once it lubes those areas, it simply drains back into the pan where it’s again drawn up by the pickup tube. None of the gaskets in your post have anything to do with keeping those pressurized oil paths sealed. None of them affect engine operation.

The thing about these gaskets is that they’re only there to prevent messes. And if you don;t have a mess on your dri=veway, they’re not seeping enough to warrant attention…even if they ARE seeping. This “oil leaking” thing is a moneymaking scheme.

I respectfully disagree that no leaks on the drive means there is nothing to worry about. Sometimes airflow will blow fluids back onto the bottom of the car and any drips will occur at road speed. I’ve seen cars with oil or transmisson fluid blown all the way to the back bumper and not leave a drop.

I do agree with getting another opinion. It’s hard for me to see an '03 with only 77k miles on it needing this much in regards to the oil leaks. Oil pan gasket leaks are almost unheard of so that raises a red flag.

They’re wanting to charge you almost a grand for a timing cover job and another 138 for a front crank seal?
The timing cover job should cover the front crank seal job other than the cost of the seal itself so that’s a bit suspect and could point to labor overlap not being considered. There’s no law that overlap has to be factored in but a shop with ethics should do it.

Maybe the actual cause is a leaking oil pressure sending unit or a leaking oil pump flange seal. The latter is a rubber ring and with age it will lose its elasticity and leak. Either of these faults can easily lead someone to think the problem is elsewhere.

I see your point, OK4450, and would add that pressure that forces oil leakage while operating isn’t there when shut down. However, I believe if there were significant leakage it would ultimately leave enough hanging onto the bottom of the pan to drip in the driveway.

And I maintain that significant leakage will show up as oil usage on the dipstick. If the OP is using a qt every 3000 miles, there’s nothing to worry about as far as leakage. A quart every 500 miles would paint a different picture. I really think this is the best indicator of whether the shop is recommending fixing an actual problem or trolling for revenue. Without having that input, it sounds to me like they’re trolling for revenue.

If the engine had a timing belt, that would have cause me to post a different answer as well.

Well, at this point it surely would be nice to know how much oil - if anything measurable - is actually disappearing from the crankcase.

To the other good advice that has already been posted, I want to add that the OP should change the PCV valve and clean-out/flush the PCV hose. A clogged PCV will definitely exacerbate an oil leak, and simply replacing this extremely cheap part just might help.