Oil seeping?


#1

87 Acura Integra 157k
does about 3k in a year

Some 10yrs ago, 40k before, I first noticed some oil - was told that it is from the lower gasket.

I changed the oil to high mileage and I thought that the prob resolved.

I do not see any oil on the ground at all (never saw either). I never had to top up the engine oil either. But under the car I can see oil. Also right and left of the engine, I could see too - a guy at midas pointed to me - when I asked, he eventually said cam and crank seals. I don;t know if I can trust him - this was the first time to their shop.

I just recently opened the cover above the timing belt and looked at it for hairline cracks. It was dry and no hairline cracks either. TBelt was done at 90+k.

I am wondering if I should do anything about it?


#2

Went there because of a muffler job that was done at another midas wich is closed now. Reason being I see a lot of water under the muffler after a cold start. This midas showed me two holes by design on the vertical panel near the tail end. One at the bottom and the other at the top. Believe water comes from there at cold start. Have you seen such a design? Is this normal? Should I do anything about it?


#3

So, how many yrs ago did u do timing belt?


#4

It’s not unusual to see water coming from the tailpipe on cold starts. The muffler may be designed to allow water to drain from it too, to prevent rusting. I expect that is normal.

On a car of this vintage there are some common places for a small oil leak to occur. I’d focus on the valve cover gasket, the camshaft seal, and the front crankshaft seal. If this were my car and the visual inspection to find the source was ambiguous (which is usually the case,) I’d ask my mechanic to replace the valve cover gasket first and see if that fixed the problem. The reason? Replacing the valve cover gasket is usually a pretty simple and inexpensive thing to do and doesn’t take much labor time. You might get lucky. Sometimes it isn’t even the valve cover gasket, just that the valve cover bolts have come loose and need to be re-torqued to spec.

Don’t interpret this comment as a suggestion to find the appropriate wrench in your tool box and go out to the garage and tighten the valve cover bolts as tight as you can. They must be precisely torqued to the shop manual spec. And the spec is usually not very tight at all. More tightening than spec’d will warp the valve cover and cause many more problems than it will solve.

If that wasn’t it, then I’d probably try cleaning things up the best I could with some engine degreaser, then carefully monitor where the leak seems to be coming from. There’s a dye you can purchase at auto parts stores and add to the oil that can be very helpful in finding leaks if you have access to black (UV) light source. If the leak is occurring at the cam seal or front crank seal, those seals are relatively easy to replace. Usually they are replaced as part of a standard timing belt job.


#5

Your first problem is trusting a “chain store” with any kind of diagnostics. Many of their “technicians” work on commission. The more they upsell you, the more they take home. Go to them only with warranty repairs, which means never because if you didn’t go there in the first place, you wouldn’t need their warranty repairs.

Whenever you burn a hydrocarbon like gasoline, you get carbon dioxide (CO2) and Water (H2O). Some of that water will condense on the inside of a cold muffler. Back in the olden days we always drilled a small hole in the bottom of every new muffler we installed. Otherwise they wouldn’t make the 12 month warranty.

If you do only 3000 miles a year in this car, why bother? How much oil can it leak in 3000 miles? It can’t be much, you don’t see it on the ground. How many quarts of oil can you buy for the cost of the repair?


#6

26 years on the same seals? And how many years on the same timing belt?

Frankly, you should be congratulated on having gotten that far. The crank and cam seals are basically just rubber seals that have metal shafts constantly rotating in them. Rubber does degrade over time, and in addition the shafts wear the rubber.

If the car is in otherwise good shape and it suits your needs, I’d recommend having the front seals replaced…and definitely the timing belt and water pump. I understand MG’s feeling son the subject, and my first thought was the same as his (why bother), but in thinking about it that belt should be changed anyway, the water pump should be changed anyway, and the seals are minimal extra work.

What you’re experiencing is perfectly normal wear, and the work being suggested is normal maintenance.

Oh, and the explanations of the water are spot-on. I commend the guy for showing you the (commonly called) “weep holes”, designed to allow the water to drain. They were common before everyone went to stainless steel exhaust systems. They may still be, I just haven’t looked.

Happy holidays.


#7

Timing belt in 98 at 90k


#8

There had been no need to top up the engine oil


#9

Timing belts are supposed to be replaced by time or mileage, with 7 years being about the limit. However you went 11 years on the first one and are at 15 -16 years on the second. You have an interference engine which will be destroyed when the belt breaks. The real question is balancing the cost of the repairs, likely to be $1000, against the value of the car to you. After all, getting the job done is no guarantee that some other repair won’t send a car of this vintage to the scrap yard.
If it was mine, I might replace the parts myself because most of the cost is labor, but if I couldn’t do that, I wouldn’t pay to get it done.


#10

@sciconf

Your timing belt is overdue by time. 9 years is the highest time limit I’m aware of (Toyota)

Here’s what I would do

Timing belt
tensioner
idler
Cam seals
balance shaft seals, if the engine has it
Front crank seal
Valve cover gasket
Water pump, if it’s driven by the timing belt
Thermostat and cap
V-belts, if in doubt, or if they’ve got any miles or years on them

Mind you, I’m recommending this based on the age of the timing belt, NOT because of a leak

As a bonus, you may find that the engine is dry afterwards

But it’s also possible the rear crank seal, or the oil pan gaskets is the problem

But, actually, it sounds like something is just seeping. If it was truly leaking, you’d see spots on the driveway and you’d be topping off the engine oil level

It sounds like you’re simply due for a complete timing belt job, by time


#11

Check for oil leakage under the distributor. An oil leak here will damage the heater hose and lead to a coolant leak. Its an easy fix, just pull the distributor out and replace the o-ring. Pop the distributor back in the exact location it was before, use a marker to mark the original position.


#12

If you are not topping off oil, then what are you worried about? I’d bet 90% of the cars you put on a lift you could point out some area of an oil leak. If it was a motorcycle I might be more concerned, but I sense you are overreacting.