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  #1  
Old 08-02-2017, 09:39 PM
Dr. Spaceman Dr. Spaceman is offline
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Join Date: Oct 2016
Location: Canada
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Phantom oil leak

My 1994 has ruined a couple of driveways with it's steady dripping of oil. When I had it in for exhaust work, the shop said it was "probably cam and crank seals", since it was right at the front of the engine. Plausible.

They didn't want to do the timing belt and water pump + seals because they said it was a "***** of a job". They suggested I take it to the dealership.

The dealership had the car for a week, and said it was the oil pressure sensor on top of the engine. Plausible, as the top of the block, under the plenum had a lot of sludge on it, but the timing covers themselves were clean.

I got the car back from the dealership, and within seconds, the car had dropped three spots of oil, each the size of a quarter, on the ground, with more to follow.

I was really annoyed to find that in the week they had the car, they didn't even bother to take off the timing covers over the cam sprockets.


I ordered timing belt and water pump kit, along with all of the seals (it's a 1994, 227000kms, unknown when it was last done). I picked up two company23 tools, and set to work.


I was expecting to see the cam and crank areas coated in oil and sludge. They were VERY clean. No sludge or oil seepage on the covers, around the seals, or on the front of the heads.

Valve covers are also sealed up well.

In fact, everywhere I look, I see orange RTV. Corners of the valve covers, hex head plugs on the front of the block, all the way around the oil pan and on every bolt holding that on.

The only place I saw any oil/sludge/grime was in the very bottom of the oil pump. It is hard to tell if it was the pump leaking, or if the front of the pan was leaking. I am assuming the pan has been off since there is RTV gooped everywhere. It doesn't look factory.

I have d around, but I haven't found a definitive answer on the oil pumps. Are they prone to failure or leakages?
















In other news, the passenger side valve cover came up nice
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  #2  
Old 08-04-2017, 06:04 AM
Sean486's Avatar
Sean486 Sean486 is offline
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Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Mechanicsburg, PA
Posts: 3,322
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Re: Phantom oil leak

The oil on top of the engine is probably a clogged PCV valve, but that should not have anything to do with the drips on the driveway.
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1992 SVX LSL 170k [I]4.44 Transmission, Ecutune TCU, Ecutune Stage 1, transmission cooler, silver STI BBS wheels, Sony Bluetooth double DIN head unit, Infinity front speakers, Lamin-X protected headlights
2010 Mazda 6 i Grand Touring - 120K
2007 Honda Odyssey EXL - 100K
2004 Mazda 3 S - 106K
-----------------------------------
1995 SVX Lsi Polo Sold at 118K 2007
2006 Mazda 5 Sold at 60K 2012
2005 Mazda 6i Sport Sold at 206K 2013 great car[/COLOR]
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  #3  
Old 08-16-2017, 11:10 AM
Dr. Spaceman Dr. Spaceman is offline
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Re: Phantom oil leak

It is a bit of a mystery. I didn't see oil where I expected to see oil, and, I'm not seeing ANY oil. I expected the underside, or at least the pan to be covered in it, but it is clean as a whistle.

I read somewhere that a bad PCV valve has lead to oil being forced out under pressure, from joints that would ordinarily hold a seal. I suppose this could be possible, but, there is no trace of where it would have leaked from. There should be a trace.

There was a bit of oil in the intake tube, and, I did have a few days where the car produced a huge cloud of oily smoke on start up, reminiscent of this (if there are any aviation fans on here)




At the front of the engine, laterally. Three drips. The only things there are the crank pulley (clean), the oil pump (clean), and, the front of the oil pan (clean).


In other news, the further I go into this engine, the more things I find. Since this is my winter daily, I have to fix the stuff now because I'll be buggered if I'll fix it in the cold.

The front knock sensor is cracked. Looks like I'll be replacing those. I have the PCV valve, but getting to it has been a bit of a pain. I bought a crows foot extension, but it is too wide to fit in the hole at the top of the intake. Also, where the valve stopped threading, it is juuuusuuust cocked enough that nothing else will get on it from the top. I tried from underneath, with no luck either.

I will be pulling the intake off, and replacing all of the vacuum lines and the PCV valve while I'm at it.

This thing better run like a thoroughbred when all is said and done. Though, I am finding the amount of room, to work is great. For comparison, my other two cars are a 1990 300ZX, and a 1999 Prelude, which hide most of their engines down low in the bay. Everything is accessible, which, is fueling the possibility of a manual swap, and, possibly that new turbo kit.
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  #4  
Old 08-17-2017, 08:14 AM
Sean486's Avatar
Sean486 Sean486 is offline
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Re: Phantom oil leak

Are you on Facebook? The SVXNation group is a lot more active than this forum, think they could probably make some helpful suggestions.
__________________
1992 SVX LSL 170k [I]4.44 Transmission, Ecutune TCU, Ecutune Stage 1, transmission cooler, silver STI BBS wheels, Sony Bluetooth double DIN head unit, Infinity front speakers, Lamin-X protected headlights
2010 Mazda 6 i Grand Touring - 120K
2007 Honda Odyssey EXL - 100K
2004 Mazda 3 S - 106K
-----------------------------------
1995 SVX Lsi Polo Sold at 118K 2007
2006 Mazda 5 Sold at 60K 2012
2005 Mazda 6i Sport Sold at 206K 2013 great car[/COLOR]
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  #5  
Old 11-13-2017, 11:07 AM
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SoCoNoHa SoCoNoHa is offline
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Location: Southern NH
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Any headway on this? I hope to reseal my EG this winter, and would appreciate any insight into potential problem areas. My SVX tends to mysteriously leak oil as well. I've replaced the PCV and added a catch can, so that should be fine. Hopefully it's just the cam seals?
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1992 SVX LS-L Pearl White: '99LGT 5MT, Custom Short Throw, LD Performance AFR
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1995 Impreza L Green: AWD/5MT/2DR. LGT wheels
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  #6  
Old 11-14-2017, 06:39 AM
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simboglide simboglide is offline
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Re: Phantom oil leak

My experience with a front engine leak was the oil pump seal, also, 2 of the screws for the O/P cover had worked loose. New seal and some blue thread lock fixed that leak. As for the top of the engine, my guess would be the power valve, mounted with an oring, to the bottom side of the intake.
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  #7  
Old 11-14-2017, 06:31 PM
Dr. Spaceman Dr. Spaceman is offline
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Location: Canada
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Re: Phantom oil leak

I stripped it down, and, couldn't find a leak. All of the seals were intact, dry, and, had no trace of oil leaks. I figured it might have been the front of the oil pan leaking. I sealed that up as best as I could without removing the pan.

While I had it apart, I did the timing belt and water pump, replaced all of the vacuum lines, and, the PCV valve, which, as it turns out, was fine.

I put it back together, and, it leaked again, but this time it was definitely leaking from the oil pump. I pulled it apart again. I took off the oil pump, and found that the internal screws had backed themselves out. I tightened them back down, got a new o-ring, crank seal, and, RTV'd the bejesus out of the pump's mating surface. I re-installed the pump. The cam seals still looked fine. Dry as a bone, no oil around them. I should have left them alone.

I didn't. I replaced those as well.

All that did was awake a sleeping giant.


I put it all back together (by this point, it takes longer to drain the rad, than it takes for me to remove the belts, crank pulley, timing covers, tensioner, timing belt, cam sprockets, and, all of the sprockets/idlers that have to be removed to take off the inner timing covers.

It leaks even worse now. Like a faucet. Even the corners of the valve cover gaskets leak now, as well as a dripping from the rear main seal/separator plate area.


Weird timing on this post being bumped. I took it to the highest rated Subaru dealer in the area. Turns out, they have a former SVX owner/enthusiast working in the shop. I dropped it off on November 1st, and, the tech said the engine has to come out. They said $1200 as a ball park. I wasn't going to authorize anything until I had something more concrete than that.

After speaking with the service manager, the actual number they were estimating was $5226. $226 more than I paid for the car. I told them to forget it, and, picked it up today. It sat for two weeks, and, had nothing done to it.

They were worried that the exhaust, which is the original, looks very frail. It is. It has more patches than a 1970s professor's wardrobe. The parts are NLA, so they didn't want to do the work.

Now, I have to take the car to an exhaust shop, and, I am going to have the piping replaced with stainless steel, so that when it comes time to pull the engine, it can be done without worrying about the exhaust turning to dust.

They gave me a print out of $453 in parts for the re-seal.


To be honest, this engine doesn't look like a big deal. Everything looks reasonably easy to access (one of my other cars is a '90 300ZX, so compared to that the SVX bay is pretty much empty). I think I might just keep topping it up over the winter, and, then pull the engine and do the re-seal myself in the summer when the Z comes back out on the road. I wouldn't mind doing a transmission swap while I'm at it!
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