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Oil leak (pictures)

Discussion in 'Engine Tech / Drivetrain' started by VSP, Apr 27, 2010.



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  1. VSP

    VSP Just hand me the wrench. Registered VIP 5+ Year Member

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    Hey guys,

    I think my rear main seal is leaking.

    There is oil and grime on the underside of my engine and seems to originate from where the transmission is bolted to the block.

    Topside, it's all over the top of the transmission. I recently degreased the whole area and discovered a few days later that there seems to be oil coming from somewhere in and underneath the distributer somewhere.

    I also recently changed the distributor o-ring (but did not reapply any RTV sealant to the valve cover gasket this time; there was sealant on there prior yet the leak was still present.)

    I am also fairly certain that the VTEC solenoid is not leaking either; there doesn't appear to be any grime or oil around that area (one of the few clean places on my engine, ironically.)

    The other day I pulled off my starter to look at my flywheel and noticed that it was pretty damn grimy in there, too.

    So has anybody seen this type of leak and fixed or dealt with it before? Is it more likely that:

    1. My rear main seal is leaking
    2. My o-ring was leaking, and after changing it, my lack of RTV sealant on the valve cover actually continued the leak
    3. my head gasket is leaking
    4. something else I haven't considered.


    I would appreciate any solid advice that you might have. Here's some pics of the trouble area:

    ][​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Apr 27, 2010
  2. m0squ1t0

    m0squ1t0 New Member 5+ Year Member

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    Bump ( I'm having the same issue...)
     
  3. RonJ

    RonJ Banned

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    More than likely, you do not have a rear main seal problem. The oil seen below the distributor (caused by a leaky distributor O-ring and valve cover gasket) and the oil seen on the bottom side of the engine where it meets the transmission are one and the same. Pull the valve cover back off and seal it with red high temp silicone RTV sealant. Did you install an OEM O-ring? If not, that also could be the problem.
     
    Last edited: Apr 27, 2010
  4. VSP

    VSP Just hand me the wrench. Registered VIP 5+ Year Member

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    Thanks RonJ, I always enjoy reading your posts.

    I bought the o-ring from a local Honda dealership, so I'm comfortably certain it's an OEM part. What seemed a little odd was that it felt like it was a slightly different size than the old one (new one was tighter and slightly skinnier, and left a slight gap in the camshaft groove); at the time I figured it was just because it was a brand new piece of rubber. Possible, do you think, that they sold me the wrong size part?

    I'll get some sealant on the valve cover gasket ASAP and re-clean the area to see if the leak persists.
     
  5. VSP

    VSP Just hand me the wrench. Registered VIP 5+ Year Member

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    Finished sealing the valve cover gasket yesterday with red RTV. I let it dry for an hour, de-greased my engine to remove the excess oil, and took it back out on the road.

    After a day of driving it seems like it's still leaking from somewhere. Please see the pics for close-ups of the fresh oil leak.

    (sealing with RTV=)
    [​IMG]

    (where I applied the RTV=)
    [​IMG]

    (the leak in front=)
    [​IMG]

    (the leak from the side=)
    [​IMG]


    Did I apply the RTV incorrectly or is there something else that could be leaking?
     
  6. RonJ

    RonJ Banned

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    Is the fresh oil coming from the valve cover or distributor?
     
  7. VSP

    VSP Just hand me the wrench. Registered VIP 5+ Year Member

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    It's hard to tell for sure. I don't believe it's coming out of the valve cover though; the oil grime around the valve cover seal doesn't seem to be as fresh as the oil leaking onto the clutch housing (3rd pic in my last post). It still appears to be coming from somewhere directly under the distributor, way back in the dark recesses.
     
    Last edited: May 1, 2010
  8. RonJ

    RonJ Banned

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    Stick you hand under the distributor and use your finger to touch for oil where the distributor meets the head.
     
  9. VSP

    VSP Just hand me the wrench. Registered VIP 5+ Year Member

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    Fresh oil. Even has that fresh engin-y smell.

    [​IMG]

    So does this mean that my distributor o-ring is still leaking? I bought an OEM replacement part from my local honda dealership (or at least I thought I did), so is it likely they sold me the wrong part for my car? A generic honda replacement part, perhaps?
     
  10. RonJ

    RonJ Banned

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    Pull off the distributor and inspect the O-ring to see whether it was damaged or moved out of its groove during installation. Post pictures.
     
  11. VSP

    VSP Just hand me the wrench. Registered VIP 5+ Year Member

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    Will do first thing next week. Thanks, RonJ.
     
  12. VSP

    VSP Just hand me the wrench. Registered VIP 5+ Year Member

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    **UPDATE**

    Fixed!!! Long story short, it was a torn (brand new) distributor o-ring that had just enough rubber shorn off to continue a year-long obnoxious leak. Along the way I ended up having to replace a bad distributor, too. (The five-dollar fix turned into a freakish 200-dollar fix.)

    But it works now. And no more oil leak.

    I'll post pics and a more detailed explanation shortly, at least before the end of the week. I have a divorce and a new computer to take care of first.

    Thank you RonJ, you were spot-on with this one, as usual.
     
  13. VSP

    VSP Just hand me the wrench. Registered VIP 5+ Year Member

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    Okay, I promised pics of the fix and here they are!

    Pulling the distributor off, I could see the leak right away:
    [​IMG]


    Here's the part of the old (new) o-ring that got pinched off during the last re-install and caused me continued woe for the better part of two months:
    [​IMG]


    While grabbing a new OEM o-ring from the nearby stealership, I noticed these awesome bachelor party favors. Cause...you know. Hondas rock.
    [​IMG]


    Comparing the old o-ring to the new one. Again it's plain to see where the old one had a part shorn off:
    [​IMG]


    With the new o-ring in place it was time to go for the oil change. My oil leak started back when I switched to synthetic a few years ago so I switched back in a halfhearted attempt to rectify the problem. No luck, of course, but at least the oil was cheaper. Here now, confident I've tracked the source of the leak down for good, I'm ready to switch back. For...you know, grins and giggles.
    [​IMG]


    Also...got a magnetic oil drain plug! Not a nice looking novelty one that says something cool like Mugen or Password JDM...but an ordinary plain jane autoparts store one! And guess what...it's shiny! And it fits!! I love it.
    [​IMG]


    With my motor re-gasketed and re-oiled and my hopes held high, I started the car only to discover my distributor had crapped out. A bit of troubleshooting pointed towards the rotor position sensor. As you can see, I was thrilled:
    [​IMG]


    A rebuilt distributor from an auto parts store. (OEM. Uh-huh.)
    [​IMG]


    This is how my $5 fix turned into a $150 pain in the ass:
    [​IMG]


    But, once I threw it on there, it worked great! Guess that's what it's really all about, huh? I'll take it.
    [​IMG]


    Here's the site of the leak (all over the clutch housing) right after I put everything back together and de-greased it real good:
    [​IMG]


    For reference, here's what the leak looked like before:
    [​IMG]


    And here's how it looks now, a week after heavy driving and gasket abuse. Cleanest it's been for as long as I can remember!!
    [​IMG]



    So here's what I learned: be very careful with your new gaskets. They break easily. Thanks RonJ for your help with tracking down this issue.
     
  14. ProVic

    ProVic New Member 5+ Year Member

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    just wondering, is it good idea to put synthetics in our motors?
     
  15. FRODO

    FRODO Teh Oldest NooB. Registered VIP Registered OG 5+ Year Member 10+ Year Member

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    Its sure not a bad idea.


    And OP that is a common problem to have if you dont put some grease/oil on the Oring when sliding the Dizzy back on. Glad you got it fixed a dirty engine is a sad engine. :lol:
     
  16. dlwiii

    dlwiii New Member

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    Excellent write up - thank you. Now that I know how to do it, it's one of the simplest and cheapest repairs to do! 61 cents for my o-ring at NAPA
     


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