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Discussion Starter #1
I've been in the process of eliminating an oil leak. As we all know the source isn't always easy to track down.
So far the following has been replaced in the following order:

1. Valve Cover Gasket
2. distributor o-ring
3. oil pan gasket

The leak has improved but for the time being my mechanic actually put a diaper on the car to prevent drips. Works well actually.
I really don't want to keep doing this and would rather get to the source of the problem. My mechanic isn't familiar with the MR2 but I trust him as he's very passionate about cars.

Where else could this be coming from? any common issues with the 3sgte?

The only engine mods I have are intake, exhaust, downpipe, gt2860rs turbo kit (speed source), ATS ecu. Not boosting over 15psi.

Any help is greatly appreciated, really want to lose the diaper lol.
 

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I just found out my "oil" leak was actually the slave cylinder. Hell of a PITA to change out on the turbo engine but well worth the effort while I was in there swapping the turbo anyway. Take a look at it. while someone pumps the clutch.
 

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Common places for 3sgte leaks are distributed internal O ring and oil pump shaft seal. The crank main seals can also leak but not as common as other areas.
There are other components like the trans which leak oil from axle seals that can be confused with engine oil.
 

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Places oil can leak from. Jim has listed the more common ones.
Starting at the top front of the engine
  1. Valve cover gasket, common enough to be an issue but you've replaced it. The screws aren't great so replacing them with bolts is a good idea.
  2. Cam seals. Less common.
  3. Head gasket, very uncommon so probably not.
  4. Oil pump shaft seal. Very common. These get hard and also put a groove in the shaft. A new seal normally fixes it even with the groove.
  5. Oil pump o ring around the front cover.
  6. Crank shaft front seal. Common but less than the oil pump seals.
  7. Sump pan to block. Theres shouldn't be a gasket here, only sealant. This is common enough but the oil pump seals can make it look like it's leaking. Clean the engine and see where it's actually coming from.
  8. Distributor external o ring. Very common. You've replaced this so that's one step forward.
  9. Distributor internal shaft seal. More and more of these seals are failing due to age. There is a kit that you can buy to replace it as Toyota do not sell the seal by itself, instead they sell the whole distributor. This will leak all over the wiring harness and gearbox similar to point 8 above.
  10. Oil cooler but that's one of the last places you find a leak.
  11. Like Jim said, the gearbox axle seals can make it look like an engine oil leak.
  12. Oil can come from the intake pipes too due to oil in the air system.
Where is the oil coming from? Front of engine? Back of engine?
 

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Discussion Starter #6
GDII, thanks for the comprehensive list of options, great post. The last time I had the car in to further look into the leak was June of 2019. The mechanic said he's pretty sure he's isolated the leak. The problem is I can't remember where he said he thought it was. (i know stupid me, but when people mention parts of an engine I only understand what there saying 50% of the time) I'm sure if I called him or brought it back he could refresh my memory. His issue was he's not familiar with the MR2 engine and didn't want to start getting to far into it. So I wanted to do more research and provide him with some further info. I do have the BGB so I could give him that.
Anyway, I'll give him a call and see if he remembers and post back.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
From what I remember it was on the left hand side (looking from the rear of the car) of the engine, part way down from the top.
 

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Sounds like if you've replaced the distributor O ring it's probably the internal shaft seal. Taking off the distributor cap will show if there is oil inside it. Also see if you can get under the car and grab some photos with your phone. Or even a short video with a light shining up there.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
GDII, I'll see what I can come up with for you. I'll attempt to remove the distributor cap and have a look. Thanks.
 

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I’ve done my valve cover, distributor, and just had my rear main seal done. I still have a drip a day forming lol... pretty sure it’s on the pulley side of the engine.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I got some pics, not sure they’ll be helpful. You can see the spray painted diaper in a couple of them
 

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Oil everywhere!!

Rear main seal is behind the flywheel. Gearbox off job for that.

The Diaper looks to be collecting oil from the oil pump and/or crank front main seal. The oil pump is typical to start leaking as there is where the pressure is highest, normally the shaft seal. That's a cam belt job, so while you are in there do the water pump and the seals.I always by the whole pump and rear housing presealed from Toyota. It starts costing a fair amount but if you are keeping the car it's worth it. Sometimes it's better to drop the whole engine to do this work. I've done many SW20 cam belt jobs with engine in the car, it's not easy doing it like this as getting the engine mount and lower cam belt cover off is a pain. Take off the AC tensioner pulley bracket first.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
It was worse, I actually thought it didn't look to bad compared to before. Maybe the diaper is helping to keep the oil from spreading all over the place. I usually had to refill my oil each time I got gas. The oil is lasting longer now, still not right obviously. Appreciate the advice! I'm no mechanic, lol. If I was equipped like a mechanic I would attempt to do the work. I'd have to get a quote for the job and I imagine its expensive, I do plan to keep the car, it's my baby.
 

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9. Distributor internal shaft seal. More and more of these seals are failing due to age. There is a kit that you can buy to replace it as Toyota do not sell the seal by itself, instead they sell the whole distributor. This will leak all over the wiring harness and gearbox similar to point 8 above.
They no longer sell the distributor. It was listed as "Distributor Housing" and you'd get the distributor sans the cap and rotor. The last one I'd bought was about 8 years ago for about $200. Amayama no longer has them either. It's been added to a long line of parts that's needed for this car but it seems Gazoo Racing has no interest of adding to it's "Heritage Parts" catalog. Which is primarily Supra parts, i.e. high volume cross platform items they can market as helping "vintage high performance."
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Looking at post #5 above, I've confirmed with my mechanic that the issue is the oil pump o-ring and probably the shaft seal as well. Unfortunately my mechanic has since retired and I have to find someone else to trust. What is involved in changing these two seals/gaskets? Does the engine have to come out to do this job? What would a round about cost be to have this done?
 

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Just price the labor and parts to do a timing belt job, the oil pump is only held on by 6 10mm bolts at that point.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Yeah. That's the best thing to do. Cam belt job can be done in the car, I've done about 5 of these now.
So the timing belt, oil seals and water pump can all be done with the engine in the car. Anything I else at that point. What about that hose from hell I hear about? Sorry for the repetitive nature of my messages, I’m pretty green with engine repair and terminology. Greatly appreciate everyone’s help and advice!
 

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So the timing belt, oil seals and water pump can all be done with the engine in the car. Anything I else at that point. What about that hose from hell I hear about? Sorry for the repetitive nature of my messages, I’m pretty green with engine repair and terminology. Greatly appreciate everyone’s help and advice!
Almost everything can be done in the car but it depends on how much work you are planning to do.
For cam belt (tensioner bearings and tensioner) oil pump seals, water pump, front crank seal and cam shaft seals, they can be done in the car. Make sure you take off the AC bracket to get the cam belt covers off.
Hose From Hell (HFH) and Hose From Hell On Earth (HFHOE) are hard to do with the engine in the car. the HFHOE is connected to the water pump on the GEN2 3SGTE but might be a bit easier to do if you are taking off the cambelt and water pump. The HFH is under the turbo so still hard to get to unless you take off the turbo. If you are doing all of this sometimes dropping the engine out is faster. But keep in mind that doing this will force you to get new seals for things like exhaust unless you can drop that without unbolting any flanges. When you drop the engine he AC compressor can be left in the car making it easier to get at both the HFH and HFHOE without having to take the turbo off.
 
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