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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Oil leaks pissing me off. Update: Headgasket most likely

Just cleaned up the engine and put her back in.

New valve cover gasket and allen bolts last spring. Still leaks.
New cam seals last fall. Still leaks.
New distributor seals this summer. Still leaks.

Im at a loss.

It seems to weep from both sides under the intake manifold. The distributor side is worse than the alternator side.

Here are a couple photos shortly after cleaning everything up.

Where the eff is it all coming from?

Looking up at alternator side


close up of seeping above the alternator.


seeping from distributor side. You can see that its dripping onto that funny shaped coolant hose, then dripping down to the block/transmission/axle shaft below.


This wouldnt be the result of a bad head gasket would it? My compression numbers are good, and do not have any other signs of gasket failure. Even when I had the engine out, I couldnt tell where it would be coming from.
 

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For distributor leaks I now just buy a new one from Lithia. $200 might seem like a lot until it fixes it for 6 to 10 years. I used the rebuild kit and I'd either not get it right and have to pull and replace or they'd last a year or two and then leak. Probably my fault, but I'd just rather spend the money once and not worry about it for a long while.

Head gasket? Maybe. I'm assuming that engine had zero oil on it, clean enough to eat off, when you put it back in. There seems to be a line of oil right at the HG line and that would worry me. But it may just be the picture. I'd think a new VC gasket set and hex nuts would have done the trick, they certainly did on my car. I also used Hylomar on the corners where the VCG hits 90* at the cams up front and the distributor as it sometimes has a hard time sealing at those spots.

I believe that hose is a 11mm bore (7/16") and would be either a 120* or 135* bend. Trying to find a Samco distributor here state side that actually caries it. E120 11 or E135 11 part numbers respectively. They get really soppy with oil and a silicone hose is worth it's price there IMO.

The other possibility is you've got an intake leak on the bottom and you've got some oil blow by leaking out there.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
For distributor leaks I now just buy a new one from Lithia. $200 might seem like a lot until it fixes it for 6 to 10 years. I used the rebuild kit and I'd either not get it right and have to pull and replace or they'd last a year or two and then leak. Probably my fault, but I'd just rather spend the money once and not worry about it for a long while.

Head gasket? Maybe. I'm assuming that engine had zero oil on it, clean enough to eat off, when you put it back in. There seems to be a line of oil right at the HG line and that would worry me. But it may just be the picture. I'd think a new VC gasket set and hex nuts would have done the trick, they certainly did on my car. I also used Hylomar on the corners where the VCG hits 90* at the cams up front and the distributor as it sometimes has a hard time sealing at those spots.

I believe that hose is a 11mm bore (7/16") and would be either a 120* or 135* bend. Trying to find a Samco distributor here state side that actually caries it. E120 11 or E135 11 part numbers respectively. They get really soppy with oil and a silicone hose is worth it's price there IMO.

The other possibility is you've got an intake leak on the bottom and you've got some oil blow by leaking out there.
Can you elaborate on this? What would cause this? and is it easily fixed?

And yes, I had the engine nearly clean enough to eat off of. Was still some dirt tucked up in places but I did what I could with Gunk, a rag and light water rinse. I may need to redo the VC seal. I had used permatex copper in the corners - could that be the problem?
 

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Can you elaborate on this? What would cause this? and is it easily fixed?

And yes, I had the engine nearly clean enough to eat off of. Was still some dirt tucked up in places but I did what I could with Gunk, a rag and light water rinse. I may need to redo the VC seal. I had used permatex copper in the corners - could that be the problem?
About a year ago I wound up blowing out the intake gasket on the underside of the manifold/TVIS/head. Not sure what caused it but I suspect it was just years of oil & fuel pooling in the bottom of the intake at different points and soaking into the gasket. Then boosting up, pushing on a weakened gasket, until it just finally gave way. But mine literally got blown out which then caused an intake leak, and it running like poop. I really don't suspect that's the case here, but when considering all possibilities I never rule anything out. The fix was to replace the gaskets. When we did so we also found that the TVIS butterflies were broken and staying shut on cylinders 1 & 2. This might also have lead to the gasket failure. Moving to full boost and having all that pressure back up in closed runners. Cascade failure. Circumstances coming together one after the other to cause it all to go bad.

I'd think permatex copper should be fine. Get a nice clean white rag and run wipe under the VC on the intake side. If you're leaking that much oil from the VC then there should be a bit on the rag. If not then it's not coming from there.

It looks like you've put a lot into that engine. I see a light weight Racer-X alternator bracket (very nice) and also what looks like a blue silicone hose above the black hose we're talking about. Given that's an obscure hose I'm assuming there's more throughout your engine bay. All the wiring looks good under there as well. If it is a leaky headgasket many times they can be cured by simply retorquing the head bolts.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 · (Edited)
I see. I dont think I have a leaking intake gasket. I hold decent pressure during boost leak tests.
I re-torqued the VC bolts while I had the engine out two weeks ago. I SHOULD have taken the darned VC cover off and re-permatexed it while it was easy to access. Hindsight is 20-20. Im thinking its to blame here, but I wanted to see if there is something obvious I am missing.

And yes, I have put some love into this engine. Thank you for noticing.
 

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it is possible for oil to drip from the oil pan gasket and then get slung all over the alternator area. The underside of you rintake mani can get covered, too.
That's what's happening on my car.
Your best bet would involve dye penetrant with a black light.
 

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Im having the same problem...oil dripping from under intake manifold..or from either side more near distributor....i was told to put gasket sealer on VC gasket on all the corners and curves..every which one there is...havent done it yet...its worth a shot though...wanted to share.....thx
 

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Fuzzy, Ive personally seen a leaky headgasket cause this on a few Gen2s. But only on the stock non MLS gasket.

It isnt leaking enough to push pressure into the coolant, or mix oil and coolant, but somehow, its close to an oil pasage and its seeping from that passage out.

If youve exhausted all your other avenues, you have to consider the headgasket. It truly is a "thing" with Gen2s and higher mileage. (not sure if yours is higher mileage or not, but again, Ive seen it, its a "thing")
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 · (Edited)
Did a little poking around with a clean rag last night to try and locate the leaks. The distributor side is now dripping onto my garage floor.

I think I may have used too much permatex?

But also, here is a photo of the fuel rail which was totally clean last week. Now it is sprayed with a light mist of oil. So its gotta be forcing its way through the VC gasket. Im just worried about tightening these VC bolts anymore. Dont want to strip them.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 · (Edited)
heh, just noticed the alternator locking nut is loose.

Also JDM Snukumz: Yes it is definitely oil.

How tight can one go with these VC bolts?
 

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heh, just noticed the alternator locking bolt is loose.
Well you're getting closer!

Also JDM Snukumz: Yes it is definitely oil.

How tight can one go with these VC bolts?
I usually tighten to German specs: Goodntight. I'll be here all week, be sure to tip your waitress.

I'm not sure if you could run into it here but could you have over tightened? Tightened it to the point that it distorts the rubber gasket and causes an area where it leaks? I know the original torque specs for the VCG screws are in inch/lbs so you shouldn't have to tighten them too tight to get a good seal.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Well you're getting closer!


I usually tighten to German specs: Goodntight. I'll be here all week, be sure to tip your waitress.

I'm not sure if you could run into it here but could you have over tightened? Tightened it to the point that it distorts the rubber gasket and causes an area where it leaks? I know the original torque specs for the VCG screws are in inch/lbs so you shouldn't have to tighten them too tight to get a good seal.

Not outside the realm of possibility.

And hehe, Ive heard that joke similarly. Though the way I heard it was Goes'in'Tight, just like a german virgin.
 

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VC bolts are like 12 inch lbs or something stupid low.

If youre tightening them that much, that could be why its leaking?
 

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I agree it's definitely your valve cover, at least an explanation for the leak hitting the intake manifold. Mine had the same issue and leaked on the same spot. Hear you shouldn't tighten those valve cover more than 12lb inch. Had to buy a separate torque wrench to go that low.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
It the head gasket.
I now have other symptoms becoming glaringly obvious that the HG is toast.

Time to take engine out again :(
 

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What other symptoms? Mileage doesnt matter anymore with these motor. I had a 52k usdm gte that I had to due a headgasket and studs on it because it was seeping coolant out on the dizzy side.

Angel
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Compression is a solid 180 across the board. I haven't been able to do a leak down because I cant find a tester.
BUT, car is over heating. After running for a while the coolant lines become pressurized and air will start blowing out of the overflow line from the cap to the reservoir.
My only guess to how that much air can be getting in there is through head gasket failure.
 
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