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Oil Leak - '87 Ranger RCSB w/2.3 & 5-SPD - Source?

Bronco648

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Hi Everyone,

I need a little help from those that know the 2.3L engine.

I'm looking at buying a nice '87 regular cab short bed. ~130K miles. The body/frame is in great condition but the driveline is leaking from at least two places.

Engine leak: I cannot quite figure out the source of the leak. The driver's side of the engine is coated in a dirty oil haze so much so that all of the ancillaries (wiring, brake lines, steering shaft, intake, etc.) are coated as well. The owner (nice guy and very forthcoming) told me that he replaced the valve cover gasket last summer. I can see the fresh RTV so I'm inclined to believe him. The passenger side of the engine is bone dry.

1 - I'm wondering what else, besides the valve cover gasket, could be leaking oil on just one side of the motor?

2 - Transmission: coated in oil as well but I'm thinking it might be from the engine. It's the 5 speed Toyo Koygo box. Are these prone to leak?

3 - Differential: the pinion seal is clearly leaking. There's a mess on the under side of the bed as well as on the under side of the rear portion of the gas tank. This doesn't bother me as much as they're not terribly difficult to fix.

So, does anyone have any thoughts/ideas as to what might be causing such a mess on the motor (and what's involved in fixing it)? I don't mind doing mechanical work but would prefer not to have to remove/teardown the engine. And, an idea of what it's going to take to fix the issues will allow me to make an offer, if I decide to pursue that.

TIA, Dave.
 


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franklin2

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How do you know it's the engine and it's engine oil? Could be the power steering system? It's going to have to be cleaned up and then checked. And I would not panic yet on the pinion seal. First thing to do is put your finger in the oil back there and smell it. Most likely it's oil from the leak up front blowing to the rear. The rearend hangs down right in the airstream where all that oil is being sprayed back there.
 

Bronco648

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How do you know it's the engine and it's engine oil? Could be the power steering system?
I checked with the owner; no power steering.

I've been looking at the image of the 2.3 from the Archives. Aside from the valve cover gasket, there really isn't anything that might cause such a mess. Distributors normally don't leak and an oil filter leak wouldn't put oil on the intake manifold. Oil pan is the same, too low.

Could it be the cam shaft seal?



It's going to have to be cleaned up and then checked. And I would not panic yet on the pinion seal. First thing to do is put your finger in the oil back there and smell it. Most likely it's oil from the leak up front blowing to the rear. The rear end hangs down right in the airstream where all that oil is being sprayed back there.
That may explain the goo on the bottom of the fuel tank but there's about a 12" diameter circle of 'grease' on the bottom of the bed floor, just above the pinion seal. I'm pretty sure that portion of the bed floor is out of the airstream and could only be reached by a rear u-joint slinging gear lube up there. Also, the pumpkin is goopy which may be a mix of both engine oil and gear oil. The patch on the bed has a dull appearance everywhere else is shiny. If the pinion is leaking, it doesn't appear to be bad.
 

scotts90ranger

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Since the 2.3L in my '90 has had oil leaks bad enough to get oil on the rear mud flaps I think I can help here...

The oil pressure gauge switch is at the back top of the block just under the head, it's likely a touch loose, that can make a mess, 2.3L's make a lot of oil pressure when everything is in good shape, I'm talking 50psi cold idle and 25psi hot idle...

With the location you're talking about, that's about it unless there's a lot of blowby and it's coming out of the PCV filter or dipstick tube... changing the PCV wouldn't be a horrible idea.
 

Bronco648

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Since the 2.3L in my '90 has had oil leaks bad enough to get oil on the rear mud flaps I think I can help here...

The oil pressure gauge switch is at the back top of the block just under the head, it's likely a touch loose, that can make a mess, 2.3L's make a lot of oil pressure when everything is in good shape, I'm talking 50psi cold idle and 25psi hot idle...

With the location you're talking about, that's about it unless there's a lot of blow-by and it's coming out of the PCV filter or dipstick tube... changing the PCV wouldn't be a horrible idea.
This is helpful, thanks. Since the owner asked that we not take the truck outside (light snow was falling), I opted not to have him start the engine in the garage, especially after I saw the mess in the engine compartment. I wouldn't be surprised if this was an issue with the sending unit since it's higher up on the back of the head. The PCV valve is lower on the block and probably needs to be replaced.
 

scotts90ranger

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That's the only thing with oil back there so it is very likely, heat cycles without sealant those things back out over the years...
 

Bronco648

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That's the only thing with oil back there so it is very likely, heat cycles without sealant those things back out over the years...
I just found it so odd that the mess seems to be restricted to the driver's side of the engine. But, now that I know the actual location of the sending unit, it makes a little more sense.

And, I'm looking into the Thermactor system this truck still has, sort of....

The pump is there but isn't driven (no belt) and some of the vacuum hoses are cut off. :rolleyes:
 
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franklin2

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The air pump is most likely locked up. Unless you have underhood inspections, you can get rid of that whole system and plug off the exhaust ports.
 

Bronco648

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