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Oil leak bad news


Woogie

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I recently got my 1995 2WD B2300 from my parents. They've had it for about two years, and bought it from a family friend. Not sure how long he had it, but he gave them some of the repair records and I do know the clutch was replaced three or four years back. The truck has been leaking oil for awhile, but they said the leak was pretty minor. It has 140,000 miles, but I know it wasn't driven very much while my parents had it.

The local dealer does $20 oil changes, so I took it in and mentioned the fact it is losing oil. They rotated the tires also, so I know they had it up on the lift. I asked them to give me an opinion on the leaks, and the written report said the oil pan was "leaking bad" and the clutch fluid was low. I didn't ask for details since I knew master/slave clutch cylinder leaks are common around this age/mileage and I figured the oil pan leak was an easy fix. I had the oil pan gasket replaced on a previous vehicle and it cost less than $200 including labor.

Upon looking it up, it seems this is actually a major nightmare job that requires lifting or pulling the engine. I live in an apartment and do not have the space, tools or knowledge to do it myself. I've taken my other car (a Nissan Versa) to this dealer several times, and they've never tried to cheat me but I've never done anything beyond regular maintenance and recall work with them either.

I definitely plan on getting a second opinion. If the diagnosis is confirmed, would it be better to do an engine swap if I can find one with fewer miles? Either way I've heard it the cost will probably run around $600 - $1,000. It runs fine otherwise. Doesn't burn oil or anything. If I keep the engine, what else should be done while it's out?
 


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Kenneth S

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It's easier to pull the engine to change the oil pan gasket, but before doing that make sure it's not leaking from the oil pressure sending unit. Sometimes you can just tighten the oil pan bolts a little bit to stop it from leaking (you will need to pull the starter to get to some of the oil pan bolts).
 

Woogie

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Thanks, I'll mention it when I have time to get it looked at.

I know it is leaking drops from a couple of different spots. It's not my daily driver, so I can always just top off the oil when I make a trip until I can get the problem(s) fixed.

I'll be out of town for the next few days, but I'll spread some plastic underneath it and hopefully find out exactly where it's leaking from.
 

tomw

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The cam cover gasket is pretty well known for leaking, allowing the oil to seep out, and then drool down the block. It is possible that is the source of your leak as the oil would have to go by the pan gasket surface.
I would clean the engine with one of the spray engine cleaners and a stream of water. Do not get the cleaner on the alternator, belt tensioner, or distributor. It will de-grease the bearings in the first two, and may mess up the latter.
You might find with a simple inspection that the cover gasket leaks, even before cleaning. Replacement requires removing the throttle body from the upper intake{you mostly won't need a new gasket}, and then the 10mm {or 8?} bolts holding the cover in place. You have to wiggle to get it up as it wants to collide with the firewall. Clean gasket surfaces & replace.
tom
 

Kenneth S

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How much oil is it loosing? if it looses a quart between oil changes (3000 - 5000 miles) it's not really a major leak. Should it loose a quart every 25 miles (or pissing a small stream of oil when it's running) that's a different story. Just check the oil every time before, and after you drive it while keeping track of how many miles it goes before is looses a quart (gets below the add line). Back when I was a heavy equipment field mechanic a dump truck got red tagged (a do not operate on public road tag) by the D.O.T. for an oil leak that was nothing than tiny amount of oil seepage from a valve cover.
 


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