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Oil leak from rear of engine

bucko

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Just bought a 2000 Ranger XLT 4x4, with an automatic tansmission and 214K on its odometer.

If I drive the truck for 15 to 20 minutes or more, then park it level, I see a small circle of oil below the area of the rear oil pan/seal on the ground. If I park the truck with it's nose slightly elevated, such as my driveway, I have no oil draining down at all. I know the leak is still there, and that the oil must be draining back into the flexplate/torque converter housing when the front is elevated. This leads me to think the seal is the culprit. The valve covers are dry, so no oil is draining from the top down.

I'm thinking that if the rear of the oil pan were leaking, and the truck is parked with the nose slightly elevated, the oil in the pan would be more rearward, and the leaked oil would drip downward when parked level or elevated, whereas the rear seal would only leak if/when the engine is running.

My plans are to inspect/replace the PCV for good measure (make sure no pressure is building up in the engine crancase to aggravate the seal), and to crawl under and check the oil pan bolts to see if any are loose.

The leak is minimal, so removing the transmission/transfer case to get at the seal is not a priority at this point; I do however dislike my truck "marking its spot) when it's parked level.

I've read in searches done here that rear seal leaks are not common with these engines, which is why I'm still not ruling oit the oil pan, even though the symptoms still lean towards the seal.
 


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NIPs

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Rear main seal,oil pan gasket, valve cove gasket, head gasket, the 1st 2 are the most likely, all tho if ur pcv hasn't been changed in awhile then more likely valve cover gasket

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bucko

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I can see the "wet" along the bottom of the transmission bell housing area, which leads me towards the seal or pan. The idle is great, so I'm not steering at the PCV as a culprit for high crankcase pressures, but it will get checked at the very least for good measure.
 

NIPs

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Ur pcv releases pressure at high rpm , u just said at idle its fine ID check ur pcv ASAP

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bucko

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Removed it last night after changing the front shocks. What a pain to get at! My fat hands and fingers had a tough time sqeezing back behind the divers valve cover area to pull it out. After removing it, it rattled easily, so it did not appear bad. I'm going to replace it none the less, for good measure.

I then crawled under the truck to check the oil pan bolts, and they are all tight. They did not budge at all when I placed the socket to them. I did see oil all around the back flat part of the engine block, to the left/right of the rear oil pan. Also see where it drains downward to the lower bellhousing, and ultimately drips on the ground. The starter has a bit of oil on it.

The valve cover base is dry on both sides; I ran my fingers along the base of each side, and only ended up with dirt/grime, no oil. If they were leaking, I'd see something on my fingers I'd think.

While underneath the truck, I reached into the large round inspection hole of the transmission (opposite side of the starter) and could feel the oil in there. This is leading me strongly towards a rear seal leak.

Not wishing to start a war on snake oil remedies, I'm going to toss in a bottle of the bars leak rear main seal conditioner to see what that can do. I personally have never used it on any automobile (this Ranger is the first vehicle I've had a possible rear seal failure), but several friends of a local vintage car club I'm a member of swear by the stuff. It does not have any pellets that desolve to seal, but rather polymers (spelling?) that soften and swell the rubber of old, dry seals. Many in the club have used it, and have stated the oil sepage either stopped all together within a hundred miles of driving, or slowed the leak significantly. I would not take the word of this if I read it on forums (would not blame anyone from reading past this part of my post), but since I've known these folks for a few years, I believe them, so I'm going to try it. At the same time, I'm going to switch to a "maxlife" oil, as I've read that a slightly higher oil viscosity can also help; the dealership I bought this truck from changed its oil using 0-20, which I'd believe is too thin for an engine with 214K on its odometer.

Its worth a 7 dollar investment to see if it improves. If not, no harm, the seal would have to come out anyways.
 
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NIPs

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Its not worth a $7 bottle to put something off because when it does completely fail it'll fail at the worst possible time like 30miles from home on the side of hwy in the middle of winter, honestly if u have the money to replace it and have the space to do it then do it or have some1 else do it, all ur doing is pouring that stuff in and it mayb harmful to some other gasket or seal somewhere else in the engine, there is no suck thing as a fixacan, ur just prolonging it

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Kowboy

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I'm up w/ not starting any war regarding to usage of snake oils. I however, had a slight leak that was annoying, mainly the smell of it burning off the exhaust pipes. I figured a very slight rear seal leak was the problem. I went with some Mobil 1 High Mileage oil. I have been using it for about 2 years and it killed the smell/leak. I have not found any bad effects from it's usage. By the way, I have a 2000 3.0 w/ around 160,000 miles on the clock. I'd stay away from going heavy on the oil as it may bring on another issue. Synthetic oils will accentuate any leak. Maybe the truck was run on Dino oils and the dealer put in the Ford recommended Synthetic. I see a black eye coming my way. Oh well!
 

bucko

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I'm up w/ not starting any war regarding to usage of snake oils. I however, had a slight leak that was annoying, mainly the smell of it burning off the exhaust pipes. I figured a very slight rear seal leak was the problem. I went with some Mobil 1 High Mileage oil. I have been using it for about 2 years and it killed the smell/leak. I have not found any bad effects from it's usage. By the way, I have a 2000 3.0 w/ around 160,000 miles on the clock. I'd stay away from going heavy on the oil as it may bring on another issue. Synthetic oils will accentuate any leak. Maybe the truck was run on Dino oils and the dealer put in the Ford recommended Synthetic. I see a black eye coming my way. Oh well!
No worries from me! I've been on forum sites for over 15 years, and have seen many oil and oil filter battles, and the myths never go away...even today. I'm old enough (sigh) to remember all the hopla about using synthetic oils back when they first came out. How engines were going to "detonate" with it. These sites have come a long way, but still have room for improvement when it comes to spreading myths.

Anyhow, further research has netted me some additional information. The dealer that I bought this truck from changed it's oil with 5W-20 motorcraft semi synthetic before I bought it. Great oil, use it in my 2011 Mustang, and ran it in a 2005 F-150 I owned for 5 trouble free years. However, I think this oil weight is not a good choice for an engine with 214K miles. This weekend, I plan to change its oil over to valvoline maxlife 10w-30. It also has some added conditioners to aid in older, hardened seals. At the same time, I plan to add 32 ounces of the rear seal conditioner that my long time car club buddies swear by. There are over 300 classic car members in this club, and I've got to know many over the years. Several of them have talked about the great results they have had with this product. It's worth trying with a first oil change. Right now, I'm not up to spending a good weekend on my backside removing a transmission, transfer case, torque converter and flexplate to replace a 10 dollar part, or pay someone a grand in labor to do it. Maybe someday, but not right now.
 
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Kowboy

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I agree w/ your thoughts bucko. When I go in there, I'll be wanting to do the whole deal, clutch etc. I tend to temper everything w/ a little judgement and an open mind. Just might learn "sumptin". Give us an update on how the medicine works out and what you used.
 

bucko

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UPDATE:

As of 6-30-2014, my rear main seal leak has stopped. I did two things:

1) Changed the oil to use Valvoline high mileage oil (10w-30).

2) One bottle of Bars leak concentrated rear main seal repair

After puting just over 100 miles on the oil change, the small puddle of oil (2 inch round) has ceased. I read up that Valvoline high mileage oil had additives in it to assist in oil leaks (not sure what though). Whichever the case, my oil leak is gone.

Not wanting to change anyones thoughts on rear seal replacement.
 

Kowboy

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Great!!! You and I may be 2 out of a 100 who have used this stuff w/ success, but I say it worth a try. Always be open to some things new and temper w/ a little judgement.
 
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bucko

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Yea, I researched it a bit before giving it a try. The testimonies from my car buddies that had success, plus the reading from Google searches gave me the notion that it was worth a try.

I'm confident though that depending on the amount of leak, it may not be successful in all applications. Mine was an annoying small amount, just enough to want to correct it, but not enough to warrant a weekend day removing the transmission/transfer case, and all inbetween to get at a lousy 20 or less dollar seal.
 
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