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Old 04-04-2012, 06:19 PM
 
74 posts, read 227,089 times
Reputation: 65
Default Oil leak advice for an old car.

I noticed a small drip under the car a week ago. I took it to my mechanic, he said it's an oil leak from the main seal and that I'd cost $1,000 to fix. The car isn't worth fixing, but still runs fine. He said to keep an eye the oil level.

Since there are very small drips on the cardboard that I put under the car every night, I believe the car is still driveable for a while.

Has any else had a long-term oil leak and use their car for months or even years?
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Old 04-04-2012, 06:35 PM
 
Location: The Triad (nc)
17,081 posts, read 20,967,993 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by frecny View Post
...he said it's an oil leak from the main seal

Has any else had a long-term oil leak and use their car for months or even years?
Yes along with *millions* of others.

Keep a few quarts on board at all times and as recommended start actually check your oil every other fill up.
Look for a rate of change (eg: 1 quart low every 10 weeks) and then look for changes in that.
And yeah, you still need to change the oil and filter.
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Old 04-04-2012, 06:35 PM
 
Location: Eastern Washington
8,765 posts, read 21,689,520 times
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What car is this? Most older Detroit cars, and Lord knows most Brit cars do leak some oil. I have put hundreds of thousands of miles on cars that leaked a little oil out the main seal. The car may be burning more oil than it's leaking, and could still be perfectly servicable for many years. People who grew up with modern Japanese cars tend to think any need to add oil between changes is a sure sign of a mechanical Armageddon - it's not. I have an old Chevy that burns/leaks about a quart per 500 miles, while it will smoke quite a bit on initial startup if it's been sitting a while, after the valve guide seals warm up and get oiled up good, it quits smoking, and runs fine. Don't use it much as even 17 MPG is not good for a car in this day of $4 gas, but it remains a usable spare car.

Something to think about, I have had good luck with Castrol High Mileage (green bottle) oil reducing some oil leaks.

Main seal probably won't be affected, but do make sure the PCV system is working right, it should keep a partial vacuum on the crankcase and thus minimize oil leakage.
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Old 04-04-2012, 06:45 PM
 
74 posts, read 227,089 times
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M3 mitch, it's a 1989 Olds with the 3.8L
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Old 04-04-2012, 06:56 PM
 
Location: Little Elm, TX
6,941 posts, read 7,000,971 times
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There's a product from Gunk called Bearin' Seal - it's not a miracle worker but it will swell a rear main or oil pan rear seal up to 3%.

I used to sell in the aftermarket years ago and people did actually see results on older engines - or you may just go with a thicker oil.
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Old 04-04-2012, 06:56 PM
 
Location: Eastern Washington
8,765 posts, read 21,689,520 times
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Almost certainly you can drive this car many years with the oil leak not getting much worse, if it gets worse at all.

Do check out the PCV and consider the Castrol oil (it has a seal swell additive added at the factory, the Castrol engineers have worked out what kind and how much, as opposed to adding your own "snake oil" - although some oil leak reducing aftermarket additives do a good job as well.
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Old 04-04-2012, 07:11 PM
 
3,905 posts, read 3,020,246 times
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Had a buddy drive an old truck of mine 290k miles with a bad rear main seal for at least 1/2 those miles. Truck ran low on oil and fried the motor (he lent it to someone that didn't follow orders). Leak got so bad it would need a quart every time you filled the tank! He would go a year between oil changes, figured the 4 fresh quarts a month kept the oil pretty clean!
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Old 04-04-2012, 07:38 PM
 
Location: Arizona & Wisconsin
4,930 posts, read 5,825,977 times
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Tons of cars driving around like that. Definitely make sure the PCV system is clean.
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Old 04-04-2012, 08:12 PM
 
Location: In The Pacific
827 posts, read 466,345 times
Reputation: 938
Quote:
Originally Posted by frecny View Post
I noticed a small drip under the car a week ago. I took it to my mechanic, he said it's an oil leak from the main seal and that I'd cost $1,000 to fix. The car isn't worth fixing, but still runs fine. He said to keep an eye the oil level.

Since there are very small drips on the cardboard that I put under the car every night, I believe the car is still driveable for a while.

Has any else had a long-term oil leak and use their car for months or even years?
I've lived in the Philippines for 14 yrs now and own a 1979 restored Toyota Corolla and has had plenty of oil leaks. I just take her to a nearby auto shop to replace all of her leaking oil seals and she's good to go for a few more months or years! Fortunately labor here in the Philippines is inexpensive!
Attachment 93408

Last edited by Art2ro; 06-02-2012 at 10:11 AM..
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Old 04-04-2012, 09:34 PM
 
2,737 posts, read 890,838 times
Reputation: 1785
Quote:
Originally Posted by frecny View Post
I noticed a small drip under the car a week ago. I took it to my mechanic, he said it's an oil leak from the main seal and that I'd cost $1,000 to fix. The car isn't worth fixing, but still runs fine. He said to keep an eye the oil level.

Since there are very small drips on the cardboard that I put under the car every night, I believe the car is still driveable for a while.

Has any else had a long-term oil leak and use their car for months or even years?
Yes. Many times.

Watch your oil level carefully, to determine how much oil you're losing over how any miles. If you're only losing a quart between oil changes you're good to go. Double that, and you're on your way to having to make a decision.
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