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Oil Leak - Take a look at this pic.

Hi all. Ive got an SC motor thats a leaker on the right lower valve cover. Actually, I dont think its the valve cover or gasket at all. The drip is coming from the part that I circled on the pic. Here's the story:
The engine was sitting for about a year before I completed the install. It runs really well with lots of power, its just this damn leak thats putting a damper on things. I thought that the valve cover gaskets dried up after being stored for a year so I changed them with a kit. I properly torqued the nuts and am not getting any leakage anywhere else. Im doubting that it has anything to do with the lower valve cover. Anyone have any similar problems as this? Is there a seal or a washer that I missed? The leak is pretty bad when the car is in idle. I approximate about 1 drop every 7 seconds. Pretty damn fast leak. Take a look at this pic and hopefully someone can chime in with some suggestions.
Thanks!

Old 01-21-2004, 11:53 PM
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If I got the right location it could be a broken head stud thats causing the leak.

My second guess would be its coming from a leaking rocker arm. Right there in the same location.

Here is a image of where my broken stud was and you can see the rocker arm to the right.

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Last edited by smestas; 01-22-2004 at 03:27 AM..
Old 01-22-2004, 03:22 AM
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Thanks for the reply Simon! Im dreading that it might be a broken head stud. How do I verify that it is the headstud, or if it is the rocker arm? Im not sure how the headstud could break just by storage. I verified prior to purchasing that its a good solid motor with no broken headstuds and no oil leaks. Rust maybe? How did you fix the problem and what did it cost you? If it is the rocker arm leak, what the fix for that? Appreciate any help. Thanks!
Old 01-22-2004, 07:16 AM
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Or, leaking at the cam chain housing to cam tower junction.

There is an o-ring and gasket here (accessible from inside the chain housing) that may need to be replaced. That gasket is fragile and easy to tear if not careful.

I had the exact same leak......oil would pool up in that semi-cylindrical recess and dribble down onto the heat exchangers.
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Old 01-22-2004, 07:17 AM
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One other thing to check is the "flatness" of your intake valve covers. They can become warped due to overtorquing the nuts and then even when you use new gaskets and torque correctly, they leak. Mine did this and leaked right near plug #1. I simply removed the covers and sanded them flat - checking them with a straight edge.

Something easy to check.

Mike
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Old 01-22-2004, 07:34 AM
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Quote:
Or, leaking at the cam chain housing to cam tower junction.
Does this require a teardown of the cam chain housing, or can the o-ring and gasket be replaced without all that work?
Old 01-22-2004, 07:39 AM
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Quote:
Does this require a teardown of the cam chain housing, or can the o-ring and gasket be replaced without all that work?
Unfortunately, yes. Make sure you cover all other possible options before jumping in.

Removal of back engine tin, and muffler required to get to the cam chain cover. Once inside cam housing, removal of the tensioner, idler arm/sprocket and cam sprocket needed. The cam plate (with the o-ring and gasket) is behind the cam sprocket. Retiming of the cam is required. Use LOTS of Curil-T as you don't want to do this again.

-Charlie
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Old 01-22-2004, 08:09 AM
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I'm not an expert but to answer one of your original questions, yes a head stud can snap from just sitting, my wrench showed me a beautiful low milage (like 40K) SC in his back lot waiting for 4 or 5 headstuds just because it sat and they rusted.

Depending on how close it snapped (if it did) to the case you can either just replace it delaying the inevitable top end or full rebuild.
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Old 01-22-2004, 09:13 AM
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Simon's broken head stud was in exactly the same place as mine, but I do not think that is responsible for this profuse oil leak. There is no oil to speak of at the cylinder/head junction. Yes, it could be a rocker shaft, and they should be inspected, as should the head stud barrel nuts. Remove all four valve covers and count barrel nuts. There should be 24 altogether, six under each valve cover. While in there, visually inspect the rocker shafts, which are pins (about 3" long and 3/4" in diameter) on which the rockers rock. One end is inset and the other end is flush. Make sure they are all like this.

But I think the real problem is that connection between the can housing and the chain housing. Yes, replacing the gasket and o-ring involves removing a sprocket (and tensioner, etc) and retiming cams afterwards. Keep in touch with us as you do this. This Board has lots of experience, and this is not the job you want to do each weekend. Here's a tip that should have prevented me from having to do this twice: The gasket can settle downwards during the installation process, causing leakage. The gasket is narrow enough that if it is not centered on the three bolt holes, and it is allowed to sag downward, oil can drip from the cam to the bolt hold, and from there to the outside of the engine.

By the way, once you have inspected the heads and determined that no studs are broken and no rocker shafts are loose, then you can button her up and drive all you like, as long as you keep replacing the lost oil.
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Old 01-22-2004, 10:04 AM
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I had the cam housing O-ring go bad and my leak looked just like that. That would be my guess. The parts are cheap, but the work is not.
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Old 01-22-2004, 10:11 AM
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Guys,
Thanks for all your help and suggestions. I will follow all your advise and check the obvious ones first. Headstuds and rocker shaft first. BTW, what exactly wears out on the rocker shaft? I was reading in the 101 Projects book that there isnt any seal there, but you can purchase a seal thats for race use. If the rocker shaft is loose and has play, would that be an indiction that the leak is coming from there? Im going to do the cam housing seal as a last resort if I cant get this thing to stop bleeding. Superman, I was planning on driving the car as it is if the problem is really the cam housing seal. But at the drip rate of 1 drip per 7 seconds, I feel that its too excessive to sit in traffic. This is really going to make the car smoke as the oil drips on the exchanger. Or maybe I can figure out a way to keep the drip from hitting the exchanger. Perhaps the drip rate would decrease as I start driving her again. We'll see, and I'll keep you guys posted. Thanks!
Old 01-22-2004, 10:35 AM
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Once more possibility.....

The oil feed to the cam tower may be leaking.

The banjo bolt attaches to the cam line restrictor and has 2 sealing rings. The restrictor itself attaches to the cam tower and has one sealing ring. Lots of places for leaks here if not tight as its under pressure......



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Old 01-22-2004, 11:10 AM
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I'm with the cam gasket/O-ring vote (I'm such a sheep!). The oil is coming out of there too fast to be a rocker shaft I think. With a head stud leak, wouldn't the drips would follow the case down to the ground and/or leak out to the fins on the bottom of the cylinder?
The cam O-ring and gasket seal against oil that is under pressure and the oil would drip along the back of the cam box like in the picture.
It would be a pain to do this fix in the car IMO. Professionals do it that way but I'd pull the motor and make timing the cams a lot easier.
-Chris
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Old 01-28-2004, 05:18 AM
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I replaced my chain housing o-ring with the engine in the car, and it's not particularly difficult. In seconds, the engine can be readied for a partial drop of just a few inches in the rear. This allows removal of the rear tin. Of course, the muffler also needs to be removed. Modification of the chain housing might be necessary if the cam is not centered in the chain housing hole. The chain housing can be removed without removing the cam, but the cylinder-shaped inserts between the chain housing and case must be located in a certain position for this. It'll certainly take an entire afternoon.

Again, the triangular gasket must be centered against the bolt holes, and not allowed to rest downward against the bolts. I ignored this advice, and this is how I got the opportunity to do it with the engine in the car. It would have been better if I had listened to John. I listen carefully to John now.

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Old 01-28-2004, 06:26 AM
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