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Old 02-18-2021, 09:57 PM   #1
mgambuzza
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Default Oil Leak Troubleshooting

Vacation week coming and I bought some parts to try addressing my oil leak on my 1930. I originally was going to replace the pan gasket, but the last time I ran it for about 10 minutes and let is sit overnight, I looked at both sides of the engine pan - drivers dry, passengers side wet. I then looked upward and saw where the oil return and valve cover a lot of seepage. I bought parts such as valve cover gasket, oil return gasket, bolts with copper washers, and a new oil return pipe (solder on original - possible former crack or leak). Never done this before on this type of car so although tight, can I remove the oil return and valve cover without removing the carburetor and intake/exhaust manifolds?


Hopefully this cares for the majority of the leaks. If not I'll have to wait for the next vacation for the oil pan. Pictures below.
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Old 02-18-2021, 10:35 PM   #2
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Default Re: Oil Leak Troubleshooting

Pretty sure the manifolds need to come off. No big deal - also a good time to check the valve lash.
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Old 02-18-2021, 10:58 PM   #3
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Default Re: Oil Leak Troubleshooting

Hard to tell where your leaks are coming from in the photos. Did you use a sealant on the gaskets? Did you check your pan for straight and smooth face to the block? Was the block clean and smooth where it meets the pan?
You don’t have to remove the manifolds unless you want easy access to the valve chamber, which is separate from leaking issues. Removing the carb will give you a little more wiggle room.

Also hard to tell if you have the brass washers under the bolts that hold the return pipe on. Those are important in preventing leaks from the pipe.
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Old 02-19-2021, 12:08 AM   #4
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Default Re: Oil Leak Troubleshooting

From the pictures, it appears that most if not all the leak is from the return pipe. I would start with removing just the return pipe and re-seal it and see what happens. There is one bolt in the lower corner of the valve chamber cover that is a little wet. You can remove just that one bolt, clean everything and put a little sealer on the bolt and that may cure that leak, however, I think most of the leak is the return pipe.

My opinion,

Chris W.
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Old 02-19-2021, 06:59 AM   #5
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Default Re: Oil Leak Troubleshooting

You can do it without removing the manifolds but it is crowded. Removing the carb should give you enough room to work.
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Old 02-19-2021, 08:23 AM   #6
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I just removed the oil return pipe and valve cover on my 31 to install new gaskets. No problem with removal or installation with manifolds and carb in place.
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Old 02-19-2021, 09:40 AM   #7
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I agree 100% with #6 and #4.
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Old 02-19-2021, 10:10 AM   #8
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Default Re: Oil Leak Troubleshooting

Take heed of this caution:
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Old 02-19-2021, 10:56 AM   #9
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Oops
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Old 02-19-2021, 11:17 AM   #10
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Default Re: Oil Leak Troubleshooting

I`m with Chris on the return pipe, But you almost always need to find the oil leak before you start taking parts off. if it was me, I would clean the area up. run the engine for awhile than run your finger under the return pipe and side cover. you will pick up fresh oil on your finger. than you will know where it is leaking.
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Old 02-19-2021, 11:37 AM   #11
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Default Re: Oil Leak Troubleshooting

always keep oil level at middle of stick between full and add...
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Old 02-19-2021, 01:50 PM   #12
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Default Re: Oil Leak Troubleshooting

As expected a full spectrum of great advice. When I'm on vacation next week I'll work on identifying, taking it step at a time, and fingers cross either definitively identify or resolve the issue. Thank you all - it is great to have such an engaged group of people with a vast level of experience!
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Old 02-25-2021, 02:58 PM   #13
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Default Re: Oil Leak Troubleshooting

ok - so I did a couple items. I changed the oil which I didn't know when the last time it was done (I bought it in late October). I also went through and tightened up the oil return, valve cover, pan bolts, oil drain plug - replaced seal, and tightened as well as replaced the middle flywheel dust cover bolt (was missing). Through this I did find at least 5 loose bolts. Started, warmed up, and now only leak I am seeing is at the cotter pin on the bottom of the flywheel as shown in the picture below. It was dripping pretty good while running. Oil level when cold is now at the mark on the dipstick. Could I be looking at an overfilled oil pan, or something else?
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Old 02-26-2021, 06:06 AM   #14
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Default Oil Leak Troubleshooting

Several folks recommend an oil level halfway between full and low on the dipstick. They say it helps minimize leaks. Model As are going to leak a bit anyway. That hole with the cotter pin seems to be a popular site for a leak.


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Old 02-26-2021, 08:05 AM   #15
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Default Re: Oil Leak Troubleshooting

It could be leaking a bit from the rear main or camshaft, drive it or remove some oil down to just above the L lower mark on the dip stick and see if this helps or slows the leak. When the rear main bearing clearances become wider, then they start to leak which means removing the oil pan and rear main to adjust the bearing. Let's hope that a lower oil level will slow or stop your drip!
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Old 02-26-2021, 10:10 AM   #16
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Default Re: Oil Leak Troubleshooting

My Town Sedan had a small leak from that area. I installed a Rear Main Janitor to prevent marking my driveway https://www.brattons.com/rear-main-janitor.html

I put a feminine napkin in it to absorb any drips and change it once a month.
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Old 02-26-2021, 06:43 PM   #17
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Default Re: Oil Leak Troubleshooting

Y-Blockhead that's hilarious, does it get irritable every28 days?
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Old 02-26-2021, 08:25 PM   #18
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Default Re: Oil Leak Troubleshooting

Does everyone have a cotter pin in that hole? I didn't realize that had an actual purpose. a quick search reveals

"Q. Why does the new Ford have a cotter key hanging out the bottom of the bell??

A. Its natural shaking as the car is driven ensures that the hole will not become blocked by dirt.

Q. Why is the hole there?

A. To allow oil leaking from the engine to drain out before it can get to the clutch frictions.

Q. Why does the oil leak so??

A. The leak is provided in order to prevent the formation of rust on the cotter pin.

So there. Skilled engineers design everything as a system."
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Old 02-27-2021, 11:16 AM   #19
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Default Re: Oil Leak Troubleshooting

Quote:
Originally Posted by Harpkatt View Post
Does everyone have a cotter pin in that hole? I didn't realize that had an actual purpose. a quick search reveals

"Q. Why does the new Ford have a cotter key hanging out the bottom of the bell??

A. Its natural shaking as the car is driven ensures that the hole will not become blocked by dirt.

Q. Why is the hole there?

A. To allow oil leaking from the engine to drain out before it can get to the clutch frictions.

Q. Why does the oil leak so??

A. The leak is provided in order to prevent the formation of rust on the cotter pin.

So there. Skilled engineers design everything as a system."
It sounds like a viscous circle.
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Old 02-27-2021, 12:11 PM   #20
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Default Re: Oil Leak Troubleshooting

MGA,

Your Model A is not a Lexus.

By now you have seen how thick those gaskets are and they do require a re-tightening after the first several heat cycles (driving to operating temps) to 'slow down' leakage.
Definitely add some sealant to those oil return pipe gaskets as they are not as thick as originals.

Lastly, playing with oil pan & valve cover bolts, use only a 1/4" ratchet to tighten unless you want to see how easily those bolts break in awkward places.

Enjoy your week off.
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