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Discussion Starter #1
I recently bought a 94 sidekick 2wd 8v 5sp. only 85k miles everything works and no rust...Yeah!!! Oil leak...Boo!!!

So I did as I read here and changed the distributor O rings and valve cover gasket. The valve cover was leaking but I still have another leak. I cleaned the engine again and I do not believe this undiagnosed leak is coming from up top. The top of the bell housing is clean and dry. I think it is either coming from the left rear oil pan seal or it's the rear main seal.

I'm only getting a a drop or two in the garage after driving and it's only leaking from the left rear corner top of the oil pan.

I believe that removing the oil pan on a 2wd 5pd is no big deal. Just take off the flywheel dust cover and then take off the pan. Is this accurate?

I just can't get that damn flywheel dust cover off. Do I need to remove all 4 bolts (I think 2 have 10mm heads and 2 have 14 mm heads)? Will it just slide out? It seems like a super tight fit. Will I be able to wedge it back in? I'd really like to have a look to see what the flywheel looks like.

I'm hoping that it's not the rear main seal. I don't have the setup/skills to make that repair.
 

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Discussion Starter #2
View attachment 31257

Here is a pic of the left side of the dust cover with the circled bolts being the ones I have to remove to get the dust cover off (along with a 10mm head bolt on the right side of the dust cover.

View attachment 31265

If I'm very patient and lay quietly under the sidekick this is the area I can see the oil drip from.

View attachment 31273

this is oil's final spot on the vehicle before it gently tumbles to the floor of my garage.
 

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Maybe not what you want to hear, but if the leak is (and remains) that small...I'd live w/it. ;)

I've done so for eight years now, after attempting to locate a leak several times. Mine is probably the front timing cover. Absolutely miserable to get to for a fix. Even then, I can't be sure that it is even the source w/100% confidence. :(
 

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Umm - I'd remove that dust cover and take a look inside - I'm betting on the rear main.

Suzuki does not use an oil pan gasket, they use RTV sealant, and as a general rule, the pan will not leak unless someone disturbs it - a small leak can often be ignored, but take it from me, two places you don't want to ignore the leak is when it's the rear main, or, behind the timing cover (front crank or cam seals) - if it's the rear main, sooner or later you're going to contaminate the clutch and end up in problems - if it's behind the timing cover, it's going to end up on the timing belt.

Max - your timing cover would be different - as you know you have no belt to worry about.
 

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I don't know. A 20 year old vehicle with a tiny oil leak. ^_^

Sure, attack the rear main to hopefully stop it. Replace the clutch cause' you're there.

Or IF it's the rear main and IF it gets to the point that it oils the clutch...then do the rear main and renew the clutch.

Same extensive repair deal in either case.

Monitor it and let it ride, IMO. ;)
 

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To find oil leaks, clean the area and spray on some spray "foot powder."

Any oil leaks will leave tracks in the the powder. Follow them back to the source.

I have found cheap spray foot powder at the dollar store.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
OK, I took off the dust cover. I had to remove the left side transmission mount (4 - 14mm bolts, 2 bolts on top and 2 through the dust cover into the transmission and then I removed the 2 10mm dust cover bolts).

Proof

View attachment 31345

Now, what exactly am I looking for? I was sort of hoping for a sign that said "leak coming from here". There's a lot of dark oil on the inside bottom as you can sort of see in the picture.

Is there any harm to running the engine to see without the dust cover to see what comes out?

even if I don't fix this immediately I'd sure like to know exactly what the problem is.
 

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Well, from what I can see of the flywheel, it appears dry without an abundance of oil present over the entire area. The black substance is clutch dust mixed with liquid (oil probably) that results in the appearance noted. This is also typical of higher mileage or simply worn / aged component observance.



Yes, you can run the engine with the cover off.

Bottom line...you need to assess as to whether the oil is derived from inside the bell housing area OR dripping down from above and into the bell housing cavity.

Just as important from the perspective standpoint, have you gauged the amount of fluid loss? How much engine oil are you using? A quart every ____ ?

Have you checked the transmission gear oil level? That's another possible source. There is an outside chance that a brake fluid leak could run down into that area too. Levels OK there?

If you find that the substance is in fact engine oil entering the clutch area (and you want to continue perusing and ultimate fix) then your only recourse (to cover all bases) is to pull the trans & flywheel, replace the crank seal, check the oil gallery end plugs. Should the oil leak be from the oil pan gasketed area, then pulling the engine to attack it all may be in order.

With regard to the rear main...replacing (if leaking) is no guarantee of success IF the corresponding crank seal SURFACE is compromised. A knowledgeable Mechanic assist is needed if you haven't the talent and tools to assess it yourself. Worse case scenario...the crank gets replaced, which opens up a whole new agenda as to where to stop in this repair process.

This doesn't include the cost of parts and labor for an opportune clutch replacement and flywheel resurfacing thrown into the mix. :(

I ask you...how BADLY do you want to fix this leak? You could be looking at an upwards of a $1K adventure, more if engine removal / oil pan & crank entertaining.

Does the condition of the remainder of the vehicle (and your wallet) support the investment?
 

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You're looking at the back (engine) side of the flywheel there - if the rear main was leaking I would expect to see oil in a radiating pattern on that surface - in most cases, an oil past the seal will occur where the seal lip rubs on the crank, that oil will then be thrown off through centrifugal force - and it usually leaves traces radiating outwards.

I'd put the dust cover back and not worry about the leak unless the volume lost becomes significant.
 

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When browsing a web site Tracker Engine - AlteredEgo Motorsports  

I noticed this:
"For when you think you have a rear main seal leak....check the distributor housing seal. Very common problem and very easy to fix."

Might be.... as I do see any thing wrong with the flywheel area of your rig. IIRC: You should be able to check the distributor area with your fingers.
 

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I think he already did that, per post#1, but I agree that he needs an in depth look at what might be leaking from above the pan and rear main area.
 

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"I think he already did that, per post#1,"

Maybe why I didn't suggest it earlier...

I still think it is time for the foot powder. Unless the leak is too small to worry about. But I have known people who would completely pull motors out just to find a "one drop per night" leak.

Having Audi's has cured me of any thought in that direction. ;)

-- If it aint leaking, it is empty!
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I want to thank everyone for their help. And because I always like it when people come full circle on their threads, I wanted to finish off the story.

The cause of the leak was....the cam seal (and possibly the crank seal, it might have been leaking as well it was impossible to tell, I replaced them both). It was leaking down inside the timing belt cover onto the driver's side top rim of the oil pan and wind force would drive it back along that entire rim until it got to the area where the oil pan meets the flywheel dust cover.

So it now has a new timing belt, water pump, distributor rotor/cap/o rings, new cam/crank/valve cover seals, plugs and wires, accessory belts, radio and speakers.

That probably doesn't seem like a lot of work, but I'm slow as hell and it took me forever to do those things.

I've read on here a million times about how hard it can be to diagnose oil leaks and now I can attest to that first hand. I think it was made more difficult by the minor valve cover leak that wasn't reaching the ground but fooled me into thinking the leak was coming from the rear of the engine/rear main seal/ or oil pan.

Again, thanks for the help.
 

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... but I'm slow as hell and it took me forever to do those things. ....
If you are done, you are faster than I am!

I am still looking for some bolts I removed last summer!

(Good thing for digital cameras... I took pictures of everything before I started. I can remember what I had for breakfast, how can I remember how to reconnect something that I took apart 9 months ago? )

Anyway, thanks for the update. The feed back helps us all get a little smarter... or wiser.

A smart man learns from his mistakes. (Read "experience" in this case as it wasn't really a mistake.) A WISE man learns from the mistakes (experiences) of others.
 
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