How much oil leak is too much oil leak? - JeepForum.com
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post #1 of 24 Old 09-21-2019, 08:23 PM Thread Starter
mikewiz38
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How much oil leak is too much oil leak?

Looking for some advice here... I've been busting my back getting my YJ back together for an upcoming 900 mile all together trip. This will be a trip mostly on highway, but then a long drive through the forest with other jeepers. One of the last concerns I have is an oil leak. I'm not sure where it's coming from. I've tried to look around and I can't seem to locate it.

What happens is that every couple of minutes, you smell oil burning. When the car is cool, I can see a drip on the transmission bell housing, and if I look up around the RMS, you can see another oil drip up there, but it's more on the bolt that holds that area in. I believe it's running down from the RMS area to the bottom of the bell housing, then the wind blows the oil drip onto the exhaust back there where it burns off.

When I was filling it, I chanced it and didn't use a funnel and ended up spilling a good amount of oil on the valve cover. I tried to mop it up but it went EVERYWHERE. When I look under the Jeep, you can see oil all the way up on the exhaust manifold in the back down to the oil pan area and pretty much all over on the back of the engine. It's even on the other side by the oil filter and down in the back as well.

When the car is stopped, there's no pool of oil under it the next day. I'm doing a tin foil test tonight to see how much actually drips overnight. I would guess maybe a drop, but I'll find out tomorrow. I jacked it up tonight and let it run for a few minutes and rolled underneath. I couldn't see any drips, sprays, or anything coming from anywhere. I have probably about 400 miles and the oil level is still where it was when I filled it.

I know it's hard to diagnose, but I'm trying to decide if this little oil leak is something acceptable for a 900 mile trip. I want to go, but I don't want to be stranded trying to find a shop to fix an engine. To me, it doesn't sound like it's that big of a deal and it still may be just dripping from when I spilled the oil all over the engine. But I wanted to get the opinion of others here to help me decide if I should take this trip or not. Thanks!


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post #2 of 24 Old 09-21-2019, 08:55 PM
fishadventure
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If you’re like using a quart every thousand miles that’s a little excessive but what’s it going to hurt? If you’re all game and set to go on the trip just bring a few extra quarts of oil.

[size=“3”]Shackles & D-rings are different things.
Cranking IS turning over
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post #3 of 24 Old 09-21-2019, 09:32 PM
Chrisnvegas
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Oil leaks are not hard to diagnose. Throw in some dye, get out your blacklight and the leak will jump out at you.

End the Ethanol Rip-Off
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post #4 of 24 Old 09-22-2019, 12:40 AM
littleblackjeep
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Throw an extra quart in behind the passenger seat, and check the dipstick after you’ve stopped for lunch during the trip.

Jeeps don’t leak, they mark their territory.


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post #5 of 24 Old 09-22-2019, 06:02 AM
Feetwet
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Sounds like a good de-greasing and cleanup would go a long way to help pinpoint the origin.

Wrap the alternator and distributor in plastic bags, use the water soluble spray degreaser (Advance, O'Reilly, Napa all sell it),
let sit and carefully hose off.

Run the engine up to operating temp to dry then the hunt is on.

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post #6 of 24 Old 09-22-2019, 06:44 AM
jay-h
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If it starts leaving a mess, then you need too deal with it.

If you're frequently smelling oil smoke, I would consider the valve cover gasket.

Most small leaks that have been around a while are not a threat to reliability on your trip.

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post #7 of 24 Old 09-22-2019, 02:54 PM Thread Starter
mikewiz38
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Thank you all for the responses. I ran to walmart this-morning and bought two cans of gunk engine degreaser. Sprayed everything down and rinsed it per directions. It actually wasn't as messy as I thought it was going to be. So now I can hopefully get a better idea of where maybe this thing is leaking.

And thanks for the recommendation about going / not going. When I checked my foil pan this-morning there was not even a drop on it. It tells me that it's really minor, and I really hope that it's the valve cover gasket. The PO replaced it recently, but who knows... Out of all the gaskets, I would think the valve cover is the easiest to replace. I hope you're right!

Thank You!!!

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post #8 of 24 Old 09-22-2019, 03:12 PM
downs
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I leak about a quart every 2500 miles. Mine is coming from the head gasket leaking a bit on the oil galley/lifter side of the head. It's not enough to make me want to pull the head yet. I get a few drops on the ground everywhere I park overnight. About half dollar sized wet spot but not a puddle. Sounds like you are getting either a small valve cover leak or all that oil you spilled when you refilled is slowly making it's way down.

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post #9 of 24 Old 09-22-2019, 06:50 PM
jay-h
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The only small leak that can result in oil smoke is the valve cover. Any other type of leak does not directly hit the manifold, so it would have to be spraying inside the engine compartment to create a burning smell.... and those kinds of leaks would be leaving a mess all over.

A small oil leak (especially one that has been that way for a while) does not generally pose a significant reliability risk.

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post #10 of 24 Old 09-22-2019, 06:59 PM
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My Jeep doesn't leak any fluids whatsoever. At all. I'm proud of that.

My ten-year-newer Suburban and Ram 2500 both leak, and that annoys me.

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post #11 of 24 Old 09-22-2019, 07:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jay-h View Post
The only small leak that can result in oil smoke is the valve cover. .
Actually the rear main, oil sender, and oil pan all can drip on the crossover pipe and smoke. It can even freak out the attendant at the McDonald’s drive thru
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[size=“3”]Shackles & D-rings are different things.
Cranking IS turning over
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post #12 of 24 Old 09-23-2019, 05:24 AM
jay-h
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fishadventure View Post
Actually the rear main, oil sender, and oil pan all can drip on the crossover pipe and smoke. It can even freak out the attendant at the McDonald’s drive thru
That's true, but they also leave noticeable puddles. The original post seemed to indicate no puddles.

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post #13 of 24 Old 09-23-2019, 09:08 AM Thread Starter
mikewiz38
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jay-h View Post
That's true, but they also leave noticeable puddles. The original post seemed to indicate no puddles.
Correct, no puddles, no drips overnight, nothing. Just a drip every now and then on the crossover area of the exhaust when driving. It's the part of the exhaust pipe that's right behind the oil plug.

I cleaned everything up good yesterday and noticed that a few oil pan screws had some oil on them when I drove it lsat night. After I saw that, I took some more degreaser to those bolts and marked them so I know where they're at. I'm really hoping that maybe it's just leaking from the bolts and making it's way back and blowing on the exhaust pipe, but time will tell.

Thanks!

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post #14 of 24 Old 09-23-2019, 04:58 PM
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Check those oil pan bolts for tight. If a couple worked loose and are only finger tight or so, they can just be snugged back up and may just solve your issue.

I don't have the torque specs on your 4.0, not my engine, but it's not much. The YJ FAQs will have the torq value you need, or someone may chime in here, and may save you replacing the gasket and all that. Free, simple check. It's happened before...


edit: Had a minute so...
Oil Pan Mounting Bolts 4.O L

1/4x20 84 inlbs
5/16x18 132 inlbs
Like I said, it's not much.
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post #15 of 24 Old 09-25-2019, 09:53 AM Thread Starter
mikewiz38
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Feetwet View Post
Check those oil pan bolts for tight. If a couple worked loose and are only finger tight or so, they can just be snugged back up and may just solve your issue.

I don't have the torque specs on your 4.0, not my engine, but it's not much. The YJ FAQs will have the torq value you need, or someone may chime in here, and may save you replacing the gasket and all that. Free, simple check. It's happened before...


edit: Had a minute so...
Oil Pan Mounting Bolts 4.O L

1/4x20 84 inlbs
5/16x18 132 inlbs
Like I said, it's not much.
Thanks again for the information. Goofy question, which are the 1/4" bolts and which are the 5/16" bolts? Are the 1/4-20 the ones that are on the side of the oil pan, and the 5/16-18 are the ones that go into the timing chain cover and the ones by the rear main seal?

Thanks!

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