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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hello All,
I have an oil leak with a duratec, and would like to know what it can be. I am aware that duratecs usually leak from pan gaskets, though I have never really seen any oil drops in parking spaces, the reason I know it leaks is due to the burning oil smell while running, which makes me think it is at the catalytic converter side. If a pan gasket leaks, I would assume it only leaks if engine is overfilled with oil and not when it is running. Could the fact that the burning oil smell comes during driving mean it is more likely the front crank seal? What about duratec timing covers? Are they prone to leakage? It seems there is more info about vulcan timing cover leaks rather than duratec timing cover leaks.
Note that I have recently replaced the oil pressure sender, which is supposedly another source of leaks. Valve cover gaskets/seals were also replaced in the summer. This burning oil is really no good especially in winter with the HVAC sucking in the oil vapors. I am going to try to force the system into constant recirculation until oil leak is fixed(which may actually be never).
Thanks for any info.
Edit: now that I think about it, the only real way to determine the leak location is with the UV dye technology. I am reluctant to take this to a shop as I have read a lot of threads about shops fixing duratec oil leaks, yet the problem still persists. do these engines simply leak from every single seal?
I think an engine can be designed to not rely on oil seals to prevent leaks. I am sure if they put lips on valve covers and timing covers that would channel the oil over the seal, then leaks would be much less frequent. My old 2002 elantra did not leak a drop of oil or have any burning oil smells. It was a timing belt engine, though, so I wonder if that contributes to less leaks.
 

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Crank seal that sits into the timing cover can be a source of leaks, esp if you have a grove carved into the crank. Remove harmonic balancer and check for grove in crank where seal rides. If its deep enough, the seal won't be holding back much oil, it'll go around it.

Vulcan timing cover leaks from pitting in the cover from coolant + aluminum and people not changing the coolant often enough.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Is the grove carved in the crank from wear and tear, or is it something from the factory? I have read about putting RTV sealant onto the pulley keyway. is this "keyway" the same thing as the grove you mention?
 

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Wear and tear. Keyway is different - that's for lining up the pulley on the crank
 

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Hello All,
I have an oil leak with a duratec, and would like to know what it can be. I am aware that duratecs usually leak from pan gaskets, though I have never really seen any oil drops in parking spaces, the reason I know it leaks is due to the burning oil smell while running, which makes me think it is at the catalytic converter side. If a pan gasket leaks, I would assume it only leaks if engine is overfilled with oil and not when it is running. Could the fact that the burning oil smell comes during driving mean it is more likely the front crank seal? What about duratec timing covers? Are they prone to leakage? It seems there is more info about vulcan timing cover leaks rather than duratec timing cover leaks.
Note that I have recently replaced the oil pressure sender, which is supposedly another source of leaks. Valve cover gaskets/seals were also replaced in the summer. This burning oil is really no good especially in winter with the HVAC sucking in the oil vapors. I am going to try to force the system into constant recirculation until oil leak is fixed(which may actually be never).
Thanks for any info.
Edit: now that I think about it, the only real way to determine the leak location is with the UV dye technology. I am reluctant to take this to a shop as I have read a lot of threads about shops fixing duratec oil leaks, yet the problem still persists. do these engines simply leak from every single seal?
I think an engine can be designed to not rely on oil seals to prevent leaks. I am sure if they put lips on valve covers and timing covers that would channel the oil over the seal, then leaks would be much less frequent. My old 2002 elantra did not leak a drop of oil or have any burning oil smells. It was a timing belt engine, though, so I wonder if that contributes to less leaks.
My '03 Wagon DOHC has the smell. From under when up on ramps, the oil drips on the exhaust right about where the O2 sensor is. The sensor and wires are oily. I have checked as the oil filter is above this and the pressure sending unit. They are not the source. So that only leaves the front valve cover. It can wait till spring when the snow is gone.

-chart-
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Wear and tear. Keyway is different - that's for lining up the pulley on the crank
If there is a grove in the crank, what is the fix, apart from a new crank? Fill grove with silicone? JB weld? Sounds like something tricky to fix if it is the issue.
 

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Speedy sleeve is the fix for grooved cranks at either end.
 

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Crank seal that sits into the timing cover can be a source of leaks, esp if you have a grove carved into the crank. Remove harmonic balancer and check for grove in crank where seal rides. If its deep enough, the seal won't be holding back much oil, it'll go around it.

Vulcan timing cover leaks from pitting in the cover from coolant + aluminum and people not changing the coolant often enough.
I have 3, all leak some. None around the crank seal. It fact they are dry and rusty on the shaft just outside the seal. All 3 seem to drip on the exhaust near the front O2 sensor.

Ford could do better. The Intech, and I have had 3, very dry all around, very dry and dusty. They do know how to do it.

-chart-
 

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If you have a high mileage engine there isn't going to be any real harm in adding a seal softening agent to the engine's oil. After years of heat cycling and age those seals have a tendency to harden. On the Duratec, this means the shaft type seals and the pre-shaped O-ring type seals such as used on the timing covers and valve covers. You can snug down the cover bolts, as the O-rings usually have a tendency to flatten out over time. I know that you'll probably be able to add some torque to just about all of the cover bolts if its never been done.

As said, with use, seals will have a tendency to cut small grooves into the surface of a crankshaft, or whatever shaft that it's sealing. Using "Speedy-Sleeves" to cover the groove with a new sealing surface is the most economical and effective remedy. You can afford the amount of labor that it takes to install them when you consider the amount of work involved to remove the part so that it can be resurfaced on a lathe. Just replacing the seal isn't going to work. The groove will eat the new seal's surface.

One method that has its possibilities is to only install the seal a little more than halfway into the housing. This may allow the seal to have a different sealing contact point, a slight, but sufficient distance from the groove. The design of the seal and the surface condition of the new sealing point are what's going to determine if this should even be considered.

Personally, I'm going to pour a seal softening additive into the oil and see if I can get a few thousand more miles out of it. This is before I buy my new seals and speedy-sleeves, which I know that I'll eventually need. I used a speedy-sleeve on the rear main crankshaft seal of my 93 F-150 with the 4.9, 6 cyl. The leak is fixed. I had the transmission out to change the clutch, anyway.

The speedy-sleeve installation can be a frustrating experience. You must follow the instructions. I suggest buying two sets in case the first install didn't go so well. They can get messed up if you're not careful. I even made a special installation tool set out of PVC pipe fittings. I couldn't have installed the sleeve without them.

I don't suggest that anyone try this, but years ago, a tablespoon of brake fluid, added to the crankcase oil would soften the rubber seals. If more was needed, you'd add no more than another spoonful. This would work to soften the seals in automatic transmissions, too. Like I said before, I don't recommend that anyone put brake fluid in their crankcase oil or their automatic transmissions.
 

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I have 3, all leak some. None around the crank seal. It fact they are dry and rusty on the shaft just outside the seal. All 3 seem to drip on the exhaust near the front O2 sensor.

Ford could do better. The Intech, and I have had 3, very dry all around, very dry and dusty. They do know how to do it.

-chart-
A bit old a thread but I noticed the same problem on my '01 Duratec with the occasional smelly drips on to the exhaust. It looks like the leak is at the pan gasket, but it isn't. The oil on mine is running down and dripping from a timing cover bolt that is behind the alternator. It is a very slow leak, and it is nearly impossible to see the source without a bright, well focused flashlight. However now that I know exactly where it's at, I think I can rig up an extended handle ratchet or breaker bar to get at this bolt from underneath to give it just a tad more torque, hopefully that will take care of the leak. If not, I'll just live with it and try some high mileage oil that has leak inhibitors to freshen up the gasket. I understand pulling the timing cover from these cars with the Duratec isn't really economically feasible.

-Mark-
 

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I was able to get at this bolt with some creative tools, but it was not loose at all. I'll have to live with this leak- it's more of oil "sweat," as it is a very slow leak, I guess the kind I have to expect with a 13 year old car. :lol2:

-Mark-
 

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The 3.0 Duratec was very expensive and complicated to build. The 3.5L Cyclone is actually dirt cheap to make, much cheaper than the 3.0 ever was.
 

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Low and behold this leak was from the rear valve cover, not the timing cover. I felt around and found a small spot where the valve cover gasket was crushed out and hanging over the top of the head, and the area all soaked with oil underneath. I peeled the piece of rubber gasket away, and was able to easily press some RTV on the end of my finger up in the spot that stopped the leak. This should suffice for now, I'll likely replace both gaskets when I feel up to removing the UIM- I'll do the PCV valve and plugs at that time too.

-Mark-
 

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I had to do the valve cover job recently on another DOHC - 2000 Hyundai Sonata V6. Well... all the rubber gaskets, after 15 years of engine heat, they become very hard and brittle like... crumbling plastic. No wonder that no amount of oil additives or "tightening" of the bolts helped.

Change the valve gaskets and the ones for the spark plug cylinder wells (six of them) and all will be good. The UIM gasket might be good to do now too, since you will take it down anyway. And, yes, the spark plugs definitely once the UIM is out.
 

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I was able to get at this bolt with some creative tools, but it was not loose at all. I'll have to live with this leak- it's more of oil "sweat," as it is a very slow leak, I guess the kind I have to expect with a 13 year old car. :lol2:

-Mark-
Should have removed that leaky bolt, put blue or gray silicone sealer on the threads,put bolt back on, leak stopped!
 
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