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Need oil leak help

Discussion in 'The Okie Corral' started by Truffle8Shuffle, Jan 12, 2010.

  1. Truffle8Shuffle

    Truffle8Shuffle

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    Well, I've got a small oil leak in my '96 Ford Explorer and need some advice from the GT braintrust. I've read about the various things I can add that will help (Lucas, White Shepard, Bar's, Bardahl, etc.) and was hoping some of you guys/gals could give me your recommendations based on personal experience. I think the leak is coming from the head gasket area so I don't really want to have to take it in to get replaced if I can fix it with a $10-20 bottle of something.

    It's hard to see exactly where the leak is coming from but it smokes under the hood when the engine is running, not a lot, but noticeable and annoying.

    Thanks everyone!:wavey:

    Also, if it's best to take it in to get checked, how much am I looking at just to get checked, let alone repaired? If you're from the West Palm area, if you can suggest a good/legit repair shop, let me know (PM if you want). The place I always took my car, and my dad did for the last almost 20 years, pissed me off awhile back but that's a different story.

    ETA- I change my own oil so I know its not the drain bolt, pan, or filter.
     
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2010
  2. Ol Timer

    Ol Timer ↓ hog hunter ↓ Millennium Member

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    Smokes from the tailpipe or under the hood?
     

  3. Doc Holliday

    Doc Holliday CLM

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    Could it just be leaking from the valve covers, down onto the hot manifold and smoking off?

    Maybe all it needs it to tighten up the valve cover bolts to stop the leak...but don't CRANK down on them or you risk breaking them, then you're in a world of hurt...

    Just sayin'...
     
  4. sputnik767

    sputnik767

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    Um, oil leaks and Fords are like spaghetti and meatballs. If it is not major, live with it, your car is not worth the repair cost. Avoid the bottles of stopleak crap, they don't fix anything.
     
  5. Truffle8Shuffle

    Truffle8Shuffle

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    Sorry, the smoke is coming from the engine area.

    Thanks Doc. I'll have to check the valve covers. Hopefully I can get to the bolts without much effort.
     
  6. Truffle8Shuffle

    Truffle8Shuffle

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    Have you used any of the "stopleak crap" without any good outcome? If so, which brand?
     
  7. sputnik767

    sputnik767

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    Can't remember which brand, it has been a very long time since we've owned a Ford (none of our cars have ever needed any repairs since). Essentially, all it seemed to do was make the oil thicker, which is not a good idea to begin with. It may slow the leak, but I would not want the side effects of thicker oil.
     
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2010
  8. Max5

    Max5

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    All the stop leak products are just temporary bandaids, be they for engine, transmission or cooling system. The ones for engines and transmissions rely on chemicals that react with rubber seals, swelling ALL of them to seal a leak. Trouble is they compromise the rubber's integrity and continue to swell ALL the seals after the leak stops. They do nothing for cork, paper, durapreme, etc., gaskets that leak.

    Fix it right or just live with the leak. Stop leak products cause more problems in the long run. I wouldn't use them unless I intended to only use the car for a short period of time before junking it.
     
  9. knightkrawler00

    knightkrawler00

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    I've seen a couple of $1200 transmission repair jobs turn into $3000 transmission overhaul/replacement jobs due to stop leak products. It's generally cheaper in the long run to fix a leak correctly.
     
  10. Ol Timer

    Ol Timer ↓ hog hunter ↓ Millennium Member

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    When you have some time to spare, spray the cold engine down with Gunk Engine Brite, available at Walmart or any auto parts store. Follow directions on can and rinse it off. Start your truck and watch for the source of the leak. Since it's smoking under the hood, it's probably just the valve covers. Snug them up a little at a time. Don't torque down one bolt and move to the next, do a little at a time.

    If you decide to replace the gaskets or seal them up with silicone, use the silicone sparingly. If it globs up and gets in the oil gallies and finds it's way to the oil pump, it could be catastrophic.

    Good luck.
     
  11. sputnik767

    sputnik767

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    Yep, and for that reason, I think that it is a terrible idea to use those oils for 75k mile engines. For one, if your engine is leaking at 75k miles, I would seriously doubt that manufacturer's integrity, and if it is not leaking, there is nothing to fix.
     
  12. bwphoto

    bwphoto Lifetime Member

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    I had a 92 Exploder and replaced the valve cover gaskets around 175k miles. I'm guessing our engines are similar, and I don't recall the process being that hard. The kind of thing that takes 4 hours to do the first time, and 1 hour to do the second time.

    If it IS that, and, there's a good chance that it is, don't be too scared to get in there with a ratchet and tackle the problem yourself.

    You said you change your own oil - do you see drips or oil collecting near the bottom of the engine at all? How smoky is it? When you stomp on the gas only or at all times?

    Definitely clean up the engine and try to locate exactly where the leak is coming from.
     
  13. TomZ

    TomZ Lifetime Member

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    The Gunk/cleaning is the best recommendation, then you can see where the leak is originating. From your description, valve cover gaskets are a likely suspect. I'm not familiar with your engine, but oil pressure senders are also a common failure item. The sender is an easy fix too.
     
  14. Geeorge

    Geeorge Sarcasm Inc.

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    I'd try tightening up the valve cover bolts first ,then valve cover gaskets if that doesn't help
     
  15. 3rdgen40

    3rdgen40 .45 fanatic

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    Steam clean, then add leak check dye and inspect with UV light.Find the source then repair it.Most likely valve cover gaskets.
     
  16. Wake_jumper

    Wake_jumper

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    My '92 Explorer with the V6 leaked like a sieve around the valve covers. New gaskets fixed the problem. Oil would run down on the exhaust manifolds and smoke. Piss poor design and the gaskets were fairly expensive as I recall.
     
  17. JuneyBooney

    JuneyBooney

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    Sounds like a valve cover gasket possibly leaking down on the exhaust. Make sure everything is tight and wash the engine off to make sure you don't have acorns burning on the manifold. When did the smoke start? Color?
     
  18. LoadedTech

    LoadedTech

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    I agree most likely valve cover gaskets, snug up bolts or replace gaskets. Its not very hard.
     
  19. Adjuster

    Adjuster

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    "wash the engine off to make sure you don't have acorns burning on the manifold"


    You said what? Huh???
     
  20. faawrenchbndr

    faawrenchbndr CLM

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    Be careful tightening a valve cover, if you over torque the cover it will
    warp and will never seal properly.

    Stay away from the stop leak products,....long term they are very bad
    for an engine