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Smell of hot plastic (maybe burning oil), loss of oil, but no evidence of lost oil

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Smell of hot plastic (maybe burning oil), loss of oil, but no evidence of lost oil

 
Old 02-09-2019, 04:22 AM
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Smell of hot plastic (maybe burning oil), loss of oil, but no evidence of lost oil

I donít see any lost oil dripping out from under the engine (no visible leaking and no oil spot). However it is noticeable that the oil is going somewhere when checking oil levels on the dipstick. It is using a pretty decent amount of oil too.

I believe the smell I thought was a slight smell of burning plastic or oil was related. However I only suspect this because I noticed/suspected the smell has grown worse as the oil consumption has also grown. Thus why I believe they may be related.

There is no evidence of oil in the coolant, nor exhaust. It is not ďburningĒ oil in the engine. I suspect it is dripping somewhere Iím not noticing and getting hot enough to burn off or whatever. No oily residue in the tailpipe, nor black smoke.

Im at around 200K miles. I plan on changing the timing belt and water pump very soon. I have been tossing around the idea Iíll change the crank and cam seals while Iíve got the engine open like this, but I donít think this will be the resolution. Because I donít see any oil in this area (not that I really can see there until I get that side of the engine apart).

I've wondered if the rear main seal is leaking and dripping onto the exhaust or something similarly hot enough to hide the leak. Does this sound like this is the problem?

I also may need to change the accelerator position sensor, but Iím not sure if thatís the issue there. It was giving me an intermittent problem with a loss of smooth running when there was heavy rain after first starting, but that seems to have gone away.

About three months (give or take) before I noticed the smell I believe to be related to the lost oil I changed the valve cover gaskets and seals. I changed them because I had an oil fouled spark plug and coil (plus a misfire code). Havenít had the same problem after changing the valve cover gaskets. Although admittedly I didnít check the spark plug and coil again. Iíve just assumed itís good because Iíve not had anymore issues with the misfire.
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Old 02-11-2019, 12:06 PM
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Did you check:
  • The cylinder heads between where the valve cover gasket lies and the exhaust manifold? especially the back one where it is hard to reach
  • the cam-thrust seal covers? those things should be shiny aluminum...it could leak out there and down to the exhaust manifold.
How much oil are you losing? over what period of time?
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Old 02-12-2019, 01:03 AM
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Youre certainly helping me narrow in on something!

Originally Posted by whitetiger5 View Post
Did you check:
  • The cylinder heads between where the valve cover gasket lies and the exhaust manifold? especially the back one where it is hard to reach
  • the cam-thrust seal covers? those things should be shiny aluminum...it could leak out there and down to the exhaust manifold.
How much oil are you losing? over what period of time?
So it seems to be leaking exactly where youíre talking about on the left and right sides (essentially at the front and rear side of the engine because itís sideways for the front wheel drive) just below the valve covers. The sides toward the radiator and firewall appear to be bone dry. The underside is covered in oil. I honestly hadnít checked below before because it doesnít drip oil when parked anywhere to my knowledge/notice. Iím not sure about the cam-thrust covers. Iíll have to figure out what/where those are exactly and look at them. I loose oil essentially as soon as I drive on the freeway or otherwise at higher rpms. It manages to always keep enough oil to read low on the dip stick (just above the lower dot). Enough to make me nervous but not enough to prevent me from driving.

I think I need to clean the oil that I see, make sure itís got plenty of oil, and take it on the freeway and check everywhere again.
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Old 02-12-2019, 04:56 AM
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Originally Posted by Hardoby View Post


So it seems to be leaking exactly where youíre talking about on the left and right sides (essentially at the front and rear side of the engine because itís sideways for the front wheel drive) just below the valve covers. The sides toward the radiator and firewall appear to be bone dry. The underside is covered in oil. I honestly hadnít checked below before because it doesnít drip oil when parked anywhere to my knowledge/notice. Iím not sure about the cam-thrust covers. Iíll have to figure out what/where those are exactly and look at them. I loose oil essentially as soon as I drive on the freeway or otherwise at higher rpms. It manages to always keep enough oil to read low on the dip stick (just above the lower dot). Enough to make me nervous but not enough to prevent me from driving.

I think I need to clean the oil that I see, make sure itís got plenty of oil, and take it on the freeway and check everywhere again.
Exactly! Douche it real good with brake clean so everything is clean and dry then recheck after a good run.
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Old 02-12-2019, 10:46 AM
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Will do

For sure! Iíll post an update and possibly some pictures of what I find...most likely this weekend if not sooner.
Originally Posted by Iggy View Post
Exactly! Douche it real good with brake clean so everything is clean and dry then recheck after a good run.
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Old 02-19-2019, 09:39 AM
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Really not sure

So I donít seem to be able to locate the leak. It is also far slower/less than I originally thought. I have a much cleaner engine and donít smell the burning smell. I guess Iíve just got to keep an eye on it for now and maybe catch it if or when it gets worse...

Originally Posted by Hardoby View Post
For sure! Iíll post an update and possibly some pictures of what I find...most likely this weekend if not sooner.

Originally Posted by Iggy View Post
Exactly! Douche it real good with brake clean so everything is clean and dry then recheck after a good run.
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Old 02-19-2019, 12:16 PM
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Probably leaking only when cold? that's what I was seeing....6 months later the engine was covered in black soot/grime.

I noticed that the age of your car is pretty much on par with mine, I had 200422 when my transmission went out (to a state where I could no longer drive it more than 50ft). I recently swapped my transmission with the AV6 and now have 50 miles added on BUT...while I was doing that swap I too noticed how dirty the engine was and found that oil leaks usually originated from 3 places on my car:
  • the rear main seal-mine was perfectly fine but i still replaced it to be proactive and well, my transmission was already off. mercy on those that have to replace this seal with a transmission that is perfectly fine.
  • the top of the engine-this could be any seals related to the valve cover, which there is a "kit" for or the CAM thrust covers-ALL of these seals on my car needed replacement; the rubber was hard as a rock and crumbled when I removed the seals.
  • the front of the engine-the oil pump seals OR dipstick (possibly from when I changed my timing belt last time and didn't replace the oring) I need to do all this work still and it shows up as a very slow leak onto the bottom of my oil pan with no dripping in my garage.
Maybe it's just a matter of tackling the seals when you decide to take on the next major maintenance/repair item on your car?
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Old 04-17-2019, 04:42 PM
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Just curious whitetiger5 Did you do the transmission swap yourself or had a shop do it?
My TL is 19 years old and has 172K on it. Transmission was replaced under warranty in Nov 2006 at 61K miles.
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Old 04-17-2019, 05:53 PM
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I DID do the transmission myself with all the info I found on this website to guide me along the way. 1500 miles now and I've moved on to redoing all the steering, suspension and soon paint knicks with the money I saved by going with the AV6 instead of a rebuilt install by a shop.
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