87 Camry - oil leak when engine is cold

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Old 14 May 2005, 05:47 pm   #1 (permalink)
techtrainer61@yahoo.com
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Default 87 Camry - oil leak when engine is cold

There is an oil leak in my Camry (slow drip) but it seems to happen
only when it morning ..i.e. engine is cold overnight. Once I drive the
car to work (30-45 minutes) it does not leak during the day. This
tells me this is from a seal which seems to expand when the engine is
hot and contracts when it is cold.

My mechanic is willing to help me .. but has told me this may be
difficult to
fix as he may have to 'open' the engine ... and will cost a lot. He is
completely trustworthy and has helped me in the past.

Car has 190K miles (80K on rebuilt engine).

Any ideas ? Will adding higher viscosity oil help stem this ? I'm
looking for cheaper alternatives .. have already pumped more money than
I should have in this car ($800 recently, replacing steering rack,
front brakes, rotors)

Thanks

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Old 15 May 2005, 12:12 am   #2 (permalink)
jjjsan
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Default Re: 87 Camry - oil leak when engine is cold

If leaking from front crank seal or camshaft seals.
Some have luck stopping the leak with one the high-mileage oil or stop
leak additives that suppose to soften (condition) the hardend seal.
Expect a hight labor cost to get to replace the crank seal only.
If timing belt requires change out in the near future, might have the
crank, camshaft seals changed out at same time.



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Old 15 May 2005, 01:03 am   #3 (permalink)
Philip
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Default Re: 87 Camry - oil leak when engine is cold

jjjsan wrote:
> If leaking from front crank seal or camshaft seals.
> Some have luck stopping the leak with one the high-mileage oil or stop
> leak additives that suppose to soften (condition) the hardend seal.
> Expect a hight labor cost to get to replace the crank seal only.
> If timing belt requires change out in the near future, might have the
> crank, camshaft seals changed out at same time.


A front end crankshaft seal is NOT an expensive job. The rear main seal IS
a relatively explensive job because the transaxle has to be removed. Cam
shaft seats are also not particularly expensive to replace.



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Old 15 May 2005, 10:56 pm   #4 (permalink)
techtrainer61@yahoo.com
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Default Re: 87 Camry - oil leak when engine is cold

Thanks very much folks.

... I noticed that the drip continued last two days. On checking
engine-oil level, it did NOT show any loss, which was confusing. While
driving back from gas-station today, I noticed the temperature gauge
climbing for the first time. Thinking that I was loosing oil, I
stopped, let the engine cool .. and added
- 1 qt of oil & half a bottle of stop-leak-additive.
Checked the oil level, and it now showed excess oil ...

While driving about a mile further, the temperature guage climbed up
again. Confused, I let the engine cool down and checked the coolant
level and ... voila ! I found the problem. All this while, the leak
is actually the coolant ! Since it was coming from the oil-pan area
and it was dark-brown colored, I thought this was oil .. but I always
wondered why it was so thin .. so less viscous.

Anyway .. so here is my dilemma
1) I have excess oil + stop-leak-additive in the car .. is this
dangerous ? Should I get an oil change and restore the oil level (I
have only 1000 miles since the last oil change, but if that is safer
choice .. so be it).
2) There is very little coolant left. Should I add water in it so I
can take it to my mechanic ? Or should I just get the car towed ... I
do have AAA so towing will be free. The leak is somewhere in the
system .. possible a bad hose ... so I will have to get it fixed
anyway.

You valuable suggestions are sincerely appreciated.

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Old 16 May 2005, 05:17 pm   #5 (permalink)
davidj92
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Default Re: 87 Camry - oil leak when engine is cold

techtrainer61@yahoo.com wrote:
> Anyway .. so here is my dilemma
> 1) I have excess oil + stop-leak-additive in the car .. is this
> dangerous ? Should I get an oil change and restore the oil level (I
> have only 1000 miles since the last oil change, but if that is safer
> choice .. so be it).
> 2) There is very little coolant left. Should I add water in it so I
> can take it to my mechanic ? Or should I just get the car towed ... I
> do have AAA so towing will be free. The leak is somewhere in the


I would recommend you have the vehicle towed since it's free anyway, rather
than take a chance on overheating and warping a head. Depending on how hot
it got you could have already warped a head. Since the coolant is brown I
would guess the cooling system is overdue for service and have a complete
flush, check all hoses and fill with Toyota coolant.
I would also have them drain the extra quart of oil from oil pan and not
worry about the stopleak as I don't think it will cause any harm.
HTH, davidj92


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Old 17 May 2005, 02:36 pm   #6 (permalink)
techtrainer61@yahoo.com
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Default Re: 87 Camry - oil leak when engine is cold

Hello davidj92:

Thanks very much for your reply.
Luckily, I had not let the car overheat .. stopped it before way before
the needle reached dangerous (red) levels.

I did get the car towed to my mechanic. Bad news for me .. (and to
help others on this group who may face similar issues):
- problem is the radiator .. had been slowly rusting so the circulation
of coolant had become slow and had been leaking out due
to rust and pressure inside.
- so will need to replace the radiator, associated hoses, new coolant
etc. Since the timing belt is accessible, my mechanic will also change
that. Total cost with parts .. $400 .. is this reasonable ?

BTW, I had the radiator system replaced completely in 2002 (3 years
back) at AAA repair shop (yes they have it here in Santa Clara, CA ...
and had charged me $700).

My mechanic told me that this would not have happened had I regularly
done a coolant flush
every year .. oh well. Hope it helps others on the group.

Thanks

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Old 17 May 2005, 05:07 pm   #7 (permalink)
davidj92
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Default Re: 87 Camry - oil leak when engine is cold

techtrainer61@yahoo.com wrote:
> Hello davidj92:
>
> Thanks very much for your reply.
> Luckily, I had not let the car overheat .. stopped it before way
> before the needle reached dangerous (red) levels.
>
> I did get the car towed to my mechanic. Bad news for me .. (and to
> help others on this group who may face similar issues):
> - problem is the radiator .. had been slowly rusting so the
> circulation of coolant had become slow and had been leaking out due
> to rust and pressure inside.
> - so will need to replace the radiator, associated hoses, new coolant
> etc. Since the timing belt is accessible, my mechanic will also
> change that. Total cost with parts .. $400 .. is this reasonable ?
>


$400 for the rad, hoses, coolant, timing belt and labor sounds like a
bargain.


> BTW, I had the radiator system replaced completely in 2002 (3 years
> back) at AAA repair shop (yes they have it here in Santa Clara, CA ...
> and had charged me $700).
>
> My mechanic told me that this would not have happened had I regularly
> done a coolant flush
> every year .. oh well. Hope it helps others on the group.
>
> Thanks


He's right about cooling system maintenance. If you just do a drain and
refill with Toyota long-life coolant at least every other year you should be
fine. Changing every year should only cost appx $20 for parts. I always use
distilled water in my cooling system as well. Usually find it for less than
$1 a gallon so it's a small cost and a lot less minerals than tap water so
less chance of minerals stuck to cooling tubes in radiator.
davidj92


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