4.6L Engine Oil Leak - TCCoA Forums
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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 09-01-2018, 07:29 PM Thread Starter
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4.6L Engine Oil Leak

I’ve got a long standing and nasty engine oil leak on my ’97, 4.6L Thunderbird with 230K miles. It may be more than one leak, not certain. Also, some of the remaining oil may be from an old leak caused by a worn oil filter adapter gasket that was replaced 4 years ago. I see oil from the power steering lines to the rear side of the transmission pan. I’m not losing power steering fluid or transmission fluid but I am using some engine oil. You can get a feel for what I mean with the pictures found here: https://imgur.com/a/94QbSZl
I assumed it was due to a leaky rear main seal but recently I noticed there was no oil seen inside the bell housing. I peered thru the TC drain access hole and saw the TC and rear part of the flywheel were clean. I assume a leaky rear main seal would leave oil over the flywheel and torque converter. Can someone confirm I am correct about this and can therefore rule out the rear main seal? If so, does anyone have any ideas on typical possible leak sources for this car?
Thanks for any help.

Last edited by tweakit; 09-01-2018 at 11:25 PM. Reason: clarification
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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 09-02-2018, 07:53 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tweakit View Post
I’ve got a long standing and nasty engine oil leak on my ’97, 4.6L Thunderbird with 230K miles. It may be more than one leak, not certain. Also, some of the remaining oil may be from an old leak caused by a worn oil filter adapter gasket that was replaced 4 years ago. I see oil from the power steering lines to the rear side of the transmission pan. I’m not losing power steering fluid or transmission fluid but I am using some engine oil. You can get a feel for what I mean with the pictures found here: https://imgur.com/a/94QbSZl
I assumed it was due to a leaky rear main seal but recently I noticed there was no oil seen inside the bell housing. I peered thru the TC drain access hole and saw the TC and rear part of the flywheel were clean. I assume a leaky rear main seal would leave oil over the flywheel and torque converter. Can someone confirm I am correct about this and can therefore rule out the rear main seal? If so, does anyone have any ideas on typical possible leak sources for this car?
Thanks for any help.
If oil is on power steering lines, check front cover gaskets, front main seal.

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2003 Explorer WAP block with Modular Head Shop "street ported" heads and Stage 2 PI NA cams, 75mm Accufab throttle body, C&L upper intake plenum, Kooks 1.75" primary/3" collector headers, 2.5" full exhaust with mid mount Magnaflow dual in/out muffler, 24lb/hr injectors, 80mm MAF, Tuning from Don @ www.lasotaracing.com, CAI that feeds from fenderwell. Jmod, 3.73:1 TL in Mark VIII carrier, Mark VIII aluminum LCAs, 93 Mark VIII driveshaft, PBR brakes (soon to be Cobras), 18x9 wheels with 35mm offset, 255/40/ZR18 Tires, Front and Rear strut/shock bracing, GR-2 shocks, Eibach 1.5" springs, 1989 SC front and rear sway bars.
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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 09-02-2018, 05:41 PM
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It looks like there's oil all over the front, from the core support back; unless it's blowing oil out the evap canister, I don't know what leaks there.

The front main drips right down the front of the front cover; all my cars leak a little there when I get heavy with the brakes...

My advice would be take it to a car wash that cleans the bottom of the car, and drive it home and look again.
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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 09-02-2018, 08:33 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Woodman View Post
If oil is on power steering lines, check front cover gaskets, front main seal.
Is the "front cover gaskets" the same as the "front timing cover gaskets?"
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Originally Posted by Grog6 View Post
It looks like there's oil all over the front, from the core support back; unless it's blowing oil out the evap canister, I don't know what leaks there.
Canister is clean. I'm a little perplexed also.
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Originally Posted by Grog6 View Post
The front main drips right down the front of the front cover; all my cars leak a little there when I get heavy with the brakes...
I'm not sure what the front cover is but maybe it will be more clear the next time i'm under there. i assume a front main seal leak would drip directly beneath the front drive belt pulley. I'm pretty sure that is clean but will check again.
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My advice would be take it to a car wash that cleans the bottom of the car, and drive it home and look again.
I like that idea. I didn't know there were car washes that clean the bottom of the car. I may need to drive through a few times!
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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 09-02-2018, 08:36 PM
No, Mr. Lemmywinks, No!!!

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Front cover is the only seal at the end of the crank, behind the harmonic balancer. (large black pully at bottom)

We have car washes that do; but we have salt in the winters as well.

Red '96 Cougar XR-7 240k mi. '02 4R70W, PST DS : '03 PI engine, 04 maf, 24lb injectors, 2.5" exhaust, '02 4r70w + Jmod, DirtyD0g TC + cooler + 3/8" lines, 255 walbro fp. Alpine system.
Black '96 Cougar XR-7 (Lazarus) 210k mi PI Intake, '02 4R70W, Jmod, PST DS, GrogTune, Konis, Mark LCA+Poly, racecougar Custom Engine Chain, and JL and racecougar Bracing.
Black '97 Tbird Limited Edition, '02 4R70W, 255 walbro, PST DS, PBR Brakes&SS lines, Toicko Blues & Springs, GrogTune.


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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 09-02-2018, 10:15 PM
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I mean the timing cover when I say "Front Cover". Yes, the front main seal is also a "front cover".

If it is spraying oil, it's under pressure. How much oil does it use between changes? I'm guessing you've watched with hood open and from under the car (on ramps or stands) engine warm and running to see where it's coming from?

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2003 Explorer WAP block with Modular Head Shop "street ported" heads and Stage 2 PI NA cams, 75mm Accufab throttle body, C&L upper intake plenum, Kooks 1.75" primary/3" collector headers, 2.5" full exhaust with mid mount Magnaflow dual in/out muffler, 24lb/hr injectors, 80mm MAF, Tuning from Don @ www.lasotaracing.com, CAI that feeds from fenderwell. Jmod, 3.73:1 TL in Mark VIII carrier, Mark VIII aluminum LCAs, 93 Mark VIII driveshaft, PBR brakes (soon to be Cobras), 18x9 wheels with 35mm offset, 255/40/ZR18 Tires, Front and Rear strut/shock bracing, GR-2 shocks, Eibach 1.5" springs, 1989 SC front and rear sway bars.
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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old 09-03-2018, 12:34 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
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I mean the timing cover when I say "Front Cover". Yes, the front main seal is also a "front cover".

If it is spraying oil, it's under pressure. How much oil does it use between changes? I'm guessing you've watched with hood open and from under the car (on ramps or stands) engine warm and running to see where it's coming from?
I know what the front cover is now. I'm pretty sure its clean but will check again soon. Yes, i watched for about 10 mins with engine on last time under the car and it didn't leak a drop. Engine wasn't warmed up though. A few days before that i started it for about 5 mins and it left three or four drops but i wasn't under the car. Hard to say how much oil it uses since it may vary. My best estimate would be 1 qt in 1500-2000 miles. Some of that oil underneath could be from the old leak but that was fixed several years ago so I'd think it would have worn off by now if it were left behind from the old leak. For now my plan is to get under there one more time and look at the front cover to verify its clean, then check the oil pan bolts for tightness, take it to one of those under-belly car washes and hope its gone! if that doesn't work, I'll have to buy some dye and magic glasses.
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