97TJ 2.5L with 129k miles
Went on the highway yesterday for a good 2 hours each way on fairly steep highway at times that required a lot of constant shifting in order to climb (this is going up into the mountains in Utah). Never did this before but we got there.
When I was almost to our destination, we stopped to get gas and something to eat and I decided to pop the hood and look around as I've never driven the jeep this hard before. Right away I noticed a couple spots of what look to be oil spray on the hood; not a lot but it wasn't there before as well as oil coming out from around the oil fill plug. I also noticed that I had oil seeping out of the front of the valve cover (I'm guessing this is a failing valve cover gasket?)and had 'sludge' accumulating on the valve cover ledge on the drivers side (front of valve cover, drivers side where there is a bit of a lip there for some of the bolts).
Checked the oil and I was 1/2 quart low and since it was warm, I'm guessing it was probably a full quart. Put some 10w30 in it and drove on without any issues for the rest of the day and the way back.
I would assume that this was a valve gasket going bad, but I'm confused as to why I have the spots on the hood and why I had oil coming out of the oil fill plug at some point as well. Can this be the gasket and something else as well?
I checked the air filter/intake and there is no oil and I ran the Jeep in neutral for a while and put it up to 3200RPM with the oil fill cap off so I am guessing its not excessive blow by but what can this be?
I'd like this get this fixed so I'm not left worrying next time I'm on a highway trip.
ETA - Also just did the duct tape test to where you put some duct tape over the oil fill hole and run the engine. Did it and put it to 3500RPM, tape didn't blow off or move.