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Old 02-10-2013, 04:25 PM   #1
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Leak near rear main seal and oil pan

DISCLAIMER: I may heavily misuse names for parts, but will make up for it with pictures and interpretive dance. If I misname a part, feel free to correct me; my feelings won't be hurt.

My good friend and I just changed the rear main seal on my '02 Wrangler. Everything *seems* fine there, shown here.


Then we saw oil collecting on the bolts for this panel, shown towards the right of the picture here.



You can also see it collecting on the oxygen sensors here


Here's where the oil is collecting on the top/right bolt hole for the panel. This would be the one near the oxygen sensor.


Here's me attempting to catch a good shot with the panel removed. It's hard for me to tell where the oil leak might be coming from. I hate the thought of having to redo the rear main seal, but hate the thought of my TJ leaking even more. Has anyone seen this before? Am I missing something obvious in this picture? Thanks for any help and expertise you can spare.
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Old 02-10-2013, 04:43 PM   #2
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Check the the valve cover next to the firewall. Its pretty common for the valve cover bolts to loosen up and then oil leaks out the valve cover seal and drips down past the RMS.

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Old 02-10-2013, 06:03 PM   #3
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Thanks for the pro tip! I just checked, and took this picture (when I uploaded it, it got turned 90 degrees to the LEFT). This was taken right overtop of the engine, right near the back near the firewall. I think I am in the right area. The other side near the firewall is bone dry. This... not so much.

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Old 06-10-2013, 06:32 PM   #4
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So here I am several months later reviving a seemingly dead thread.

I've replaced the RMS and valve cover gasket. I've tightened the valve cover bolts to the correct torque specs.

Oil continued to collect as shown above, so I took it to the stealership where they swore up and down that the leak was continuing because the RMS needed to be changed. My friend and I figured we may have not put RTV somewhere we needed, or whatever, so we changed the RMS again this past weekend. Now I'm getting oil that's collecting in the picture shown below. It's looking like it's starting to collect on the left, then travels down to the middle there. If anyone has seen this before, I could really use your wisdom.
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Old 06-10-2013, 07:09 PM   #5
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I had my RMS replaced and with in 4 months I had a leak. It was the front seal in the transmission!
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Old 06-12-2013, 06:51 AM   #6
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Thanks for the response. I checked the transmission fluid and compared its color to the fluid on the ground, and it's the same pitch black color, which I realize it's not supposed to be.

I think it's in my best interest to change the fluid and filter but I don't believe that'll stop the leak. If it's the seal you're talking about, does it typically involve dropping the transmission? I have a 2002 auto trans.
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Old 06-13-2013, 06:12 AM   #7
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Yes the torque converter has to be removed to get to the seal. I thought they screwed up. When they pulled the transmission and got the torque converter off they called me and showed me rust on the transmission shaft. The car sat in Florida for a year while the owners brother was suppose to drive it once a month.2005 with 37,000 miles in OCT 2010 when I got it. Mechanic crocus clothed the shaft and replaced the seal. It has been fine for the last year. the mechanic said he doesn't know how the rust got there.
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Old 06-13-2013, 06:52 AM   #8
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Go to your local parts store and buy some engine dye clean your motor extremely well and then dye the oil. This will allow you to see where it is coming from. By any chance did you switch to synthetic oil recently
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Old 06-13-2013, 07:04 AM   #9
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Thanks for the information and suggestions. It's looking more and more like I'll be dropping the transmission. No synthetic oil on my end. What worries me is that the fluid on the ground is pitch black. If it is my transmission, I can't imagine what that's doing (or not doing) to keep it running smoothly. I have a hard time believing that it's my RMS, because I just changed the RMS and oil and the leak was still happening, and oil isn't pitch black when you first put it in the engine.
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Old 06-13-2013, 11:35 AM   #10
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Before you drop the transmission, try changing the fluid/filter in the transmission first (this is an auto trans, right?) Sounds like you need to do this anyway, if the trans fluid is black (yikes). Then you could tell if the leak is really from a trans seal (the fluid would now be red instead of black). If it's red, you could always try a trans sealer, such as Lucas Transmission fix. I've used it on a few cars....never hurt anything.
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Old 06-13-2013, 02:30 PM   #11
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Yeah black auto trans fluid is a big NO NO! That's a sign of overheating, or a really long time, if any, between changes.

Like said adding dye will tell you for sure if it's the trans, but in the mean time flush the trans and cooler and get a new filter and fluid in there.
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Old 06-14-2013, 06:10 PM   #12
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Thanks for the responses everyone. This is what I was afraid of and I can't say I'm surprised. This is on my "do this **** right now" list.
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Old 06-17-2013, 07:58 AM   #13
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This weekend my buddy and I did some more looking. The fluid on the ground, while it appears to be pitch black, is actually looking to be like brand new oil. So now we're thinking it might be the oil pump. I'm having trouble figuring out if that involves dropping the skid plate to do so. The reason I'm asking is because I need to change the AT fluid and gasket anyways and am trying to see if I should hold off for when I change the oil pump (if I need to change the oil pump).

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