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Old 08-30-2009, 07:13 PM   #1
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Oil Leak in 89 Wrangler, 4.2L 6 cyl

I incorrectly posted this on the wrong forum ... sorry I'm a newbie: Anyway, I just bought the above-referenced YJ, auto trns, 4x4, 121,000 miles. The seller lived approx. 2 hrs. away from me; the wife and I drove up to his house, test drove the YJ, bought it, and drove it home -- most of the way on the interstate. I drove it at varying speeds b/w 50 and 70 (it was raining and traffic was fairly heavy), but mostly around 60 to 65 mph. It drove well. Got home, parked it in driveway, and noticed later an oil leak on the concrete. Doesn't look like it is leaking anymore, and the leak doesn't appear to be a lot, but noticeable. Would like to know if I am likely looking at a major repair or something not too bad ... I'm hoping that this oil leak is not terribly unexpected following a 2 hr. interstate trip?? Thx for any info you can provide.

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Old 08-30-2009, 08:43 PM   #2
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No, an oil leak is not normal.

I have an oil leak in my 89 as well after I leave the engine idling for 20 or so minutes. Its not a constant leak either.

I haven't looked under the jeep yet to see where its coming from though, so that's all the information I can give you.

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Old 08-30-2009, 08:46 PM   #3
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we need pics or something, it could be very simple, or very expensive, there's a hundred things it could be.
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Old 08-30-2009, 11:12 PM   #4
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I had a buddy that once had an oil leak, a few days later he told me it had fixed it's self(Nope) starved it till it locked up. Be shure to check and keep an eye on all fluid levels. Till you get things worked out. Cardbord and news papers under the jeep when parked, are a good way to find a place to start looking
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Old 08-30-2009, 11:53 PM   #5
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Judging from where the oil is on the driveway, the leak is on the right side (under right front passenger side.) -- if that gives you an idea of where it might be coming from. I will get it checked out tomorrow but I don't think it is major (wishful thinking probably.) The seller is a mechanic and said he had installed the following new parts - ignition control module; ignition lock & switch w/ key; plugs; wires; all belts; all hoses; dist. cap & rotor; valve cover gasket. I mean, to me, the Jeep looks good and ran well on the interstate, and I don't feel like I was ripped off at $4,000; if I have to pay $300 to $500 to fix the oil leak I won't feel too bad.
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Old 08-31-2009, 01:22 AM   #6
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Judging from where the oil is on the driveway, the leak is on the right side (under right front passenger side.) -- if that gives you an idea of where it might be coming from. I will get it checked out tomorrow but I don't think it is major (wishful thinking probably.) The seller is a mechanic and said he had installed the following new parts - ignition control module; ignition lock & switch w/ key; plugs; wires; all belts; all hoses; dist. cap & rotor; valve cover gasket. I mean, to me, the Jeep looks good and ran well on the interstate, and I don't feel like I was ripped off at $4,000; if I have to pay $300 to $500 to fix the oil leak I won't feel too bad.
Damn dude, pics of the Jeep!

I paid 200$ for mine but it's covered in rust. As in, it's not worth much more than 200$ if it were scrap metal! Hell, even my engine is rusty!
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Old 08-31-2009, 08:05 AM   #7
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My 89 4.2 with 95,000 leaks a little oil also. It seems to be temperature related. It will leak a little more when the temp drops. Probably the rear seal. It's not enough to make an issue out of it. When heat expands the seal it leaks less and not all of the time. With 120 + thousand miles I would say you're doing pretty good. I would leave it alone if you don't notice a drop on the dip stick. The previous owner took care of the items that will cause problems with the mileage that you have. Protect your driveway with a mat and have a good time with your jeep. Although, since you mentioned passenger side, check the area around your oil filter.
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Old 08-31-2009, 08:08 AM   #8
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Might be the rear main but on pass. side sounds like your filter change your oil and wipe everything down and see if that fixes your problem good luck and post some pics
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Old 08-31-2009, 09:02 AM   #9
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agreed sounds like filter but it could be from the pan. change oil spray the crap out of the motor with a pressure washer and see were it starts leaking.that should narrow it down a bit for u
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Old 08-31-2009, 09:34 AM   #10
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do not tie yourself to the under carraige and let someone else drive the jeep while you look for the leak. tie your friend under there and drive it yourself. don't worry, you'll find it. clean it up and start from there.
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Old 08-31-2009, 10:21 AM   #11
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I will work on posting pictures.

Good news and potentially bad news .... it wouldn't start this morning. Called Triple AAA, they came out and jumped it. The guy said he didn't think it was an oil leak -- he said the oil dipstick was sticking out and he guessed that oil splashed up out of it -- he didn't think the spot on the driveway looked like a leak, but rather a splash. However, he didn't know if the starting problem was the battery, alternator, starter, or something else. You can see that the ignition wires are new. So anyway, while I had the Jeep running, I brought it to my mechanic and he'll look at it tomorrow. I'm hoping it's nothing too bad. The Triple AAA guy also said something about the lifters and rocker (?) being loose.... when I mentioned that to my mechanic, he said the "lifters" part didn't make any sense, but the rocker arms could be loose.
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Old 08-31-2009, 10:38 AM   #12
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More info ... (and yes, I am not mechanically inclined and have no business owning this vehicle!) ... I was wondering if I drained the battery by leaving the windshield wipers on? Several people told me "no." The deal w/ the wipers is that they stick ... if you turn them off in the "wrong" position, one of the blades gets stuck and you have to stop and move it w/ your hand (so the trick is to turn them off in the "right" position.) Anyway, driving it home yesterday in the rain they got stuck, I kept turning the wiper switch on and off, and thought maybe I left it in the "on" position last night, which could have drained the battery.
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Old 08-31-2009, 12:26 PM   #13
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ok i officially feel like a dumba$$ for forgetting this but it could be the oil pressure sending unit leaking the oil too. it's located on the passenger side and could easily allow for the leak.
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Old 08-31-2009, 01:14 PM   #14
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The mechanic just called -- the battery and alternator check out OK, he will continue to look for reason jeep did not start this morning. Jeep IS leaking oil; he recommended fixing the bottom rear seal and replace some valve covers, and change the oil, and clean off the engine. He is hoping (for my sake) that the main seal is not leaking. He wasn't certain how hard or easy that repair would be (i.e., is it easily accessible or does the engine or portions of it have to be removed to get to it?) Still working on the pictures; I don't know how to do it. You can see pics of this Jeep on craigslist, it is listed as "Jeep Wranger - $4300 (Covington), reply to sale-pjr2e-1326801692@craigslist.org.
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Old 08-31-2009, 03:33 PM   #15
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we can guess all day long at what the leak is, doesn't mean much.

and there's no such thing as a bottom rear seal, i can't even imagine what he's talking about, unless maybe thats some weird way of talking about the trans pan gasket if its an auto.

if he's talking about the oil pan gasket, and they do that now then he should just replace the rear main since its serviced from the oil pan, not trans removal. sounds like they don't know what they're talking about on jeeps, i'd be kinda worried, since they don't know how hard or easy a rear main seal is, they probably don't know what it looks like when its leaking.
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Old 08-31-2009, 04:58 PM   #16
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It's more likely I've garbled what he said, in translation. Look, I know I'm a jeep dufus but the feedback I'm getting from you guys is actually helpful. Based on the last post above, I'm sure the mechanic was referring to the "rear main." Am I correct in assuming that there are NO oil leaks that would require a huge effort to remove the trans or whatever (and hence a big labor bill)?
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Old 08-31-2009, 05:04 PM   #17
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no not really, worst case is if the head gasket is leaking oil, thats big dollars, but not likely.
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Old 08-31-2009, 06:43 PM   #18
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That's cool. Any thoughts on why it wouldn't start this morning? Made a clicking sound. The Triple AAA guy was able to get it jumpstarted immediately. The mechanic said the battery and alternator checked out OK. What else could it be? As I mentioned, the seller installed a ignition control module and ignition lock & switch; even to my uneducated eye I can see new wires and new hoses and belt in the engine. I am wondering if I did something to drain the battery ... I didn't leave the lights on, but as I said, may have left the windshield wiper switch on.
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Old 08-31-2009, 07:02 PM   #19
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If your battery is 3-4 years old I would probably replace it. It may not be holding a charge well, could have a dead cell etc. Or, you may have had a bad connection. I'm sure that leaving the switch on didn't help and it may have caused the battery to drain to the point that it was unable to start the engine because of it's condition. Again, if you don't know how old the battery is you should replace it. The clicking sound is you didn't have enough power coming from battery to fully engage the starter. However, a bad terminal connection could cause the problem. You should eliminate that first.
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Old 08-31-2009, 07:06 PM   #20
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If your battery is 3-4 years old I would probably replace it. It may not be holding a charge well, could have a dead cell etc. Or, you may have had a bad connection. I'm sure that leaving the switch on didn't help and it may have caused the battery to drain to the point that it was unable to start the engine because of it's condition. Again, if you don't know how old the battery is you should replace it. The clicking sound is you didn't have enough power coming from battery to fully engage the starter. However, a bad terminal connection could cause the problem. You should eliminate that first.

On my Jeep, the battery has a mfg date of september '02

the battery barely starts the Jeep, and will only do it on a full 100% charge. If it doesn't start on the 1st or 2nd try... even at 70-75% the battery just doesn't have enough umpf to get the engine going.

Granted, I need to clean off the terminals too. so that could have a play in it, but the battery drained to 9% in the space of a week of sitting.
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Old 08-31-2009, 07:10 PM   #21
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On my Jeep, the battery has a mfg date of september '02

the battery barely starts the Jeep, and will only do it on a full 100% charge. If it doesn't start on the 1st or 2nd try... even at 70-75% the battery just doesn't have enough umpf to get the engine going.

Granted, I need to clean off the terminals too. so that could have a play in it, but the battery drained to 9% in the space of a week of sitting.
doing that puts excessive strain on your starter and alternator. starters draw more amps when a battery is weak, and alternators have to work extra hard to charge a weak battery. so putting off buying an 80 dollar battery could cost ya about 400 bux in parts.
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Old 08-31-2009, 07:18 PM   #22
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is this it?
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Old 08-31-2009, 09:11 PM   #23
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No. It's black, and was listed in Covington, GA, the listed price was $4300. If you go to Craigslist, Georgia, Atlanta, cars/trucks, search for Jeep Wranglers, it is on the 4th page, listed on Aug. 16.
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Old 08-31-2009, 11:07 PM   #24
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doing that puts excessive strain on your starter and alternator. starters draw more amps when a battery is weak, and alternators have to work extra hard to charge a weak battery. so putting off buying an 80 dollar battery could cost ya about 400 bux in parts.

Thanks for the tip! Sorry to OP about the hijack, I'll try to make it brief!

The battery, yes its weak. However could you explain how it puts added stress on the alternator and starter? I can say that the Jeep will sometimes start for a split second, then die. However, you turn the key again and after 1-2 engine cranks it'll fire right up. Actually, last time, when I boosted it, it started almost immediately.

can you explain to me how a weak battery is damaging? Other than excessive strain?
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Old 09-01-2009, 12:07 PM   #25
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I wouldn't replace a 7 yr. old battery unless I wanted to walk. Regardless of stress or strain you need a new battery
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Old 09-01-2009, 01:29 PM   #26
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the starter is mainly about resistance, when the battery is strong the starter draws less amps, as a battery is weak the starter has to draw harder to do the job. just think about how it sounds, its struggling, there's more resistance because of less power. the alternator is simple, once your jeep starts the alternator takes over and powers everything, but it still has to go through the battery. if that battery is weak, the alternator is working to restore the lost power.
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Old 09-08-2009, 12:33 AM   #27
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I once had a leaky valve cover too. I asked a friend who reminded me that the problem wasn't the leak, it was my lack of wheeling that prohibitted the solution. After much wheeling in the desert dust the leak went away....
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Old 09-08-2009, 06:27 AM   #28
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Since we're still guessing at the oil leak cause, I'd like to add that the oil dipstick has a rubber "O" ring that seals it's base into the block. If you remove the dipstick mounting bracket & gently twist & pull at the same time, you can pull the tube out & replace the "O" ring.

Make sure you clean that area first to avoid getting any dirt in the engine.

As for the battery, with every thing shut off, you can pull one of the terminals off the battery & put a test meter between the post & terminal. If the meter shows any voltage, something is draining the battery. It might just be the clock, or the stereo.

Then again it could be a short somewhere.

Old school trick is to remove one terminal at night & tap it on it's post. If you see a small spark, that's your drain.

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