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Thread: opinions on oil leak from water pump gasket?

  1. #1

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    opinions on oil leak from water pump gasket?

    The engine has had a seeping of oil from the front where I've been watching it around the water pump gasket. At first I thought it was the valve cover gasket but just at the front which seemed weird since that's the easiest part to make sure there's a good clean seal. I replaced the valve cover gasket (twice) & it was still seeping oil from somewhere at the front of the engine. I cleaned & drove, cleaned & drove and decided the fan was blowing oil mist in the air up to the valve cover gasket area & it wasn't leaking from there.

    So I concentrated on really watching the water pump gasket area and trying to decide if it's just from there or the timing gasket area also. I really don't want to tear apart the same area twice but at the same time I don't have days in a row that I can leave the truck half torn apart.

    On top of the little tiny seeping oil issue around the gasket it seemed for weeks that the truck was burning a little oil when my kid drove it but not when I did. I thought maybe because he does 70mph (and up I presume), takes off HARD from lights, etc., and I toot along at 55-60 max & pretty much "drive like I'm 80" so he says. Then I started driving it 100% and him not at all. And what do you know? It seems to be burning oil when I drive it, too.

    Burning or leaking?!

    I thought, Damn, I should have done the rings while i was doing the head gasket, UGH. Well, fine, I'll just drive it easy & watch the seeping from the gasket I thought I was so smart (not). I've been watching the oil level, making sure the coolant level stays good, etc. and all has been well until today.

    Started the truck up and a BUNCH of steam came out of the tail. Granted, it's a lot cooler now than it has been in months but still, it pissed me off of course & scared me to death. I pulled over at my first stop 2 miles from home, shut her down & was happy she ran fine up to the 40mph zones.

    I pulled the cap and dammit there was a bit of air or water in the oil because there was a single damn grey swirl in my nice black oil ... not brown, but either air bubbles or moisture. Again, definitely no brown in there at all, no milky color at all. Well shit now what? Still gotta pick up the kid. I drove about 4 miles in 35mph & red lights & about 4 miles at 50mph on the freeway, pulled off where I had to pick up my kid from work & shut her off... looked under hte oil cap, NO air, no moisture, pure black, no swirls, zero discoloration. AND she ran fine the whole way there & back with no steam or smoke or anything weird. All temps stayed good, and I was watching my mirrors for the tailpipe to emit smoke or steam more than I was watching the road, and there was nothing to see.

    There WAS a tiny bit of steam, like that rises from hot coffee in the morning, though coming out when I took the oil cap off after the first 10 miles or so. Normal? Hell if I know I don't usually open it hot. Hm.

    OK I take the freeway home thinking not much RPM difference between 35-40mph and 50-55mph. Get home, pull the cap, no swirl. Can't recall if there was steam or not I was just too happy no swirls.

    I looked around and saw more moisture than normal around one area of that water pump gasket and figure i best change that before I drive her again anywhere at all. Scared the gasket will deteriorate completely & I'll just dump all the oil out.

    WHICH leads to my crazy girl question of the week: how on earth am I leaking oil out of a water pump gasket??? What am I missing???

    I didn't pull the coolant cap off yet today since I've been home but let me promise 100% I've been checking the water overflow, pulling the cap off the radiator, watching the bottom of the oil cap & the end of the dipstick religiously every day or every other day at the most, and have seen zero water in the oil or oil in the water.

    So ehm, what do you guys think is going on???

  2. #2

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    im not extremely familiar with the 2.6l but i can tell you that moisture is attracted to metal that is cooling down so the moisture out the pipe is normal in the morning. a little vapor coming out of the oil cap when first popped open is okay but leeds me to believe that you need to replace the pcv valve.

  3. #3

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    check the o ring on the distributor. the one going into the head.

  4. #4

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    I would suspect that your camshaft seal is leaking and it just looks like its coming from the water pump.

  5. #5

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    O.k. I'll chuck my 2 cents worth in here. The water pump is bolted to the outside of the timing cover on the Astron 2.6 and depending on how it's been treated in the past, there could be a crack around one of the water pump mounting bolt holes in the timing cover (someone may have substituted a bolt and went too deep into the thread).

  6. #6

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    Hmmm man those are some great opinions / input ideas there, much appreciation!!!

    The distributor ring was just replaced when I did the head gasket job but I totally agree it wouldn't hurt to check it. Of all things to screw up I'd be happy if that was it.

    The pcv valve is such an easy replacement it'd be silly to not do it, so will add that to the shopping list I admit I cursed like a sailor when I saw that steam come out. Happy to see other cars at stoplights having steam coming out of theirs, but still it was a lot all at once all things considered. Everyone that's got the paranoia of smoke/steam after doing a hg job can relate I'm sure!!

    Pretty darn sure it's not 'just' the camshaft seal if it is that, too, maybe hmmm. I'll have to look in to that, thank you! Saw a video where a guy cleaned off the oil/grease from surfaces and then sprayed foot powder all over, started her up & ran for a few minutes, to see where the foot powder was gone/became dirty. Maybe I'll add that to the list, too, just a bit worried about getting weird chemicals on any belts/rubber parts. Hmmm.

    Geezer, I wouldn't doubt that scenario one bit! I swear it was a miracle this truck was driveable at all when I got it. And it had looked like someone had maybe put some sort of sealant around the outside mating surface edges where the water pump sits onto/into the timing cover at one point. I remember thinking what did they do? JB weld the water pump on to the timing cover?! I don't think they used jb weld, but whoever it was did something to fix a problem the wrong way. Yes, a problem they likely created themselves - the wrong bolt wouldn't surprise me one bit!


    Raining like hell today 1/4" total they say, so I'm looking in the book and trying to learn how everything at the front end goes together before getting in to it this weekend.

    Thank you all so very much, it's so helpful to have ideas of experience before going in & wondering what I'm actually looking for!!!

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by finalfighter View Post
    im not extremely familiar with the 2.6l but i can tell you that moisture is attracted to metal that is cooling down so the moisture out the pipe is normal in the morning. a little vapor coming out of the oil cap when first popped open is okay but leeds me to believe that you need to replace the pcv valve.
    Right on!!! Sure as heck did need a new pcv valve. Did the shake test and major difference between old and new, too. Honestly it has been way under a year since I replaced the pcv TWICE! Once because sure as pie the one that came on the truck when I bought it was 30 years old (no kidding), and then I replaced it again in March.

    Oh and because I'm me and want to understand how or why? I looked up pcv info and found a wealth of knowledge here: http://www.agcoauto.com/content/news/p2_articleid/197

    Drove the truck this morning about 8 miles on the freeway 55mph and 8 miles back in town (30-35mph), pulled the cap and no swirls. Will keep checking like a paranoid person for the next couple weeks just to be sure.

    I got the truck last December, and it spent a lot of time torn apart through April replacing a LOT of things, so this is my first "cold season" with the truck as a daily driver and I have no idea what to expect out of the tailpipe/steam, how it runs cold, etc. so will probably be reading the forums a lot to try and figure out what's normal & what's not.

    Oddly enough there seemed to be better circulation of oil under the valve cover this morning after the new pcv because the oil cap had more oil on it than usual. Just a little observation but sharing in case it's important to me or someone else, too!

    THANK YOU so much for the ideas

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