Oil leak after engine rebuild--where's it from? - Chevy Impala SS Forum
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post #1 of 69 (permalink) Old 03-15-2017, 06:56 PM Thread Starter
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Oil leak after engine rebuild--where's it from?

Just had the LT1 in my '94 Caprice wagon rebuilt. It's got an oil leak coming from the front of the motor. I can see oil on the bottom of the Optispark, and it's going around the crank and all over the bottom of the timing chain cover. How upset should I be?



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post #2 of 69 (permalink) Old 03-15-2017, 08:10 PM Thread Starter
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On a potentially related note, the build sheet indicates a "high volume standard pressure" oil pump. My oil pressure gauge sits at 70ish psi when cold idling and drops to 50ish when the motor is warm, which is a lot higher than it used to. Is it possible that excess oil pressure caused the leak?

--'94 Caprice "SS" wagon, NO LONGER FOR SALE!
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--'04 Mustang Cobra, '08 BMW M5
--1125R, 1050, VMax, VFR800, DRZ-400E
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post #3 of 69 (permalink) Old 03-15-2017, 08:53 PM
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Did the builder install the front cover and seals? I'd be leaning toward the water pump seal....pretty easy to mess that one up without the tool/knowledge how to install. If you want, you could just try and pull the WP and check the area and replace that seal.

If you want to pinpoint the area, use some dye in the oil and run the engine for a bit. Then see if this helps to find the specific area of the leak.

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post #4 of 69 (permalink) Old 03-16-2017, 12:25 AM
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Do you have any idea how the seal surface of the hub looked? Could you catch a fingernail on a groove?
If so, you would want to install a speedy-sleeve, which will be a fresh new surface for the seal to ride against.

I did this to a few balancers back in the day when I worked as an automotive machinist.

To try and track down the root cause I'd clean the timing cover with some simple green/your favorite degreaser, put the car on jack stands, and start the engine.

Have a good flashlight and a mirror (If possible, I know space is limited) to look for the source. You should be able to tell whether the leak is coming from above the hub or not.

4DoorSS always has good advice. It could very well be the water pump drive coupler seal, or the distributor seal as well.

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post #5 of 69 (permalink) Old 03-16-2017, 08:05 AM
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If the highest oil residue is the bottom of OPTI then the opti oil seal or perhaps the cam shaft seal. since it is leaking down the middle front of block.

when ever the opti is replaced you should replace that opti oil seal .. also the seal must not have any oil on it must be dry when installing .

I have seen also poorly machined after market opti .. this is the part that rides on that oil seal it could have gotten dinged up.
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post #6 of 69 (permalink) Old 03-16-2017, 09:39 AM
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Water pump seal - I can almost guarantee it. It has to be installed in a special way or it may as well not even be there.
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post #7 of 69 (permalink) Old 03-16-2017, 11:27 AM
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If you had it built by someone I would be taking it back to them... Not a big deal and not an expensive part but can be a pain to install without the right tools.

Water pump seal is the easiest one since you can pull the shaft out. The crank shaft seal is similar but would be harder to deal with since the balancer has to be removed.

Think when I priced those seals they were less than $20 apiece. Biggest issue is when replacing them to apply force across the full surface at the same time. Which again is hard for the crank seal with the crank shaft being in the way. The seals themselves just pull out. You MAY want to put a little oil around the outer edge when inserting the new seals if you do them yourself.

Probably getting to the seals can take the most time since you have to remove pieces to get to them.

The water pump seal would definitely be the easiest to change.
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post #8 of 69 (permalink) Old 03-16-2017, 11:38 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rodney View Post
The water pump seal would definitely be the easiest to change.
Just make sure you do it correctly or you'll be right back where you started. Sharpie-cap or the correct install tool.


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post #9 of 69 (permalink) Old 03-16-2017, 11:53 AM
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You can get the felpro Front cover kit that will have all the seals for about $10-$15. The Crank seal is a PITA since you need to remove the Hub for the Balancer. the balancer just unbolts from the Hub but the Hub needs to be pulled and pressed back on with a special tool or Hardened threaded rod and assorted HW. In your case, the crank seal is not bad since the leak is above the crank seal and they don't typically cause an issue. There are write-ups and Video's on this process as well as the other seals.

https://www.summitracing.com/parts/f...FYeFswodcMcJmw


The Opti seal is Teflon and should be installed Dry. The WP seal....needs a special tool although I did use a Sharpie case (was a writeup on this years ago) or the tool you can buy. There is also a video up on youtube where you can use a deep 3/8" socket - IIRC. The tool is your best bet but other options are available if the tool can't be found. But this is the 1 seal I'd be leaning toward due to the many issues it can cause. Unfortunately, it's difficult to get to these seals, let alone see a damn thing without removing parts.


So back to my original question....did you or the builder (assuming you worked with them) install the seals. If the builder and you paid them money for this.....then I would take it back to them and have them find/fix the leak. You may even want to do this yourself anyway since it could be more of a hassle to take it there and have them do it.....plus - they did it wrong the first time.


On a side note, if you do pull the WP and do this yourself, consider adding a drain hose to your WP weep Hole. This could help protect your Opti in the event the WP lets go.

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Last edited by 4DoorSS; 03-16-2017 at 11:57 AM.
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post #10 of 69 (permalink) Old 03-16-2017, 02:10 PM
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probably they/he painted the opti oil seal damaging it...

I doubt crank seal oil is leaking high.

return to engine builder if possible.
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