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Old 02-04-2007, 01:10 PM   #1
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Oil Leak Mystery

Hey guys,

My 97 max has been leaking oil for the last few months, but now it seems to be getting worse. It leaks from the oil pan and filter side of the car (just behind the passanger wheel). It leaks a few 3" puddles all around that general area, bu they are sort of spread out. I thought for sure it was just a loose oil filter because of the location, but I retightened it and the leak is still the same. Looking up at the oil pan, there is saturation, but I cant tell if its from the pan, or something above it. Could it be the valve cover gaskets leaking down? anyway, if it is coming that that side of the car, wouldn't it make sense that the pan was leaking and i need a new gasket? Comments please!
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Old 02-04-2007, 01:16 PM   #2
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Likely the oil pressure sending switch, common problem.
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Old 02-04-2007, 01:35 PM   #3
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http://www.motorvate.ca/mvp.php/514
this will show u how to fix it.
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Old 02-04-2007, 02:20 PM   #4
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I had to replace mine 2 years ago.
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Old 02-04-2007, 03:00 PM   #5
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Unfortunately it may be inside the timing belt cover. A big job that pays about 12 hours at a shop. I have the same problem and my mechanic buddy at nissan did a dye test and we found out the common oil leak problem with these cars comes from one or two small O-rings inside the timing belt cover. You have to remove alot of stuff to get to it and in the process should replace the water pump, seal, and even maybe the timing belt. I had it quoted without my mech buddy doing it and it would be about $1200.00. I just hope this isnt your problem but it is very common for our 4th gen maximas.
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Old 02-04-2007, 05:47 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cangney
Unfortunately it may be inside the timing belt cover. A big job that pays about 12 hours at a shop. I have the same problem and my mechanic buddy at nissan did a dye test and we found out the common oil leak problem with these cars comes from one or two small O-rings inside the timing belt cover. You have to remove alot of stuff to get to it and in the process should replace the water pump, seal, and even maybe the timing belt. I had it quoted without my mech buddy doing it and it would be about $1200.00. I just hope this isnt your problem but it is very common for our 4th gen maximas.

Timing "Chain" cover. Yes it will eak down the front of the engine along the A/C compressor mounts.
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Old 02-04-2007, 06:04 PM   #7
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im having sort of a same problem, there is not any visible oil, but when i drive accelerating rapidly and then come to a stop y see smoke coming ONLY from the passenger side wheel not alot of smoke like when my valve cover gasket was leaking, but theres is smoke and the smell of burning oil
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Old 02-04-2007, 06:37 PM   #8
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I have a similar problem described in the origianl post. I had the oil pressure switch chnaged and it still leaks like it did. My mech said that it's leaking from the "upper oilpan". He said to leave it alone for now, 'cause taking care of it involves taking off the alty, ac comp and the headers (or so he said).
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Old 02-04-2007, 06:51 PM   #9
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It could be a number of things.
Oil pressure switch is most obvious, if the oil is coming from above that then you need to look at the upper oil pan gasket, timing chain cover and the valve cover gasket. Once you find the source, change the gasket.
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Old 02-04-2007, 10:39 PM   #10
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I dont understand how there is a lower and upper oil pan gasket? anyone?
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Old 02-04-2007, 11:22 PM   #11
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theres 2 oil pans a steel one (lower) and an aluminum one (upper). dont know why the designed it like that but there is 2. If its leaking from the top down, check your rear valve cover. Mine is leaking and it makes it look like my timing cover is leaking, but it is really the rear valve cover. It also leaks onto my heat sheild causing my car to smell like burning oil when i come to a stop.

Timing cover is also a common problem it seems, I know my moms 98 auto was leaking from the timing cover. She took it to the shop and to say the least, it cost too much.
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Old 02-07-2007, 04:58 PM   #12
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I have a similar leak. I did find that the corner of the back valve cover is leaking from the gasket. The oil drips down and spreads from there. Is it difficult to take off the intake and valve cover?
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Old 02-08-2007, 11:55 AM   #13
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so...since my mech is pretty sure that i'm leaking from upper oil pan, i'm guessing i need to replace the gasket right? I've googled some, but there are like 3 dfferent ones. Is this the one i'm looking for?http://www.partsamerica.com/ProductD...pe=103&ptset=A
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Old 02-08-2007, 02:41 PM   #14
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anyone....anyone?
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Old 02-08-2007, 02:44 PM   #15
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Old 02-08-2007, 04:24 PM   #16
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Is that the UPPER oil pan gasket?
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Old 02-08-2007, 07:56 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by heynow
so...since my mech is pretty sure that i'm leaking from upper oil pan, i'm guessing i need to replace the gasket right? I've googled some, but there are like 3 dfferent ones. Is this the one i'm looking for?http://www.partsamerica.com/ProductD...pe=103&ptset=A
Yeah, thats the right part. Your mechanic was right when he said he needs to take off a lot of parts to get to it. You need to take off the y-pipe, passenger axle, a/c bracket, crossmember, lower oil pan (you need that gasket too), 4 tranny bolts, and maybe I forgot some other things too. I just did mine few days ago.
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Old 02-08-2007, 09:20 PM   #18
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lol, yeah, seems like ALOT work. Well, at least i know which gaskets to get and where. Thanks a lot! One question though, when does that thing leak? It seems like i only leave behind pudddle i'm starting cold in the morning. Is there a possibility that i'm dripping when diriving?
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Old 02-08-2007, 10:08 PM   #19
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Mine has the same problem...it's the oil pressure switch. Cheap, easy fix. I ordered it and a knock sensor tonight actually.

FYI: Knock sensors are goin on eBay for $59.95 + shipping for any of you guys needing one. Mine came out to like $62.90....should be here Monday. Hopefully she runs better/stronger?
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Old 02-08-2007, 11:37 PM   #20
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Quote:
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lol, yeah, seems like ALOT work. Well, at least i know which gaskets to get and where. Thanks a lot! One question though, when does that thing leak? It seems like i only leave behind pudddle i'm starting cold in the morning. Is there a possibility that i'm dripping when diriving?
Most definately its dripping when your driving. It leaks whenever the engine is running since the upper oil pan is above the oil level.
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Old 02-09-2007, 06:07 AM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fithos
Most definately its dripping when your driving. It leaks whenever the engine is running since the upper oil pan is above the oil level.
D'oh! I guess i'll have to find some other mech to see how much it'll cost me. I'm thinking that i should hold off on that 'caue i'm gonna need to replace my whole exaust (up to the headers). Maybe that i'll be the time to do that.
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Old 02-09-2007, 11:22 AM   #22
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Is there a brave soul in Philly that's willing to tackle an upper oil pan gasket change?
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Old 02-09-2007, 08:43 PM   #23
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...anyone?
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Old 02-10-2007, 03:00 PM   #24
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Old 02-12-2007, 06:54 AM   #25
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Old 02-19-2007, 10:05 AM   #26
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I've asked around and nobody seems to want to tackle the upper oil pan (can't blame 'em) So i'm gonna leave it be until i find someone who will be able to tackle it without having to charge me $1000 for it.
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Old 02-19-2007, 12:25 PM   #27
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If you'd like to drive up to mass for a weekend you can crash here, $400 labor and I have all the parts in stock @10% off list
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Old 02-19-2007, 03:01 PM   #28
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Quote:
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If you'd like to drive up to mass for a weekend you can crash here, $400 labor and I have all the parts in stock @10% off list
wow - that seems really cheap if others are quoted >$1200? How many of these have you done? Mine is not leaking yet, but I was just having a conversation with someone about this TODAY and thought this thread was quite timely!

For all others - how many miles did your Max have on it when the seal went? I'm just wondering since mine has 125k.

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Old 02-19-2007, 05:11 PM   #29
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The 3.5 I recently bought, which uses the same exact rear-main seal and oil-pan seals, was just beginning to show the tiniest amount of leakage from the flywheel side seal that sits in the bottom of the rear-main WITH ONLY 44K!! Mine was leaking horribly at 170K, I did a 5-speed conversion for lilaclucy and his was leaking pretty good at 120K, I stripped a junk 3.0 w/205K and it was leaking pretty bad as well. I've done two with zero leaks so-far, the key is being VERY **** with the prepping of the surfaces, permetex, and tourqe specs/sequence, etc. I am doing a clutch and tranny rebuild for 00maxse in a few weeks and will be doing his as well if it shows ANY signs of leaking, which I'm sure it will. Are you stick? if your auto I wouldn't sweat it until it leaks bad enough to become a problem, it's 5mt guys that have to worry about lot$ of damage if oil gets on the clutch. Yes $400 is dirt cheap, but I'd feel pretty guilty charging an .org member $1200 labor for something that I can EASILY bang-out in 1-day (permetex needs to set overnight though) a $400 day, not too shabby, besides I'm trying to build my rep on here and build a base of customers since I'm moving into a real garage shortly, why else would I offer y-pipe installs for $20 and free labor on knock-sensors? I wouldn't even think about doing it for less than $400 though
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Old 02-20-2007, 06:05 AM   #30
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:-) I'm certainly going to keep you in mind when mine goes! Thanks for the writeup and good luck when you move/start your garage.
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Old 04-16-2007, 05:46 AM   #31
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hi guys! had my PMS done last december. it included the pull down of the engine to replace all oil seals. now the leak came back and the dealer said that the leak is between the cylinder head and block. not from the oil seals that they replaced. (duh!)

is there such thing? if i have a leaking head gasket then it should show traces of oil. or at the worst my engine will overheat. but it runs fine, except for the dreaded oi leak. need help. thanks!
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Old 04-16-2007, 05:46 AM
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