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What's behind the "Rear Cover Plate" ?

5th Generation Maxima (2000-2003) Learn more about the 5th Generation Maxima, including the VQ30DE-K and VQ35DE engines.

What's behind the "Rear Cover Plate" ?

Old 12-31-2018, 01:54 AM
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What's behind the "Rear Cover Plate" ?

I was under the car today, doing an oil change and I discovered a new leak. It is coming from the "rear cover plate", on the bottom of the engine right next to where the trani and the engine meet.




Here's a pic from the FSM:



I don't think it's a major leak but the area directly around the plate is lightly covered with oil and at the bottom of the plate it looks fairly wet.

I snugged up the screw but it wasn't really loose.

I searched the forum but didn't find any discussion about this.

Questions:
1. What's behind this plate? Is there a gasket back there?
2. Is this common?
3. Any idea how to remedy this?

Thanks
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Old 12-31-2018, 02:15 AM
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You either have a half Moon seal leak or a rear main leak
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Old 12-31-2018, 09:57 AM
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More than Likely it's your half moon seals and you will need to drop the cross member, lower oil pan and upper oil pan....There's one in front and one the rear! It's a fun little job! Oh yeah! To answer your question of "What's behind this panel?" That panel gives you access to your torque converter/flexplate bolts...

Last edited by CMax03; 12-31-2018 at 10:00 AM.
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Old 12-31-2018, 11:24 AM
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Yup, Rear main seal and moon seals. you swap them all. You have to remove the tranny, Y-pipe, lower oil pan, upper oil pan and a lot more to get to it. It's not a lot in parts but it's a lot of work. Probably not worth it if you have to pay a mechanic.

Both of my Maximas started to leak right around 200,000 miles or so.
I'd check for any leaks higher up on the motor too. Oil travels down so it's possible that the valve covers or sensors are leaking and oil is collecting there. It's not too likely though. My guess is the main seal.
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Old 12-31-2018, 12:31 PM
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Thanks for the replies.

If it's the half moon seals, I can probably do that myself, but if it's the main seal, I might be S.O.L.. Not for lack of ability but for lack of adequate resources to do it. It seems like I wouldn't be able to tell which is leaking without getting in there to see. Then again, if I'm going to do the work to replace the half moon seal, it seems like it would be dumb to not also replace the main seal.

I wonder if I could put an inspection cam through cover plate and see the leak.

I don't know if this could be done in my garage. Is it even possible to drop the transmission without having the car on a lift?

Do these seals tend to hemorrhage oil or are these leaks you can generally live with for a while?

Crap. I only have 135K on the car. It must be a product of age.
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Old 01-01-2019, 11:01 AM
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They get replaced together. Either way you've got to take it all apart.
I've pulled the 6-MT gearbox several times on jackstands. It's doable but it's a very physical job.
I've done this job on the 6-MT and the auto. I did them on a lift and it's still a hard job. Even after the tranny is out you still have to pull the upper oil pan. That means pulling the Y-pipe. Luckily my cars have no rust and came right apart. If you have rust you can expect more challenges.

You should be able to go like this for a long time. The leak will get progressively worse but it's not going to fail all of a sudden. Just keep an eye on your oil level.
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Old 01-02-2019, 12:48 AM
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Thanks for the info Derrick.

I'll keep an eye on the oil level as I figure out where and how I can do this job.

How long did it take you to do it? It seems like this would likely take me at least a couple days especially since you have to clean and reseal both the upper and lower oil pans in addition to all the crap you have to remove just to get access to these two seals.

I have to admit, this is pretty daunting. I thought gutting my cats was somewhat hairy. This job will make that seem like a walk in the park. Fortunately, I don't have any rust either. That should help.

There are probably a few other things I should wait to do at the same time like replacing the axles and maybe even my leaking rack & pinion.
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Old 01-02-2019, 12:57 AM
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At-205
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Old 01-02-2019, 01:46 PM
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Originally Posted by Child_uv_KoRn View Post
At-205
Funny you should mention this stuff. I was researching it over the weekend. So tempting to try it but the reviews are REALLY mixed.

Did you end up trying this in your PS?
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Old 01-03-2019, 03:35 AM
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I had a leak like you show and autoRx stopped it. Bone dry for a very long time. Then some time later I thought a little try with synthetic might help the winter weather timing chain tensioner rattle in cold starts. Bam! Leak returned.

Immediately stopped synthetic and went to valv high mileage and it is slowing it down.

Never should have tried synthetic but the engine was noticeably smoother and quieter.
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Old 01-03-2019, 04:03 AM
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Originally Posted by SquidBeak View Post
Funny you should mention this stuff. I was researching it over the weekend. So tempting to try it but the reviews are REALLY mixed.

Did you end up trying this in your PS?
No, I'm too much of a pansy. I never found out what seals are used in these racks (apparently it works in 90s racks, but these could be different). Plastic based ones will be eaten up.

However, this does work pretty well for everything else. You can't expect it to stop a big leak, but these kind that just weep, it should absolutely work. If it's the half moon, then maybe not, b/c it involves RTV. The first thing I do when getting a car is to dump a bottle of this in the crankcase/tranny. And if it's RWD/AWD, then it's going in the diffs/transfer case, too.

I am using the bars 2 part PS stop leak, though. All of the racks at this age are starting to slowly leak....gotta stop that ****. I'm not replacing any racks (just no fun). If I come across one that is heavily leaking, then I'll try AT-205 in it and see what happens, but I don't think it's worth the risk for slow leaks.

OT: Still using walmart ATF in trannies with lubegard. Excellent results continue If anyone is curious, Matic fluid is just fancy dexron III. Even the RWD infiniti manuals say dex III is fine to use LOL.

Last edited by Child_uv_KoRn; 01-03-2019 at 04:10 AM.
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Old 01-03-2019, 02:04 PM
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I have a leak similar to this but with low miles. I think it mainly has to do with age and I use synthetic oil. It's only a little weep so far and doesn't drip on the ground when parked. I'll keep and eye on it and see if it gets worse over time. It will have to become a gusher in order to motivate me enough to pull it apart and replace the seals.

I've heard of a product that's designed to stop leaks similar to this, but haven't tried it before.
https://store.gobdp.com/rear-main-sealer-00234/
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Old 01-03-2019, 10:52 PM
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The time it takes to do those seals you can replace the engine . With a low mile one. Those engines are like batteries,why take them apart?
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Old 01-04-2019, 10:38 AM
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so would the half moons and rear main be easier to replace if i was already dropping the engine sub frame, engine and tranny?
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Old 01-04-2019, 05:28 PM
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Originally Posted by cdoublejj View Post
so would the half moons and rear main be easier to replace if i was already dropping the engine sub frame, engine and tranny?
yes
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Old 01-06-2019, 10:49 PM
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Originally Posted by Child_uv_KoRn View Post
I am using the bars 2 part PS stop leak, though. All of the racks at this age are starting to slowly leak....gotta stop that ****. I'm not replacing any racks (just no fun). If I come across one that is heavily leaking, then I'll try AT-205 in it and see what happens, but I don't think it's worth the risk for slow leaks.

OT: Still using walmart ATF in trannies with lubegard. Excellent results continue If anyone is curious, Matic fluid is just fancy dexron III. Even the RWD infiniti manuals say dex III is fine to use LOL.
How is that Bar's stuff working for you? If I end up doing this main seal job myself, that might be a good time to change the rack. It still might not be worth the effort, I'll have to see what else is involved. I agree with you, this is the LAST job I would want to do by itself.

What is the Walmart ATF fluid you're using? Are you using their house brand SuperTech and then adding Lubegard? I switched over to Amsoil a couple years ago. Seems good, no complaints, but it's expensive.


Originally Posted by MichMaxFan View Post
I had a leak like you show and autoRx stopped it. Bone dry for a very long time. Then some time later I thought a little try with synthetic might help the winter weather timing chain tensioner rattle in cold starts. Bam! Leak returned.

Immediately stopped synthetic and went to valv high mileage and it is slowing it down. Never should have tried synthetic but the engine was noticeably smoother and quieter.
I've read good things about that stuff too. I've put synthetic in my car since it's first oil change. This might be why I have the leak at 135K. I don't know if I want to switch to conventional, but I should probably move to a thicker weight. Leak or not, the engine is running GREAT.


Originally Posted by MaxMaximus View Post
I have a leak similar to this but with low miles. I think it mainly has to do with age and I use synthetic oil. It's only a little weep so far and doesn't drip on the ground when parked. I'll keep and eye on it and see if it gets worse over time. It will have to become a gusher in order to motivate me enough to pull it apart and replace the seals.

I've heard of a product that's designed to stop leaks similar to this, but haven't tried it before.
https://store.gobdp.com/rear-main-sealer-00234/
I'm with you, I'm not in any hurry to do this job. Right now it seems very slow. A lot of people have good things to say about Blue Devil. I'll check it out

Originally Posted by krismax View Post
The time it takes to do those seals you can replace the engine . With a low mile one. Those engines are like batteries,why take them apart?
That isn't a bad idea. I'll have to see how much I can get a low mileage VQ35DE for. In the long run, that might make more sense.
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Old 01-09-2019, 12:36 PM
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OP- Try a high mileage oil like MaxLife and see if it slows down the leak. ML has significantly reduced weeping in my old Accord.
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Old 01-10-2019, 03:17 AM
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^^^^^^^ That's what I'm using now. But need to check on its leak status.
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