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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
(Updates will be at bottom)

First of all, I want to apologize for creating yet another thread about oil leaks. I've been researching for nearly a year now and battling this oil pan leak for even longer.

I have a 2000 Civic with a D16Y8 (stock internally, except for Z6 crank and ported oil pump). I don't have the original block anymore since I blew the engine in 2016 and the machine shop that rebuilt it swapped it out for a better condition block, but it's the original head. Still, the oil leak persisted, in the same spot. Doesn't matter if I use conventional or synthetic, it's always leaked on the driver's side, and the on the rear (flat part under the oil filter, against the firewall). I have been using 10w-30 full synthetic lately. Here's my journey so far, I apologize if the details are a little weird because I've done this job an absurd amount of times:

I started out just following the manual I have (and the many forum posts that echoed it), OEM gasket with sealant on the corners and humps. After 3 or so tries, I moved on to gooping more of the area that was persistently leaking. This was mainly the driver-side hump going over the crank and and the flat side under the oil filter. The oil filter never leaked, so that was out. I haven't been able to figure out if it's somewhere above the oil pan that's the source, but I'll admit I could never get a clear view of things up there at any angle. I've tried using Hondabond, Permatex gray, and Permatex black (ultra and regular black).

I've stripped nearly half the bolt holes by now, and shoved helicoils in there to repair them, they seem to be holding solid. At some point, I fubbernucked one of the holes so bad that it had to be filled with Quicksteel, and then re-drilled. Weirdly, this isn't on the side of the leak, so that's out as a culprit. I did see some people recommending using gasket adhesive to stick the gasket in place to stop it shifting, but that didn't help. In fact, just about each time I took the gasket off, it never looked torn or pinched.

Most of the times I did this job, I used my dad's torque wrench (set to 12 Nm, since it was only in Nm) meant for bicycles, because it was small and would go down low enough in torque. I've seen forum posts and screenshots of manuals saying to do a criss-cross pattern around the pan, go straight clockwise around the pan, and criss-cross starting from the center and moving outward; all of them have failed.

Two attempts ago, I bit the bullet and got a brand new OEM oil pan, with OEM gasket. I set it block-mating side down on a flat marble countertop, and it rocked a little bit. Still, I gave it a shot and installed it. It leaked, but it didn't seem to leak in the flat area under the oil filter anymore, only under the driver-side crank hump. Fwiw, I have also replaced the crank seal and the O-ring behind the oil pump with the proper anaerobic sealant. This most recent attempt, I got an AC Delco digital torque wrench, and set it to 8.7 ft.-lbs (which is around the same as 12 Nm). This time around torquing the bolts felt like it was getting the bolts tighter than with my dad's click-style torque wrench. What I've been doing lately is an OEM gasket with Permatex ultra black sealant, and following the sealant's instructions for installation (finger tight for 1 hour, then torque, then let cure for 24hrs.). The last time I did this job, I let the sealant cure for an extra day, since I used a lot of sealant. My engine builder friend (who does a lot of old Honda builds) said to put sealant in the groove, on the gasket, and on the inside and outside area of the block mating surface of the pan, and I've done that. I just left it as a bead, I didn't smear it. Obviously, both the block and pan were cleaned as well as I could have gotten them, and both were cleaned with brake clean right before install. It still leaks, only on the driver-side crank hump.

I'm stressed, dejected, and I'm tired of doing this job over and over just to fail again. I don't know if there's something I'm doing wrong, or if maybe it's the new pan I got that was flawed. Any advice or pointers would be greatly appreciated (especially if you've read the whole thing), and I'd be happy to clear up any details I may have missed or explained poorly. Thank you.

Update 6/2: Ordered a UV dye kit, will be trying it out in a couple of days.
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
138361

Here is a picture of where the leak is. I also went to check the torque of the bolts and 2 of the ones near the leak were 2 ft.-lbs. below the torque spec.
 

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93 Civic HB SI
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Is the cam seal leaking oil down the side of the block down to the crankshaft snout area?

Did the crank have a groove around the journal that the seal rides on? If so, these cranks do cause oil leaks when that groove gets too deep.

Time to get the UV dye out?

Pull timing covers off, clean and dry the crap out of the timing cover area with brake clean and compressed air, reinstall balancer with covers removed, add UV dye to oil, and sit there and run the engine while you watch with a UV flashlight for signs of oil leakage.


Im sure this is not your issue, but your not alone on your oil leak hunt :) War stories!

I worked on an old prelude that had a hairline crack due to a casting imperfection in the block above the rear main seal. After rear main #3 and a seal saver later, still leaking, we pulled out all the stops, short of pulling the block and getting it checked for cracks. This was fun to try :)

Pulled trans, supported engine with floor jack and wood block pan cradle, dried area behind flywheel really well, pulled all spark plugs except 1, pulled all injectors except for the cylinder that had a plug in it, earplugs in because this was loud, used a large drill on the crank bolt to start the engine on one cylinder. It actually started pretty easy with 3 plugs removed. Kept it alive with a bit of throttle, and used a plug wrench to install a second plug in the cylinder pair. Plugged the spark plug wire back in, reconnected the injector. Ran crappy, but with two cylinders firing, enough heat could be generated to warm the oil.

Sure enough, after a few minutes, this random spot on the block above the rear main started glowing with the UV light, then a tiny .streak started running down the rear main cover, and down the pan.

Shut engine off, pulled flywheel, the crack was obvious with UV dye but very hard to see when clean and dry.

The lengths gone to for diagnostics :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Is the cam seal leaking oil down the side of the block down to the crankshaft snout area?

Did the crank have a groove around the journal that the seal rides on? If so, these cranks do cause oil leaks when that groove gets too deep.

Time to get the UV dye out?

Pull timing covers off, clean and dry the crap out of the timing cover area with brake clean and compressed air, reinstall balancer with covers removed, add UV dye to oil, and sit there and run the engine while you watch with a UV flashlight for signs of oil leakage.


Im sure this is not your issue, but your not alone on your oil leak hunt :) War stories!

I worked on an old prelude that had a hairline crack due to a casting imperfection in the block above the rear main seal. After rear main #3 and a seal saver later, still leaking, we pulled out all the stops, short of pulling the block and getting it checked for cracks. This was fun to try :)

Pulled trans, supported engine with floor jack and wood block pan cradle, dried area behind flywheel really well, pulled all spark plugs except 1, pulled all injectors except for the cylinder that had a plug in it, earplugs in because this was loud, used a large drill on the crank bolt to start the engine on one cylinder. It actually started pretty easy with 3 plugs removed. Kept it alive with a bit of throttle, and used a plug wrench to install a second plug in the cylinder pair. Plugged the spark plug wire back in, reconnected the injector. Ran crappy, but with two cylinders firing, enough heat could be generated to warm the oil.

Sure enough, after a few minutes, this random spot on the block above the rear main started glowing with the UV light, then a tiny .streak started running down the rear main cover, and down the pan.

Shut engine off, pulled flywheel, the crack was obvious with UV dye but very hard to see when clean and dry.

The lengths gone to for diagnostics :)
I'm doubtful that oil is leaking behind the timing cover... but at this point, I guess it's worth a shot because I have no other ideas. When I had it all apart to change the oil pump O-ring and crank seal, I didn't see any oil trails coming down the side of the block, everything was dry.

I'm not sure what you mean by a groove around the journal the seal rides on. Is that the hump that the goes over the crank? If so, I've never noticed a groove around there. Maybe I'm looking in the wrong spot? I also just ordered a UV dye kit, never used one before, so I hope it gives me some answers.
 

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I'm doubtful that oil is leaking behind the timing cover... but at this point, I guess it's worth a shot because I have no other ideas. When I had it all apart to change the oil pump O-ring and crank seal, I didn't see any oil trails coming down the side of the block, everything was dry.

I'm not sure what you mean by a groove around the journal the seal rides on. Is that the hump that the goes over the crank? If so, I've never noticed a groove around there. Maybe I'm looking in the wrong spot? I also just ordered a UV dye kit, never used one before, so I hope it gives me some answers.
Courtesy of @Oldcivicjoe's Z6 crank. You see that deep groove on the journal where the shaft seal is supposed to ride on?

Screenshot_20210602-115350_Gallery.jpg


That is a groove that gets worn into the shaft from the actual seal rubber riding on it over time. If the groove is too deep, a new seal cant do its job properly.

If the groove is not too deep, you can usually clean the seal journal surface up with some emory cloth or scotchbrite pad, lube it, and slap a new seal in it.

But if the groove is really deep, more than a few mm, then you need a seal saver/speedi sleeve:

Screenshot_20210602-120201_Chrome.jpg


That stainless ring on the right slides over your existing seal journal, and provides a new surface for the oil seal to ride on. This is the cheap way to restore an oil seal surface on used crankshafts when they get bad. The other way is spray welding and remachining, but $$$.
 

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BATSLOMAN GIVES NO FUCKS.
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throw baby powder or foot powder on everything engine wise you can see from the point of the leak and up. take it for a drive and inspect.


or get fancy and find that u.v additive and pour some in and check with a light
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Courtesy of @Oldcivicjoe's Z6 crank. You see that deep groove on the journal where the shaft seal is supposed to ride on?

View attachment 138362


That is a groove that gets worn into the shaft from the actual seal rubber riding on it over time. If the groove is too deep, a new seal cant do its job properly.

If the groove is not too deep, you can usually clean the seal journal surface up with some emory cloth or scotchbrite pad, lube it, and slap a new seal in it.

But if the groove is really deep, more than a few mm, then you need a seal saver/speedi sleeve:

View attachment 138363


That stainless ring on the right slides over your existing seal journal, and provides a new surface for the oil seal to ride on. This is the cheap way to restore an oil seal surface on used crankshafts when they get bad. The other way is spray welding and remachining, but $$$.
Very interesting, this is the first I've ever heard of it (which would makes sense, since I always searched for Y8 leaks). Just so I'm 100% clear on this... this crank journal is the one where the front main seal goes into, correct? Or is this a bigger job than just removing the harmonic balancer and sprocket like I think it is?
 

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The oil pump seal and the journal it rides on, just behind the crank gear. Amazing that rubber and a weak spring can wear them out like that, but some of these cranks have 500k miles on them at this point.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
The oil pump seal and the journal it rides on, just behind the crank gear. Amazing that rubber and a weak spring can wear them out like that, but some of these cranks have 500k miles on them at this point.
Right, so the crank pulley and gear come off, crank seal in the oil pump comes out. Then sleeve goes on that crank journal, then crank seal slips over the sleeve. Is that all correct?

Sorry if I'm asking a lot of questions, I just want to make sure I'm understanding this correctly and only end up doing this job once. Engine internals are the only thing I've never touched before. I really appreciate you guys taking the time to explain this stuff to me.
 

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Right, so the crank pulley and gear come off, crank seal in the oil pump comes out. Then sleeve goes on that crank journal, then crank seal slips over the sleeve. Is that all correct?

Sorry if I'm asking a lot of questions, I just want to make sure I'm understanding this correctly and only end up doing this job once. Engine internals are the only thing I've never touched before. I really appreciate you guys taking the time to explain this stuff to me.
You got it.

Just make sure that is what it is first. Pull stuff apart (timing cover, balancer) and see if that seal is wet and oil looks to be running down to the pan.

If it is, pull the seal and inspect. Who knows, you might luck out and the crank journal is ok! Gotta inspect first.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Awesome, thank you guys so much for explaining all this. I've got a UV dye kit coming today, and I'll have some time in a couple weeks to do some testing, I'll be sure to update this thread when I find something.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Finally have an update for you guys. I took apart the front of the engine today and found some very interesting things, took some pictures too.

Firstly, a look at how the oil leak looks around the oil pan. You can see the shiny wetness of the oil under the silicone. I still don't have any idea how to stop this. The new torque wrench I got felt like it was tightening these bolts more than I've done before, possibly it got them too tight?
138506

138507


Next, I took the upper timing cover off and found oil weeping under the cam pulley.
138504


I continued removing things and found the seal behind the crank sprocket virtually dry, but everything else around it was wet.
138508


Then I removed the camshaft pulley, and I think I've found my leak, after all this time.
138509
 

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BATSLOMAN GIVES NO FUCKS.
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Is the cam seal leaking oil down the side of the block down to the crankshaft snout area?

Pull timing covers off, clean and dry the crap out of the timing cover area with brake clean and compressed air, reinstall balancer with covers removed, add UV dye to oil, and sit there and run the engine while you watch with a UV flashlight for signs of oil leak.
I'm doubtful that oil is leaking behind the timing cover... but at this point, I guess it's worth a shot because I have no other ideas.

 

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You see that nice flat block deck area, here? See all that oil on it?

Cam Seal Leak.jpg


I'm gonna bet you $10, 99%, that oil is following back, running down the block to the pan ledge, and leaking down the middle of the pan.

Happens all the time.

Even water pumps leaking, either from their gasket or the weep hole, will show water dripping down the rear center of the pan. That flat ledge above the rear of the pan fills up with stuff, leaks down and leaves witness marks. This is how it moves:

IMG_20181130_2121390.jpg


Replace the cam seal, dry EVERYTHING completely using brake clean, compressed air and rags, then reassemble. Drive it for a while and get it hot, reinspect.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
You see that nice flat block deck area, here? See all that oil on it?

View attachment 138510


I'm gonna bet you $10, 99%, that oil is following back, running down the block to the pan ledge, and leaking down the middle of the pan.

Happens all the time.

Even water pumps leaking, either from their gasket or the weep hole, will show water dripping down the rear center of the pan. That flat ledge above the rear of the pan fills up with stuff, leaks down and leaves witness marks. This is how it moves:

View attachment 138511


Replace the cam seal, dry EVERYTHING completely using brake clean, compressed air and rags, then reassemble. Drive it for a while and get it hot, reinspect.
That's wild, I would have never thought it could make it all the way back there. I did take the alternator bracket out for shiz and gigs just to see if oil was behind there. It's not wet, but it's heavily caked with dirt, so I'm willing to bet you're correct on that. I've ordered parts, so I have a little waiting to do. Btw, I really appreciate the pictures you leave, makes things 1000% more clear.
 
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