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Old 06-15-2020, 01:43 AM #1
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Leaking oil while parked facing downhill

Bought a 1997 4runner 3.4 manual 4x4 from a guy who said he replaced the engine about 60k miles ago, didn't notice any leaks but did see some grimey build up below the water pump (I believe) I figured it was from when he had the water pump and timing belt replaced. Anyway I parked it facing down my driveway this morning and tonight i came out to a nice little puddle of oil about 1 ft long by 4 inches wide. I've parked it facing up the drive way for the past couple weeks and never seen any oil on the ground.

What would cause this? Maybe the front of the oil pan is leaking? Also what's that little white plastic rectangular part at the front of the oil pan? I think that's where it's dropping off of, I'm going to finish cleaning it up tomorrow and see if I can buy some uv dye to help pinpoint the leak. I have a video but I think the file size is too big to upload so I'm going to upload to YouTube and post the link in here tomorrow if that will help.

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Old 06-15-2020, 07:19 AM #2
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The little white box is a wire loom holder. If that is the general area where the oil is originating from, it sounds like the crank seal to me is the culprit.
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Old 06-15-2020, 08:21 AM #3
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Sounds like the front main seal (crank seal) to me. It could be the oil cooler but most likely the crank seal.

I've never seen one leaking that bad before but you may want to check to see how much play (front to rear) is in the crank shaft if that is where the leak is coming from.
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Old 06-15-2020, 09:17 AM #4
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It could be that you are draining accumulated oil that is in the skid plate. Check the valve cover gaskets and also front diff and look up above the skid plate with a flashlight and see if there is any oil there.
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Old 06-15-2020, 11:38 AM #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by St Runner View Post
It could be that you are draining accumulated oil that is in the skid plate. Check the valve cover gaskets and also front diff and look up above the skid plate with a flashlight and see if there is any oil there.
This. The skid plate can hold all sorts of fluids.
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Old 06-15-2020, 12:50 PM #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thegipper View Post
Sounds like the front main seal (crank seal) to me. It could be the oil cooler but most likely the crank seal.

I've never seen one leaking that bad before but you may want to check to see how much play (front to rear) is in the crank shaft if that is where the leak is coming from.
How do I check for play in the crankshaft?



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Old 06-15-2020, 02:07 PM #7
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Here's a picture after cleaning it with degreaser a few times and spraying with a hose last night. It does look like the seam between the oil pan and block is a little wet still, don't know which is worse front main or oil pan gasket Leaking oil while parked facing downhill

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Old 06-15-2020, 02:42 PM #8
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Damn, that looks like oil pan leaking. Does the pan have fipg or does it look like a cork or rubber seal. Either way it should be fixed as if it leaking sitting there then it is quite bad.

To check the crank you pry back and forth on either the crank pulley or flywheel/flexplate and inspect for play.
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Old 06-15-2020, 02:49 PM #9
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Quote:
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Damn, that looks like oil pan leaking. Does the pan have fipg or does it look like a cork or rubber seal. Either way it should be fixed as if it leaking sitting there then it is quite bad.



To check the crank you pry back and forth on either the crank pulley or flywheel/flexplate and inspect for play.
I'm not sure what the gasket is, I'm really not stoked about dropping the diff. I'll probably take it to a local mechanic to verify that's the issue before I decide if I want to try to do it all myself or just bite the bullet and have a pro do it.

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Old 06-15-2020, 03:05 PM #10
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I would use a mirror and a flashlight to look under the crank pulley. You should be able to see if its leaking from the front main seal or if it is the pan.

Personally, I'd rather do a timing belt job and replace the seal than drop the front diff and screw with the oil pan. The seal is very easy to replace but you do have to take a bunch of crap off to get to it.

If it is the pan that is leaking, you could try re-torquing the pan bolts in that area. Maybe they are just a little loose.
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Old 06-15-2020, 03:19 PM #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thegipper View Post
I would use a mirror and a flashlight to look under the crank pulley. You should be able to see if its leaking from the front main seal or if it is the pan.

Personally, I'd rather do a timing belt job and replace the seal than drop the front diff and screw with the oil pan. The seal is very easy to replace but you do have to take a bunch of crap off to get to it.

If it is the pan that is leaking, you could try re-torquing the pan bolts in that area. Maybe they are just a little loose.
Yeah I've been reading that loose bolts are sometimes the culprit, I mean that would be the best case. Crank pulley is the lowest and biggest pulley on the front of the block right?

I'm an amateur mechanic with a huge emphasis on amateur.

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Old 06-15-2020, 06:40 PM #12
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Update: seems like it's definitely the oil pan in the front. Can't really see any oil between the crank pulley and the lip of the pan but lots of oil below the lip.

Also, any tips on removing the wire loom holder so I can tighten those bolts?

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Old 06-15-2020, 06:45 PM #13
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There's a 10mm head bolt on each side above it. Not sure how easy it will be to get off there with all the accessories in the way...

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Old 06-15-2020, 06:56 PM #14
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im thinking its your pan...reason or question is why...was it broken loose for something...is this a common problem ?
park other way and not worry for a bit
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Old 06-15-2020, 07:22 PM #15
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Quote:
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There's a 10mm head bolt on each side above it. Not sure how easy it will be to get off there with all the accessories in the way...



-Charlie
Yeah I got both bolts out but there's not enough room to move it even when it's unbolted. I was able to tighten all but one on that side closest to the passenger. Hopefully that does the trick otherwise I have no idea. I'll have to bite the bullet and bring in a pro.

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