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Old 05-25-2022, 07:32 AM   #1
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Can't find engine oil leak

My 3126E has suddenly developed an oil leak somewhere at the front of the motor.

History:In the winter we removed the rad, CDC and all accessories. Cleaned everything, changed bearing and hoses. The coach has run like a top.

A couple of weeks ago I changed the oil and it now has 1,350 miles on the new oil. Yesterday there was oil on our toad so I crawled under to take a look. There was a little oil on the ground and it was obvious the oil was coming from the front of the motor. There is oil draining down on the motor mount that is butted up against the front of the motor and runs under the crank balancer. First though was front main seal but looking further it appears the oil might be coming from above the main. There is oil on the pan bolts on both sides of the motor. It is very tight quarters and hard to see much of anything, even with a mirror on an extending pole.

When I discovered the leak the oil level was about a quart below the full line on the dip stick. We drove one day and now the level is about 2 quarts above the fill line. I have changed the oil many times and it always takes 5 gallons. I'm sure why one day it reads a little low and another a little high but don't believe the leak is from an over fill.

Where can a leak develop on the front of the motor? When changing all the hoses this winter the only one not changed was the slobber hose. It was in good shape at that time. I'm thinking about disconnecting it at the valve cover to test but that seems like a stretch.

We are in Idaho, heading for Alaska and would like to find the leak.
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Old 05-25-2022, 07:53 AM   #2
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My Dodge Ram 3500 diesel was dripping a small amount of oil from the front of the engine from when it was brand new. The dealer couldnít find the leak, so I decided to live with it for the time being. Finally, after having other shops try to fix the issue, the problem was found and corrected. The problem was the front crankshaft seal was installed backwards. There was no further oil loss after that.

It was surprising that several shops, including the dealerís service people, couldnít locate the problem, yet one shop solved it fairly quickly. Goes to show that not all mechanics are truly expert.
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Old 05-25-2022, 06:45 PM   #3
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Is there any chance your valve cover breather and slobber tube are plugged or kinked so the crank case pressure is building up internally and pushing the oil out past the seals?
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Old 05-26-2022, 06:20 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JNSNWT View Post
Is there any chance your valve cover breather and slobber tube are plugged or kinked so the crank case pressure is building up internally and pushing the oil out past the seals?
Good thought! I will check it out this morning before departing the campground.
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Old 05-26-2022, 07:12 AM   #5
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Although i have not had to do it yet. It is said one can add a die, to oil and or about anything, and get a good black light to find the leak.
An online search would tell what to get and how to do it.
Best of luck.
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Old 05-26-2022, 07:13 AM   #6
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If it is any help, all the stationary engines I've worked with had crankcase manometers and most called for 1 inch of vacuum.
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Old 05-26-2022, 07:16 AM   #7
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Quote:
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Is there any chance your valve cover breather and slobber tube are plugged or kinked so the crank case pressure is building up internally and pushing the oil out past the seals?
Good idea but no blockage. The inside of the breather has course steal wool type material in it.

The motor had 23K miles when we purchased it 3 years ago. It now has 50K. I have changed the oil and CAT filter every 3000 miles with Delo 15-40.

I don't understand how it can go from no oil leak to a substantial one so quickly. I don't believe a measurable amount is leaking but it is enough to make huge mess

The good thing (I hope) is the oil is dripping out front the engine support below the bottom of the radiator so not to clog it up.
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Old 05-26-2022, 04:36 PM   #8
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Moved 175 miles today. Crawled under to take a look and it is UGLY! I have put down a news paper to see how much oil is going to drip down. I'll wait until morning to check the dip stick.
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Old 05-26-2022, 05:12 PM   #9
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What is your oil level now?
There's a similar sort of thread running where the fella is getting fuel in the crankcase, raising the oil level. Hope you sort this out soon!
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Old 05-26-2022, 05:25 PM   #10
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When I ran my repair shop I used a Tracer Dye from the NAPA store next door. After giving the engine a thorough cleaning and drying I would add the dye to the oil and go for a short drive. When I got back to the shop I used an Ultraviolet lamp which would cause the dye to glow.
Sometimes you need to sneak up on these leaks. If you drive too much the oil will get spread around and it'll be difficult to pinpoint the source of the leak. Take short test drives and check for leaks between each drive.
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Old 05-27-2022, 07:19 AM   #11
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Well, I checked the dipstick this morning and the level is still a little above the full line. I have gone from no leak to a mess as can be seen on the new paper I put under the motor last night.

We are 2,200 miles into a 10,000 mile trip so my feeling is helplessness. The only thing to do is turn up the radio and ignore it. Maybe it is the front main and I'm in denial? Just hard to believe that seal would fail so quickly and on a motor with only 50K miles that has been maintained. Good news is it doesn't seem to be affecting the cooling system. Bad news is our toad looks like a Dalmatian.
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04 Phaeton 38, 3126E Cat 330 AKA "Big Pooper"
toad "Mini Cooper" 15 "Wee Willys" Wangler
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Old 05-27-2022, 05:04 PM   #12
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If space I would get up there and set it to a high idle. Other tools might be a camera mounted to see the area of concern. If your concerned about the blowby being blocked, put your hand under it and feel the air coming out.
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Old 05-28-2022, 05:37 AM   #13
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Turning up the radio and driving heck out of it is a great idea. IF you want to buy a new engine. Probably north of $35,000 installed if one is even available.
Small leaks can turn into large leaks with no notice other than you have a small leak now. You should forget you are on vacation and start a sincere search for a service center who will diagnose and repair the leak.
If you continue to drive it keep your Roadside Assistance and your insurance information in a safe place.
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Old 05-28-2022, 07:00 AM   #14
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The old Dutchman that owned the Atlantic station where I worked as a kid would never have a radio on in anything he was driving. Just saying!
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