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Bad Oil Leak!

4515 Views 21 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  poptop
Hi folks, I just had a really bad oil leak on my car, just got home, here's what I know so far:

Last night I drove it, got back from the bar, everything seemed fine, I don't recall an oil spot in the garage (I don't recall looking when I got home though).

I drive my car every day to work (about 10 miles one way). So my car doesn't sit for long periods.

Took off in the car today to go to a music store, about 15 miles from my house. I took the highway, kept it under 80 or so.

Got off the exit ramp, saw a cop had pulled some folks over, and I smelled something 'like' diesel fuel, assumed it was the folks on the side of the road.

About 3-4 mins later, I was on a surface street, pulling into the music store, noticed some smoke behind me but it was very light, assumed it was someone else.

In the music store for like 10 mins, get a call from my next door neighbor: "Hey Don, there is a big oil strip down the driveway from your car. I look out the window at my car, giant oil puddle the size of the car.

I walked down to the gas station, bought 4 quarts of oil. Checked dipstick before adding, dry as a bone!. I put all 4 quarts in and started limping her home on surface streets.

I kept it around 40-50, the temps were at 188, no AC. No smoke that I could see, even when at a stop light.

About 15 miles later (less than a mile from my house) it was like someone flipped a switch, smoke from burning oil pouring out the engine vent lid.

I finally get it home, when I pull in the garage I notice a spot immediately to the left of the rear passenger tire, so think directly under the engine, but then a little to the right.

Also, the whole back of the rear clam is covered in oil, it looks like it was sweating. I have a KG car, it's quite a sight.

Glancing under the car, from immediately behind the doors to the back diffuser, are soaked in oil.

The leak was so bad when I left, you can actually see where I backed down the driveway, onto the street and then drove down the street.

It just stopped smoking, so I'm hoping I can rule out the rear clam catching fire at this point.

It looks like the passenger's side rear tire has oil coming thru the spokes, none on the driver's side rear tire, it looks like the leak is on the right.

I'll update this when I know more, I do know that I probably can't afford to have anyone do the work for me right now, so I'll probably have to fix it myself or let it sit.

I'm going to go down and attempt to take the plates off and jack up the rear of the car, clean everything off and locate the leak.

If this sounds like anything you heard of before, feel free to let me know.


I have a 2006 Elise, 100% stock except for the 6 pack of RedBull stashed in the passenger's footwell.
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Hope your engine is okay... What year? 2005?
2006 Elise N/A, 100% stock.

I have around 37k on the engine. No track time.
Hose probably came off an oil cooler.

If your car was bone dry of oil, chances the oil pump gears survived are low.
Hose probably came off an oil cooler.

If your car was bone dry of oil, chances the oil pump gears survived are low.
Thanks for the input, about to head back down.

Is there any concrete way to determine whether the oil pump gears survived?

Thanks again for the feedback.
Never had an oil-pump failure myself.. but I imagine you'd be hearing some.. clunking... and metal on metal sounds.

Might also be worthwhile to take off your valve cover and taking a look at your camshafts while you're at it.

If the oil-pump has gone, pretty sure you will need to remove the engine.
Okay, I think I found the issue.

One of the fittings on the sandwich plate for the oil system is completely loose.

And by loose I mean "Hey what does this do...wait, is that supposed to move like that?" loose. Sheesh.

No idea how that happened.
I've circled the one that was loose in green.

BTW, I stole this pic from here:

Does anyone else think that this looks loose/leaking in this pic?


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Disconnect battery, pull fuelpump fuse, disconnect sparkplug wires, fill car with oil, open the bleed valve (little nozzle right in front of the circled connection), crank car for 20-30 seconds, check oil, fill as needed.

Listen for metal noises.

(To get rid of most of what air might have made it into your oil lines/coolers)
Oh.. and was the -brass- fitting loose, or was the other fitting just not screwed tightly to it?
Just the nut on there, not the brass portion that directly screws into the sandwich plate.

I read about your story, you seem to be the go to guy on plate matters lol.

Thanks again.
Just the nut on there, not the brass portion that directly screws into the sandwich plate.

I read about your story, you seem to be the go to guy on plate matters lol.

Thanks again.
Didn't even know sandwich plates existed till I encountered my problem. rotfl
I think I'd seen it before, but didn't realize the pressure in the oil system and all that.

What is crazy is how much it sprayed oil everywhere along the back sideof the engine.

I'm still not clear on how, but it got oil all over the exhaust, which then burned the oil, creating a great white cloud behind the car.

I would definately recommend that if you're doing an oil change, you check the nuts on the sandwich plate.

I'm also wondering if there would be any thoughts on how more secured we could make these?

If one of them gets loose, the amount of oil loss can happen so quick, and it's hot engine oil, I'm really surprised that it didnt catch the fiberglass on fire (not sure if it could just wondering).
Once you confirm the fittings are tight, clean with thinner, etc, and mark the fitting with a line of paint, just like the factory did after torqueing bolts. Then in future, you can tell just with a glance if they are backing off.
I got everything tight, went ahead and replaced the oil and filter while I was down there.

I pulled the fuel fuse, and then pulled the coils.

I have the red dust on the middle two, no pitting that I can tell.

Here's something crazy though, the wiring going to the coilpacks, there is a black loom that the wires are wrapped in, this lays against the valve cover.

I saw some white 'dust' on the black loom.

Cleaning off the area where the looms sits on the valve cover, I can see shiny spots where I'm guessing the loom wiring has arc'd and pitted the valve cover?

Has anyone seen this before?
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Not sure what you mean by "white dust".. but the red "dust" on the coils could be that your spark-plugs weren't completely torqued(gasses escaping), or could be a bit of water made it down, and it's a fine layer of surface rust from the sparkplug... plug.

The rubbing might happen over time if it was a little too tight, doesn't sound like a major concern?
Just to clarify, it's a white dust I can wipe off with my fingers.

I'm open to the fact it's rubbing between the loom and the valve cover, but it looks like cheap plastic wire loom to me, and I've never seen that rub pits in the valve cover.

Again, I am seeing shiny spots in the exact pattern/spacing of the ridges of the plastic wire loom in my valve cover.

Was your harness going to the coils laying down on the valve cover? Or was it up a little, near the plastic cover?

I pulled my loom back up a little, wonder if that will help at all.
No offense, but I am glad you weren't able to make it to Cars & Coffee.

Were you able to clean the car up reasonably or do you have some work left to do in that respect? I'm happy to help you if need be. It's kind of my thing. I just lost my job, so I have plenty of spare time right now. :D

I hope your engine is not toasted. Great job troubleshooting.
Thanks for the offer of assistance.

I've got most of it cleaned up, the oil sprayed everywhere and made a real mess of things.

Which ghetto in PHX are you in? lol. I'm near 24th street & Southern Ave.

The engine hasn't really made any other noises than normal so I think I'm ok.

PM Sent.
yikes thats a crappy problem, good luck, i hope the motor is still fine!
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