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If I had a rear main seal leak, what would that look like?

3027 Views 5 Replies 3 Participants Last post by  Ess El Emm
I have some engine oil leaking from my Elise it seems to be collecting right around the area of the transmission drain plug and dripping off of the trans right where the drain plug is. Smelling it though, I don't think it's trans fluid. It doesn't have the distinct trans fluid smell. I believe it's engine oil.

The part that terrifies me is that I just had to replace the clutch about 1000 miles ago, and I went ahead and put in a new rear main oil seal at the same time just because I was that deep into the engine already. I am absolutely praying that I didn't screw up the rear main seal while I was installing it and cause a leak from it.

I'm pretty sure this cannot be the rear main seal leaking though. I see the hole in the bottom of the trans bellhousing, and there's no fluid coming out of it. If it was a rear main, I'd have oil coming out of that hole, right? (Right?!? :eek: )

I'm really hoping that this is just an oil pan leak or a filter leak. If I caused a rear main leak and I have to tear the whole trans out again, I may cry. :facepalm

Edit: Actually, now that I'm looking at a photo of the engine from underneath, I have no idea how there could be an oil leak all the way back there. I don't think it could be the filter, but I don't think it could be the rear main either. Again, unless I'm wrong, it appears that the oil way for a rear main leak to actually show up on the outside of the engine would be if it was flowing out of the hole in the bellhousing, which it isn't.

Maybe the oil pan? I know I've got to just remove the belly pan and check it out, but I just want some kind of assurance it's not the rear main.
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I had to take the diffuser off today to adjust the rear toe. I'm looking at what I can see regarding the leak as well.

I forgot that there's a plastic panel you can pop off to inspect the flywheel. That's right below the rear main, and that plastic panel as well as the back of the flywheel is completely dry. I really don't think it can be the rear main at this point. Maybe I induced an oil pan leak when I was supporting the engine with a jack under the oil pan while I was doing the clutch.

I'll look at it more soon when I take the engine panel off to lift the car to change the tires. Again, for now I just wanted the piece of mind of knowing it is not the rear main. Everyone agree that's the case? I think I'd have oil all over the back of the flywheel and the plastic inspection panel. :shrug:
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I did replace the flywheel. I was hoping it was just residual oil, but I think this is a legitimate leak. But with no oil on the flywheel, I'm thinking it's probably not the rear main. I will check the o-ring, thanks.
Well, this mystery was really bothering me, and I was terrified that it was the rear main leaking, so I put the car up in the air to take a close look.

Turns out it is in fact trans fluid, which is really surprising because the fluid that's leaking does not have any sort of strong odor to it the way it does when it's fresh out of the bottle. :shrug:

But, it's definitely the passenger side output shaft seal. I can see it plain as day. I replaced the output seals when I was doing the clutch as well, but I must have damaged the seal when I installed it or installed the axle back into the trans.
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