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Discussion Starter #1
I've enjoyed two days of driving since replacing my fuel pump. Next issue.

I got underneath the car to identify the source of a leak. Initially, I thought that it was the oil-pan gasket, but it turns out that the leak was higher up and dripping on to the pan. I determined that it was leaking down the side of the block (on the intake side). My next thought was that it was the head gasket (although there is no oil in the coolant or vice versa).

I'm not sure that what it is is better or worse than needing a head-gasket replacement. The leak actually appears to be either a tiny crack or small pinhole in the side wall of the block, right in the location shown on the picture below. (Obviously, this is not my engine block -- mine's still in the car -- but it appears to be the same or very similar to mine).

I was having a hard time believing that this was really where the leak is, so I tested three times cleaning with brake cleaner and then starting the car. The leak appeared in the same place each time. It's not dripping down or spraying onto this location from anywhere, so the only thing I can conclude is that there is a hole in the block wall.

Is this an issue that comes up on these cars? I searched but didn't find anything. Also, any suggestions on what to do short of replacing the block?

 

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I have heard of 'porous' castings. So I guess it can happen.

Are you sure it isn't spraying from elsewhere and landing on the block there? Try holding a piece of clean white paper near but not touching the block and look for the tell-tale sign of oil on the paper. I was able to find an annoying leak from the cam cover gasket that way.

Anyway, if you confirm it is really a porous casting, I'd try cleaning it well and smearing some JB Weld or gas tank epoxy repair into/over the area.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Good idea on the paper test, Eric. I just did it and confirmed that nothing is being sprayed onto the block, but rather, it is weeping out of the block.

I'll give the permatex and/or JB Weld a try tomorrow and let you know how it turns out.
 

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I've had success with JB weld on the front timing chain cover seam where it was leaking at the coolant passage from the water pump. It wasn't an oil leak but the JB weld has held up well for over 4 years. I sure you know the importance of preparation of the surface prior to coating. Clean very well with a strong solvent (e.g. acetone or lacquer thinner), do a bit of abrasion with 220 grit paper and then a final clean with a fresh wipe and solvent.

Good luck, Al
 

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Where you indicate on the block above would most likely be an oil passage, since it's right in line with the pressurized oil galley to the center cam bearing. No water in that exact spot.
Andrew
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I definitely looks like oil rather than coolant.
 

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I've had success with JB weld on the front timing chain cover seam where it was leaking at the coolant passage from the water pump. It wasn't an oil leak but the JB weld has held up well for over 4 years. I sure you know the importance of preparation of the surface prior to coating. Clean very well with a strong solvent (e.g. acetone or lacquer thinner), do a bit of abrasion with 220 grit paper and then a final clean with a fresh wipe and solvent.

Good luck, Al
This advice can't be topped. I second this solution. Been there and done that on an alloy wheel which had a constant slow air leak. Porous casting and repaired just as Al suggests. Never had any further trouble with the wheel and eventually sold the car with this repair still holding up 100%.

Robert Hill in Memphis TN
 

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I followed Al's suggestions for preparation and went an extra step of cutting some very shallow parallel grooves in the surface with a Dremel tool to give the JB Weld a rougher surface to grip. I'll post back tomorrow when I test it out.
 

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Yes, JB is the way to go and what you are proposing will only improve matters. It is a repair and may, after time, need redoing. There is a permanent sealing process which I use on blocks and heads in the past which invloves the part being immersed in a tank of a special sealant which itself is located in a vacuum chamber. In effect when the parts is removed the atmispheric pressure pushes the sealant into the crack/hole. The part is then put in an oven to set to set the sealant. The company here is called Ultra Seal and does a lot of F1 engine blocks, I am sure you must have a similar process in the US.
 

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Stuart,
Outstanding solution but I bet the cost is such that you could buy a good used block cheaper. But then you would lose your matching numbers, if that is a concern. I have sealed leaking aluminum casting with water leaks with good old radiator stop leak. But you have an oil leak, so I guess putting stop leak in the lubricating system would be pretty much a Kamikaze solution. The block leak would stop just before the engine seized!

Robert
 

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Did a little research and here you [email protected] - Main Phone: 734-222-9478 Ultraseal America, a distributor for Ultraseal International, part of the Norman Hay plc group of companies, is located in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Only way to find out is to ring them!
 

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I worry that you're going to see the leak return pretty quickly. Normal running pressure is 55+ pounds, and at startup with cold oil it can be 100+. Hoping for the best...
Andrew
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Unfortunately, I think that Andrew may be right. I started the car up, and it did not leak for several minutes with the engine idling. I went for a short drive, however, and it was leaking again. Given my situation, I plan to remove the air-intake plenum to get a better look at the problem.
 

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if it is an oil gally,, just by glueing something on the outside of the block, it will just blow off sooner or later.. if you are thaking off the intake maniifold.. well not all will agree with me.. but find the hole, no matter how small it is.. get a drill drill it to a bit larger size, carefully tap some threads into the block, and a teflon wraped set screw will stop the leak( set screw or a small bolt with some sealent on it, washer..this worked on my freinds honda accord block.
 

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or, have a portable alumiumn welder come buy, and weld the thing shut...
 

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I like the drill and tapping solution.

Pete
 

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Drill and thread the block into an oil gallery!!!! Fine if you can ensure that no swarf enters but I would suggest that this is a job best done with the stripped block on the bench and the gallery can be washed clean after the work.
 

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Drill and thread the block into an oil gallery!!!! Fine if you can ensure that no swarf enters but I would suggest that this is a job best done with the stripped block on the bench and the gallery can be washed clean after the work.
Put grease on the drill and do this slowly.

I would then crank the engine with spark plugs out so that oil flows out the "new" hole before plugging it, just to be sure :).

Another option, as this leak is close to the top of the block, is remove the head and insert a sleave down into the oil way from the top of the block. Does not take long to remove the head and you could give it a bit of a valve grind while there :).
Pete
 

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Discussion Starter #20
I got the plenum off, and it is much easier to get to the block. I still don't have a direct line of sight to the problem area, which I think I need to do before making a final decision on how to do the repair. (Granted that the answer may be to pull the head).

I will remove the fuel rail, which I think will greatly improve the visibility to the problem. So far, this has been a positive experience, as I have recognized a number of things that need attention, such as cracking fuel-injection hoses and badly corroded hose fittings on the thermostat housing. I will take care of these things while I have the intake side apart.
 
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