Our Community is 940,000 Strong. Join Us.

huge oil leak

01-29-2010, 10:28 AM
so on my way home from work today i stopped at a light and smelled burning oil coming from my sohc 98 neon. so when i got home (2 more blocks) i popped the hook and there is a literal oil fall coming from the firewall facing side of my motor resulting in a foot and a half diameter puddle in about 30 sec. being that it is way too cold for someone with raynods disease to be outside for too long today and the fact that everything is covered in oil i couldn't locate where it's coming from. has anyone had this experience before? any insight is greatly appreciated.

Oldsmobile Doctor
01-29-2010, 01:22 PM
Cam seal, Valve cover, Spark plug tube seal, Oil pressure switch and Cam position sensor seal.

01-29-2010, 01:30 PM
It seems like something that holds oil pressure is leaking, and is allowing pressurized oil to spray out.
In my experience, the most common cause is the oil filter or oil filter gasket. Sometimes, plugs for oil passages have leaked too, or an oil pressure sender switch. Since I do not know the Neon engine well, I cannot say for sure which would be at fault.
You might need to get this thing up on a mechanics hoist to find it.

Oldsmobile Doctor
01-29-2010, 03:01 PM
The oil pressure switch is on the back of the engine in about the middle about a third of the way up. Also if the cam seal pukes out (which happens often) oil will pour out and come out right behind the belts. I have also heard about head gaskets coming out on one of the rear corners causing an oil leak but I have no personal experience with that one.

02-05-2010, 06:54 PM
I have a '96 Stratus with the same engine. I bought it with the factory head gasket oil leak they are known for. I think yours is in the span of years that had that problem. There was a service bulletin but no recall and it could have been repaired for free for 10 years or 100,000. That won't cover mine so I lived with the leak, about 3 quarts between 5k oil changes. That leak is on the left rear(facing the engine) directly in front of the driver at the firewall. Recently I had the huge oil leak you are probably talking about. It is at the FRONT firewall side of the engine. I pulled the head thinking the head gasket finally went completely bad with the 156,000 miles it has, and as I pulled the head up and off of the block the front cam seal(mentioned in the last reply)fell to the ground! The head gasket looked like it was leaking everything everywhere too. I don't know about the Neon, but it is a horrible job in the larger engine compartment of the Stratus! If you do tear it down be sure to replace the water pump, you DO NOT want to do this job twice!! Good luck!

05-24-2010, 08:09 PM
I also believe my cam seal popped out is this a very tuff job to perform? Im guessing i would do timing belt and water pump also since it seems like its right there. i have a haynes manual but havnt looked yet? any advice would be great.

05-25-2010, 11:20 PM
AS far as getting access to the cam seal for replacement - your major problem will be moving other stuff out of the way, in order to be able to remove the timing belt cover, etc. I think you will want to disconnect the power steering return hose, and get that out of the way, then you will have to undo the motor mount (so have the engine supported on a jack, with a block of wood under the pan to avoid damaging it). It is working in a narrow space, but its doable.
In terms of massive oil leaks - I had that problem with our 97 sohe neon 4 years ago. It was using a quart of 10w30 every 50 miles. Because of the air flow under the motor, the oil gets blown everywhich way, and prevents you from seeing where the leak is. There were a bunch of posting about it - and the 4 major sources were; a bad head gasket (only applies to the original ones, not the MLS replacement), the oil pressure sender, the seal at the cam cover, and the rear main seal. At that time the cam position sensor seals were considered a big problem.
I pulled the engine, and found the rear main seal (on the crankshaft behind the flywheel) had moved 'out' to where it was touching the flywheel). I was able to remove it with my fingers. Since I had the engine on the workbench, I also replaced the front main seal, and the camshaft seal. All of them were very easy to pull out. The new ones went in snug - but will likely loosen up in another few years. And of course I replaced the water pump and timing belt.
There is a way to tell if your head gasket has been replaced. There will be a tiny trianglular 'tab' sticking out from between the head and the block, and visible behind the intake manifold tubes. Thats the indication of an MLS (multilayersteel) head gasket.

05-26-2010, 09:08 AM
thanks for the info, i will be working on it the next few weeks here and there. I think once i get the stuff out of the way it will be easier to figure out, ill probibly just replace everything because it has 230K on the motor and its been a really good runner especially not having any major leaks, i have never even changed the timing belt which boggles peoples minds but my mechanic said its pretty shredded and couldnt believe it was still going

Add your comment to this topic!