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Massive Oil Leak

Posted: Sat Jun 09, 2018 10:14 pm
by javabob
As I was backing into my garage I notice I was leaving a trail up the driveway. Looked at the instrument panel and everything looked normal. I thought maybe it was water from the rain we had earlier, there was a puddle at the end of the driveway. I walk around the van and it looks like BP had parked the Deep Water Horizon in my garage. I took a quick peek and it's coming from the drivers side, in the area of the oil filter. It's really bad timing ( is ever good timing for this kind of thing? ) as I went back to school and am putting in around 84 hours a week. So, in the sporadic 10 min of free I get occasionally, what should I look for?
Oil Leak (Phone).jpg
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Massive Oil Leak

Posted: Sun Jun 10, 2018 12:31 am
by Growlerbearnz
Quick, move to Beverly! Hills, that is. Swimming pools, movie stars...

Usual culprit: pressurised flexible oil feed to the top of the vacuum pump, or the un-pressurised drain from the vacuum pump back to the sump. Both easy to replace without removing the alternator.

Slightly scarier possibilities: Oil feed to the turbo (unlikely, as it's all steel), turbo drain (more likely as it's just a piece of rubber), oil feeds to the oil cooler (they wrap around the oil filter- also all steel so fairly unlikely), loose oil filter (never seen it, but surely it must be possible?).

Massive Oil Leak

Posted: Sun Jun 10, 2018 8:27 am
by javabob
And then one day he was drivin home his van,
And down from the engine come a bubblin crude.

Oil that is, black gold, Texas tea.

Yay Growler! Perfect timing with the humor, thank you. I'm guessing you could feel my stress from the upside down.

I'm gonna go with one of the flexible hoses until I can look at it, it takes some stress away. The one that goes to the bottom of the alternator has always been kinda soupy. Plus I have one of those laying around! I'll report back once I've dug in.

Massive Oil Leak

Posted: Sun Jun 10, 2018 3:53 pm
by Growlerbearnz
A just-about-asleep thought from last night: oil pressure switch. They've been known to asplode. Follow the single yellow(?) wire from the alternator loom up onto the engine.

Fingers crossed for that one, because they're much quicker to find than the vacuum pump oil feed. (MD050196 CAD$30)
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Massive Oil Leak

Posted: Mon Jul 09, 2018 7:01 am
by javabob
I finally had some time to replace the the vacuum pump oil feed line. That top banjo bolt was so much fun!
Put fresh oil in, started her up, and sploosh, all the oil I put in came gushing out :-(
When I crawled under to have a looksie, it seems like it might be coming from the top side of the filter. Next week I'll put some more oil in and have a friend start it up while I'm under it to see if I can pinpoint it. Cant wait for the oil shower!

Massive Oil Leak

Posted: Mon Jul 09, 2018 2:10 pm
by Growlerbearnz
You're going to have to remove the driver's seat engine cover and have a look. A large leak from above the oil filter sounds like one of the oil cooler hoses: hopefully just a loose banjo bolt, but who knows.

Massive Oil Leak

Posted: Fri Jul 27, 2018 9:28 pm
by javabob
All is well and the Deli is back to slowing traffic on the freeways!

I removed the drivers side engine cover and it was as dry as the Sahara above the oil filter. So I added a couple of liters of oil, crawled underneath, and had my wife turn the oil shower, i mean engine, over. Sploosh! Oil comes jetting out, and it was coming from the area of the oil filter seal.

On goes the new filter, in goes the new oil. Start it up and sploosh again!

Now I'm questioning my ability to screw on an oil filter.
"Have I done it wrong my whole life and just been lucky up to this point"?
"Is this how dementia starts"?
"Am I drunk"?
While all those might be true, on closer inspection, it was 2 crooked / bent filters.
The area on the filter that the seal is seated had a slight slant. I pulled a third filter out of the box and it too was cockeyed. I had bought nine filters and the three bent ones came from one side of the box. I checked the other six out and they are fine. So I'm guessing that side of the box must have taken a beating during it's trip. I still don't understand why the first filter would work for a thousand miles before it failed though.

Massive Oil Leak

Posted: Sat Jul 28, 2018 10:41 pm
by ChuckBlack
Ive seen double seals that took a few hundred K before they star leaking, cheap oil filters often have a smaller oil seal too. Another thing to check is how tight the filter iss installed. Under or over tightening can both have similar issue like you experienced. One thing for sure I've never seen a bent filter... New ones anyway!

Good job finding the leak. How much was the oil pressure line for?

Massive Oil Leak

Posted: Fri Aug 03, 2018 11:43 pm
by Morganizer
How did you get at that top banjo bolt? I have to replace my vacuum oil hose, as someone installed it touching the engine block, and it abraded over time (there is equal abrasion on the engine block at that point). I crawled under and had a look, and it seems like I'd have to remove the alternator/oil pump to get at it. Or I might be able to get a socket on the banjo bolt if I took off the oil filter. Please tell me how you did it.

Massive Oil Leak

Posted: Wed Aug 08, 2018 7:34 pm
by javabob
Hey Morganizer, sorry I didn't reply earlier.

The first thing I did after trying every wrench, shaved socked, swivel joints, and curse word I knew was to seek out a set of stubby wrenches. The one pictured to be exact. only the open end would fit on the banjo, but I still couldn't get any leverage to loosen it. I went into the house to get a snack and sitting there on the counter was a garrote that I use to slice pastry dough, and BOOM!, there was the answer. I slipped one of the wooden dowels through the closed end of the wrench and pulled it through to the other dowel. Put the wrench on the banjo and tugged on the dowels. It worked great and I didn't have to remove anything else.
For pastries, not enemies!
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stubby set.jpg
Stubby wrenches
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Massive Oil Leak

Posted: Sun Aug 12, 2018 10:45 pm
by Morganizer
I was up in Clearwater BC a couple of weekends ago, which is half way between Vancouver and Edmonton. On Sunday morning, I filled up with diesel before getting on the highway to drive home to Vancouver, and another patron flagged me down as I was pulling away from the pump: "Hey, you've got a Massive Oil Leak there, better stop and check that out!" Thanks...

Well, it was 8am, and already 24 degrees. The first thing I did was drive around behind the station and park it in the shade. I had a hunch this is one of those situations where, if I start overheating and make one poor choice, I'm not sleeping in my bed tonight.

Crawled under the Deli, and sure enough, the oil is coming from what I later learned is called the Vacuum Oil Hose. I had noticed a minute amount of oil in this vicinity, and couldn't figure out where it was coming from. In my service records, I observed it as much as four years ago! When changing my oil and filter, I had seen that hose touching the engine block, and thought, "That isn't right; that hose should be clear of the engine block." It occurred to me that if I had gently bent that hose away from the engine block, I wouldn't be in this moment. In a small town, on a Sunday morning, when everything is closed.

I moved the hose slightly, and the oil stopped dripping out of it. Hm, okay, I just have to stop it from leaking out under pressure. I have an idea...

I walked back inside the gas station, and told the attendant I'd like to buy a hose clamp. "A what?" he said. "Oh we don't have any." What kind of gas station doesn't have hose clamps? A small town gas station, that's what kind.

Don't get me wrong, I really like Clearwater. It seems to have one of everything. It's kind of just sufficient, as human settlements go. Trouble is, my Vacuum Oil Hose let loose on the side of town at The Gas Station Which Does Not Have Hose Clamps.

Now whenever I'm in a small town store, I make a habit of noticing what they've got. You never know when it will come in handy. "Ooh, ambrosia apples. Ooh, hose clamps. Ooh, Preparation H..."

Now it happens that on the other side of town, near Birch Island, there is a corner store that I noticed has a remarkable selection of hose clamps. I remember one year ago, perusing the aisles of said corner store, and thinking, "A hose clamp is a handy thing. I should buy one and toss it in the glove box." It was almost a premonition. But I had only enough coinage for either a hose clamp or a snack. And being hungry at the time, I chose the snack.

But I knew that a buddy of mine, at that moment, would be near that corner store in Birch Island. So I phoned him. And he picked up...

"Hey Doug, is that corner store open?"
"The sign says it opens in ten minutes."
"I've had a Massive Oil Leak. Would you bring me a hose clamp?"
"Okay. Call me back in 15 minutes."

Long and short of it, we determined the correct size (for a small town corner store, Birch Island has an impressive array of hose clamps) and Doug brought me a hose clamp.

So there I was with my disabled Delica, parked in the shade beside The Gas Station Which Does Not Have Hose Clamps, with a hose clamp in my hot little hands. And oh yes, it was hot. I was planning to take one more swim in the lake and hit the road. Instead I've got to patch a Vacuum Oil Hose with a hose clamp in such a way that it will get me back to Vancouver. Or I don't sleep in my bed tonight.

Assuming a success, I walked back into The Gas Station Which Does Not Have Hose Clamps and bought a 4L jug 5W40 oil. I borrowed a pair of scissors from the attendant and cut a small strip off a cotton rag to wrap around the hose clamp, so it would be pressed into the hole in the hose. Then I dumped out the meagre selection of tools from the pouch that hides in the D pillar hatch, selected the crummy flat-blade screwdriver with the rounded tip, crawled under the Deli, and got to work.

I should mention at this point a few things in my favour: 1) I am familiar with this region of the Delica, from doing my own oil and filter changes, 2) I have a head lamp, and 3) I parked it in the shade, so this is not some unbearable road-side repair. On the flip side, I wish I'd had the good sense to put on my black T-shirt, instead of ruining my custom-screen-printed white t-shirt, with oil stains. Yes, it was bound to get messy.

So here's a photo of the makeshift repair with the hose clamp:
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I topped up the oil, and it had lost 3 litres! It's a wonder the oil light didn't come on, and the temperature didn't rise. Or maybe it did, and I didn't notice. There was a dribble on the highway all through town! I bought a couple more litres of 5W40, just in case.

Anyway, I went for one last swim in the lake, and hit the road. Now if I had known it would work so well, I'd have taken the Coquihalla! 420km without losing a drop. I guess I got that hose clamp in the right spot.

Now what you're probably here for is the actual replacement of the Vacuum Oil Hose. Ahem. Well, it's basically an oil change with a hose change in the middle of it. I drained the oil, and removed the filter, because it's a very confined space in there. It's the kind of thing where there's room for the bolt but not the tool to turn the bolt; or room enough for the tool, but not for your hand on the tool. Getting the tool, and a hand, and some light, and a sightline on the top banjo bolt was no mean feat.

I started with the Bottom Banjo Bolt so I would know what I'm up against. It came out easily enough, with a 17mm wrench. The same wrench would not work on the Top Banjo Bolt. There is a bump on the engine block, just above the banjo bolt, that makes it impossible to get a socket or even a box wrench on it. Are cars easier to work on now that they're designed with CAD? But this 4D56, made in 1994, does not have such luxuries. The bump gets in the way.

I could get the open end of the 17mm on the bolt, but the handle was too long, and bumped into the body, so I couldn't turn it. I had corresponded with Javabob, and he said he did it with a ratcheting stubby wrench (and a kitchen gadget called a garrote). So I was just about to give up and go to the store, when I remembered that there was a 17mm in the Flare Nut Wrench Set I just bought to replace the brake hoses, and it's slightly shorter than the 17mm wrench.

The flare nut wrench was the ticket. With 6-points, I had to fiddle to find a way it would fit and turn, but the gap in the box wrench cleared the bump, and I was able to turn the banjo bolt.
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I replaced the vacuum oil hose, and reused the copper crush washers, since this hose from Coombs didn't come with new washers. (theres a debate online that says new washers are crap, better to reuse the old ones, if they're in good condition. I have it on good authority that a place called Green Line in Vancouver can make you this hose to length. But I didn't know that, and since the Deli had turned itself into a 4000LB paperweight, I was anxious to get hold of one pronto. It arrived from Coombs Country Auto in an impressive 2 days.

So there's the new hose:
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You can actually see in this photo, the smooth spot where the hose rubbed against the engine block. Look just to the right of the bolt with a '4' on the head. How long does it take for a rubber hoseto abrade a metal engine block? At least four years, apparently. I kinda forgive the guy who installed it touching, because the banjo fittings really get dragged around when you tighten them. Important that they end up oriented so the hose isn't touching the engine, in any case.

I put the drain plug back. I put the filter back. And yes, I put the oil back. I know, you're saying No No No, Never Never Never, best thing you can do for your engine, Blah Blah Blah… But hey: I changed the oil and filter a month ago, and 3L is fresh 420km ago. If ever there was a time it's okay to reuse the oil, this is it. You only live once, or so they say.

I started it up, test drove it, and checked for leeks. There were none; darn, another trip to the grocery store. No leaks either, so I declared it fixed.

And here's the rupture that started it all:
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Well, that about takes the cake for The Longest Forum Post Ever. Hope you found it entertaining, if not informative. A long post about a short hose that caused a massive oil leak.