Chevrolet Malibu Forums banner
1 - 15 of 15 Posts

·
Registered
2005 Malibu LS
Joined
·
11 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I had a small amount of oil on the driveway for years so I took it to the dealer and they replaced the crank seal. 130,000 miles on engine. I was so happy because I thought it was fixed for an affordable price. I thought it was the rear main seal, which I don’t think would be cost justified to fix. But after a 1,000 miles my joy turned to frustration because I noticed it still leaking, and it still looks like the rear main seal. Suggestions about oil leaks on the internet suggest that it could be running down from above, like from a valve cover, oil indicator sending unit, or oil filter housing. But I don’t see a leak originating from any of that. It looks like it is running down the oil pan right under the rear seal.
I hesitate to take it back to the dealer and get charged for a diagnosis, and I doubt they would say they made a mistake.
I always had the dealer perform service since new, including oil changes.
I was thinking of changing the oil myself, maybe include an additive for leaking seals, and see if it stops before I take it in for the dealer to check.
The leak doesn’t cause a need for adding oil between changes.
Any thoughts or suggestions?
 

·
Administrator
2011 Malibu LTZ 3.6L V6 Red Jewel Tintcoat
Joined
·
19,908 Posts
Stay away from bottle-fed fixes if you can.

I was gonna use one on a 1981 Ford Crown Vic transmission (early AOD) and the transmission guy at the Ford dealership where I worked (Dennis) told me that all those additives do is swell the rubber seals and then the rubber dries and cracks. I had already filled the trans, but on his counsel, I drained it completely and refilled without the additive.

If you're not losing enough between changes, be thankful. What I used to do was put a metal pan under my engine (different car altogether) that was specifically designed for the job. Sometimes I would even put a little cat litter or sawdust in it to help soak it up. It kept the driveway from getting sloppy stains and was a very simple and efficient work-around.

To actually fix it, you need to find the source. Check around for some fluorescent dye that you can add to the oil. You might be surprised where it's coming from, or you might not.

It could also be trans fluid. If you get a dye for that, see if you can get it in a different color.

Also, if it has hydraulic PS, see if the pump, hoses, or rack might be leaking and the fluid blowing back.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
14 Posts
I have a front seal leak with my 2002 V6. I'm currently running 5W30 synth (already had it)..and will move to a high-mileage type syth next oil change. As far as these seal leaks...they aren't that big a deal in the front with the V6's timing chain...no chance of oil getting on a rubber timing belt...a minor leak hopefully stays off the serp belt.

As far as the rear seal leak...no real big deal with an auto trans...but if bad enough can start to affect the operation of the starter.

I'd just use a high-mileage oil which typically has a seal expander at a reasonable level. Park the car over shallow catch pan? And live with it?

LOOK at a drop of the oil...if reddish it is from the trans...if not the engine.

If they replaced the rear seal and it still leaks...I'd say they messed the job up...a lesson in just leaving things alone. On another car I did a timing belt/serp belt R&R...it had some WET around the front seal (no drips)...so I decided to leave it alone and it stayed about the same for 50 K miles.
 

·
Registered
2005 Malibu LS
Joined
·
11 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I have a front seal leak with my 2002 V6. I'm currently running 5W30 synth (already had it)..and will move to a high-mileage type syth next oil change. As far as these seal leaks...they aren't that big a deal in the front with the V6's timing chain...no chance of oil getting on a rubber timing belt...a minor leak hopefully stays off the serp belt.

As far as the rear seal leak...no real big deal with an auto trans...but if bad enough can start to affect the operation of the starter.

I'd just use a high-mileage oil which typically has a seal expander at a reasonable level. Park the car over shallow catch pan? And live with it?

LOOK at a drop of the oil...if reddish it is from the trans...if not the engine.

If they replaced the rear seal and it still leaks...I'd say they messed the job up...a lesson in just leaving things alone. On another car I did a timing belt/serp belt R&R...it had some WET around the front seal (no drips)...so I decided to leave it alone and it stayed about the same for 50 K miles.
it was the crank (front) seal they replaced.
Thank you the perspective.
 

·
Registered
2005 Malibu LS
Joined
·
11 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Stay away from bottle-fed fixes if you can.

I was gonna use one on a 1981 Ford Crown Vic transmission (early AOD) and the transmission guy at the Ford dealership where I worked (Dennis) told me that all those additives do is swell the rubber seals and then the rubber dries and cracks. I had already filled the trans, but on his counsel, I drained it completely and refilled without the additive.

If you're not losing enough between changes, be thankful. What I used to do was put a metal pan under my engine (different car altogether) that was specifically designed for the job. Sometimes I would even put a little cat litter or sawdust in it to help soak it up. It kept the driveway from getting sloppy stains and was a very simple and efficient work-around.

To actually fix it, you need to find the source. Check around for some fluorescent dye that you can add to the oil. You might be surprised where it's coming from, or you might not.

It could also be trans fluid. If you get a dye for that, see if you can get it in a different color.

Also, if it has hydraulic PS, see if the pump, hoses, or rack might be leaking and the fluid blowing back.
Thanks. Read a registered in my mind all you comments. Curious though because you suggest no additive; what do you think of hadron’s suggestion to use high mileage oil?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,007 Posts
Crank seal and main seal are two terms for the same thing.
High milage oil will not fix your leak issues. I also agree additives are not a good idea. There is a good site to show you why..... i think its called bobs the oil guy.com or something lile that.
Need to find exactly where that leak is coming from
 

·
Administrator
2011 Malibu LTZ 3.6L V6 Red Jewel Tintcoat
Joined
·
19,908 Posts
I agree with @Darthz, but then again, he's agreeing with me, so that makes it a never-ending story...

High-mileage oil is usually a blend, which makes it a lower quality oil than full synthetic. Usually. All oils have additives. The additives I recommend against are those that swell and harden the seals.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
14 Posts
Crank seal and main seal are two terms for the same thing.
High milage oil will not fix your leak issues. I also agree additives are not a good idea. There is a good site to show you why..... i think its called bobs the oil guy.com or something lile that.
Need to find exactly where that leak is coming from
Well...there is a front seal and a rear main seal...both on the crankshaft. At the rear seal any leak COULD be from the trans...meaning a reddish drop if leaking that much...otherwise it will be more or less clear.

At the front it will only be engine oil. In my case I keep a close watch on the oil level...checking it only after sitting overnight with a cold engine...car sitting in the same place. For whatever reason the dipstick on the engines is graduated in 1/3 quart increments...my oil level has gone down around 1/3 quart in 1000 miles. Doubt if this engine uses any oil by burning. I did suspect the drain plug having a leak...so I replaced that ($6-7).

When they first developed synth oils there was an issue with seals leaking...but they've since added seal expanders to solve this. The high mileage oils probably have additional additives to help seals seal...since they tend to leak with higher mileage.

I can live with a quart loss every 3K...vs messing with the serp belt and front pulley to get to the seal. I expect to change oil only 1X per year...don't drive that much. I use a Pure1 filter.

Here's about the best deal on a full synth high-mileage oil?


Premium seal conditioners help treat and prevent leaks
 

·
Registered
2005 Malibu LS
Joined
·
11 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Well...there is a front seal and a rear main seal...both on the crankshaft. At the rear seal any leak COULD be from the trans...meaning a reddish drop if leaking that much...otherwise it will be more or less clear.

At the front it will only be engine oil. In my case I keep a close watch on the oil level...checking it only after sitting overnight with a cold engine...car sitting in the same place. For whatever reason the dipstick on the engines is graduated in 1/3 quart increments...my oil level has gone down around 1/3 quart in 1000 miles. Doubt if this engine uses any oil by burning. I did suspect the drain plug having a leak...so I replaced that ($6-7).

When they first developed synth oils there was an issue with seals leaking...but they've since added seal expanders to solve this. The high mileage oils probably have additional additives to help seals seal...since they tend to leak with higher mileage.

I can live with a quart loss every 3K...vs messing with the serp belt and front pulley to get to the seal. I expect to change oil only 1X per year...don't drive that much. I use a Pure1 filter.

Here's about the best deal on a full synth high-mileage oil?


Premium seal conditioners help treat and prevent leaks
To clarify, my concern it is leaking from the rear main, transmission side. Looks like oil, not trans fluid, and I don’t use any between changes. But I will monitor the trans fluid. I think I’ll wait until spring since there is no trans check stick. I need to go under the card and open the plug and add from the top of the trans to see what flows through. Thanks
 

·
Registered
2005 Malibu LS
Joined
·
11 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Crank seal and main seal are two terms for the same thing.
High milage oil will not fix your leak issues. I also agree additives are not a good idea. There is a good site to show you why..... i think its called bobs the oil guy.com or something lile that.
Need to find exactly where that leak is coming from
I found the site you referenced. A lot of info out there. I did go through the oil university article. it didn’t criticize HM oil, but at the same time it left the use of HM oil up in the air. I agree with you that I need to find out exactly we’re the leak is coming from. I may try a regular conventional oil change myself because I’ve seen mini miracles occur with cleaning things up inside and improving seals, but because I have the oil changed every 3,000 miles and it always looks clean, I don’t expect the miracle outcome. In any event, there is no rush because it is my second and not main ride. I’ll eventually have the dealer diagnose it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,007 Posts
The site i was refering to was showing why not to add additives. .... oil comes with what is needed in it from the manufacturer. That was my point there.

A crank seal...refers to both front and rear main seals..... stipulating front or rear....says which one...was what I was getting at
You can have a r bad rear main seal........and it has NOTHING to do with tranny fluid coming out..... changed more than one myself....sure it was on v8's(. Thank god for 1 piece rear mains in 1987)..q if you have tranny fluid coming out there....its another issue. I havent seen a front seal go

Whatever the issue turns out to be....if it is indeed a crank seal or front of tranny leaking.....its going to cost some $$$$
There are members here who have had the intake casket leak.....and was a bugger.... but they finally traced it.
 

·
Registered
2012 Malibu
Joined
·
14 Posts
I have had luck with ATP AT-205, it is an additive. I had a leak on the rear main seal of a mercedes S500. The repair was going to be quite expensive as all repairs are on a mercedes, so I added AT-205 and it cured the leak. It didn't cure the rocker cover leak but it did cure the rear main seal. I drove the car probably 10,000+ miles leak free and then sold the car.

It's a cheep fix (if it works) and if it doesn't fix the problem then you decide whether or not to pay for a proper job.

Now let the haters start.
 

·
Administrator
2011 Malibu LTZ 3.6L V6 Red Jewel Tintcoat
Joined
·
19,908 Posts
As @gpjlytham says, "Now let the haters start," but let them also show some restraint and etiquette. This may be an open forum, but the discussion needs to be kept respectful.

His point was expressed with facts and even leaves room for the process to not work so well, or maybe not even work at all. No matter what, your car is your car, and you are the one who makes the decisions.

You may now resume your regularly-scheduled program. ;)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
30 Posts
I own the same vehicle, same year; and engine.
I've had 2 oil leaks in 16 years, the first being premature failure of intake manifold gasket; due to the old dexcool coolant.
This was a huge problem for owners a decade ago, there were recalls and lawsuits in California.
The second, and more recent was the timing cover chain seal.
Can't the dealership perform a pressure test?.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1 Posts
I had a small amount of oil on the driveway for years so I took it to the dealer and they replaced the crank seal. 130,000 miles on engine. I was so happy because I thought it was fixed for an affordable price. I thought it was the rear main seal, which I don’t think would be cost justified to fix. But after a 1,000 miles my joy turned to frustration because I noticed it still leaking, and it still looks like the rear main seal. Suggestions about oil leaks on the internet suggest that it could be running down from above, like from a valve cover, oil indicator sending unit, or oil filter housing. But I don’t see a leak originating from any of that. It looks like it is running down the oil pan right under the rear seal.
I hesitate to take it back to the dealer and get charged for a diagnosis, and I doubt they would say they made a mistake.
I always had the dealer perform service since new, including oil changes.
I was thinking of changing the oil myself, maybe include an additive for leaking seals, and see if it stops before I take it in for the dealer to check.
The leak doesn’t cause a need for adding oil between changes.
Any thoughts or suggestions?
MalibuPaul,
I have an '08 Malibu with ~315,000 miles and have changed both the oil pan gasket and valve cover gaskets myself. In both instances, I had to cut away part of the engine/transmission frame, as the pan and rear cover were blocked from removal by other parts of the car. There was still a leak, so I used Lucas Oil's oil stop-leak, and it has all but stopped all leaks. The oil is a bit thicker at oil change, but the car idles/runs smoother now too. These engines seem to operate great but are not made for easy maintenance!
 
1 - 15 of 15 Posts
Top