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Thread: Oil Leak I Can’t Figure Out

  1. #1
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    Oil Leak I Can’t Figure Out

    My ‘63 GT Hawk has an oil leak that I can’t seem to figure out. On the passenger side of the engine I was getting oil splatter on the spark plug wires, and there was oil on the exhaust manifold but only the back half. Front half of the exhaust manifold and head (cylinders 2&4) still dry. Also had oil all over the lower part of the firewall. No oil coming out of the breather cap either. Valve cover is clean. Thought it was the valve cover so I took it off and resealed it. Made sure while it was out that it was flat and not warped. When I put the cork gasket on the valve cover, I again made sure it was flat and didn’t have any gaps. Used blue silicone sealant and I’m positive I got it on perfectly without smearing any off while putting it on. Let it cure for 24+ hours before I started it. Now today after driving a total of about 5 miles it’s leaking even worse that it was before and exactly the same way. What am I missing???

  2. #2
    President Member christophe's Avatar
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    You should have a look at the base of the oil filter. I had some troubles with filters that had a too narrow gasket and were prone to spring a leak.
    Best of luck.
    Nice day to all.

  3. #3
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    Also check the oil pressure hose on the right rear head.

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    Golden Hawk Member jclary's Avatar
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    As many of us have learned through the years, a tiny drop of oil can make a huge mess in an engine bay. These Studebaker engines offer many opportunities for oil to escape. Once out of the engine, oil gets caught up atomized and tossed around by air turbulence created by the cooling fan. The front crankshaft seal at the timing cover, the timing cover gasket, and the aluminum filler insert at the oil pan/front area. All of these are potential culprits. I do not have a manual handy at the moment, but I believe there is also a gasket at the seat of the distributor where oil can escape. Sometimes this gasket is missing. Keep cleaning, doing a white cloth check, clean & check again, and with enough patience and persistence, you will find the problem. Be careful with blue silicone sealant. You sure don't want to squeeze any of that stuff where it can get loose internally and plug up an oil passage. Let us know when you find the source.
    John Clary
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    Clean the motor, warm it up, set the fast idle cam to hold engine speed at fast idle and stand there and watch for a leak. i am thinking oil filter then flex line. Luck Doofus

  6. #6
    President Member TWChamp's Avatar
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    When I bought my 52 Land Cruiser in 1970, the first thing I did was remove the valve covers to clean out all the sludge and replace the leaking gaskets. The new gaskets were shrunk and had to be soaked in warm water to make them expand to fit the valve covers. Seems like every few months I was replacing the valve cover gaskets because they'd shrink and tear apart.
    I'd use BLACK rather than the blue silicone. In 1975 I was fighting an oil leak on a customer's Chevy V8. I replaced the intake valley gasket, and all looked good while running in my stall, but after a road test, the firewall was again sprayed with oil. I replaced the gasket again, and still had the problem. Then an older, wiser mechanic told me that I should never put sealer on the rubber end gaskets because the sealer allowed the rubber to slip out of place when the manifold gets bolted down. Yep, that was the problem.

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    Check the gasket on the cover under the intake manifold. I had a leak there on my Hawk when I first bought it. -Jim

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    Check that your breather caps are clear and not creating excessive crankcase pressure. If PVC check that it is clear.

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    Correction PCV, I guess was thinking of plastic pipe.

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    President Member bensherb's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ColoradoHawk View Post
    My ‘63 GT Hawk has an oil leak that I can’t seem to figure out. On the passenger side of the engine I was getting oil splatter on the spark plug wires, and there was oil on the exhaust manifold but only the back half. Front half of the exhaust manifold and head (cylinders 2&4) still dry. What am I missing???
    ENGINE OIL DIPSTICK. Too much crankcase pressure will force oil out of the dipstick tube, and from the center join in the tube. Make sure your PCV and its hose is clear and functioning properly and that the rocker cover breathers freely "breathe". Also check the weld on the dipstick tube where the bracket is welded to it, a pinhole is all it takes. Ask me how I know.

    If you have an "open" crankcase vent system and any blow by, oil and/or oil vapor will be pushed from the breather starting around 2500 rpm. You might consider a "closed" system. Re, closed breather caps with hoses running to filters in the air filter canister.

  11. #11
    President Member (S)'s Avatar
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    If it is not the oil pressure line, check the front arch of the oil pan. I recently did one that was leaking the same way you say, because the arch gasket had shrank, causing oil to come out, then straight back to the passenger side. A leak at the dipstick tube/clogged PCV is a similar mess.

  12. #12
    President Member bensherb's Avatar
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    I just removed the oil gauge line. In my experiance it leaks down the back of the engine and is all but unnoticeable except from under the car, by the puddle it leaves and the streaks of oil covering the bottom of the car. THREE STRIKES and it's outta here, I'm not doing it again, the gauge is being replaced by an electric one.

    By the way, there is a 1/8" pipe plug in an oil gallery on the rear of the head just below that oil line. If it leaks it appears in the same fashion.

  13. #13
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    Thanks to all for the ideas and suggestions.
    I’m thinking it’s the oil filter itself that’s leaking. I failed to mention that I also took off and resealed the oil filter mount when I did the rocker cover, and what I can see of the filter it’s completely covered in oil and I can see it pooling on the mount itself. When I put the mount on, I was as careful as I was when I put the rocker cover on and verified there was a nice, even bead of blue silicone all the way around and I torqued it down after 1 hour of set time. The oil pressure line I replaced a short while ago with the braided SS one from Turner Brakes, and verified it’s not leaking. I also have an adjustable M/E Wagner PCV valve that works fantastically, and both breather caps are only a few months old. So that leaves me with my suspect, the oil filter. I’ll replace it and let you all know how it turns out.

  14. #14
    President Member christophe's Avatar
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    FWIW, I had troubles with oil filters that had a 4mm wide gasket. The problem desappeared with a 5mm wide gasket. I currently use Knecht OC 118 but these might not be available in the USA.
    Nice day to all.

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    It’s not the oil filter like I thought. In fact, since redoing the valve cover and oil filter mount it is now leaking much, much worse. After replacing the filter I ran it for a while looking for it to leak. After not too long I saw it dripping at both the front and rear of the oil pan. Later, after just driving a total of about 14 miles I lost 2+ quarts of oil and during that trip the breather cap was almost blown off. Also, I’m getting a lot of smoke out of the passenger side breather cap when revved up but none when idling.
    It’s probably the rings on 1 or more cylinders on that side isn’t it?

  16. #16
    President Member christophe's Avatar
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    It looks like your engine is not breathing correctly and building pressure inside. Is the PCV valve clean and functioning?

  17. #17
    Golden Hawk Member StudeRich's Avatar
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    More importantly, is the FLOW of the PCV TO the Carb. not away from it?

    Either way, it's looking a lot more like a Total Re-seal job or even MORE likely, an Overhaul or Total Rebuild is needed.
    StudeRich
    Second Generation Stude Driver,
    Proud '54 Starliner Owner




  18. #18
    President Member Lou Van Anne's Avatar
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    ...and all these years I just assumed that oil leaks and Studebakers go hand-in-hand!
    Lou Van Anne
    62 Champ
    64 R2 GT Hawk
    79 Avanti II

  19. #19
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    My Avanti had a oil leak on the rear main seal area When I pulled the motor for a rebuild I found that the rear main seal was installed backwards

  20. #20
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    Sometimes oil return drains get plugged and oil floods valve covers and gaskets leak. By the time you get cover off it has drained back to pan, make sure return hole are open.

  21. #21
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    Further to kxet's response I have actually seen a solid rod used as an alignment pin on the block deck. Since that pin is also the oil drain hole using a solid pin kind of defeats the purpose. Check the 4 lower bolts holding the front engine timing gear cover. They mount into the lower aluminum spacer bracket and are often stripped by someone torqueing them to the same spec as the upper bolts that screw into the iron block. I have one like that on my Avanti and got an acceptable seal using ultra-black silicone. The distributor should have a flat seal under the hold down bracket flange.

    You might do a compression test to see if you have bad rings. Do a before check then pour a shot of 50 weight oil into the plug hole and do an after test.

    Oil pooling on the filter bracket says more likely a bad bracket install or maybe cracked. I believe they are aluminum. Usually a bad rocker cover seal install will show up as oil draining onto the exhaust manifold and smoking but it could also end up down on the filter bracket and filter.

  22. #22
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    I believe I have found the culprit for my oil leak problem. It’s the PVC valve. I have a M/E Wagner dual flow PCV valve and it was all gummed up with a light brown goo. Cleaned it all up and now the smoke I had blowing out of the passenger side breather has stopped.
    When it was gummed up and not working correctly, would that have caused a build up of pressure inside the engine and cause both the front and rear oil pan seals to leak?

  23. #23
    President Member christophe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ColoradoHawk View Post
    I believe I have found the culprit for my oil leak problem. It’s the PVC valve. I have a M/E Wagner dual flow PCV valve and it was all gummed up with a light brown goo. Cleaned it all up and now the smoke I had blowing out of the passenger side breather has stopped.
    When it was gummed up and not working correctly, would that have caused a build up of pressure inside the engine and cause both the front and rear oil pan seals to leak?
    Yup! As I mentioned it earlier, the pressure has to go somewhere. A clogged PCV valve can cause a seal to leak.
    Nice day to all.

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