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Thread: Can my 289 and FOM ever be made to stop leaking completely?

  1. #1
    Speedster Member pbrown's Avatar
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    Can my 289 and FOM ever be made to stop leaking completely?

    OK, good news / bad news...

    Originally I got my Hawk to replace my 2011 mustang GT so that I would have a cool car that would not be worth 1/2 of what I paid for it in a few years.

    the good news is, my wife told me last week "I have fallen in love with the car and can see us using it for most everything"

    For her though, that means that it not only needs to reliable and comfortable - it needs to quit leaking and staining our garage floor and driveway.

    The car is currently running well, but loses a little fluid no matter what. I know that I'll be chasing oil/transmission fluid leaks for a while before I get it to a manageable level to suit me, but I still don't think it will suit her.

    And so the question is: "Can my 289 and FOM ever be made to stop leaking completely?"

    Or is that a pipe dream, and I would need to move to something modern (i.e. SBC and 200R4) to make the engine bay as clean as a modern car?
    Last edited by pbrown; 10-20-2013 at 10:47 AM.
    Phillip Brown Tampa, Fl



    1959 Silver Hawk Tahiti Coral with 64 289 and FOM, Turner Discs
    (2) 1957 Silver Hawks that I am trying to combine into one usable vehicle

  2. #2
    President Member 53commander's Avatar
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    If it's not leaking then there is something wrong with it. Seriously though you need to determine exactly what is leaking first and we can go from there. Some are easy fixes and some, like the oil pan, are a little more difficult. For my FOM I just couldn't get the side cover on the tailshaft housing to stop leaking. I ditched the gasket and used Threebond form in place gasket and solved that issue. I also used it in place of gaskets on the coolant plates on the heads since they leaked too. Over the years the cast iron surfaces become pitted or uneven to the point where a gasket cannot seal properly.

  3. #3
    Golden Hawk Member
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    With proper wear parts replaced, that includes Bushings that wear and allow the seals to leak, there is no problem sealing up a Flight-O-Matic and even the 289 Engine.
    The Engine does not suffer from the same problem, just dried up or poorly done Gasket and Main Seal installations.

    I think one of the problems with Studes. is they are TOO durable! After 53 years and over 150,000 Miles on many of them, these Borg Warner's are still going strong on the ORIGINAL Build! Also some under 125,000 Mile Engines. Leaks, you bet they have em!

    So the difference between owning a New "turn key" Car and a 50 year old Car, is you have to put in the time or money or both, to make it like it was, not just patch it up if you want to reliably enjoy it.

    Members who have done that drive them as they did in the '60's, Coast to Coast for vacations and SDC Meets with only a tune-up Kit, a Water Pump and a Fuel Pump in the Trunk!
    Last edited by StudeRich; 10-20-2013 at 12:30 PM.
    StudeRich
    Second Generation Stude Driver
    Proud '54 Starliner Owner



  4. #4
    Speedster Member RareBird's Avatar
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    I've had mine overhauled and ended up going to Walmart (in automotive section) and bought a large "cookie sheet" to place under the Hawk


    Packardbakerly,
    J.D.

  5. #5
    Commander Member 1961lark's Avatar
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    I think a large kitty litter tray would also work under the car?
    If I don't see you in the future, I'll see you in the pasture.

    If it ain't broke, you aren't trying hard enough.

  6. #6
    Speedster Member pbrown's Avatar
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    I'm currently using the top from a large plastic storage tub, so I understand the concept...
    Phillip Brown Tampa, Fl



    1959 Silver Hawk Tahiti Coral with 64 289 and FOM, Turner Discs
    (2) 1957 Silver Hawks that I am trying to combine into one usable vehicle

  7. #7
    President Member JoeHall's Avatar
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    The cookie sheet drip pan is a good answer. A drip here and there is OK, as long as it is not puddling. That is simply, "the way it was" when our cars were built. When you look at the Lube Instructions and see how often the fluids were supposed to be checked, it becomes obvious they leaked when new. Even if you get the engine & tranny sealed up good and tight, its still gonna drip, but hopefully not puddle. Also, there are several other fluids that will contribute to the mess on the garage floor: coolant; rear pumpkin; power steering; steering gear box; brake system, and misc lines & fittings.

  8. #8
    President Member ddub's Avatar
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    Yep, large "cookie sheet" and cat litter solves the problem.
    Don Wilson
    53 Commander Hardtop
    63 Avanti R1
    64 Champ 1/2 ton
    Centralia, WA

  9. #9
    Speedster Member pbrown's Avatar
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    Currently my car is indeed puddling (albeit small puddles).

    I've looked at the front and top of the engine (valve covers, etc) and I don't see any fresh oil, so my assumption is that my leaks are from the bottom or back of the engine.

    So the next thing that I personally could fix is an oil pan leak, right? What makes the oil pan gasket so tough?
    Phillip Brown Tampa, Fl



    1959 Silver Hawk Tahiti Coral with 64 289 and FOM, Turner Discs
    (2) 1957 Silver Hawks that I am trying to combine into one usable vehicle

  10. #10
    President Member JoeHall's Avatar
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    Drip point, and color of the liquid helps identify where its coming from: brown/black is usually motor oil, if under front of the car; brown/black at mid point may be the tranny (if standard shift); red is ATF from automatic tranny or PS; brown/black at the rear is usually the pumpkin; brake fluid is almost clear, and can be found anywhere from front to rear, but most often just below the master cylinder; yellowish green is usually coolant.

    Do a search here for tips on oil pan gasket replacement. Lots of threads available there.

  11. #11
    Speedster Member pbrown's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JoeHall View Post
    Drip point, and color of the liquid helps identify where its coming from: brown/black is usually motor oil, if under front of the car; brown/black at mid point may be the tranny (if standard shift); red is ATF from automatic tranny or PS; brown/black at the rear is usually the pumpkin; brake fluid is almost clear, and can be found anywhere from front to rear, but most often just below the master cylinder; yellowish green is usually coolant.

    Do a search here for tips on oil pan gasket replacement. Lots of threads available there.
    I do have a tranny leak - I've seen a small amount of red fluid on the floor. (Which is why the title said 'Can my 289 and FOM ever be made to stop leaking completely?" - -I knew it was contributing to my garage floor decoration!) I put some "treatment in it, and haven't been seeing fluid - -keep your fingers crossed for me!)

    I've just redone my brake lines and swapped out to front discs, so I'm intimately familiar with purple DOT5 brake fluid!

    And I fixed my coolant leak, so I haven't been recently been seeing yellowish green.

    All my current leaks seem to be around the middle of the car.

    My major leak is indeed brown/black - in fact it looks like relatively fresh motor oil, so I'd say it's a pretty good sized leak.

    My fear is that it is a rear main seal, which would require dropping the tranny, right?



    Phillip
    Phillip Brown Tampa, Fl



    1959 Silver Hawk Tahiti Coral with 64 289 and FOM, Turner Discs
    (2) 1957 Silver Hawks that I am trying to combine into one usable vehicle

  12. #12
    President Member swvalcon's Avatar
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    A studebaker is like a harley if it's not leaking oil that means it more than likely is out of oil.

  13. #13
    Golden Hawk Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by pbrown View Post
    /Cut/My major leak is indeed brown/black - in fact it looks like relatively fresh motor oil, so I'd say it's a pretty good sized leak.
    My fear is that it is a rear main seal, which would require dropping the tranny, right?Phillip
    No not the Tranny, just the Oil Pan and lowering the Crank a bit.

    StudeRich
    Second Generation Stude Driver
    Proud '54 Starliner Owner



  14. #14
    President Member JoeHall's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pbrown View Post
    I do have a tranny leak - I've seen a small amount of red fluid on the floor. (Which is why the title said 'Can my 289 and FOM ever be made to stop leaking completely?" - -I knew it was contributing to my garage floor decoration!) I put some "treatment in it, and haven't been seeing fluid - -keep your fingers crossed for me!)

    I've just redone my brake lines and swapped out to front discs, so I'm intimately familiar with purple DOT5 brake fluid!

    And I fixed my coolant leak, so I haven't been recently been seeing yellowish green.

    All my current leaks seem to be around the middle of the car.

    My major leak is indeed brown/black - in fact it looks like relatively fresh motor oil, so I'd say it's a pretty good sized leak.

    My fear is that it is a rear main seal, which would require dropping the tranny, right?



    Phillip
    No need to pull the tranny to replace the rear main seal, and you could do it while replacing the oil pan gasket. If all goes well with both of those tasks, the motor will only leak a drop here and there, for the first year or so. However, if it has a road draft tube (as a 1959 should), that will drip a few drops of motor oil from time to time also. As mentioned earlier, you'll always need the drip pans

  15. #15
    Speedster Member SilverHawkDan's Avatar
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    Man I don't know where you guys are getting your work done but I don't have leaky Stude V8's and never have. And I even race mine. I have found that the new gaskets from Best Gasket Company are made of the newer materials and fit a lot better than old stock Felpro or Victor gaskets and I have done four engines with out one leak, even at 170 mph. The biggest issue is installation of the front seal and the pan end gaskets. Cut them with a slight amount of crush and they seal great. I have built a number of autos and I don't have leak problems there either.
    Dan

  16. #16
    Golden Hawk Member
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    Ditto!
    I don't know either Dan, I thought I covered that in Post #3 here, Quote:
    "just dried up or poorly done Gasket and Main Seal installations".
    But the reports of "they all leak" keep coming!
    StudeRich
    Second Generation Stude Driver
    Proud '54 Starliner Owner



  17. #17
    Silver Hawk Member jclary's Avatar
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    Well...I was waiting for someone else to make this point, but I suppose I'll be the one to take the heat. Think about it, most of our cars are over sixty years old. No matter how much money you pour into it, it is still an old car. Unless you yank the body off and plunk it down on a new chassis, complete with running gear, computers, etc, it will always be an old car built with old technology.

    My leaky old Studebakers are kept in a barn out of the sun and rain while my non-leaking newer vehicles are exposed to the weather. That's the way I like it. My modern vehicles are merely disposable tools that allow me make the boring, mundane, trips and errands, so that I can enjoy my Studebakers at my leisure.

    Even if you stopped all the leaks in a Studebaker, sooner or later, something will leak again. Back in the day, when engineers used slide rules, micrometers, calipers, etc...what was acceptable then, just don't cut it now. Cad-cam design, computerized machining centers, carbide and ceramic cutting tools, and methods that mate parts without the need for gaskets, have resulted in methods not possible years ago. Advances in seal technology, engineering, and computer aided measurements, with the resulting repeatability of mating parts, has resulted in modern vehicles being completely different animals than our "OLD CARS."

    Rather than putting excessive energy into attempting to make my old cars into new cars...I prefer to "Use" my new cars in ways that allow me to enjoy my "OLD" cars as they were made. To do otherwise, would keep me in a constant state of frustration.
    John Clary
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    SDC member since 1975

  18. #18
    President Member JoeHall's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SilverHawkDan View Post
    Man I don't know where you guys are getting your work done but I don't have leaky Stude V8's and never have. And I even race mine. I have found that the new gaskets from Best Gasket Company are made of the newer materials and fit a lot better than old stock Felpro or Victor gaskets and I have done four engines with out one leak, even at 170 mph. The biggest issue is installation of the front seal and the pan end gaskets. Cut them with a slight amount of crush and they seal great. I have built a number of autos and I don't have leak problems there either.
    Dan
    I did not once use the word, "problem", and for me Studes' leaking is not a problem. Sounds like its a problem for the OP because his wife has declared it to be. If a Stude does not leak it is due to non-op, not enough passage of time since sealed up, or extensive use of brand 'X' components.

  19. #19
    President Member Flashback's Avatar
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    I love Studebakers, and feel thay were well built. However, as has already been mentioned, they do have a tendency to leak if care is not taken during assembly. The road draft tube can drip even then. A pcv system does help. It will take out the crankcase pressure. Knurling the filler block helps. I have had great luck with Fel-pro gaskets. The timing cover seal is greatly improved with a lip type seal and a redi-sleeve. Making reinforcement plates (pan bolt flange)for the oil pan helps.
    Course all this is not my ideas. It has been covered in all the techs. A lot of old cars are touchy on gasket installation, not just Studebakers.

    I HAVE ALWAYS BEEN A DREAMER

  20. #20
    Speedster Member brian6373's Avatar
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    I've had two Stude V-8's in the last two years. No drips. The only leak I have is the OD governor where it mounts on the side. I figure that will stop when I put in the new O-ring seal. I'm with Dan and Rich, a properly sealed engine and trans doesn't leak. It may be more trouble that some would think worth the time, but I like a clean engine bay. I notice at car shows a lot of brand x cars drip as much as our Studes. As with most things it's just a matter of time & effort, and our priorities.

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    Good point John,that's a carbon copy of what I do here in CT.though I do need to back track and fix a LEAKY front crank seal,as I did not get it right the first time QUOTE=jclary;790014]Well...I was waiting for someone else to make this point, but I suppose I'll be the one to take the heat. Think about it, most of our cars are over sixty years old. No matter how much money you pour into it, it is still an old car. Unless you yank the body off and plunk it down on a new chassis, complete with running gear, computers, etc, it will always be an old car built with old technology.

    My leaky old Studebakers are kept in a barn out of the sun and rain while my non-leaking newer vehicles are exposed to the weather. That's the way I like it. My modern vehicles are merely disposable tools that allow me make the boring, mundane, trips and errands, so that I can enjoy my Studebakers at my leisure.

    Even if you stopped all the leaks in a Studebaker, sooner or later, something will leak again. Back in the day, when engineers used slide rules, micrometers, calipers, etc...what was acceptable then, just don't cut it now. Cad-cam design, computerized machining centers, carbide and ceramic cutting tools, and methods that mate parts without the need for gaskets, have resulted in methods not possible years ago. Advances in seal technology, engineering, and computer aided measurements, with the resulting repeatability of mating parts, has resulted in modern vehicles being completely different animals than our "OLD CARS."

    Rather than putting excessive energy into attempting to make my old cars into new cars...I prefer to "Use" my new cars in ways that allow me to enjoy my "OLD" cars as they were made. To do otherwise, would keep me in a constant state of frustration.[/QUOTE]
    Joseph R. Zeiger

  22. #22
    Speedster Member rknight89's Avatar
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    I have a fresh rebuilt 259 with a fresh rebuilt FOM. New hoses, gaskets, water pump and a radiator and heater newly re-cored. New fuel pump, lines, rebuilt carb and repaired and sealed tank. New wheel cylinders, and lines and a rebuilt master cylinder. Each and every one of the items listed above has leaked, dribbled, oozed or squirted since installation. I have re-torqued bolts, tightened fittings, snugged down nuts, gave the line wrench one extra grunt, and changed types of hose clamps. I've now got 99% of the leaks stopped. HOWEVER, there is an occasional spot or two on the floor when I back the car out. Even with everything new, fresh and clean and properly torqued, the fluids seem to find a way out. The only part that hasn't leaked yet is the differential...Give me some time. I haven't been inside it yet. I can make it leak given the opportunity.

  23. #23
    President Member JoeHall's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rknight89 View Post
    I have a fresh rebuilt 259 with a fresh rebuilt FOM. New hoses, gaskets, water pump and a radiator and heater newly re-cored. New fuel pump, lines, rebuilt carb and repaired and sealed tank. New wheel cylinders, and lines and a rebuilt master cylinder. Each and every one of the items listed above has leaked, dribbled, oozed or squirted since installation. I have re-torqued bolts, tightened fittings, snugged down nuts, gave the line wrench one extra grunt, and changed types of hose clamps. I've now got 99% of the leaks stopped. HOWEVER, there is an occasional spot or two on the floor when I back the car out. Even with everything new, fresh and clean and properly torqued, the fluids seem to find a way out. The only part that hasn't leaked yet is the differential...Give me some time. I haven't been inside it yet. I can make it leak given the opportunity.
    Either you are seeing things, or have done everything wrong, and used incorrect parts. If you read the above, it is clearly stated Studebakers do NOT leak, and if they do, somebody did something wrong.

  24. #24
    Golden Hawk Member Dick Steinkamp's Avatar
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    I've had 3 Studebakers that didn't leak (much) and 28 that did. All the non leakers were ones I had gone through and resealed with the motor out. 2 of the 3 were stick shifts which gave them fewer places to leak. The third is the Wagonaire I have now. No FOM leaks, but a drip every now and then out of the rear main.

    If I were you, I wouldn't just start replacing gaskets. I'd find out where the leaks are. For example, if you just replace the pan gasket and find out later it was a rear main, you'll be dropping the pan again.

    Get the motor and trans REAL clean. Then get it on a lift and find the leak(s). If the leaks aren't obvious, there are products like this that will make them obvious.
    Dick Steinkamp
    Bellingham, WA


  25. #25
    Speedster Member Xcalibur's Avatar
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    Welcome to the "Good Ol' Days." Get drip pans and move on... or, go back to a new car.

  26. #26
    President Member 62champ's Avatar
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    As mentioned above, with slight alteration, my Uncle used to always says "Studebakers are like John Deere tractors - if it doesn't have some fluid leaking from it somewhere you had better check it because it might be out."

    I see a slightly leaking drive train as a good excuse to lift the hood on a regular basis. When I drove a Studebaker full time (1993-2002) I lifted the hood at least every other day to check something. Newer vehicles, I am ashamed to admit, go a month or more without the hood being opened.

    Still have wondered why someone has not come out with a complete neoprene oil pan gasket set - my neo valve cover gaskets have not even seeped a drop since I resealed them back in 2009...

  27. #27
    President Member
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    If old British cars can be made leak free, and I know they can because I have done so....once....then Studebakers can be leak free too. New gaskets and seals, clean mounting surfaces, correctly tightened bolts and screws and gray silicone sealant is your friend.

  28. #28
    Golden Hawk Member Roscomacaw's Avatar
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    One really sneaky leak is the lifter valley cover gasket. It gets baked by the center of the engine AND the underside of the intake manifold. Couple that with it's propensity to fall into the valley area partially when being installed, and you have a good chance of inciting a leak. What's more is that the leaked oil disappears over the rear edge of the block as soon as it drains back. By the time it drips off the lower rear of the engine, it's suspected as being from the rear main or the valve covers. I could explain how I know this, but you can likely guess.
    Our opinions (and the resultant conclusions) may vary - Deal with it.

  29. #29
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    I have two studes now that don,t leak but some i had in the past did, instead of kittey litter and drip pans i keep a few of my wife,s old bedroom rugs as you all know they like to change things like this like we do oil changes and so on alot more softer on these old knees,when they get to bad i take them out and burn or haul them off.Mac

  30. #30
    Speedster Member erniebrown's Avatar
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    I have tightened bolts, screws. . . replaced gaskets. . . .new valve gaskets. . .you get the idea. . .and my favorite thing I did that seemed to help with the wife asking about the stains on the garage floor. . .. was to put cat liter down and replace it as needed. . .not to mechanical here. . .but full of. . .advice about practical stuff. .
    REPUTATION CHANGES--CHARACTER GROWS--INTEGRITY LEADS

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  31. #31
    Speedster Member rknight89's Avatar
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    If no fluids go in...No fluids come out! Seems simple.

  32. #32
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    Pbrown PM sent
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  33. #33
    Speedster Member thunderations's Avatar
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    Seems like removing the concrete floor in the garage would solve the problem. I keep some large pieces of cardboard to place under the cars. So far the cardboard has lasted a couple years, so the leaks must not be too bad. I have found that searching and fixing leaks can be a full time job. Once you fix one, the pressure goes to the next weakest place and you have created another problem. As things wear and age dries out seals, leaks are to be expected. I'm talking drips, not streams here. Good luck on your quest.
    1966 Daytona (The First One)
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  34. #34
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    I thought they simply Marked their Territory.......

  35. #35
    Speedster Member bosshoss61's Avatar
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    One of the posts on here really got to me and I feel the need to speak. "A Studebaker is like a Harley, if it's not leaking oil that means it's more than likely is out of oil." They do not leak oil. Even the old Harleys do not leak oil. That happens to be the automatic chain oiler.....................Hey, maybe Studebakers have an automatic chain oiler

  36. #36
    President Member JoeHall's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bosshoss61 View Post
    One of the posts on here really got to me and I feel the need to speak. "A Studebaker is like a Harley, if it's not leaking oil that means it's more than likely is out of oil." They do not leak oil. Even the old Harleys do not leak oil. That happens to be the automatic chain oiler.....................Hey, maybe Studebakers have an automatic chain oiler
    Are you serious, in saying old Harleys do not leak oil? If so, that is even more inaccurate than saying Studes do not leak.

    I have owned a 52 'K' Model Sportster (at 16 years old), 47 Indian Chief (at 17 years old), a 61 Pan, 67, 70 & 72 shovel (between 1975 and 1981), and currently an 86 FXRD, for the past 10 years or so. The 86 comes closest to not leaking, but more accurate to say, it doesn't leak "much"
    Last edited by JoeHall; 10-23-2013 at 03:49 PM.

  37. #37
    President Member WCP's Avatar
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    When I acquired my Daytona, a very leaky car, I removed the drive train for a full reseal. The FOM proved to remain significantly leaky. After a clean off of the FOM, it appeared that the leak was originating at the fill tube bracket on the side of the pan. Removed the trans pan again for close inspection and found a burn through on one of the spot welds. That was the leak. Since this was a low mileage original, it had obviously leaked since it left the factory. You just never know! Clean up the trans with spray cleaner and study where the oil is leaking. Don't overlook the vent fitting also.
    Last edited by WCP; 10-23-2013 at 09:40 PM.

  38. #38
    President Member 55s's Avatar
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    One of my brother's friend's summed it up best for me. He said (about the oil stains on the driveway), "Man, can I have the oil rights to this driveway?"

  39. #39
    Speedster Member pbrown's Avatar
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    Update on my leaks...


    Replaced:

    Oil Pan Gasket
    Real Main Seal
    Transmission Pan Gasket
    Tailshaft Seal
    Tailshaft Bushing and Driveshaft Yoke (when we pulled it out, about half the yoke was galled, as if it was just sitting in a corrosive liquid for a long time. To ensure the seal we did the bushing, yoke and seal)


    Happy to say 99% of my leaks are gone for the moment!

    Still occasional drips from the front of the engine, but I'm satisfied for now!

    Thanks for all the help!
    Last edited by pbrown; 12-24-2013 at 11:35 AM.
    Phillip Brown Tampa, Fl



    1959 Silver Hawk Tahiti Coral with 64 289 and FOM, Turner Discs
    (2) 1957 Silver Hawks that I am trying to combine into one usable vehicle

  40. #40
    President Member Flashback's Avatar
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    Thanks for the update. I wish we all would follow up on updates on similar posts. Glad you had good results.

    I HAVE ALWAYS BEEN A DREAMER

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