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Hi All,

I've got an oil leak and a possible coolant leak I can't trace down. Here's the background;

When I purchased the car there was a very small amount of oil leaking, around a drop or two a day, coming off the bottom of the trans bell housing. I didn't think much of it and figure I'd get around to it at a future date. The car has 120k miles and questionable maintenance past. I did an oil change when I first got it, a few autox and it didn't seem to be an issue aside from a couple of drops here and there - I thought maybe it's coming from a busted oil filter cap housing.*

Fast forward some months to December: I leave for vacation for about 2 weeks and have the car parked in the driveway outside. I put a pan under to catch any drops. I'm back, start the car, it idles loud but figure what the heck it's been 2 weeks. I pull out of the driveway, move the car to the street and see a big trail of fluid down the drive way and on the pavement. I move to the side of the street and parked the car, with the engine still on, look underneath and see a flurry of water dripping down from either side of the oil pan sump onto the asphalt. I turn off the car, inspect the fluids from the driveway onto the street and the final parking space - there is both oil and coolant. Hard to say if it's mixed or separate.

I looked atop the engine bay; couldn't find any obvious radiator hoses loose or any signs of fluids from up-top with a flash light. Do some googling and determine maybe it's the waterpump seal gone bad? Ordered a new WP and exhaust manifold gasket. I put another pan with kitty litter underneath it and wait for a free day to wrench.

Fast forward another month to yesterday. I'm ready to tackle the WP and push the car into the garage and get the front up on jacks. No evidence of coolant in the pan on the street. The coolant overflow tank is at the appropriate full line. I also did not see any major evidence of continuous oil leak either. The bell housing had a line of moist oil but nothing looked fresh. I check the dip stick before starting but well, that doesn't show much.

Car turns on just fine.

I'm underneath the car and it's on - no water and the WP area looks dry as a bone. Turn on the heater, wait for it to warm up, still nothing. Dry. BUT, now there's a nonstop trickle of oil coming down the driver side trans bell housing. I'm thinking it's the RMS but this is coming from high up. I check the oil filter housing area - it's moist but not leaking, I dry it. Nothing is coming from either side of the oil sump pan. No coolant. Only this non stop trickle down the driver side of the bell housing. I check the dip stick tube to the block, everything looks good. Everything is wiped clean. I look this morning, sump is dry and with the exception of one little drop the bell housing is dry.

*In retrospect, I believe the drops could be after parking from running the car. It seemed to leak more the harder I drove it. So now I'm wondering maybe it's a bad valve gasket? That the trickle is happening when on/under load suggests to me it's when oil is getting pressured up to the head that it's weeping through a warped gasket.

Thoughts?

I'm miffed by the mystery coolant. Maybe it's just old hoses? I couldn't replicate that initial pour post vacation start. The car was in 35-55 F degree temp outside while I was gone, cold for California standards but I don't believe cold enough to contract any rubber seals to cause an issue...

Here is the side shot after the motor had been turned on then off:


Here is the shot facing up with the motor on:



Still on facing up near underneath the oil filter housing. I think that's cylinder #1 nearest to the firewall?

 

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The oil leak sounds like it is coming from the valve cover gasket or the oil filter cap. good news there is that they are both cheap and easy to replace. I would also take a quick look at the O ring in the oil filter cap. It could be broken or maybe even missing. New oil filters usually come with a new O ring. Take all the tupperware off the top of the engine and you may see very quickly where the oil is coming from. Just a guess, but I would say definitely you can rule out the rear main seal as the culprit. With the cover off, you can see whether or not the head gasket is leaking oil or coolant. If you have no exhaust pipe smoking, no water on the oil dipstick, and no oil in the coolant, you can pretty much rule out a bad head gasket.
 

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Hi JoyBill44 - I agree with your points. I don't think it's the head gasket either as there is no smoke and I can't find any obvious evidence of the coolant/oil mixing and no smoking.

So I had a few hours today to tinker and I changed the valve cover gasket and triple checked the oil filter housing and o-ring. Started it up and sadly leaked again.

Then I decided to take off the intake manifold off to get a better view. Thinking it's still under pressure that I get the leak maybe the dipstick tube was damaged. It isn't, it's relatively dry in that area. I did find cylinder 1 (closest to firewall?) to have what looked like a bad gasket and residual, fresh-ish oil dripping down from it. Ok.. that could be something. Looking down I see the oil pressure sender and sensor piece look to be in BAD shape. Didn't know it was down there, would also make sense to leak under pressure, maybe another culprit. Hard to say if it's wet from the manifold or from the earlier residual oil that dripped off the filter cap when I took it off/put it back on. That spilled some oil every where in the area.

I've ordered a new intake manifold and TB gasket set. I've also ordered a new oil pressure sender unit/sensor and will replace the lot this weekend.

Not looking so good on the right:


The oil stains on the rad hose in the lower right is from the oil filter cap removal a few hours prior.


Another question for the pro's - any recommendation for a good cleaner? I'm thinking a generic de-greaser and some shop rags... Haven't had to clean this amount gunk out of an engine before! I know, spoiled... ;)
 

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sounds to me like the oil pressure sender replacement will fix it. as for the degreasing, just about any degreaser/cleaner will work. I personally don't like spraying any kind of water based cleaner on my engine because of possible corrosion of electrical wiring and parts but I do occasionally use stuff like brake cleaner in small areas. everyone does it differently but I'm old school. I wipe it down with degreaser and rags, then blow it down with compressed air. Hope the oil pressure sender does the trick!!
 

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The water pump classically fails intermittently. It will leak a little only when running, then may stop leaking for a while, then it can puke out all the coolant on the ground and leave you along the road.

Make sure you use the special tool to hold the timing chain. At your mileage, you may want to change out the timing chain while you are at it.
 

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The oil leak could also be the two o-rings between the block and oil cooler. I had to replace them in both the NA and GXP a while back.
 

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Hi All,

I've got an oil leak and a possible coolant leak I can't trace down. Here's the background;

When I purchased the car there was a very small amount of oil leaking, around a drop or two a day, coming off the bottom of the trans bell housing. I didn't think much of it and figure I'd get around to it at a future date. The car has 120k miles and questionable maintenance past. I did an oil change when I first got it, a few autox and it didn't seem to be an issue aside from a couple of drops here and there - I thought maybe it's coming from a busted oil filter cap housing.*

Fast forward some months to December: I leave for vacation for about 2 weeks and have the car parked in the driveway outside. I put a pan under to catch any drops. I'm back, start the car, it idles loud but figure what the heck it's been 2 weeks. I pull out of the driveway, move the car to the street and see a big trail of fluid down the drive way and on the pavement. I move to the side of the street and parked the car, with the engine still on, look underneath and see a flurry of water dripping down from either side of the oil pan sump onto the asphalt. I turn off the car, inspect the fluids from the driveway onto the street and the final parking space - there is both oil and coolant. Hard to say if it's mixed or separate.

I looked atop the engine bay; couldn't find any obvious radiator hoses loose or any signs of fluids from up-top with a flash light. Do some googling and determine maybe it's the waterpump seal gone bad? Ordered a new WP and exhaust manifold gasket. I put another pan with kitty litter underneath it and wait for a free day to wrench.

Fast forward another month to yesterday. I'm ready to tackle the WP and push the car into the garage and get the front up on jacks. No evidence of coolant in the pan on the street. The coolant overflow tank is at the appropriate full line. I also did not see any major evidence of continuous oil leak either. The bell housing had a line of moist oil but nothing looked fresh. I check the dip stick before starting but well, that doesn't show much.

Car turns on just fine.

I'm underneath the car and it's on - no water and the WP area looks dry as a bone. Turn on the heater, wait for it to warm up, still nothing. Dry. BUT, now there's a nonstop trickle of oil coming down the driver side trans bell housing. I'm thinking it's the RMS but this is coming from high up. I check the oil filter housing area - it's moist but not leaking, I dry it. Nothing is coming from either side of the oil sump pan. No coolant. Only this non stop trickle down the driver side of the bell housing. I check the dip stick tube to the block, everything looks good. Everything is wiped clean. I look this morning, sump is dry and with the exception of one little drop the bell housing is dry.

*In retrospect, I believe the drops could be after parking from running the car. It seemed to leak more the harder I drove it. So now I'm wondering maybe it's a bad valve gasket? That the trickle is happening when on/under load suggests to me it's when oil is getting pressured up to the head that it's weeping through a warped gasket.

Thoughts?

I'm miffed by the mystery coolant. Maybe it's just old hoses? I couldn't replicate that initial pour post vacation start. The car was in 35-55 F degree temp outside while I was gone, cold for California standards but I don't believe cold enough to contract any rubber seals to cause an issue...

Here is the side shot after the motor had been turned on then off:


Here is the shot facing up with the motor on:



Still on facing up near underneath the oil filter housing. I think that's cylinder #1 nearest to the firewall?

find the leak yet?
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Hi All,

A brief update - I swapped out the oil pressure sensor and switch, put on new gaskets on the intake manifold and TB and generally cleaned up the area. Started the car - still had a significant trickle. Bummer. I took everything on the intake side off again and tried to see the source but after several days and several sets of eyes looking, we couldn't identify it. SolCal - where is the oil cooler located? I tried finding breakout diagrams to give me a better idea of what where is but in my limited searching couldn't find a useful reference.

Anyway, decided one last ditch effort; oil seal. Ya know the over the counter stuff like Lucas Oil Stop. I've had terrible results with this in the past, but hey $8.99 is cheap enough to give it a why not shot. Bar's Leaks Concentraetd RMS Repair, bought at Autozone. My oil level was near the lower mark on the dip stick, granted, I hadn't ran the car for very long so it wasn't up to temp but I decided to dump the whole bottle in and let the car idle with a catch pan underneath. Car started and idled like normal for about 15 minutes. About halfway through there was a little white smoke out of the tailpipe but nothing alarming and it passed after about a minute. Then 15 minutes in, I hop in and give it some rev, the idle gets 'stuck' at about 2,250 rpms. It will rev up from there but is slow to come down and won't go below 2,250 rpms. I caught about 2-3 tablespoons worth of oil.

Proceeded to turn car off, on, battery disconnect, TPS clean, MAF clean, pulled the TPS turned ignition acc on, CEL popped up, turned off, replugged RPS, turned back on, started, had a warbling idle going from 500 rpms to 1,500 rpms in a wave pattern. Turned off, turned back on, idle at 2,250 rpm.

I took off the intake pipping up to the TB, checked the bolts were torqued on the intake manifold, redid the intake tract and tightened everything up real tight to make sure it isn't a vacuum leak anywhere.

Decided, what the heck - it's just at idle, car drives fine otherwise. Took it out for a 100 mile break in with the oil stop and give it a little Italian tune up. Had a CEL come on, so now hopefully I can diagnose the high idle problem. Just gotta fish out the OBD dongle now, it's in a box, somewhere... The car idled at exactly 2,250 rpms. Didn't matter if clutch was in or not. On a few occasions it dipped to near 1,200 rpms but then would bounce to 2,500 and settle back at 2,250. Two times it idled at 3,000 rpms for a few seconds.

I'll be damned if it isn't pretty dry underneath the car as of last night after the drive. I'll check again tomorrow to verify as that'll be 48 hours no movement. If this gunk worked then Bar's Leaks Concentrated Ream Main Seal Repair 16.9oz is getting a full endorsement by yours truly.

I gotta say the car ran normal. Took it through my local side roads with a buddy following behind. He reported no smoke at all at any point. Power band felt normal, shifted normal, no strange noises or smells. Only the high idle and the HVAC didn't work - I saw the three lights blink and read it was an initialization process after the first time I pulled the battery but had no air either hot nor cold come through the face vents or foot vents. I can hear a clicking, which I had heard before but still got air.
 

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There is a similar problem with high idle on the Sky forum that started after the intake was removed and replaced. No resolution so far.

Your code will most likely be P0507 High Idle although if you are lucky there will be another one also. Diagnostics for P0507 are pretty basic:
  • Connect scanner to determine commanded idle and throttle position feedback
  • Look for vacuum leaks
There are warnings in the service manual about using sharp objects or solvents with MEK to clean the intake components as either of them can damage the sealing surfaces.
 

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The high revs could be the throttle body. If it was unplugged and/or removed when you removed the intake manifold, It could give you the high idle revs. It may have to be relearned. Common symptoms of a throttle body that has been removed, or unplugged, or the throttle plate moved manually, are a high, sometimes high modulating idle, but otherwise normal at speed.
 

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The high revs could be the throttle body. If it was unplugged and/or removed when you removed the intake manifold, It could give you the high idle revs. It may have to be relearned. ......
The only relearn procedure that I have seen for a GM throttle body is essentially driving the car around to let it figure itself out.

Is there a documented procedure? I have looked everywhere I can think of in the service manuals and haven't found anything.
 

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The only relearn procedure that I have seen for a GM throttle body is essentially driving the car around to let it figure itself out.

Is there a documented procedure? I have looked everywhere I can think of in the service manuals and haven't found anything.
I couldn't find anything in the manual either but there was a post on this forum under IDLE RELEARN that was posted by c5kid on may21/2008 detailing the relearn process. I did a relearn on a nissan which was a two page long, head banging and cursing nightmare which finally did work after many tries. This one seem much simpler.
 

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I couldn't find anything in the manual either but there was a post on this forum under IDLE RELEARN that was posted by c5kid on may21/2008 detailing the relearn process. I did a relearn on a nissan which was a two page long, head banging and cursing nightmare which finally did work after many tries. This one seem much simpler.
Here is the post you mentioned: Idle Relearn

I don't think that pulling a couple of fuses qualifies as a re-learn, and the rest of it really is driving around until the car figures itself out.
Maybe the answer is that there isn't a procedure and the car really does fix itself in this case. Sort of like our self-bleeding clutch.

I do know that his last statement, that the fuse-pulling routine is required anytime you lose power, is incorrect. I have had the battery disconnected for various lengths of time on several occasions and have not had to do anything.
 

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Here is the post you mentioned: Idle Relearn

I don't think that pulling a couple of fuses qualifies as a re-learn, and the rest of it really is driving around until the car figures itself out.
Maybe the answer is that there isn't a procedure and the car really does fix itself in this case. Sort of like our self-bleeding clutch.

I do know that his last statement, that the fuse-pulling routine is required anytime you lose power, is incorrect. I have had the battery disconnected for various lengths of time on several occasions and have not had to do anything.
Went back in my manual and did find this. If I am reading it correctly I think you are right. It should relearn itself.
img003.jpg
 

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Went back in my manual and did find this. If I am reading it correctly I think you are right. It should relearn itself.
An excellent find. I can't understand why I couldn't find it in one of three different service manuals. Thank you.
 

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I have an 07 manual. It is on page 9.518 of volume 1b of 2. gmp/07-m-1b
It is interesting that it is in the '07 Solstice manual, but I cannot find it in any other manual. I have found some odd discrepancies and omissions, but that is pretty big.
 
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