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Determined to Find Oil-Leak Problem

September 12, 1985|RALPH VARTABEDIAN | Times Staff Writer

Question: Since November, my 1984 Chevrolet S-10 Blazer has been leaking oil. All told, it's been at the dealer for 34 days and they still can't fix it. They have replaced the rear main seal, the oil pan gasket, main timing seal, camshaft plate gasket, seal-bearing retainer on the transmission and added engine dye. It's still leaking. What could be the problem?--N.I.

Answer: Oil leakage has been a problem on the S-10, but help should be on the way. The leakage is probably occuring at the rear main seal, the point where the crankshaft comes out of the engine and transfers power to the transmission.

Chevrolet had originally used a rope-type seal, but found in the past year the seal was subject to leakage. Dealers were advised of the problem in the last several months and should be up to speed on the problem by now.

Changing the rear main seal is no small job. It requires the engine to be pulled out of the car and the entire lower end of the engine to be disassembled. The seal fits around the crankshaft, so that must be pulled out as well.

The bottom line is that the job will likely cost several hundred dollars. If your truck has exceeded its warrantly period, discuss the problem with the dealer or the district Chevrolet representative. The work should be done for free.

Q: I have a 1983 Eagle that stalls on making right-hand turns, mostly after long driving when the motor is warmed up. I have been given a runaround at the dealership. I am desperately fearful that I will get hit from behind. Do you have any solutions?--H.P.

A: Your problem is extremely unusual, and undoubtedly it has stymied the mechanics who have tried to diagnose it. The most likely cause of the problem is a loose wire that short circuits or grounds out when the car turns. The lateral force of the turn must cause the wire to shift around.

The 1983 Eagle has a lot of electronics on the engine that could be causing the problem, including an electrically heated choke and an electronically controlled carburetor that gets input from an oxygen sensor in the exhaust system.

Your mechanic should specifically check the low-tension electrical wire to the distributor, which is located on the right side of the car.

Q: Can transmission oil get into the motor oil? Every time I check my oil, it is higher than normal. Could my fuel pump be leaking gas into my oil crankcase? I get different answers from different garages. The oil is very thin.--B.M.

A: If the oil is thinner than normal, you almost certainly have gasoline contaminating the engine oil. You should fix this promptly, because it could ruin your engine.

Although it is unlikely, your fuel pump could be leaking gasoline into the engine. Fuel pumps are usually powered by a rocker arm on the side of the engine. It operates a diaphragm-type pump. If the diaphragm ruptures and gas seeps past a seal on the rocker arm, gas could get into your oil. But that's unlikely, since the rocker arm enters the engine above the gas line. Also, the engine would not run properly with a broken fuel pump.

The more likely cause of the problem is that your engine is flooding, sending gasoline down the cylinder walls into your oil. The cause may be that your choke is jammed shut, causing an excessively rich fuel mixture to flood the engine. Another possible cause of the problem is a faulty float control on the carburetor.

Ralph Vartabedian cannot answer mail personally but will respond in this column to automotive questions of general interest. Do not telephone. Write to Your Wheels, You section, The Times, Times Mirror Square, Los Angeles 90053.

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