Recurring Oil Pan Leak - MINI Cooper Forum

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Old Oct 13th, 2017, 04:17 PM Thread Starter
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Question Recurring Oil Pan Leak

Yesterday, I changed my Crank Sensor O-Ring, the Drain Plug, the Oil Pan Gasket. It's been leaking for awhile, but for the past week, it's been leaving a sizable amount on the driveway daily.

After changing them all, I checked this morning to see if there's been any leaks, and, unfortunately, there's still a leak there. However, I'm sure that the oil pan gasket and the crank o ring needed to be replaced. They were obviously bad when I removed them.

These pictures show two places where the oil pan meets the transmission at the flywheel. It's so strange to see the leak here as there isn't a gasket there that I can think about. Maybe it's leaking at the lip of the gasket there and coming down inside the pan? I got under there with some brake cleaner and cleaned everything up and am able to visibly watch the oil seep out.

Any thoughts would be great!

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Old Oct 13th, 2017, 06:38 PM
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Originally Posted by rich0611 View Post
Yesterday, I changed my Crank Sensor O-Ring, the Drain Plug, the Oil Pan Gasket. It's been leaking for awhile, but for the past week, it's been leaving a sizable amount on the driveway daily.

After changing them all, I checked this morning to see if there's been any leaks, and, unfortunately, there's still a leak there. However, I'm sure that the oil pan gasket and the crank o ring needed to be replaced. They were obviously bad when I removed them.

These pictures show two places where the oil pan meets the transmission at the flywheel. It's so strange to see the leak here as there isn't a gasket there that I can think about. Maybe it's leaking at the lip of the gasket there and coming down inside the pan? I got under there with some brake cleaner and cleaned everything up and am able to visibly watch the oil seep out.

Any thoughts would be great!
normally if seal sump gasket and still have oil leak there, its gearbox out and rear oil seal has failed behind the flywheel big job, would pay to do clutch at same time and gear box input shaft seals and bearing..
if you loosen off all the bell housing bolts by 5mm all way around you can lever the gearbox away from engine block and seen inside behind the flywheel there should be no oil there if is them oil seal failed,,, also if leaking might want to check end float on crank shaft as if mains get worn this will make the oil seals leak as well

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Old Oct 13th, 2017, 08:38 PM Thread Starter
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normally if seal sump gasket and still have oil leak there, its gearbox out and rear oil seal has failed behind the flywheel big job, would pay to do clutch at same time and gear box input shaft seals and bearing..
if you loosen off all the bell housing bolts by 5mm all way around you can lever the gearbox away from engine block and seen inside behind the flywheel there should be no oil there if is them oil seal failed,,, also if leaking might want to check end float on crank shaft as if mains get worn this will make the oil seals leak as well
Yeah, check out a video I recorded when I pulled off the oil pan below. When I was looking behind the flywheel, it looked like there may have been some oil in there. However, it wasn't a lot and with a leak like this, I would expect a lot more oil if it was coming from the rear mail seal. Plus, I would imagine that if the leak was coming from the rear main seal, I should see some kind of flow of oil coming from this area right?

Here are some reasons (that may not be true) that it isn't the rear main seal.

1. I didn't see a flow of oil from the transmission when I pulled off the oil pan
2. There generally isn't much of a buildup of oil in there
3. The clutch was replaced in 2016 before I bought it. It was done by a local Mini mechanic here in Atlanta. The paperwork doesn't mention the replacement of the rear main seal, but, wow, if it wasn't done, he would have to be the biggest idiot in the world.
4. A friend mechanic told me that rear main leak is a pressure leak, meaning, it only leaks when the car is on. This leak comes when the car is not on at all. It litterally just seeps out without the engine running.

Video link: youtu.be/SY-VmKOLWvg

Any thoughts would be great! I may be completely wrong! I wonder if this is just a defective oil pan gasket??
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Old Oct 14th, 2017, 11:25 AM
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Yeah, check out a video I recorded when I pulled off the oil pan below. When I was looking behind the flywheel, it looked like there may have been some oil in there. However, it wasn't a lot and with a leak like this, I would expect a lot more oil if it was coming from the rear mail seal. Plus, I would imagine that if the leak was coming from the rear main seal, I should see some kind of flow of oil coming from this area right?

Here are some reasons (that may not be true) that it isn't the rear main seal.

1. I didn't see a flow of oil from the transmission when I pulled off the oil pan
2. There generally isn't much of a buildup of oil in there
3. The clutch was replaced in 2016 before I bought it. It was done by a local Mini mechanic here in Atlanta. The paperwork doesn't mention the replacement of the rear main seal, but, wow, if it wasn't done, he would have to be the biggest idiot in the world.
4. A friend mechanic told me that rear main leak is a pressure leak, meaning, it only leaks when the car is on. This leak comes when the car is not on at all. It litterally just seeps out without the engine running.

Video link: youtu.be/SY-VmKOLWvg

Any thoughts would be great! I may be completely wrong! I wonder if this is just a defective oil pan gasket??
most garages wont change seal if not leaking its called generating work further down the line happens all the time so yes some idiot would not change it for changing it sake,, me personally always price in seals and most of time car owners will say just do them,, but some say not to bother as selling it soon,, or on vw audi engines the cps is part of oil seal so oil seal is £150 plus a special tool to install timing ring on end of crankshaft..
if wet behind the flywheel seal is nailed, also in early stages of failure it may only push oil when crankcase is under a lot of pressure ie engine reving fairly high,, if does leak check oil breathers as this can force oil seals,,

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Old Oct 14th, 2017, 12:21 PM Thread Starter
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most garages wont change seal if not leaking its called generating work further down the line happens all the time so yes some idiot would not change it for changing it sake,, me personally always price in seals and most of time car owners will say just do them,, but some say not to bother as selling it soon,, or on vw audi engines the cps is part of oil seal so oil seal is £150 plus a special tool to install timing ring on end of crankshaft..
if wet behind the flywheel seal is nailed, also in early stages of failure it may only push oil when crankcase is under a lot of pressure ie engine reving fairly high,, if does leak check oil breathers as this can force oil seals,,
Yeah, well, I hope the guy didn't do that. However, I don't trust that mechanic to install an air filter let alone do this kind of job. I've been feeling some resistance in the clutch after driving it for some time. This leak plus the clutch made me feel like its the rear main seal and that the oil was causing the clutch to go bad. I just don't want to believe this. However, the fact that it's gradual and only increases the more I drive it makes me want to think it's the slave cylinder.

Either way, I think I'm going to take the oil pan off and give it another look before I conclude that it's the rear main seal. Do you think I could get the compressor off without going into front end service mode?

You made a good point. If it's in the early stages, it may only push oil when under high pressure. Yet, this is leaking like this while care is off and hasn't been drivin.
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Old Oct 15th, 2017, 05:59 AM
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I had a similar mystery leak and feared the worse. Turns out it was the cam cover. Torqued up the bolts on the top and leak disappeared. Worth a go for a few mins work.

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Old Oct 15th, 2017, 08:53 AM
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Its not often but also not uncommon for Gen 1 engines to spin the rear main oil seal with age. Drop the Gearbox and have a look between the flywheel and the seal, you will see if the seal has spun and started to come out of position. Be aware if you replace the seal you will need to replace the flywheel bolts as there are torque to yield and single use only. Whilst the gearbox is out, you may as well replace the input shaft seal along with the guide tube, thrust bearing and the nylon bushes for the clutch lever as they are not an expensive item.
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Old Oct 21st, 2017, 10:10 AM Thread Starter
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I'll definitely give that a shot!! Thanks!
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Old Oct 21st, 2017, 10:12 AM Thread Starter
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Its not often but also not uncommon for Gen 1 engines to spin the rear main oil seal with age. Drop the Gearbox and have a look between the flywheel and the seal, you will see if the seal has spun and started to come out of position. Be aware if you replace the seal you will need to replace the flywheel bolts as there are torque to yield and single use only. Whilst the gearbox is out, you may as well replace the input shaft seal along with the guide tube, thrust bearing and the nylon bushes for the clutch lever as they are not an expensive item.
I may be getting you wrong, but your response seems to imply that it's possible to replace the rear main seal without dropping the engine. If that's the case, I would love some info on that procedure!! I would do it just for the sake of knowing it's done!
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Old Oct 21st, 2017, 10:24 AM
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https://youtu.be/83t1MoklcIs

https://youtu.be/XH8KHy-rw_k

The two videos above show clutch replacement but also show rear main seal replacement. Gearbox dropped but no whole engine


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Old Oct 22nd, 2017, 12:37 AM
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I may be getting you wrong, but your response seems to imply that it's possible to replace the rear main seal without dropping the engine. If that's the case, I would love some info on that procedure!! I would do it just for the sake of knowing it's done!
Oh how I wish it could be done. Definitely a gearbox out and clutch flywheel off to replace the rear main seal, all in all a days work for 1 person if you have all the parts ready at hand to complete the job. I have done about 5 gearboxes out and reinstalled in the last 18 months on Gen 1 Mini's and its never a job I relish. The last GB out on my own car recently is when I looked between the flywheel and the engine and that's how I spotted my own rear main seal had spun and started to come out. From there its obviously a flywheel off job.
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Old Oct 28th, 2017, 01:18 AM Thread Starter
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The two videos above show clutch replacement but also show rear main seal replacement. Gearbox dropped but no whole engine


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk[/QUOTE]

Just for the record, I typed my previous response at 1am in the morning. I wasn't focused. I was thinking that you may have said that the job is possible without dropping the transmission, which would have been surprising. Anyways, the seeping stopped.

While I was originally was doing the oil pan, the compression was annoying the mess out of me as it was hanging down as I was trying to tighten in the star pattern. It was just in my way and had to keep moving it as I was on the creeper. Anyways, I just said screw it and started tightening it as was easiest for me. Later, found a loose screw and tightened it. Lesson learned.
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