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#1107591 - 03/16/08 11:11 PM valve cover leak, is it dangerous?
steven88 Offline


Registered: 12/12/05
Posts: 209
Loc: Cali
I have a 1mz-fe toyota camry that has a leaky valve cover gasket (both front and rear)...It's not a huge leak at all...I check my oil regularly and my dip stick doesn't even move even after 3 months

Problem is, it does burn oil as it drips down the engine...I can smell it while I'm stopped at a stop light and idling...now this is my daily and I love it to death...just don't have the time and money to get the valve covers replaced...

I just want to know, is the oil going to catch on fire if I continue to drive like this? From observing my leak, it seems like theres not enough oil leaking to actually ignite anything...even a local mechanic told me he highly doubts it will catch on fire...it's more of an annoyance than a hazard he said...i.e. bad smell, oil spilling on driveway, etc

what are your opinions BITOG?? thanks!

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#1107595 - 03/16/08 11:15 PM Re: valve cover leak, is it dangerous? [Re: steven88]
MGregoir Offline


Registered: 08/30/07
Posts: 1784
Loc: Bonnyville, AB
If it's dripping it's probably no big deal, but if it is worsening you may have to pull the covers and do the gaskets.

You'd have to have the gasket completely let go and blow a lot of oil out to get a fire hazard, I'd be more worried about making a big mess of everything.

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#1107631 - 03/17/08 04:17 AM Re: valve cover leak, is it dangerous? [Re: steven88]
Merkava_4 Offline


Registered: 01/30/07
Posts: 7918
Loc: Clovis, CA
What year is your Camry? I've got a 1999 service manual that I can post info out of.

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#1107691 - 03/17/08 08:44 AM Re: valve cover leak, is it dangerous? [Re: Merkava_4]
steven88 Offline


Registered: 12/12/05
Posts: 209
Loc: Cali
 Originally Posted By: Merkava_4
What year is your Camry? I've got a 1999 service manual that I can post info out of.


it's a 95...

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#1107704 - 03/17/08 09:15 AM Re: valve cover leak, is it dangerous? [Re: steven88]
Scimmia Offline


Registered: 10/05/05
Posts: 188
Loc: QCA, IA
Well, GM just issued a recall for the Regal GS and Grand Prix GTP because of oil leaking from the valve covers, dripping on the exhaust manifolds, catching fire, and catching a spark plug guide on fire. I only bring this up to show that it CAN happen. It's only the supercharged version because they're the only ones that create enough heat for it to be a problem. You're probably fine since I doubt you create enough heat or have anything right there to catch, but I would change them myself for piece of mind.


Edited by Scimmia (03/17/08 09:16 AM)
_________________________
2001 Buick Regal LS - Almost stock

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#1107712 - 03/17/08 09:39 AM Re: valve cover leak, is it dangerous? [Re: steven88]
Tosh Offline


Registered: 05/12/05
Posts: 2566
Loc: Silicon Valley
 Originally Posted By: steven88
now this is my daily and I love it to death...just don't have the time and money to get the valve covers replaced...

I cannot reconcile these two opposing claims. Are you sure you've come to the right place for an opinion?

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#1107738 - 03/17/08 10:13 AM Re: valve cover leak, is it dangerous? [Re: Tosh]
virginoil Offline


Registered: 09/05/05
Posts: 897
Loc: western australia
 Originally Posted By: Tosh
 Originally Posted By: steven88
now this is my daily and I love it to death...just don't have the time and money to get the valve covers replaced...

I cannot reconcile these two opposing claims. Are you sure you've come to the right place for an opinion?


I think you have come to the right place, its just the answer you may not like. It is quite clear, it is a health and safety issue and should monitored and done as soon as possible and practicable.

All rocker covers eventually weep over time, but there is a difference between a weep and leak. If it spilling on the driveway, this is a leak which is totally unacceptable.

You may be correct when you say you don't have the time or money to do it right away. That answer does not relieve you of your obligation to save money and get it done in the next 3 months at the next service.

In Western Australia the law states no leaks from the engines are acceptable. eg when you are stop on the road some oil can drip onto the road, and add water from rain you create a slippery hazard.

In my state the dealer who sold you the car must repair the leak at their cost under warranty regardless of the age of the vehicle.

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#1107746 - 03/17/08 10:19 AM Re: valve cover leak, is it dangerous? [Re: virginoil]
eljefino Offline


Registered: 06/15/03
Posts: 22983
Loc: ME
In Maine you would fail state inspection if oil drips on the exhaust because of a perceived or real fire danger. You are apparantly, however, allowed to drip anywhere else.

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#1107904 - 03/17/08 02:38 PM Re: valve cover leak, is it dangerous? [Re: Scimmia]
steven88 Offline


Registered: 12/12/05
Posts: 209
Loc: Cali
 Originally Posted By: Scimmia
Well, GM just issued a recall for the Regal GS and Grand Prix GTP because of oil leaking from the valve covers, dripping on the exhaust manifolds, catching fire, and catching a spark plug guide on fire. I only bring this up to show that it CAN happen. It's only the supercharged version because they're the only ones that create enough heat for it to be a problem. You're probably fine since I doubt you create enough heat or have anything right there to catch, but I would change them myself for piece of mind.


this is the reason why I brought it up...because I saw this on the news...thanks again

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#1107944 - 03/17/08 03:34 PM Re: valve cover leak, is it dangerous? [Re: steven88]
Scimmia Offline


Registered: 10/05/05
Posts: 188
Loc: QCA, IA
 Originally Posted By: steven88
this is the reason why I brought it up...because I saw this on the news...thanks again


The fire hazard has been known for a long time; some thought it was an oil leak, most thought it was leaking fuel o-rings, but it was enough to make a lot of people who were pushing the engine's abilities carry fire extinguishers in their car. It was almost always limited to the supercharged cars, though, the couple of fires known on the N/A version were generally attributed to a wiring problem in the ABS system. As I mentioned, the key on this was heat, as the underhood temps on the supercharged cars can get incredibly high. If you're not making that kind of heat, it's probably not a problem. Even if you are, you need something else combustible near the manifold to spread the flame. As you can see, this is a fairly specific issue, so unless your car has a history of catching on fire, it's probably not a problem.

On the other hand, I've looked it up for my car, and changing the gaskets and grommets would cost me <$20, so I don't see any reason not to do it if you're mechanically inclined at all.


Edited by Scimmia (03/17/08 03:38 PM)
_________________________
2001 Buick Regal LS - Almost stock

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#1108047 - 03/17/08 06:25 PM Re: valve cover leak, is it dangerous? [Re: Scimmia]
odessit Offline


Registered: 06/02/07
Posts: 288
Loc: cold server room
Here's another hazard
Leaky valve cover gasket will leak oil onto intake manifold - destroying intake manifold gasket. This causes air leak - resulting in poor power output (cylinder misfires, failed cylinders, blah...).
Standard rate to replace Intake manifold gasket ~$500

~50 for valve cover gasket beats ~500 for manifold gasket replacement (a major PITA job)
_________________________
2005 Honda Accord 2.4L AT
2007 Scion tC 2.4L AT

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#1108059 - 03/17/08 06:41 PM Re: valve cover leak, is it dangerous? [Re: odessit]
wantin150 Offline


Registered: 02/27/06
Posts: 1899
Loc: Columbia, SC
$50? More like $15 (add $4 for the sealant) and 30 minutes of your time. IIRC, that $15 included the spark plug tube seals. on my old 1991.
_________________________
2003 Toyota Matrix XRS 87,000 miles
2008 Scion xD 14,500 miles
2007 Yamaha YZF600r 8,400 miles

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#1108107 - 03/17/08 07:45 PM Re: valve cover leak, is it dangerous? [Re: wantin150]
odessit Offline


Registered: 06/02/07
Posts: 288
Loc: cold server room
$50 - at a local mechanic :)
_________________________
2005 Honda Accord 2.4L AT
2007 Scion tC 2.4L AT

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#1108141 - 03/17/08 08:14 PM Re: valve cover leak, is it dangerous? [Re: odessit]
The Critic Offline


Registered: 08/30/04
Posts: 17358
Loc: Walnut Creek, CA
 Originally Posted By: odessit
$50 - at a local mechanic :)

Wow, that's cheap. They usually charge 1 hr labor @ $100/hr here + MSRP (or more) for parts.

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#1108190 - 03/17/08 08:49 PM Re: valve cover leak, is it dangerous? [Re: Scimmia]
mechtech2 Offline


Registered: 09/05/06
Posts: 19479
Loc: Chicago Area
Try tightening the bolts on the cover. Don't break them off, just see if they are snugged down.
Maybe that will fix or attenuate the oil leak.
Also, your PCV system may be faulty, causing higher than normal internal pressure that causes leaks. Check it out.

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