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1994 Corolla DX
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I put the car up on ramps today to inspect the underside of the engine now that I've driven a few miles after the front seals / timing belt / water pump job. The purpose was to check for any leaks that might have developed.

The good news is that there are no visible leaks from the job I did. Thankfully I cleaned up all the old oil spill while doing that job, and those areas are all dry. This time I also took an extra round under the car and giving all the underside a thorough inspection. And....

The bad news is there's oil (looks like engine oil, not ATF) on the underside where the transmission and engine meet. Now August last year (only 500 miles ago - that's how rarely I drive this car!!) I did replace the distributor shaft o-ring that did indeed have a leak. I cleaned up all the oil spill from above, but at that point failed to go under the car and look for any remaining oil there (doh). The area above the engine has stayed dry since, so no more distributor leaks.

So my question is - could this oil I found (8 months / 500 miles since the o-ring replacement) simply have lingered from back when the distributor shaft used to leak oil? Or is that unrealistic and this is a new oil leak - which would mean the rear main oil seal? There's no dripping on the garage floor when the car is sitting, so the leak must only appear while driving and oil is circulating.

I will eventually be able to answer that question myself, as I did get a rag out and cleaned off all the remaining visible oil. I'll check again in a couple weeks (just have to actually drive the car too!) to see if oil has re-appeared.

In the mean time I'm looking for opinions from others who've had the whole oil seal / o-ring / grommet hoopla to stem oil leaks. I've got PCV valve grommet, distributor shaft o-ring, valve cover gasket w/nut gaskets, spark plug well seals, front crank and cam seals all under the belt. I am not happy about the prospect of removing the trans to replace the rear seal. If I indeed do have a rear seal leak I'll have to put my faith in the high mileage oil I'm using with seal conditioners... :-o
 

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It's always possible it's a rear main seal, but I don't think I've ever seen someone had an issue with one the few years I've been on this forum. One thing you can do is get a UV dye for your oil, UV light, and high contrast glasses. Dump the dye in your oil, drive it for awhile, get under it with the UV light. You should see the dye with the light where it is leaking from.
 

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1997 Corolla
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Last time I changed my oil a few weeks ago, I noticed oil in the same place. At the time I thought maybe the oil from the filter when I removed it went along the top of the oil pan and dripped down from there.

I just inspected again. It's on the cross member going from rear to front and some on the back of the transmission pan. I don't have any oil under my distributor. I wonder if the oil could have just migrated along the top of the oil pan and dispersed from there from the airflow when driving.

I know I have a small leak either from the camshaft cover or the camshaft seal because I see some oil around the front of the timing belt cover, but I don't need to add oil between oil changes (3000-3500 miles) and don't see any oil dripped under where I park. The amount of oil I see on the car with no drips on the ground lends itself to the theory that it was a one-time spill during my oil change.

If I have a chance I will clean my oil up and see if it returns again.
 

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1994 Corolla DX
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Yeah, I guess that's a possibility... I just did my oil change shortly after discovering this leak so I should stick my head under and see if the oil from the filter change could have traveled that path. Will let you know what I see.
 

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1994 Corolla DX
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Well the oil is back... but then again I forgot to check after I changed my oil if it could have leaked out from the filter during the oil change. I wiped it off again, and will inspect in a few weeks to see if it still comes back.
 

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Any update or conclusion on this, 94RollaDad?
 

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1994 Corolla DX
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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Any update or conclusion on this, 94RollaDad?

The update is that I forgot about it :(

I recall checking a long time ago and it was still oily. Not excessive. I am guessing the rear main seal still. I will take a look again today if I have a chance. Over time the seal conditioner in MaxLife might have helped.

Edit: I should also add that I haven't had a single drop of oil on the garage floor.
 

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Can anyone point me towards good distributor O-ring(s) and their part numbers? Nothing is coming up on Rockauto. Or is this a dealer-only item? I would like to have them on hand since they surely wouldn't cost much.
 

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1997 Corolla
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Can anyone point me towards good distributor O-ring(s) and their part numbers? Nothing is coming up on Rockauto. Or is this a dealer-only item? I would like to have them on hand since they surely wouldn't cost much.
From trife96's thread:
It is in fact the same.
I just ran the interchange on Toyodiy again, ive also interchanged it with Felpro and found the same thing.
Felpro # 72438. Perfect fit on my 20v, listed in North America for 4afe/7afe.
Any McParts store should have one. I'm sure it fits multiple applications. I think that's what mine is. On the package it said that it is for a 3xxx engine, but it worked on my 4A-FE.

Someone had a picture of one with the packaging, and it said the same thing. But I couldn't find it...
 
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From trife96's thread: Any McParts store should have one. I'm sure it fits multiple applications. I think that's what mine is. On the package it said that it is for a 3xxx engine, but it worked on my 4A-FE.

Someone had a picture of one with the packaging, and it said the same thing. But I couldn't find it...
Thanks Pete. RockAuto indeed lists the 1983 - 1997 Corolla among multiple applications for this Felpro "distributor mounting gasket", as RockAuto labels it. I would trust Fel-pro.
 
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