Mechanics

FRONT CRANKSHAFT SEAL LEAK, 1.7L, SOHC 16

2003 Honda Civic

Engine Mechanical problem
2003 Honda Civic 4 cyl Front Wheel Drive Automatic 124000 miles

My wife just returned from a 400 mile trip and parked the car in the garage. I noticed oil under the car. Upon inspection, much of the drivers-side undercarriage was coated in fresh engine oil and I have traced that to the front crankshaft seal. The engine was very low on oil. She is very good at watching her gauges and the oil lamp never came on. It does work, as evidenced by it's lighting at turning the key to the on position. Yet, 2 1/2 quarts of oil only put it into the safe zone and not quite to the full line - - - since it only holds 3.2 quarts, that's pretty serious. We kind-of think the leak began toward the end of her trip.

Once the engine warms-up a bit and engine pressures rise it leaks pretty good and that was only at idle. I have read-up on replacing the seal, in my Haynes manual, and I'm not going to try to tackle this myself. No doubt I have the ability and the tools but, I just don't feel like I want to get this far into it. I also know I'm probably looking at some $600 to repair it based on having to go just a little farther into it than when the timing belt and water pump were replaced at the prescribed 110000 miles.

I'm wondering if there might be a stop leak product out there that would actually have a chance of slowing this to a tolerable level for awhile until we can determine whether engine damage was done (it sure sounds fine for now but, no doubt it did it no good long-term) - - 'just hate to put the $ into it and then have it roll over dead the following week. The car is otherwise in sufficiently good condition to warrant saving it.

There is no evidence there of a long-standing problem w/the seal - - caked-on old oil, continual previous oil spot on the garage floor, etc - - none of that.

And, not that I expect to ever be so lucky again, I am reminded by something that happened many years ago with our '72 Skylark. It developed a very, very bad rear engine oil leak. To get by as we were deciding what to do, we made short trips, added oil as needed and, every morning found an approximate 2' diameter pool of oil on the garage floor. Within about a week, the leak had stopped, we never had another drop of oil out of there and drove the car for a couple of years before selling it. I have been left with the assumption that some foreign object of some sort worked its way into the seal, holding it open and then, in time, it worked its way out - - bizarre.

Anyway, 'suggestions for slowing this leak for awhile so we can try to determine whether the engine has sustained damage before putting the bucks into it?

Thanks.

Don
Avatar
Don Becker
July 24, 2010.




First of all thank you so much for your donation. The stop leak I don't recommend they just don't do a whole lot and to trust them to hold your oil in not me.I know this isn't the answer your looking for but your just going to have to replace your seal. Also I don't like the idea of the stop leak circulating in my engine. If you can give me the model civic you have and engine size I can give you a idea of how much replacing that seal would be.
AD

Saturntech9
Jul 24, 2010.
2003 HONDA CIVIC LX, 1.7L SOHC 16 Valve, Automatic, PS, AC, VIN: JHMES16583S00xxxx

Yes, I'm also not too keen on having that stuff in there plugging-up who-knows-what-else. But, there is also that concern about having already damaged the engine and wanting to drive it a little before possibly chasing good money after bad.... Nevertheless, yes, an estimate would be appreciated.

Don

Tiny
Don Becker
Jul 24, 2010.
I totally understand you not wanting to spend good money after bad. But sometimes we just can't for see what's going to go wrong next. The labor on that is 3.2hrs time's there shop labor rate 80-100 per hr?The part is 6.00 plus tax.

Saturntech9
Jul 24, 2010.
Thank you, Louie. Actually, that's good news. Having the flat rate is very helpful and this should be around 50% of what I had feared. That makes the gamble worth taking. Is there a camshaft seal or anything else in that area that should be done at the same time? I know about the water pump and timing belt if there seems to be anything wrong with those installed ~14000 miles ago. Thanks again. Don

Tiny
Don Becker
Jul 24, 2010.
There is cam seal it's only 5 if it's not leaking and you want to replace it anyways it would cost you a little more because they would have to take off the cam sprocket. But that's up to you if you wanted to get that replaced at the same time. But that's pretty much it as far as leaks go.

Saturntech9
Jul 24, 2010.
Thank you. Don

Tiny
Don Becker
Jul 24, 2010.
Your welcome thank you for using 2carpros.

Saturntech9
Jul 24, 2010.

AD