Can't find oil leak (Pics included)

  • 1997 FORD F-150
  • 276,000 MILES
I have an oil leak that seems to start at the front of the transmission, just after the torque converter inspection plate. I don't believe it's trans fluid because I go through oil, and the fluid isn't red. The bottom of the trans is covered in oil, as well as the sides to a lesser extent. At first I thought it might be the rear main seal, but the flex plate, torque converter, and inside of the bellhousing appear to be relatively clean. I took pictures to try and show what I could see.

The first picture (driver's side, front is to the left) shows where the oil seems to be blowing up the side of the trans.
The second picture shows the small gap between the block and the trans, which appears relatively clean.
The third picture shows the extent of the oil, covering the bottom of the bellhousing, trans pan, and heat shield.
The fourth is a sideways picture with the driver's side head on the left.
The fifth is the block just below the fourth picture.
The sixth is a sideways picture of the oil filter neck. You can see where the oil begins about halfway down.
The seventh is another shot of the driver's side head - the dipstick tube is in the middle.
The eighth is the rear of the driver's side head - seems pretty dry.

Although it seems like it might be a bad head gasket on the driver's side, the heat shield in the third picture is on the passenger side. There is even oil coating the underside of the body above the trans, although not on the top of the trans itself. I don't know if the oil could have blown all over on the other side. Also, I'm not entirely sure that just because the flex plate, torque converter and bellhousing seem clean through the inspection plate, that it means it's not actually the rear main seal.

Any experienced advice would be great.
Do you
have the same problem?
Sunday, April 28th, 2013 AT 6:54 PM

1 Reply

First clean all that stuff off so you have something to work with. How much oil are you using? Then check valve cover gaskets and oil pressure sending units for leakage. Then check seals at front of motor as well as head gasket. Have pressurechecked for ahead gasket leak.
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Monday, April 29th, 2013 AT 7:26 AM

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