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Old 09-17-2011, 01:29 PM   #1
Oil leaking from exhaust manifold bolts...Confused...  
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Hey guys,

I finally got around to trying to find some possible sources of the leak on my 3.0L.

I was shocked when I saw oil coming from the exhaust manifold gasket's studs/bolts...And trust me, there is leaks in other places, but it's 100% coming from these bolts. There's only 95k miles on this car, which isn't much in the first place, plus its a 20 year old car.

Diagnosis? I hope it's not piston rings. Here's the problem. If it's too much, my dad will probably just tell me to trash the car...which I obviously don't want to do. I probably won't be able to remove the engine though I most likely could since my neighbors have a hoist I could borrow. I'm assuming there's something happening in the top end that isn't quite right, though the engine runs pretty darn strong. I guess the first thing I'll do is a compression test. But after that I'm rather clueless. Am I getting myself into something I shouldn't bother with? I'd like to rebuild or replace some stuff in the top end, but I don't know exactly what I can do without taking out the engine...

Eh. I don't think I'm too happy.

Thanks.
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Old 09-17-2011, 05:28 PM   #2
Re: Oil leaking from exhaust manifold bolts...Confused...  
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Hey guys,

I finally got around to trying to find some possible sources of the leak on my 3.0L.

I was shocked when I saw oil coming from the exhaust manifold gasket's studs/bolts...And trust me, there is leaks in other places, but it's 100% coming from these bolts. There's only 95k miles on this car, which isn't much in the first place, plus its a 20 year old car.

Diagnosis? I hope it's not piston rings. Here's the problem. If it's too much, my dad will probably just tell me to trash the car...which I obviously don't want to do. I probably won't be able to remove the engine though I most likely could since my neighbors have a hoist I could borrow. I'm assuming there's something happening in the top end that isn't quite right, though the engine runs pretty darn strong. I guess the first thing I'll do is a compression test. But after that I'm rather clueless. Am I getting myself into something I shouldn't bother with? I'd like to rebuild or replace some stuff in the top end, but I don't know exactly what I can do without taking out the engine...

Eh. I don't think I'm too happy.

Thanks.
i can't help but wonder if it is running down from the valve covers. the reason is the bolts are what i call dry bolts. meaning they don't enter and oil or cooling areas.
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Old 09-17-2011, 07:28 PM   #3
Re: Oil leaking from exhaust manifold bolts...Confused...  
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i can't help but wonder if it is running down from the valve covers. the reason is the bolts are what i call dry bolts. meaning they don't enter and oil or cooling areas.
Well I mean it's mysteriously on EVERY bolt and the manifold is bone dry. Why I suggest something is wrong internally is because maybe some seal went bad or the rings and now oil is going where it isn't supposed to be.

But the engine runs too well in my opinion for such results. I mean the bolts are like DRIPPING with oil and I just degreased this SOAB a week ago. I'll have to give it another look.

Is there anyway oil could get in there if something went bad inside?
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Old 09-17-2011, 07:38 PM   #4
Re: Oil leaking from exhaust manifold bolts...Confused...  
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Well I mean it's mysteriously on EVERY bolt and the manifold is bone dry. Why I suggest something is wrong internally is because maybe some seal went bad or the rings and now oil is going where it isn't supposed to be.

But the engine runs too well in my opinion for such results. I mean the bolts are like DRIPPING with oil and I just degreased this SOAB a week ago. I'll have to give it another look.

Is there anyway oil could get in there if something went bad inside?
no. but 3.0's are bad at valve cover leaks! often they get over tightened and it warps the sealing surface. so leaking VC are a norm!! the best way to fix it is to install new gaskets and use plenty of gasket sealer!!!
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Old 09-17-2011, 07:51 PM   #5
Re: Oil leaking from exhaust manifold bolts...Confused...  
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no. but 3.0's are bad at valve cover leaks! often they get over tightened and it warps the sealing surface. so leaking VC are a norm!! the best way to fix it is to install new gaskets and use plenty of gasket sealer!!!
Well I think my VC Is leaking but why the heck would it only accumulate on those bolts.
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Old 09-17-2011, 09:07 PM   #6
Re: Oil leaking from exhaust manifold bolts...Confused...  
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That sounds like the valve stem seals are bad allowing oil to drip down onto the exhaust valve. These can be changed without pulling the heads granted the correct valve spring compresser is available. You will also need a fitting to connect the cylinder to compressed air. This keeps the valves from falling down into the cylinder when you compress the springs.
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Old 09-17-2011, 09:30 PM   #7
Re: Oil leaking from exhaust manifold bolts...Confused...  
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Providing the exhaust manifold gaskets are still sealed and the bolts/studs are still torqued properly, I cannot imagine valve seals causing the problem. Oil internaly ending up externally?

The reason the oil may seem to sit on the studs longer than the manifold could be heat.. yes, the studs get hot too, but they will disipate the heat a bit quicker than that of the manifold. The manifold could be burning / drying the oil marks from residual heat.

Just thoughts really.
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Old 09-17-2011, 09:53 PM   #8
Re: Oil leaking from exhaust manifold bolts...Confused...  
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That sounds like the valve stem seals are bad allowing oil to drip down onto the exhaust valve. These can be changed without pulling the engine granted the correct valve spring compresser is available. You will also need a fitting to connect the cylinder to compressed air. This keeps the valves from falling down into the cylinder when you compress the springs.
Thank you very much. I might try to do a compression test for giggles. See what turns up. Then I'll see what I can do on the heads. If that doesn't work, I'll dig a little deeper and see what's up with the pistons.

I'd hate to have to stop using or get rid of a car because something very small is preventing it from doing the task. Maybe that was bad wording, but I don't want something so small to be the reason to get rid of the car, because my dad keeps on telling me not to dump money into it, but if a little stem seal is all that is causing the problem, why loose an entire car?
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Old 09-17-2011, 10:24 PM   #9
Re: Oil leaking from exhaust manifold bolts...Confused...  
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I only say this because when my engine was burning oil, a lot got in the exhaust and it would accumulate on the tips of the bolts. Maybe my exhaust bolts were loose? Anyway, if it doesn't burn a lot of oil this probably isnt the problem.
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Old 09-19-2011, 06:48 PM   #10
Re: Oil leaking from exhaust manifold bolts...Confused...  
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I only say this because when my engine was burning oil, a lot got in the exhaust and it would accumulate on the tips of the bolts. Maybe my exhaust bolts were loose? Anyway, if it doesn't burn a lot of oil this probably isnt the problem.
I guess I'll have to do further analyzing so I can formulate a better idea here. i don't feel like taking apart the whole damn engine...but maybe I'll have to. Then I'll probably mess something up putting it back together and my car will blow up. Just a theory.
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Old 09-19-2011, 09:46 PM   #11
Re: Oil leaking from exhaust manifold bolts...Confused...  
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If you take your time, consult a FSM or Hanes manual, it's not difficult. Time consuming the first few times to make sure you do it right, but head pulling isn't rocket science. Changing the valve seals can be a pain though. For the price, it may be more economical to pull the heads yourself, and send them to a head guy to resurface, clean, and do the seals/guides for you. Saves you from the personal headache as well.
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Old 09-20-2011, 12:04 AM   #12
Re: Oil leaking from exhaust manifold bolts...Confused...  
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Could also go the route of a $150 junkyard motor, keep the other engine to build, or scrap and get some money back
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Old 09-20-2011, 06:26 AM   #13
Re: Oil leaking from exhaust manifold bolts...Confused...  
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lol dont scrap a perfectly fine 3.0 :(

valve cover gasket change, piece of cake

Exhaust manifold change, piece of cake

Lower intake gasket change, more time consuming but still easy

pulling the head means timing the car right? first time i did that i was worried i would not be able to do it but KMP's instructions are flawless. mine as well do water pump and timing belt while the head is off if you go that route.


i dont know how much money you have, but its so worth it to get the heads rebuilt.. even if they dont get ported, just rebuild with the good valve guides. My heads guides like to leak oil into the exhaust at the worst times.. winter is coming so it will be less noticeable along with my thicker oil but i already have a pair of heads waiting to be rebuilt
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