Engine with oil leaks- suggestions?

Not open for further replies.
Jun 15, 2004
South Carolina
My brother-in-law has a 91 full-size Chevy Caprice with a 305 engine. This vehicle was starved for oil changes by the previous owner. I found this out a couple years ago when changing the valve cover gaskets and found each side full of gunk. I cleaned it out best I could and opened up the clogged drainback holes, etc. This stopped his oil leaks. Now, 60k miles later his vehicle is leaking about a quart every 500 miles or less, mostly from the front and rear main seals. He does not have money to replace this engine or do major repairs. The engine now has 190k on it and he drives about 800 miles a week back and forth to work. Amazingly, he gets consistently 24+ mpg and this vehicle runs great. The vehicle calls for 5w30 oil. I told him to run some Advanced Auto SAE40 $.99 oil in the hot summer heat, and we will just swap out the filter every 5000 miles (all highway). Then in the fall we can change the oil out to an inexpensive 10w30 or a little more pricey 15w40 and continue swapping filters until spring. We are in South Carolina, and he's diving to the other side of Charlottle, NC daily, for now. Well he took my advice, and it seems the leaks have slowed some. I don't think the engine consumes much, because I never see any blue smoke. He says his fuel mileage is still great,too. Am I on the right track with what I told him? I swear this car seems indestructible- has original 700R4 trans. and the AC is cold, too!
So, what are you asking -- how to make a 13 year-old leaker, with a history of previous indeterminate service quality, stop without getting down and dirty with the actual problem? Anything you and your brother-in-law do short of replacing the mains' seals will be temporary at best. When I was in college during the Jurassic period of the Mesozoic era, I had a '59 Chevy Bel Air coupe with the small block 350 V8. Sucker leaked like a sieve. I didn't have a BITOG to consult. Didn't need it -- I <i>knew</i> what the problem was.
[Welcome!] to the site BMW! Given the information you provided, your best bet is to probably run Auto RX. I say this because it works well (I've never used it, but others do and have reported good success...) in situations such as you've described. If you don't want to use an additive at this point, and are looking to spend the least amount of money while still getting a good product, I'd suggest: Pennzoil Long-Life 15w-40: Less than $6 a gallon. Provides great protection and will clean that engine up. Long-Life also (somehow...) has the great ability to reduce consumption in comparison to other oils, and that's why I like it so much. SuperTech filter - Good filter at a good price. Both of these are available at Wal-Mart, and should cost you just a hair over $10 for an oil change!
dropitby and Jelly, thank you for the advice (and welcome). I will try to find out some more about the Auto-RX. Where can I get some? My biggest concern for him was that he does not ignite the leaking oil off the catalytic converter that it seems to be coating nicely as he cruises down the highway.
auto-rx.com It is a Group V Ester based cleaning agent. It softens and swells seals and disolves sludge. You drive with it in the car unlike solvent based flushes. They have special directions for use to repair seals. The stuff works but the results on seals seams to be hit or miss. Should be lots of info if you run a search on the additives section. Gene [ July 12, 2004, 12:16 AM: Message edited by: Gene K ]
Not open for further replies.