Shop messed up valve cover gasket fix

Messages
8
Hi all -

Looking for informed opinions...we bought my son his first car this week (2015 CR-V, 99k miles). Pre-purchase inspection at the shop I’ve used for years turned up only a slight oil leak from the valve cover gasket. Nothing urgent...but I thought may as well take care of it, so after we bought it and he drove it a couple days (no oil drips on driveway) we took it in on Friday.

They said it was done early afternoon but it Should sit for a couple hours to give the glue or whatever time to cure or fully set up before driving it. So we went to pick it up around 6:30 pm...well beyond a couple hours. He drove to his buddy’s house, 9-10 miles. Later in the evening they went somewhere, he didn’t know, but guesses 4-5 miles, were there for a bit then headed back to the bud’s house. So ~20 miles total, probably 25 at most if he underestimated the miles a bit.

So...then I get a phone call...Dad, the CR-V is leaking oil. WHAT? How much, what do you see? Two puddles underneath...guess I could have had him check the dipstick, but decided to go assess it in person. Brought a jug of oil thinking if it wasn’t down too much I might drive it back to the shop.
Well...yep, a good bit of oil on the pavement under it, drips tracking to where he parked, undercarriage wet.
Upper-rear part of engine compartment, including right behind the valve cover and the firewall, oily. Dipstick had NO oil on it. Started adding oil, got to a quart added and (after waiting 5 minutes) still nothing on the stick. At that point I called for a tow.

Yesterday I went to the shop (closed on Saturday) to see how much more oil it would take to bring it up to full, and see if it was losing oil sitting there. Not losing any sitting...but took another quart and a half, so 2.5 total, to reach full on the dipstick.

Obviously I expect them to fix it right. Beyond that -

Question 1: how much damage would/could that likely have done to the engine? Manual says 4.6 qt capacity (OC including filter, so by the time he parked and realized it was leaking, it was down more than 50%.

Question 2: is there any way to get an indication of damage done, without an engine tear-down? A UOA crossed my mind...but w/o a previous one for a baseline...not sure how much help that would be.

Question 3: if you think there’s significant damage...what would a reasonable expectation of the shop? If I knew it was major, I’d ask them to by it from me for what I paid 3 days earlier.

I spent a fair bit more than I started out intending on this car...wound up doing so because (a) a little newer, more safety features; (b) after looking at numerous vehicles, kid said he really liked this one; (c) pretty good price, and last but definitely not least...(d) Honda 2.4 motor, by both long-term rep and personal experience, a solid check in the “pro” column. Figured he should be good for HS sr year and 4 yrs college (at least). Really not pleased with this shop.

Sorry it’s long...anyway opinions appreciated, especially similar personal experience or mechanics’ insights.

thx,
Tulsagator
 
Messages
291
Location
Gainesville, FL
As long as the oil level didn't get below the pickup it's highly unlikely any measurable damage was done. If he never saw the oil pressure gauge/idiot light flicker then I wouldn't lose any sleep over it.

Take it back to the shop and have them fix it, even the best mechanics make mistakes sometimes, it's how they own up to it and correct it that shows their true colors.

Your worst long-term effect of this will probably be the oil all over the underside of the car.
 
Messages
2,676
Location
Kentucky
If the oil light wasn't illuminated, I'd say you're fine.

Give them an earful but allow them the opportunity to make it right. Sounds like the gasket slipped when installing the rear valve cover (easy to do) and it wasn't noticed. Since gravity pools oil on the bottom side of the valve cover, it tends to leak significantly if the gasket wasn't installed properly.

I'd pay close attention to the sound of the engine for the first few drives, be on the lookout for any strange noises but I doubt you'll find anything amiss. If you're super concerned (or are unsure whether the oil light came on) a UOA would be helpful in this case. If there was any significant wear due to inadequate lubrication it ought to show up as elevated wear metals on the report. In this case the universal averages would be your baseline, I don't think it's necessary to have your own baseline in this instance.
 
Messages
1,967
Location
USA
Hi TulsaGator

Based on your account

1- If the amounts are accurate and no instruments alarmed and nothing noticed afterward, you most likely escaped significant damage. ( it doesn't take much volume to sustain an engine in the actual circuit for short trips)

2- Non invasive indication/measurement of any possible damage? Honestly no such technology exists.. You can OA, compression check, do a thermal etc. and get good "stuff' but none of it will reliably and accurately assess the mechanical condition of the engine or separate/identify any possible damage from this incident.

3- N/A

If the leak is a result of their work ( which according to your account has yet to be fully established), I would hold them to a complete degreasing/ steam cleaning of the engine and under carriage and a full oil change.

I do recommend starting a maintenance log ( and OA) but that's boilerplate stuff.
 

Tulsagator

Thread starter
Messages
8
Thanks guys, appreciate the responses.

Rand - old member, new ID - forgot password, never got the reset email...

...If the leak is a result of their work ( which according to your account has yet to be fully established), I would hold them to a complete degreasing/ steam cleaning of the engine and under carriage and a full oil change.

I do recommend starting a maintenance log ( and OA) but that's boilerplate stuff.

How would one fully establish it was a result of their work? I agree the evidence is not of the eyewitness level...but as circumstantial evidence goes...
1. Tiny leak when brought to them
2. major leak after their work, such that 2.5 qts lost within 20 or at most 25 miles
3. no one else touched it
4. leak clearly is coming from the area their work was performed on.

Apart from those facts, what other reasonably plausible cause occurs to you?

I do keep mtc logs...as for OA: last OC was @97.5 by prev owner, so pretty fresh, and I just added the 2.5 qts, so it’s artificially clean you might say. Suggestions on how long to drive it before sampling?
 

Tulsagator

Thread starter
Messages
8
As far as whether the dash indicator(s) came on...kid and his buds in the car, none if them is a car guy...If they were paying any attention to anything about the car at all, prob would have been just talking about cool features etc. Yeah, I’ve talked to him about maintenance and stuff to watch for including dash indicators...but I don’t know that he’d have noticed if it was on. Did not tell him to watch for the oil indicator the other evening...tbh it didn’t occur to me that they might screw it up. Call me naive, I guess.
 
Messages
1,967
Location
USA
How would one fully establish it was a result of their work? I agree the evidence is not of the eyewitness level...but as circumstantial evidence goes...
1. Tiny leak when brought to them
2. major leak after their work, such that 2.5 qts lost within 20 or at most 25 miles
3. no one else touched it
4. leak clearly is coming from the area their work was performed on.

Apart from those facts, what other reasonably plausible cause occurs to you?

I do keep mtc logs...as for OA: last OC was @97.5 by prev owner, so pretty fresh, and I just added the 2.5 qts, so it’s artificially clean you might say. Suggestions on how long to drive it before sampling?

I do failure and forensic analysis all the time and true your account does sound pretty open/shut, it should be reasonably easy to fully establish. ( honestly, sometimes things do happen as a random coincidence and as Spock once said "even logic must give way to physics")

If I were the work performer, I would also want more than just an account but in your case it seems you have more than enough.

IMO the "smoking gun" is the fact they replaced a gasket and its still leaking there (badly it seems)

You didn't state its still leaking or any of you repaired it so presumably the issue still exists? ( if it stopped, that would concern me more)

Then there is the good old visual inspection ( picture would help)

Then fill it and drive it there- open the hood and let them come look at it.

It certainly wouldn't be the first valve cover gasket that rolled.

On the OA, go ahead and do a full change with this and start the sample at your next interval. (I have never seen anyone ever get lost data back so just start fresh)

Personally, I think you got it in time and this will end well.
 
Messages
370
Location
New Jersey
Thanks guys, appreciate the responses.

Rand - old member, new ID - forgot password, never got the reset email...

This can be remedied, just reach out to a mod.
 
Messages
4,038
Location
Chicago, IL
like others have said, highly likely no damage, as long as it never lost oil pressure. trusted shop that you've used before: I would not bother giving them "an earful". I've made mistakes before. trust me, I still feel bad about them. well, at least some of them - I don't need "an earful".
 

Tulsagator

Thread starter
Messages
8
IMO the "smoking gun" is the fact they replaced a gasket and its still leaking there (badly it seems)

You didn't state its still leaking or any of you repaired it so presumably the issue still exists? ( if it stopped, that would concern me more)

Personally, I think you got it in time and this will end well.

hope you’re right on “end well”. Thought I gave a complete account in the o.p., but I see I left out that where I had it towed to was the offending shop. That was late Friday night (night before last), they’re closed weekends, and all I did yesterday was get a better look in the daylight, and add oil to see how much had been lost. I didn’t drive it or even start it. I may go over there this evening and start it though to see if it sounds normal, & maybe see if it starts leaking right away. They haven’t seen it’s back, & I have not yet talked to them.
 
Messages
25,148
Location
MA, Mittelfranken.de
They said it was done early afternoon but it Should sit for a couple hours to give the glue or whatever time to cure or fully set up before driving it. So we went to pick it up around 6:30 pm...well beyond a couple hours.

This bothers me, what the heck did they use? If they used a gasket then at most a little high tack is all that is needed to hold it in place for installation and once its bolted down it needs no time to dry.
I have a sickening feeling these guys may have used RTV either on the old gasket or in place of a gasket god forbid. This engine uses an almost $50 cover gasket that are not readily available aftermarket, it seems to be a dealer item.

Edit: If they did either of these things they would deserve more than an earful.
 
Messages
163
Location
Ft Worth TX
Man . . . Who messes up a valve cover gasket? I;m sure it;s a cast aluminum valve cover too .
I rolled the valve cover gasket on my F150 when doing the timing job. Didn't know it until start up and inspection. In my defense, (because it makes me feel better saying that...) I'm not a professional.
 

Tulsagator

Thread starter
Messages
8
like others have said, highly likely no damage, as long as it never lost oil pressure. trusted shop that you've used before: I would not bother giving them "an earful". I've made mistakes before. trust me, I still feel bad about them. well, at least some of them - I don't need "an earful".
I made one once too (kidding, def made my share). I like the guy, and I think his response most likely will be very apologetic. If so, I will express my concerns calmly, and hopefully he won’t feel too much like he’s been given an earful.
 
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