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What is your oil pressure gauge doing? Low oil pressue will cause lifter sound. Check your oil. A small exhaust leak will sound like lifters also, but generally will go away after the exh manifolds heat up, if they have a small crack.
If it is engine oil leaking, it is coming from either the valve covers, the front seal at the timing cover, or the rear seal. You state that it does not leak when parked, but in most cases, the oil will continue to drip off the engine after shut off, and you will see oil spots on the ground below the car. The location should indicate where to look for the leaking area.
If the leak is not engine oil, it could be transmission fluid, power steering fluid, or even brake fluid. With the engine running, see where the fluid is puddling below the car. This will be a very good indication of where to look for the component that is leaking.
Oil may have been over filled , if not a faulty cap , the missing screw wouldnt cause a leak from the cap , check no oil leakage around missing screw (may need to clean area first) this could cause rocker cover gasket not being compressed properly
Try cleaning the engine with degreaser and hose off the oil and muck. Let the engine dry out and then start the engine and look where the oil is leaking from. From your description, the oil could be leaking from the tappet cover. May need a new gasket or the tappet cover bolts needs tightening.
Its either the valve cover gasket or the o ring that seals the distributor. It could be coming from either, so look for oil on the valve cover above the distributor. If you see oil there its the valve cover. If you dont see oil coming from the valve cover above the distributor, then look or touch the bottom of the distributor and if there is oil there then the distributor oring is whats leaking.
the oil could be leaking from valve cover and sitting in a bottom engine cover(plastic covers on bottom of car) and oil trail when move, will leak more when engine hot as oil gets thinner and easier to escape. Would replace gaskep asap or will cover engine in black sticky muck which is not nice to try and clean and engine oil is not the best thing to get off your garage floor.
The Chrysler minivan products all had leaking problems. I have had 5 or 6 different Dodge or Plymouth minivans from 88 to 99. How bad is it. The most common thing is Valve cover leaks. Front and rear seals in the engine leak as well as the oil pan gasket. If its leaking a little bit at a time open the hood and look at the front and rear of the engine. Do you see grease and oil that has gone down the sides of the engine? Do you see a lot of grease on the engine with some clean streaks going through it. You may be able to see where its leaking from. If you know someone that knows what their doing have them change the leaky gasket/s. If not you can probably have it repaired for less than buying another van unless other things are seriously wrong with the van.
Hope this helps... Dale
You might have a leaking fuel injector, which is dumping fuel into it's respective engine cylinder, which then leaks down into the crankcase where the engine oil is. Then, as you drive, the gas is evaporating and getting into the car through the vents. It's a very serious, possibly explosive problem anytime you have excessive gas in your engine oil. Have it looked at and repaired immediately.
Most likely cause is a leak in the valve cover gasket. Under pressue, a good sized leak will spurt and burn off on the manifuld, causing the smell of burning oil you're getting. This also would cause the presence of oil throughout the engine compartment. Best of luck on your problem.