Question about Mitsubishi Montero

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2002 Montero limited. Its been a great car but Car is using oil. (I'm at 106K miles) I'm down a quart or more at oil changes. I don't have an oil on the ground. Sometimes do have a burning smell like something is dripping on a hot pipe but can't find it. I do my oil changes very regularly every 3-5K miles more if I'm planning a trip

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  • plmcclendon Mar 10, 2009

    No blue smoke present either at startup or otherwise. no increase in temp gauge or clicking sound (value stem wear?)

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9 Answers

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The oil leak is not coming from inside the engine since there is no blue smoke on startup - it sounds as if your piston seals are still good.

Your problem lies in one of 2 places
1. Head gasket leaking.
2. Valve cover gasket leaking.

Since it is leaking onto the TOP of the exhaust where it cannot be seen easily - and burning off with exhaust heat - your leak is not very heavy.

Valve cover gaskets can sometimes be re-sealed by tightening loose bolts to spec torque.
There is an engine oil dye that will show under flourescent lighting a mechanic can use to trace the source of the leak so you arent throwing money out nilly-willy.

You add the dye to the oil and drive around for a while. The light illuminates the dye so you can see where the leak is coming from, and decide if you want to repair or leave as is and just keep adding oil regularly.

Mechanics will have access to this dye, most autoparts stores sell a kit (bulb and dye) and you can find kits on eBay for a reasonable price.

Thanks for using FixYa - a FixYa rating is appreciated!!

Posted on Mar 10, 2009

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You need to do a complete engine cleanup, when the engine surface is clean you will be able to understand where the oil is leaking from.

Posted on Mar 10, 2009

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Good morning to you and welcome to fixya
a good place to start is to park the vehicle on flat ground for sometime and place a piece of cardboard, metal, white sheet of paper etc under it to see if it is actually leaking oil or if it is getting burned internally. if no leaks are present then a quart of oil is nothing to stress about at all, car service manuals will tell you that this is normal. if you have a leak then you can take to a shop or you can do this little test, you can have an oil dye put in the engine's oil and run the engine up to operating temp for about 5-10 minutes then using a black light start searching and it will glow up yellow, not sure if you remember the black light days or not, but that will help alot with any leaks that you cant find remember if the leak is showing up on the bottom of the engine then there is a good possiblity that it is running down from somewhere else. if there is no leak and no funny sounds coming from engine area then i would not worry at all. good luck to you these are good engines and sounds like you have done it right. let me know the outcome.

Posted on Mar 10, 2009

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1 quart in 3000 miles is probably going to be considered normal oil consumption. I would recommend inspecting the air breather box and if you have no oil residue there,then remove and inspect spark plugs.If the ends of the spark plugs look clean and have no scaly build up on them then I would not worry about it at all. Maybe inspect the PCV system and service it.

Posted on Mar 10, 2009

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Considering the age of this vehicle and the 106K miles, i would suggest scheduling a re haul soon. I'm sensing bad rings and oil pump issues as well. you are burning oil and this is a sign of deteriorating piston walls due to bad rings.

Posted on Mar 10, 2009

  • Michael Masters
    Michael Masters Mar 10, 2009

    To have a quart of oil present while approaching the next scheduled oil change is not normal. you should have way more than a quart during the next oil change. you are burning way to much oil.

  • fostercontra
    fostercontra Nov 22, 2012

    only owners of Montys can help you here

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U should check all the seals that would cause oil leakage. hope that helps.

Posted on Mar 10, 2009

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The factory specs for excessive oil consumption are more than 1 quart every 1000 miles, sounds th this 30 year tech that u have very little oil usage and the engine is in great shape, I assume u go 3000 miles between oil changes? My new car uses 1 quart between changes with less than 30,000 on it.

Posted on Mar 10, 2009

  • yadayada
    yadayada Mar 10, 2009

    the most likely source of the leak is the engine crankshaft rear main seal, but it would have to pour oil to affect oil consumption, if it is just a little amount I would not worry about it, to have these kinds of leaks fixed costs 100"s.

  • yadayada
    yadayada Mar 10, 2009

    I don't know who the guys/experts are suggesting an overhaul but the oil useage of your car is well within norm's.

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A valve cover gasket can leak oil onto the exhaust manifold and burn. You should be able to see signs of that by looking under the hood at the top of the engine.
Otherwise, it is likely that you have valve guide seals that are worn. They would usually cause blue smoke when you step on te gas after a long decel, like down a long hill. I doubt it would be worth the cost to repair since ou have to remvoe the valve covers. A quart of oil is much cheaper.
good luck

Posted on Mar 10, 2009

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What colour is the exhaust smoke ?

Posted on Mar 10, 2009

  • Roberta Smith
    Roberta Smith Mar 10, 2009

    also is the front wheel drive as in the motor is mounted sideways ?

  • Roberta Smith
    Roberta Smith Mar 10, 2009

    as it possible that the valve cover on the side toward the firewall is leaking oil and needs to be replaced... you can try retightening the bolts to see if that helps.... also check your EGR valve to see if it's working ok

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1 Answer

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Could be worn piston rings letting oil into the top of cylinder from below, or worn valve stem seals or valve guides letting oil in from above.. A shop could do a compression test or a leak-down test and give you a good idea of the engine's health. Low compression on any of the cylinders means the rings or valves are not sealing well, and could let oil in to burn. Either of the tests could point to the problem, but a leak-down test is considered the more accurate test
How much is burning? If you are burning more than a quart every thousand miles, it is a problem that needs attention. Most car makers say a quart every 3 thousand miles is not a problem and may be considered normal, although owners may dispute that as they often do. Some engines just seem to lose no oil between oil changes, but most do use or lose a little oil between changes, it is normal. If your oil consumption is on the high end, have the test done. If your rings are good, a cylinder head job (for the valve work) is much less expensive than an engine rebuild.

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One quart per month is a bit more than I'd expect but you didn't mention how many miles you drive during that month.If you live where the ambient temps are very warm, it may help to use a good synthetic. Synthetic oils do not burn off or break down chemically as fast as conventional oils do. I'd use a 20w40 grade.
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