Question about 2002 Saturn SC

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Losing lots of oil from back (passenger side) of engine. Can't pinpoint

I bought this 2002 Saturn SC-1 with around 55,000 on the engine. It was running fine when I bought it. I've owned it now for about a year. I just happened to check the oil during a gas fillup a couple of months after I bought it and it was over 3 quarts low! Since then I seem to leave puddles of oil all over the place. I had it up on a hoist and I thought it was coming from the oil pan, but I'm not convinced. I sprayed it down with brake cleaner, added 1/2 quart (was low) and some fluorescent dye and drove it home. (30 Miles) Apparently that was too far because when I checked it with a UV light, the oil was caked all over the suspension just underneath the alternator. I tried to trace the Dyed Oil up to the source but I couldn't find it. I decided to start the car, put it in neutral to see if I could observe leakage that way. I was getting a steady drip from just behind the Alternator, but still couldn't find the source. I'm wondering if the serpentine belt would act as a conveyer bringing the oil up to the top of the engine. I'm baffled. With 1 1/2 inches to work with on the passenger side of the engine compartment it's a challenge to troubleshoot. I'm thinking about brake cleaner again, removing the right front tire and wheel well cover and pressure washing the engine to start from scratch. Do you have any insight? I'm hoping it's just a timing chain cover gasket/RTV.

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  • Ron Daylo Aug 13, 2008

    I checked the valve cover with the UV light and I don't see any trail coming off of it, also there is no oil in any of the plug holes, so I'm hoping it's the timing cover. I appreciate any helpful comments, especially from those who have had this problem.

  • Ron Daylo Oct 21, 2013

    I had the timing chain cover gasket replaced, but it was still leaking after the fix. I found out that I had a stripped out Head bolt in the corner of the head where the leak was coming from, so I had been driving the car all this time with a slightly blown head gasket. I stripped down the head, installed a helicoil in the stripped hole and put it all back together. The excess leakage on the back side of the engine stopped, but I'm still losing oil. Oh well, I'll just drive it till it dies. I just buy gallon jugs of oil from Walmart.

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Harmonic Balancer check the gasket

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My guess would be the valve cover gasket.......easy way to tell is if there is oil around the edge of the valve cover or in with the spark plugs.........but yes timing chain cover could be it also......and yes that could happen with the serpentine but it would be more scattered around

Posted on Aug 13, 2008

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