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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello there,

After a clutch failure on my 1999 166 3.0 V6 CF2 the Clutch was replaced (Valeo part) together with a fresh crankshaft seal. Had the 166 back but always an oil smell and for sure engine oil leaking on exhaust and bits on front gearbox. So my garage said on warranty placed again a new crankshaft seal and also a new clutcht kit again (Valeo again)... Guess what! Oil leak AGAIN, cleaned it now almost 6 times and it keeps coming back. Smell it at every traffic light.idle.. Is the seal again failing? He fitted it with care (Corteco part) and with grease also...(see photo)

Please advice! I add pictures from first time cleaning and later
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Hopefully the real engine experts will be along soon, but it does look as though there are other oil leaks from higher up. I'd also heard that the main seals should go in 'dry', but you'd have to check with the manufacturer of the seal. I'm also interested in this because I have this horror to deal with myself at some point; at least your car is a manual, the sportronic is a massive beast to move about in a small space. I would add that I'm pretty sure my leak is a main seal, and the oil appears to be dripping from the engine side of the exhaust, not the gearbox side. Here is my little darling.
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I get this smell too, burning oil when sat still after the car is warmed up. My gearbox and clutch were replaced last year so no doubt I probably have a leak around that point too. My car is a twinspark but would imagine the same set up underneath where the box meets the engine and the exhust sat directly under.
 

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Hi, yep, the burning oil is a right pain. I've spoken to a few people who think it's the main seal, brought on by the proximity of the exhaust. With an auto there is no particular excuse to take the box out just to fix a minor oil leak, so I keep putting it off and doing other jobs. Thing is, there aren't many left to do...
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Hi, yep, the burning oil is a right pain. I've spoken to a few people who think it's the main seal, brought on by the proximity of the exhaust. With an auto there is no particular excuse to take the box out just to fix a minor oil leak, so I keep putting it off and doing other jobs. Thing is, there aren't many left to do...
Yep I feel you... the smell is the worst... 2 times the box on and off and 2 clutches is not really nice either...
 

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It could be worse - you could own a Honda Prelude too - every time I change a leaking oil seal on mine the other seals get jealous and start leaking too.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
So I am learning as we speak. I now know next to both sides of the seal you have the so called ''Cigarette seals'' common on failure and give the same symptons as the rear main seal. Is it possible to check those with only oil sump out or need the box out..?
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There are a couple of good instructional videos on YouTube which explain what they are and how to do them. From what I've seen you need to take the sump off to get at them - it's an outside possibility I've been considering for mine, but my understanding is that they don't fail that often. Apparently they used to fail quite often until the manufacturing process changed to just filling the tubes with silicone, which happened before the 166 started production (I think). This is one for the engine guys on this forum, so I'd be interested in seeing some specialist input.

I've thought about just trying to live with the issue for a while, so long as there is minimal risk of catastrophic loss of oil/ oil pressure and I can accept there will be a few drops of oil under the car. Then, when I have the need (next cambelt change/heater matrix renewal or something similar) get the whole lot done at once. Perhaps it would be possible to fashion a sheath of some sort around the drip area on the exhaust to extinguish the Deepwater Horizon fcuk up that's going on underneath.
 

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Alfa stopped putting actual seals in that location with the 24v 164 and switched to just using sealant squirted in the holes instead. On your pictures of the crank seal, the two small black circles just above the top of the main cap are the venting holes for the sealant, when you see goo coming out, you’ve put enough in. A better solution TBH. Given how oil likes to spread, it certainly can be tricky to tell if the leak is coming from the crank seal or from the sides of the rear main bearing cap.

Only way to deal with the cigarette seals is with the sump off so you can drop the rear main cap.

Are you certain it’s engine oil and not gear oil? The gearbox input shaft seal can leak, but more common, sadly, is the diff planet gear shaft comes out and starts grinding it’s way through the casing. That should have been obvious when the box was out to do the clutch of course, but if they didn’t look, they might not have seen it.

Should be able to tell which oil it is from the smell.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Alfa stopped putting actual seals in that location with the 24v 164 and switched to just using sealant squirted in the holes instead. On your pictures of the crank seal, the two small black circles just above the top of the main cap are the venting holes for the sealant, when you see goo coming out, you’ve put enough in. A better solution TBH. Given how oil likes to spread, it certainly can be tricky to tell if the leak is coming from the crank seal or from the sides of the rear main bearing cap.

Only way to deal with the cigarette seals is with the sump off so you can drop the rear main cap.

Are you certain it’s engine oil and not gear oil? The gearbox input shaft seal can leak, but more common, sadly, is the diff planet gear shaft comes out and starts grinding it’s way through the casing. That should have been obvious when the box was out to do the clutch of course, but if they didn’t look, they might not have seen it.

Should be able to tell which oil it is from the smell.
Thanks for your input! Yes for sure it is engine oil. Typical smell when the 166 is hot, and with idle/traffic light. Gearbox oil is very nasty smell would easily recognize that.

This was yesterday, cleaning again and end of the the day, small drop on exhaust.
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I suspect all you can do it take it apart yet again, then try to determine exactly where the oil is coming from. Seal to crank then there's a chance the crank surface needs some attention, or perhaps, you might get away with locating the seal in a slightly different place (don't press it in fully, being mindful of clearance to the back of the flywheel of course) so the lip rides on a previously unused surface. If the oil is getting out between the seal body and the main cap/block, then try applying some sealant to that surface before putting another new seal in, if it's the gap between main cap & block, then sump off, main cap off, clean and reassemble with suitable application of the right sealant. And finally, it could even be leaking at main cap to sump joint.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Drove 5 days with any drop at all... and guess it. Yes today oil all over the gearbox. Seems to come from the hole where you can see the flywheel (above the exhaust).....
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Hi Mick, thanks for your interest. Not yet my mechanic tried 2 weeks ago to loosen the oil sump, he couldn't get the last bolt loose next to the oil filter house, there needed more to come off. Next month my timing belt and poly v belt will be changed so then everything will be loose again (and better/more space), also with new gaskets. I will keep you posted.
 

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Good luck with it. Did you manage to rule out any leaks from above the main seal area - when I first looked at your pics there does appear to be a stream of oil from further up the engine, say from the cam covers? Just a thought.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Good luck with it. Did you manage to rule out any leaks from above the main seal area - when I first looked at your pics there does appear to be a stream of oil from further up the engine, say from the cam covers? Just a thought.
No it is coming from the hole where you can see the flywheel, but the seal is dry if you look at it. The other side (close to front seal) is also leaking oil, all hopes on the sump!
 

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Oil leaks seem to be an occupational hazard running a modern classic, I know I've got 3 oldies all leaking oil from somewhere or other. Best of luck again!
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 · (Edited)
Found it! Was the cigarette seals next to both sides rear main seal, really dried out and cracked. Also the sump seal was putted on too much with production at the factory. The oil pump filter was full of it.
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