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Old 01-16-2009, 11:38 AM   #1
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9-5 oil leak: cold weather related?

My 9-5 Aero has been parked on the street for the past few days, which coincide with wicked cold temperatures. -20 F. both last night and the night before.

I noticed a pancake-sized oil puddle on the street underneath the front right part of the car yesterday, with a little streak of oil merging into the street where I drove after starting it up yesterday. Today there was another little streak of oil I noticed as well, after driving off. No puddle today, just the streak. I did let the car idle yesterday before moving, but not this morning.

The area of the oil leak looks to be under where the oil filter is on the 9-5. I cannot say for sure, I haven't taken a look under the car given how freakin' cold it is.

I have an oil pressure gauge in the car. I've driven the car long enough for the coolant to get to operating temperature, and the oil pressure is normal.

Here's my theory -- the oil is so cold, that the rubber seal on the oil filter is not working properly. So I get leakage until the car warms up to normal temps.

I would appreciate the thoughts of the TSL hive mind on this.
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Old 01-16-2009, 11:41 AM   #2
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Well, metal contracts when cold, so perhaps that loosened a seal somewhere? Never heard of it myself but -20 seems very cold.
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Old 01-16-2009, 11:42 AM   #3
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It's due for an oil change soon. I may do it myself next week when it warms up to 20 or 30 above.
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Old 01-16-2009, 11:44 AM   #4
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Your theory sounds quite plausible to me.
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Old 01-16-2009, 11:46 AM   #5
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Well, metal contracts when cold, so perhaps that loosened a seal somewhere? Never heard of it myself but -20 seems very cold.

That's exactly what I was thinking. Probably drastic expansion/contraction due to the crazy MN weather as of late.
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Old 01-16-2009, 12:28 PM   #6
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I would take a look at that soon. My buddy and I just discovered on a friends car the oil filter seal had split and was leaking a ton of oil. I doubt the seal would contract enough to leak without total failure. In general just look at that area. The oil filter housing mates to the block there, oil cooler lines attach there, the filter as you mentioned, as well as the oil temp thermostat nut all right there. It could be any of those things.

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Old 01-16-2009, 01:13 PM   #7
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Make sure you check the oil level if you have not already Greg! I don't want to have to buy a 9-5 Aero with a blown motor any time soon

Hopefully it is not something serious. I would typically think that oil leaks would be shored up with this cold weather, since the oil gets so thick!
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Old 01-19-2009, 06:55 PM   #8
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Red face make sure the oil filter is at room temperature

and the car is warm.
This will allow the filter rubber seal to conform to the filter housing better.
Also in winter the oil drain plug copper seal should be replaced more frequently as the copper doesn't soften up & seal quite as well as in warmer times.
Also retorque the filter & drain after a week to make sure the temp contractions didn't loosen it up.
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Old 01-19-2009, 07:12 PM   #9
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We just went through a simillar problem last week with a 99 9-3. When it was cold the car would leak like hell from the crank pulley. We would pull is apart and try something to fix it(seal, pump O-ring, ect.) then start the car and everything would be dry untill the next day when we would try it. Previously we had to replace the crank pulley due to a crack in the key way. To help save the customer some money we put a used pulley on it. Finally after rechecking everything a second time we finally put a new pulley on the car and it was dry today.
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Old 01-19-2009, 07:30 PM   #10
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I had an 'oil' leaking problem last week when it was below zero here. It wasn't motor oil...but power steering fluid instead. Had a line or something freeze...oops.
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Old 01-19-2009, 08:08 PM   #11
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last saturday i did an alignment on my car at work and noticed some oil leaking down from the top of the engine on the back right of the engine bay. i needed to put in a new thermostat that i ended up putting in at my parents with my dad. my dad took the 2.3 turbo cover off and right under the cover was what i assume to be a oil evaporation hose with a nice sized tear in the top of it. luckily it's on the top. but i guess it could possibly be the same hose on your car but on the lower part of the hose where gravity might be causing more amounts to leak out.

i kinda doubt that this is the issue but we just had that -20F temp here in SD but i guess it could be ton of other things.
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Old 01-19-2009, 08:12 PM   #12
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Maybe unrelated but have you done the PCV Update?

After you check the filter look to the Front Main seal (behind the crank pulley) and the back right (pass.) corner of the head. Both can leak and cause a puddle where you've described it especially if the PCV is outdated.
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Old 01-20-2009, 03:24 PM   #13
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PCV update has been done, a couple of years ago.

Well, it was due for an oil change and I wanted to have a look under the car anyway. So I inaugurated some new oil into the car.

The visual evidence strongly suggests that the leak was a loose or poorly sealed oil filter. Also, the fact that the old filter came off a bit too easily might have been a clue.

The obligatory pic:




I haven't been driving it except as necessary since the leak, but since the weather warmed up I've noticed no additional leakage.

I put Mobil 1 0W/40 in it, partly because I think the 0W fits my severe cold service needs (lots of cold starts and short trips in a Minnesota winter climate), and partly because my local parts store did not have any Amsoil 5W/40 Eurospec, which is what I had been using. (They stock it normally, but were out).
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Old 03-13-2009, 06:30 PM   #14
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Update -- it was a crank seal leak, fixed efficiently and quickly at Marty's shop.
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Old 03-13-2009, 06:34 PM   #15
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Good to hear you got it fixed.



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Old 01-25-2013, 08:37 PM   #16
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I currently have the same problem, following an oil change, I'm getting a cold engine oil leak from the vicinity of the oil filter.

How much did the crack seal leak cost you to fix?
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