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My 300m gave itself an undercarriage oil spray (!)

Discussion in 'LH: Large Cars, 1993-2004' started by MoPar~Man, Dec 10, 2017.

  1. MoPar~Man

    MoPar~Man Member

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    This past friday, I'm driving to a store after work. The drive is 5 miles, about 15 minutes, a few stop lights. At each light, I smell maybe burning oil. No trucks in front of me, I wonder if it's a diesel TDI VW car. I get to the store, get what I need, and I'm wondering about my car ('00 300m). I get back to the car, pop the hood, check the oil. If there's any oil on the stick, it's maybe the last 1/2 inch (hard to tell, that's where there's a twist in the dip stick). I'm not impressed. WTF!

    I need to go buy some oil. Nearest place (a walmart) is maybe 1/2 km away, a straight-shot from where I am. I get in the car and drive there. I figure I'll get 2 quarts (liters) because it's got to be a slow leak - right? Should be enough to get me home. $11 later I've put 2 liters of their cheap 10-w30 in, and the oil is at the "add" mark on the stick. Ok, I head home. 5 miles, 15 minutes. During the last maybe mile I'm hearing a slight tappet sound. But I get home, put the car in the garage, put on my work clothes. Oil is back to the low end of the stick. The oil I just put in is gone. Car driveability is fine during all this. No dashboard warnings, engine temp is fine. Ambient outdoor temp is 25 F.

    I changed the radiator 3 years ago. At the time, I couldn't get the lower oil-cooler line free'd from it's connection at the radiator. The retaining nut was frozen around the steel line. I took a small pipe-cutter and rolled it around the steel line about 2 inches from the fitting and cut the steel line. Then I was able to easily remove the stub line from the rad. When I put in the new rad, I screwed the stub in, and used a short piece of fuel line to bridge the connection to the engine-side of the oil line. Used a pair of screw-band clamps. Didn't flare the ends of the steel lines. Well, after 3 years this line finally decided to leak big time - I was able to slide the hose off the stub end with my bare fingers. Oil is everywhere under that side of the car. More or less evenly distributed. I took the bumper cover and headlights out and cleaned as much as I could reach. I took the stub out and roughed it up with a file (to make it less slippery) and put on a new piece of gas line. Used 4 clamps (they say they are for high-pressure fuel-injector lines, a more robust looking band clamp).

    I bought a new short piece of steel line, flanged at both ends with a pair of retaining nuts on it. I'll cut it into a stub and flare it when I get a chance later. Or maybe there's something like this already made up (screw-in nipple?).

    But I was surprised how far and for how long you can drive the 3.5L with almost no oil. I love this engine. It helps I'm sure that it was cold outside. But I must have had some oil pressure - didn't see any oil light come on...
     
    Shane Estabrooks likes this.
  2. Bob Lincoln

    Bob Lincoln "CHECK FAULT CODES"
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    I'm confused - you said this is an engine oil leak, but isn't that a transmission fluid cooler that's built into the radiator?

    Also, when you use rubber hose for connections to the transmission cooler, or any oil, it needs to be a special oil-resistant hose. I don't believe that fuel hose is the same hose.
     
  3. voiceofstl

    voiceofstl Well-Known Member

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    LOL I knew a guy that used a water/garden hose to fix a heater hose.....it worked for 3 years.
     
  4. MoPar~Man

    MoPar~Man Member

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    The engine oil cooler is located on the passenger side of the rad (inside the tank on that side). The transmission cooler is on the driver's side. The power steering cooler is a tube (looks like a trombone slide) mounted in front of the rad. There is a secondary transmission cooler - a small radiator maybe 3" x 10" that is mounted right to the front of the rad (lower driver's side location) with plastic ties through the fins. I don't know why so much fuss about cooling the transmission. I'm surprised there isn't a brake fluid cooler...

    This hose that I had didn't seem to be disintigrating or anything like that. Might have gotten a little stiff after 3 years, but it didn't have holes in it. Just the clamp got loose.
     
    Bob Lincoln likes this.
  5. Shane Estabrooks

    Shane Estabrooks Active Member

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    That was a close one eh! good to here you caught in time and good thing you had a short drive.
     

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