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Timing belt soaked in oil

donkeylips

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Jun 18, 2009
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552
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Rochester, NY
I recently got the car running, took it down the street and back, and there is oil everywhere. Sucks that I have to trash a brand new OEM timing belt.

It appears to be coming from the cam seals, although its very hard to tell as it's been thrown all over the place. There is a lot of oil on the back of the block and under the power steering pump. It's leaving a pretty big puddle on the ground.

Anybody have experience with this? Maybe its not the cam seals and just looks like it is? Ever notice the FSM says not to get oil on the crank pulley, and also not to clean it?

My current game plan is to take the old belt off, replace the cam seals, put the old used (dry) belt on it, tension it, put it back together with the timing cover off, and see if it leaks. If it doesn't, I will take it back apart, put a new timing belt on, tension it, then put it back together.
 

turbowop

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Apr 29, 2001
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Yakima, WA
You're already in there so you may as well replace the oil pump, crank, and balance shaft seals as well.

I know oil on the timing belt is bad, but it's usually an issue if it's been soaking for a long time. I wonder if you could give it a cleaning with dish soap and warm water to get rid af any oil and then let it dry? It sucks having to throw away roughly $70 like that.
 

dsm10o0

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Jun 16, 2010
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San Jose CA
Ive reused my gates timing belt alot. Its been soaked in water, coolant and oil. I used simple green and water to clean it off. Its at 2000 miles since last being.put on and around 15-20,000 on it total. The belt is holding up pretty well. Still looks kinda new. Lol

But like wop said, might as well replace the other seals while your in there.
 
Last edited:

James

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Port richey Florida
Why can't you clean the crank pully?
 

DynastyLCD

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May 12, 2006
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Harwinton, CT
one time, i built a 1gb with a friend, he bought a brand new front case and oil pump gears for it. BNIB, and when we first started it up, it was leaking from the castle plug on the front case. being in the direct path of the timing belt, it managed to sling oil everywhere.

from the sounds of it, its either A: leaking directly onto the timing belt, and traveling everywhere the belt is, or B: a pressurized oil galley is leaking
 

toybreaker

iconoclast
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Apr 30, 2006
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3,581
Quoting James:
Why can't you clean the crank pully?



I think he *may* be talking about the harmonic dampner /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/dunno.gif

The rubber wouldn;t like solvents.
 

James

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That makes more sense.
 

raptorWagon

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Oak Harbor, WA
^^^^^^^For me, this was a result of the main seal leaking (Steady leak at idle behind the crank pulley) on #1350 which then resulted in it being the appropriate time for me to do a rebuild on the motor lol and the last time 1350 ever ran before I took her to the crusher. /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/rofl.gif
 

donkeylips

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Rochester, NY
The FSM says:
"Caution
Water or oil on the belt [will] shorten its life drastically, so the removed timing belt, sprocket, and tensioner must be free from oil and water. These parts should not be washed. Replace parts if seriously contaminated. If there is oil or water on each part check the front case oil seals, camshaft oil seal and water pump for leaks."

They basically said to replace the sprockets if you get oil on them. But that doesn't make any sense. I'm just going to clean them.
 

James

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I think they mean those parts should be free of oil an water as to not get any on the timing belt.
 

GSTwithPSI

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SoCal
Why wouldn't you just clean off the belt that is on now the best you can, change your cam seals and then see if it still leaks. If no leaks, then change the belt.
 

donkeylips

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Rochester, NY
Well my other car now has the same problem. So I have two Galants with oil soaked timing belts. Very depressing.
 

donkeylips

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Rochester, NY
Sadly I didn't have time to work on the car until today. Not a single opportunity between November and August.
The cam seals weren't worn out, they were missing:


Keep in mind, this is the first time I have ever run this motor. I replaced a lot of parts, but had never taken the cam gears off.
When I took the cam gears off the seals didn't fall to the ground or come off with the cam gears...so I guess someone forgot them. Which is weird because I was told that the engine had 20k on a rebuild when I got it.


And I figured out how oil got on the timing belt on my other car. I did an engine swap in the rain (long story) and some water got in there and washed some grease down to the bottom of the timing cover. So when I first ran the car, it looked like it was leaking a ton of oil, but never leaked again. I put 10k miles on it with no issue. Never even replaced the oily timing belt, but I will be doing that one soon.
 

James

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Thanks for the update. Nice to see you figured it out
 

FlyingEagle

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Mar 5, 2005
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THE Ottawa
Was the car running when you got it from the PO?
I wonder if they swapped out the cams and went back to stock, leaving the seals on the old cams.
Either way, good to see the problem was readily apparent.
 

donkeylips

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No, I bought the engine separately from the car, so I had never seen it run. I probably put 100 miles on it with no cam seals though because I had to move it.
 

donkeylips

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Rochester, NY
Well the new one is soaked in oil again. I'm not as worried about it as before. If I can solve the leak without taking the belt off I will just run the belt for a year or two before I replace it. My winter beater has been running just fine with a wet timing belt for almost a year. It may hurt the longevity but as long as things are generally cleaned up I don't think it will cause problems in the short term. And I was going to buy a cheaper Gates belt but couldn't get one fast enough.

It didn't seem to be leaking at all until I went for a 25 mile drive. Now the valve cover is swimming in oil. I replaced the oil cap but that had no effect. To me this means that it must be getting thrown on top of the VC from the timing belt. There seems to be a ton of oil on the outside of the timing cover.
I'm hoping it's just the valve cover or something. Or maybe it's the oil pan. I'm really hoping it's not the front seal, oil pump seal, or front case gasket.

The only possibilities for oil leakage in the timing belt area are:
Cam seals
Valve cover gasket
Head gasket
Front balance shaft plug
Balance shaft belt tensioner pulley plug bolt
Front case gasket
Oil pump seal
Front main seal
Oil Filter Housing

Right???
 

donkeylips

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Rochester, NY
Noticed that the valve cover is cracked. Hoping that was the main cause of my problems.
 

raptorWagon

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I wouldn't run the belt for long, if at all was soaked with oil. You're not suppose to let any kind fluid get on that belt.
 

donkeylips

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Jun 18, 2009
Messages
552
Location
Rochester, NY
Since they're supposed to be good for 60k, I'll probably change it well before 10k. I was running the car last night and it doesn't seem to leak at all at idle. After going for a short drive it left one very small drip on the ground. The belt isn't wet anymore, just kind of greasy to the touch. You almost wouldn't notice.
 
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