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oil leak

Posted by wihlenfeldt 
bill ihlenfeldt
eau claire, wisconsin, USA   usa

Greetings all, I have an oil leak at the bottom of the bell housing. It is more annoying than anything as the oil level doesn't go down. I have been told it might be a rear main seal on the engine. Any thoughts? I use 20w50 and the oil on the pavement seems thick so could it be tranny?

Thanks in advance
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Mark Jones Avatar
SW, Ontario, Canada   can
1970 Triumph Spitfire MkIII
1995 MG MGF "Barney"

Rear main seal is my guess as well. Transmission fluid/gear oil is about the same consistency. Get down on your hands and knees and smell it. If it has a bit of a sulphur smell then it's probably gear oil
lorendad Avatar
Loren Welch
New Port Richey, Fl, USA   usa
1980 Triumph 1500 "Kasper"
1980 Triumph Spitfire "Kasper"
1997 Mazda Miata Special Edition "Froggy?"

I had the same problem. I thought it was the rear main seal, but turned out to be the timing cover seal. Also had a bit of oil running down from the front engine plate at the upper drivers side corner. Seems a PO had put the wrong bolt in the threaded hole, it was too long and bottomed out on the front of the alt. bracket and bent the engine plate away from the block. Was hard to see because of the alt. But the oil ran down behind the plate to the oil pan lip and then back to the bell housing.
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landrover Avatar
Michael Loiodice
Maryland, USA   usa

Oil leak on a British car? That never happens!

Was at a British car show once - there was a couple of Norton bikes there. One had a sign that read "Doesn't leak any oil.". Guy standing next to the other bike said "Yeah. It doesn't have any oil in it!"

Easy enough to narrow down where the oil is coming from. Clean it up. Then look for the leak.

My guess would be rear main seal. It will always be whatever is the most trouble to fix.

Cheers
Mike
superdave Avatar
david morris
north carolina, USA   usa

Welcome to the joy of British cars. Oil leaks are standard equipment.

I helped a buddy move a chassis and body into his garage this weekend. It had no motor or trans. When we started to push the car off the trailer and into the garage, I noticed a big piece of cardboard on the floor. He said he put that there for the leaks. I guess that was a conditioned response after owning so many LBC's since his new project doesn't even have anywhere to put oil yet.
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sexyspitfire Avatar
Chris Teli
NSW, Australia   aus

Hi all... my spitfire has been leaking oil from there for years.... i have a piece of carpet under the car sometimes carboard to soak up the drip. Back then when i first bought it in 1995 i sent it off to get fixed & changed all the seals.....but didn't seem to work so now i just live with it. Just Don't Park It on peoples new driveways !!!
Casey Thompson
Rockville, Maryland, USA   usa

Amen to previous posters.. I gave up too -- it's not worth trying to fix, for your sanity or your paycheck. Enjoy the burning petrol. smiling smiley
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spitfire50 Avatar
Paul Mugford
N.H., USA   usa

It is also good to keep in mind that cheap cookware (like aluminum foil pans )makes great oil drip pans.grinning smiley
Best of luck,
Paul
pipercollins Avatar
Bill Collins
Michigan, USA   usa

Ditto all of the above.
I've got leaks front and back. I'm just feeling the madness creep in since I have to pull the bell housing to fix a clutch problem...wondering if I can replace a seal and fix the front end leak. But really I know better.

BTW, the local Autozone has some big pans, like 2' by 3' I think. They look like cookie sheets but bigger. And they'll hold more oil than your car will. I just keep one under the front and one under the back all the time.

Cheers.
limeyleaker Avatar
Gary Kulich
Erie,Pennsylvania, USA   usa

determine if its engine or gear oil. engine oil in the bell housing is probably the rear seal. gear oil could be the input shaft or the bottom bolt holding the bell to the transmission. Its a thru hole bolt with a copper washer that is a good source.
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