By July 6, 2008 Read More →

Why Is Camshaft Seal Leaking Oil

Hi, I have a Ford Aspire that I bought for a fairly cheap price. I thought all was wrong was the cam shaft seal and timing belt. So I took it to a mechanic I always found really good about. He did the work and I took the car on the highway and the seal went again, oil every wear. I looked myself to see if it wasn’t somewhere else because of the built up presser.

So I took it back he did it again and had said someone used a screw of some kind to keep it from breaking the seal. So then I took it on the highway again, same thing.

So I took it to this other shop and he did the repair. Wonderful, it stayed. So then I decided to go for a drive. The engine light comes on. Not noticing any changes in performance then it seems less power. So I had it looked at again oil everywhere couldn’t tell from where except the hose on top of the engine was loose towards the dash of the car.

So I’m thinking some kind of built up presser somewhere. And check the oil and radiator. Rad is fine and clean and full .Then try to take off the oil cap and its very hard to remove and hot. No over heating though, surprising or maybe just lucky.

THen the oil level is merely empty. Thank God not all of it. No missing or clanking of the engine but still oil. So clean it up and start to use it, and its doing it again not leaking or losing oil around town ,but higher speed than 50 60 km an hour yes , the presser I suppose. and around the top of the engine valve gasket seal is leaking and down the other side ,drivers side .

Just a thin stream I’m thinking same place.So could this be the only thing it could be or could it be the cam shaft seal again . If four to five mechanics can’t fix a camshaft seal, What next to do?Kim


Hi Kim,

A few things come to mind here.

1. There is a problem with the camshaft or the cylinder head which is not allowing the cam seal to seal properly. I have seen camshafts that had a “burr” (basically like a sharp hangnail) on them and this sharp burr on the end of the camshaft would cut the camshaft seal. We took some sandpaper and filed down the burr. I would also make sure the camshaft is not “out of round”. If the camshaft has a wobble to it because it is bent and out of round…it will wear on the seal and the seal will leak.

There also could be a problem with the cylinder head itself, this is basically the top part of the engine where the camshaft is located. The cylinder head is made of soft aluminum and can warp, which will not allow the seal to seal the space between the camshaft and the cylinder head.

Since there was a screw in the seal area, I would assume the previous owner knew of the problem. A used cylinder head from a junk yard, or used engine might be the answer to this problem.

2. is there really a pressure problem inside the engine/cylinder head? I would remove the valve cover and make sure the “drain back holes” inside the cylinder head are not plugged up with sludge which would not allow the oil to drain back into the engine. This condition would increase the oil pressure at the top of the engine thus putting too much pressure on the seals. Your mechanic should also check the PCV system, this Positive Crankcase Ventilation system removes excess engine pressure and should be checked and cleaned periodically.

3. is there an oil leak elsewhere that appears to be from the camshaft seal? Oil leaks can be tricky to locate. The make a dye you can add to the engine oil that will help you locate the leak. You have to use a black light to activate the dye…but you can usually rent the black light from an auto supply store.

Keep me posted, and best of luck to you.

Austin Davis

About the Author:

Austin Davis, consumer car repair advocate. "Hi there! I love to help people solve their car repair problems and I hope my site was helpful to you today. Thank you for stopping by."

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