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Old 10-18-2008, 04:42 PM   #1
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Found oil in the spark plug housing?!?!!

I hope someone has an opinion on this. Today I changed all 6 spark plugs with brand new Bosch plugs from Pelican parts, for the first time on my own. I diligently followed the steps documented in the Bentley and I did read many other "how to's" posted on various forums such as 986forum.com.
Imagine my surprise when a bunch of engine oil came out with the coil pack that's the closest to the front of the car, on both sides. The inside of the coil pack tube was free of oil but the outside was bathing in it. I did my best to absorb it with shop-towels and proceeded with replacing the spark plug anyways (perhaps a mistake in retrospect).

Upon completion of the task, I started the car to find that:
1-some more oil burnt off upon starting
2-Idle was a little erratic and after a few minutes settled somewhat but at least one of the pistons sounded like it was irregular, probably misfiring.
3- after 200 yards of test driving the engine light flashed a few times and then decided to stay lit.

I know that if a cylinder misfire the engine light is supposed to come on. I will go back and redo the entire procedure tomorrow to make sure I did not omit anything (but I torqued the plugs and ensured all connectors "Clicked" in place).

Finally the question: where can the oil be coming from?
What is the risk to the engine of me driving (to my mechanic - 10 miles) with at least one cylinder misfiring?

Any input appreciated!

Concerned Michael
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Old 10-18-2008, 06:00 PM   #2
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Sounds like you didn't snug a coil pack enough or too much and cracked one.
Re-check em, if you read the code you could determine which one(s).

Bad or missing O ring on the tube? Maybe you fouled a plug installing it with all that oil you've described?
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Old 10-18-2008, 06:26 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sputter
Sounds like you didn't snug a coil pack enough or too much and cracked one.
Re-check em, if you read the code you could determine which one(s).

Bad or missing O ring on the tube? Maybe you fouled a plug installing it with all that oil you've described?

Thanks Sputter! I will check all coil packs again tomorrow.
I'm not sure I could have fouled the plug since I cleaned all the oil I could get prior to de-installing the old one and placing the new one in, but I will also check while I'm at it!

I am not sure about what O-ring you mention...
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Old 10-18-2008, 07:32 PM   #4
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Hey bro,

Go to this web site;

http://e-partssales.com/Merchant2/merchant.mvc?Screen=PROD&Store_Code=P&Product_Code=99610532552W99970734340W99970721540

It's Suncoast Porsche, once you see the tube you'll understand that you can change out yourself. With the plug removed you can grab the tube and pull it out and install the new one. Remember to lube the o-rings first before installing so you don't cut one and cause another leak.
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Old 10-18-2008, 08:15 PM   #5
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Hey bro,

Go to this web site;

http://e-partssales.com/Merchant2/merchant.mvc?Screen=PROD&Store_Code=P&Product_Code=99610532552W99970734340W99970721540

It's Suncoast Porsche, once you see the tube you'll understand that you can change out yourself. With the plug removed you can grab the tube and pull it out and install the new one. Remember to lube the o-rings first before installing so you don't cut one and cause another leak.

Thanks man. The weird thing is that there was no o-ring on any of the tubes when I got them out...
and I still wonder where the oil came from...
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Old 10-18-2008, 08:25 PM   #6
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Make sure they didn't fall off and are still inside the valve cover! I'd hate to have those floating around the valve train and oil galleys.
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Old 10-18-2008, 08:42 PM   #7
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Make sure they didn't fall off and are still inside the valve cover! I'd hate to have those floating around the valve train and oil galleys.
alright you're worrying me. considering how hard it is just to access the spark plugs I'm not sure how I would even begin to check that!
The only thing that makes me think they weren't there in the first place is the fact that they were missing from all the coil packs and I was also very careful in the removal process and it never felt like anything was coming off...
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Old 10-18-2008, 09:27 PM   #8
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OK, I think we need some help here from forum members in the know of how these engines are put together. Question; Are they initially put together without the O rings and replacement parts now come with O rings or did someone mess with his engine and not install them or is it possible that all the O rings fell off?

There are some very talented people on this forum and I hope they chime in, quick!
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Old 10-18-2008, 09:49 PM   #9
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OK 986FortyEight, you being nervous is making me nervous so I did some research and will post a new thread with what I found. If you go to You Tube and type in the search for Porsche Boxster S Engine Rebuild a group of 5-10 minute rebuild clips (about 15) will come up and if you select #10 they are putting the head together and it shows the spark plug tubes going in with the O rings installed.

I hope for your sake the O rings were not installed but I highly doubt it. BTW, this series initially fixed the problem of a crack in one of the spark plug seats by getting it welded and machined.
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Old 10-19-2008, 04:48 AM   #10
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Do your best to find where the o-rings went, make sure they are nor running around in the valve train somewhere. That wouldn't be a good thing. Ok Yes you have to have the o-rings there. Yes they are installed from the factory, if yours are missing they were omitted for what reason, who knows. Ok oil issue done with. Find a scanner, find out what cylinder is missing, pull that coil and plug and look for the obvious. (cracked or closed up plug, cracked coil, not hooked up coil) If everything looks good to the visual inspection, change the coil out with one from a diff. cylinder. If your miss jumps to that hole you have a bad coil, if the miss stays put you have a bad plug, if the miss goes away you did something wrong when you replaced the plugs the first time.
Now, go get-um. Don't freak out and flatbed the car to the shop, you can fix this yourself.
Advice from a Porsche mechanic (me) just relax, think your way through the issue, and break this down to one step at a time.
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Old 10-19-2008, 05:18 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jaxonalden
OK 986FortyEight, you being nervous is making me nervous so I did some research and will post a new thread with what I found. If you go to You Tube and type in the search for Porsche Boxster S Engine Rebuild a group of 5-10 minute rebuild clips (about 15) will come up and if you select #10 they are putting the head together and it shows the spark plug tubes going in with the O rings installed.

I hope for your sake the O rings were not installed but I highly doubt it. BTW, this series initially fixed the problem of a crack in one of the spark plug seats by getting it welded and machined.

OK. The video clarifies in my mind what part you were talking about greatly!
I did not touch these tubes and to be honest I did not even see them. So either they are there and I am blind or these do not exist on an 98 2.5L 986.
I will go back and remove the coilpack and check-it out in a minute.

I think that I will take the car to the local Autozone to get a reading of the error code and see what I have on my hands. I am anxious about driving a car with the CEL on and a sputtering engine but this is my daily driver and I need a fix or a game plan ASAP! Anyone thinks that I can damage the engine driving it 1 mile or so?
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Old 10-19-2008, 06:41 AM   #12
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Driving it will only result in a pop and fart, you'll be alright. Call Autozone first to see if they can hook up and read your codes.

About your tubes...Wheew...you pulled the coil packs and thought the tubes we are talking about came with them, no they didn't. They are part of the ignition system, they transfer the energy to the plug from the coil pack. The tubes are still installed, you need to remove the spark plugs and then you can remove the tubes. I don't know if you can just grab them or need a special tool to insert, expand and pull the tubes out.

I feel so much better now!
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Old 10-19-2008, 07:03 AM   #13
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Jaxonalden, I appreciate your concern!

I just got back from autozone and had the reading done in a matter of seconds.
Error P0306 which is a misfire on cylinder 6. I now need to figure out which cylinder that is and investigate the cause.

I am still wondering about that oil and I will investigate once I get the cylinder 6 issue solved.

Thanks for the help and I will continue to post progress / issues here.

Mike
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Old 10-19-2008, 05:26 PM   #14
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Alright, I removed the spark plug in cylinder 6 and found out that the brand new bosh plug was in fact cracked! No wonder It wasn't firing!

Now I still wonder why there was oil in the spark plug housing for cylinder 1 and 2!

Michael
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Old 10-19-2008, 05:40 PM   #15
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Unless something is leaking above those 2 plugs, the oil is coming from the spark plug tube seals. Any chance the old plugs were loose and were allowing the tube to leak?
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Old 10-19-2008, 06:13 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 986FortyEight
Alright, I removed the spark plug in cylinder 6 and found out that the brand new bosh plug was in fact cracked! No wonder It wasn't firing!

Now I still wonder why there was oil in the spark plug housing for cylinder 1 and 2!

Michael

When was the last time those plugs were replaced? What ever that time frame is, is the amount of time it took to leak oil into that tube. I'm sure it was a very slow leak.
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Old 10-20-2008, 09:10 PM   #17
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Unless something is leaking above those 2 plugs, the oil is coming from the spark plug tube seals. Any chance the old plugs were loose and were allowing the tube to leak?
Until this service (120K) which I am performing myself, the car has been at the Dallas Porsche dealer (Park-Place) from day one for all services. Only in the past year, since I have officially owned the car, have I started to take it to an indie for some repairs (engine mount, 1 axle, water pump...)

So I bet the plugs date back from the last scheduled service ( I need to check the records).

One of my colleagues who is particularly mechanically inclined told me today that it is quite normal for plugs to develop leaks over time as the metal they are made of expand while the ceramic doesn't. To be honest, his perceived authority on the matter seemed good enough to convince me...
All plugs are now new and I will most certainly check them regularly to see if the condition develops quickly or not...

thank you for all your help Guys!
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Old 10-21-2008, 03:43 PM   #18
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Quote;

"One of my colleagues who is particularly mechanically inclined told me today that it is quite normal for plugs to develop leaks over time as the metal they are made of expand while the ceramic doesn't."

Are you thinking that the oil came from a leaking spark plug because the metal expanded and oil leaked around the metal and ceramic? I don't mean to debunk you friend but I have never (in my 44 years) heard of a spark plug leaking anything. If it did it would be extremely hot, highly pressurized exhaust gas. I have heard of blowing the plug out of a head because of stripped threads or just being loose but never leaking oil.

Your oil problem is from a leaking spark plug tube O-ring.
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Old 10-22-2008, 07:19 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by Jaxonalden
Quote;

"One of my colleagues who is particularly mechanically inclined told me today that it is quite normal for plugs to develop leaks over time as the metal they are made of expand while the ceramic doesn't."

Are you thinking that the oil came from a leaking spark plug because the metal expanded and oil leaked around the metal and ceramic? I don't mean to debunk you friend but I have never (in my 44 years) heard of a spark plug leaking anything. If it did it would be extremely hot, highly pressurized exhaust gas. I have heard of blowing the plug out of a head because of stripped threads or just being loose but never leaking oil.

Your oil problem is from a leaking spark plug tube O-ring.

Fair enough. I am planning on changing them. Another friend from PCA told me he changed his tubes at 110k so perhaps my 120k service effort is a good time to do it.
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Old 10-22-2008, 07:30 PM   #20
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You should get away with about $40 in parts and whatever it takes in time for you to pull your plugs. Your problem should be a wake-up call for the rest of us with time and mileage on our cars. I'm ordering a set of tubes and O-rings so the next time I change my plugs, I'm replacing my tubes as well.
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