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Old 10-11-2013, 05:58 PM   #1
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Join Date: Sep 2013
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Question Oil Leak with smoke...

I am hoping one of you with more experience with the quirks of my car (2001 Boxster 2.7 liter) can speed up my diagnostic process...

I just bought this car and have been working my way through several little gremlins.

Last time I drove it (about 8 miles) it started leaking oil and smoking severely and it looked to be coming from the passenger's side (American) of the engine (and smoked out the side cooling vent/gill) and sprayed enough that some oil onto the back of the bumper pads.

I pulled both covers off the engine and did not see any oil on the "top" of the engine like some posts I have read.

I crawled underneath and it does appear that the leak is coming from the front passenger's side somewhat close to the alternator.

I started it tonight and it definitely looks like the smoke is coming from the oil dripping on that right-hand catalytic converter. There was a big drop of oil just hanging onto the bottom of the cat.

I still can't really tell where the leak is. (I also noted the oil pan is oily but that doesn't seem to be the smoking problem - I plan to save that problem for later unless you tell me otherwise). I think I need to raise the car some more because I can barely fit underneath it (plus there are some hot parts about 1 inch from my face.)

While running, I did remove the oil filler cap in the rear trunk. It wasn't really "suctioned" on there (easier than taking the top off a pickle jar) but I did hear a vacuum release when I opened it. The engine also started to "throb" with the engine rpm's moving up and down a bit instead of staying at a steady idle (I didn't read the tach so I can't tell you the range.). I put my hand over the oil filler tube/funnel and it is definitely drawing a vacuum there. When I put the cap back on, it returned to normal idle.

I am hoping one of you guys will tell me what I want to hear...e.g., - this is easy and you'll be driving again in no time.

Could it be the Air/Oil Separator?
Could it be a Spark plug seal? (i still haven't even found the spark plugs but I did buy the Bentley book so I know I can find them.)

Please let me know your thoughts even if you are going to tell me something rough...


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Old 10-11-2013, 06:41 PM   #2
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Location: Guelph, ON
Posts: 960
It could be anything from a leaky plug tube, vent tube or seal..... If you can't find the source due to the amount of scattered oil, get yourself a can or two of brake cleaner (spray cans) and spray down the motor areas soaked in oil (wait until engine is cool) then drive it for a bit and see where the oil is coming from. Might help to be able to lift the car or have a set of ramps so you can easily access the underside....
The brake cleaner will quickly dissolve the oil and wash it off and then dry the areas.
If the cats are oily then that's probably the source of the smoke, as these get hot enough to burn oil off. You're best bet is to get the car up so you can identify and clearly see the underside and trace the oil...
Good luck with the hunt for the leak...
Previously owned:
2000 Boxster S 3.2 Ocean Blue / 1974 911 Targa Silver
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Old 10-12-2013, 07:35 AM   #3
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Location: Phoenix, AZ
Posts: 231
Check out some the pics of where the AOS is, like tech articles on Pelican. Sounds like the AOS is very likely it....

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