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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
9-3 has a leak, just switched to synthetic.(updated pics)

I am not sure if this is related at all. As some of you may know, I just switched to mobile one, after many of you kind soules helped me with an oil change.

I have a feeling that some of this leak may have been there before the switch to synthetic, but that the synthetic may be sneaking through even more than the semi used before.

Yesterday I noticed it in the morning...I checked for leaks a few hours after I did the oil change, but saw nothing. When I noticed this under the car after the oil change, I assumed it was a spill, either from when I was putting oil in the top, or when the oil shot out from the drain plug.

I went for a drive and thought I would keep an eye on it. I took a look when I stopped at parking lots, but no drips when I came out of stores, although I imagine it was burning off or some such, since a majority of it seems to be hitting the exhaust, and that is hot.

When I got home last night I laid paper towels underneath the car to get an idea of the drip amount. I also tightened down the drain plug a bit more, and it did still have a bit of movement(you could see a drip coming from the plug when I got home). I have a feeling that after I tightened it from the oil change, once things heated up, it needed a little more tightening.

So I put down towels overnight, and sure enough there was a drip or two from the area of the exhaust you will see in the picture, and one drip that seemed to come off the area of the drain plug(is that the drain pan), basically the front of that pan/area. So I am not sure if the oil from the front of the pan came from the drain plug in the back, and worked its way forward, or was part of the same leak that caused the drip from the exhaust area. I did not see a droplet forming from the drain plug like I did before.

On a last note, I did check the oil level, and there does not seem to be a massive loss. As far as the drain plug, I assumed the small leakage I had from it when I changed the oil before was due to a washer being reused or something, but since tightening I will need further testing to see if that is that case.

Attached is a picture, please help me identify the possible cause. I know it will be difficult, and I will need to put the car in the air, wipe it down, and look from there, but I thought maybe someone had some experience with this one, and may know a general seal to check, etc.

Thanks,
Doug

picture
 

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Discussion Starter #2
As another note, I do have a 90 day, 4500 mile warranty on it from the place I got it.(through a warranty company). I am thinking of calling them up today and initiating a claim that I have an oil leak. I could at least get it into a shop to have them take a look at it, and repair it for free if they find something.
 

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First, I would try to clean up all the pre-existing oil thats under there, including the oil stuff thats still on those parts, and try again, see if more develops. It probably would be wise to get them to replace the engine seals, if you can get them to do it for free.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Now one thing is, I cannot say 100% that it is engine oil, but it sure seems like it. It is very translucent, so I would imagine it is the new mobile 1, and not some other fluid like tranny, etc, I think that would be darker. I am going to call the warranty company and see if I can get an ok to take it somewhere, and hopefully they will do the work. I would love to do it now, before the warranty is up. Right now I am really glad I have another car :)

I parked in a spot at work today that is pretty freshly paved and did not have any oil spots so I can see if it is leaking. I brought some cardboard with me, and was going to slip it under the car, but there were so many peoplel around I did not want to look like a total weirdo. I do not work at a place where they are used to seeing anyone who looks like they would work on a car, much less crawl around in business attire in the parking lot...
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Yes, I replaced the washer, I even replaced the drain plug. Since tightening the plug yesterday, it certainly was less, and I may just need to put it in the air again so that I can tighten it just a bit more.

Truth is I am not even sure if the drain plug is leaking any more, I don't think it is. The spot I found this morning seemed to be in the front of the oil pan.


If you look at the picture I took, I think the drip was from where the arrow on the left is pointing. At this point I think the drain plug was leaking yesterday, but no longer is, and the spots I found today both originate from the spot indicated by the arrow furthest to the right. I think the flow is wishboning, and some is dripping off the oil pan, and some is dripping off the exhaust pipe. Judging from the papertowel I would say I had around 2 drops overnight from each spot.

I am trying to figure out where this area is relative to the engine and transmission, but as I said before, I think this is M1, not tranny fluid or something similar, although I am not an expert by any means.
 

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It seems like its seaping out from the oilpan seal area... not sure though. Sorry. I have an oil leak too and I just kinda decided to live with it because its a very small leak. I run Mobil1 15w50 since I drive in Florida and the change to a thicker oil has actually made the leak very minute.
 

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Your need a torque wrench for properly tighten things - mechanics quickly develop a "feel" for this..

Probably it is the "valve cover"(cam cover) gasket, this is common; the oil pan gasket , even weeping, is uncommon..The head gasket too, could be a oil seep source. If the cam cover is pulled, the head bolts should be re-torqued..

To make a good diagnosis, throughly clean the engine.

Monitor the fluid levels, if no drop - then there is no leak...
Cars, and not just Volkswagens, mark their territory by seeping little drops of oil..
 

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Discussion Starter #9 (Edited)
I just went out to the parking lot to check the ground. I did not see anything on the ground, but I did notice a bead of oil building up on the drain plug. Maybe I should get a torque wrench to tighten it down. Thing is, near the drain plug it looked like some oil was probably leaking before I changed the oil. Like I said before, I just assumed it was a bad gasket, and they reused the old one. I used the new one, plug new drain plug, but its still doing it. Is it possible theat the drain itself is screwed up and not making a tight fit with the plug/gasket. Basically that the monkeys who changed the oil before used to screw the plug on so tight that it actually damaged the threads in the drain.

As far as the exhaust I did not notice anything particularly new on it, and I cannot imagine that oil from the drain plug is making it onto the exhaust...it seems to defy the laws of physics.

As far as the warranty, it covers the following:

Cylinder head gaskets and intake manifold gaskets are covered. All other seal and gaskets are covered as a result of a covered repair.

I assume then that in order to cover other seals, they would need to find something else wrong.

I am going to try and clean things up tonight, so that I can get a better idea of what is going on, and also start monitoring my fluids closely.

QUICK OIL DIPSTICK QUESTION:

When I am checking the level, am I supposed to push the dipstick all the way down(as if I was going to push it down to turn it and lock it), or do I just push it down to the point where it makes contact, but I don't need that extra effor to push it down, and check it from there. I have never seen a dipstick like the one on this saab, so I don't know if I am checking it right.
 

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Please be careful if you tighten the sump plug. The alloy sump SPLITS VERY EASILY right where the threads are that the plug goes into!
 

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Discussion Starter #12
hunt.dogshome said:
Please be careful if you tighten the sump plug. The alloy sump SPLITS VERY EASILY right where the threads are that the plug goes into!
I am starting to have a feeling that it is already split, and that is why I am getting the leak even though I have a new plug and gasket.

Is this a costly repair?
 

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I managed to get it welded on the car. Not the easiest weld in the world due to difficulty in getting it oil-free.

A second-hand sump isn't too expensive, but removing the sump means subframe removal which is.

If you get you camera right under it, you should see if it's split.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
I will put it up tonight and take a look if I get a chance. I will also try and take a picture and post it high res, and if you would be so kind to take a look, I would be grateful.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
There is a storm rolling in, so I did not get to put the car up, but I did check all the fluids which looked fine. I also snapped a pick of a papertowel comparing my engine oil, to my tranny fluid, to the spot coming off the exhaust. I realize that the spot from the stuff coming off the exhaust looks like engine oil, but I wonder if the dirt it picks up is masking that it could possibly be tranny fluid, as it is a possibility by the location. Anyone have an opinion.

I also took a closeup of the drain plug, I did the best I could holding the camera under the car, its a bit out of focus. The pics are big, just as a warning.

Fluid Compare


Drain Plug Closeup
 

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can't see a crack. mine went just where the drop is.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
We'll the weather should be better today, so I am going to try and get it up on ramps and torque the drain plug a bit more. If I can't get it done, There is a shop across the street from me that I get one of my cars worked on, and I will have them tighten it down. I would not trust them to work on all of the SAAB, but with stuff like tire rotations, etc, I do :)

I am going to leave the car home today, put some cardboard down again, and see how much I get with it sitting all day.
 

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Far fetched here, but have you made sure the oil filter is properly tightened? I wouldn't think the valve cover would be leaking that much without something more showing up topside. I have/had a small leak out of the distributor plug and even at it's worst, it pretty much dried up before it made it down there. Anything causing that much leaking should be clearly visible.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Well I wiped around the oil filter, and it certainly isn't coming from there. At least if it is, it would need to be leaking up.

And as far as clearly visable, I have not been able to get the car up on ramps to take a good look. I am not even too sure of where exactly to look.
 

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as previously mentioned, be very careful not to overdo the drain plug tightening.
I had a 99 once that continually seeped a bit at the plug. Didn't matter how many times I replaced the gasket--it seeped. I lived with it for many years.

For starters, a couple hours isn't enough time for synthetic oil to open anything that wasn't already open. Yep, it will clean, but over a period of 1000 or more miles.
 
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