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Discussion Starter #1
As the title states I have an oil leak collecting on top of the cylinder head and up against what appears to be a thin metal heat shield behind the valve cover. This leak is dripping down between this thin heat shield and the head on to the exhaust manifold and making quite the smoke show when a drop hits the hot manifold and immediately vaporizes.. Already did valve cover gasket job and as you can see in the pics is bone dry, turbo and its oil lines are bone dry as is the underside of the turbo heat shield. Did vacuum pump to head seal as well and all of that cleared up a lot but still this oil collecting still persists but have no clue where it could even possibly be from. I have thoroughly degresed the engine several times and its all very clean up top but even after being cleaned within 100 miles this oil is back and only in that spot everyrhing else is dry. Ran UV dye and the oil collecting on the head had some illumination, we also noticed illumination running down the back of the block on the passenger side and on to the passenger side sub frame amd control arm. Hard to tell exactly where as axle shaft is slinging it everywhere. Thanks for any help or suggestions.
 

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Do the valve cover gasket, there aren't a whole lot of places to leak at the top of the engine other than that. If the leak on the passenger side persists, start eyeing the timing cover.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks for the reply. I have already done the valve cover job, actually did it the night I bought the car thinking it was the guaranteed culprit for this issue however the issue persists. Not sure if you looked at the attached pics but everywhere around that valve cover looks very clean and doesn't really show any signs of leaking. Its an easy job and I could always try resetting the seal, am I able to do that on this style of gasket or will even trying this require I buy a new valve cover gasket kit ?
 

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Discussion Starter #4
**Update** Absolutely not leaking from the valve cover gasket. Degreased engine last night and removed all of the suspect oil. Drove all day (100~miles) and sure enough suspect oil and only suspect oil is back. Thinking it HAD to be the valve cover gasket I ran a clean folded up paper towel wrapped on the end of a flat head along the back of the head and valve cover where they meet and not a single drop of brown on that paper towel.

The only thing I can possibly think at this point is that the oil is actually traveling UP to the spot its collecting at. The only thing i have seen up high on the back of the motor having to do with oil is the turbo and cooler lines but thats all dry.

This is so weird its like it's just seeping in to and appearing in the spots in the pics..
 

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That is weird. I had the same issue like 15k miles ago, plumes of oil smoke like you said, valve cover gasket fixed it. I doubt it's splashing from the bottom, the hood sound proofing and top of the valve cover would have oil. Could be residual from before the valve cover job, I couldn't be arsed to clean it and i've not had any issues. Keep driving, see if it comes back. Another thought is maybe the cover gasket isn't sealing due to a warped cover or cylinder head but I think there's be bigger problems if that were the case. If you try to readjust the gasket, I would just make sure it's youthfully spongy, and torque to spec all the way around.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I am honestly at a loss. My step dad an ASE master tech and granted hes more of a domestic guy but at the end of the day its still just a jazzed up ecotec and even he cant pin this. We did find UV trace on the back of the block on the passenger side running down on to the sub frame and control arm. We havent looked extensively at the passenger side of the motor yet so could still possibly be timing cover leak getting tossed around by the belt and axle but honestly from the top that all looks dry too and that oil getting up on top of the motor without getting so much as a drop on anything else is unlikely if not impossible.
 

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im not totally sure where the pic is from, but is your vacuum pump leaking?


I did a rebuild on mine, there are posts elsewhere on the forum with the how-to's.


You prob already know this, but I'll mention it anyway

valve cover gasket job: Clean, dry gasket mating surfaces prior to install, OEM gasket preferred, watch your bolt tightening pattern (could be listed in manual, but start in middle and crisscross outward toward the far edges in multiple passes), torque all bolts to spec in multiple passes- i've seen undertorqued vc gaskets leak.


dont put any rtv or any other crap on the rubber, just clean and dry

that said, there may be a spot listed in the manual to add a line of RTV near the camshaft humps



good luck
 

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Any luck finding the leak? My 2004 Linear has developed the same problem. I also replaced the valve cover gasket and it is still leaking. My vacuum pump is only a couple years old and doesn't show signs of leak.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
So to all that have replied, I have replaced the vacuum pump seal and have replaced both seals in the power steering pump as I had the over pressure from engine oil issue. The drivers side of the motor is bone dry. What I have realized is that the head/heat shield exhaust manifold does not completely block off from top to bottom even through it looks like it does from the top. With the right angle and light you can see that there are ares along the back of the head where all this meets up where a leak from lower on the back of the motor could find its way up thru all of that and pool where I'm talking about. I am now suspecting a leak somewhere on the passenger side rear coming down on to the CV shaft and being thrown up along the back of the motor. Or heat convecting oil. Leaks do very strange things lol
 
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