Common oil leaks?


LVC Member
Jun 5, 2015
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Santa Cruz
I know I need to change the valve cover gaskets because there's oil accumulating in the spark plug holes and a little bit of seepage from the valve covers directly. The K-member has oil all over it, and I occasionally smell burning oil when I get out of the car. So something is dripping onto the exhaust. Are there common places where oil starts to leak in these cars?
Oil pressure sending unit and the oil filter housing gasket are common for leaks.

After a oil filter change its normal for residual oil to drip for awhile.
I have had to replace the oil filter adapter gasket and oil pressure sender, I still have an oil leak from the pan gasket, on the passenger rear (so I don't think it is leaking from any place else).

My 2000 Grand Marquis (sure, it isn't a DOHC but still) at 280,000 miles leaks from the rear main seal. It also leaks from the transmission front pump so it is difficult to know what it is leaking more from the bell housing inspection cover.

At least the Mark VIIIs have the dimple on the K member to sorta drain oil off of it. My 89 Cougar does NOT and it holds enough oil to be messy. Can't just soak it all up because of the corrugated plastic covered power steering hose there. I generally power wash it after an oil change.

I would find this after parking for a couple of days:


replaced and cleaned up and it never gets too bad now:

curse you k member but at least that spout to drain some oil exists:

current oily spot:


looks like the hump has split, but I don't think it has, but it is oily:
if the valve covers are leaking, it can drip onto the exhaust manifolds, which can account for the burnt oil smell you you get.
I think this is mainly oil, and i think the messing looking transmission is also oil:
I went and looked under the car again, and that is exactly what my car looks like!
I've also got oil all over the K-member, the oil pan is covered in it, and the transmission pan. I'm going to start by replacing my valve cover gaskets. And maybe the oil pan gasket. But I understand both of those are painful jobs. Maybe time to go see a shop.
Bah... that's not much of a leak.

THIS is an oil leak!


I had it towed back to the garage and the next morning found this...


Replaced it with a generic parts store unit and it is all good. :)




I had my oil pressure sending unit blow out in a drive thru. Not good. It was a cheap one about 6 months old, replaced with an OEM unit.
I had my oil pressure sending unit blow out in a drive thru. Not good. It was a cheap one about 6 months old, replaced with an OEM unit.

I plan to replace it with a MotorCraft unit.

I was on my way to Atlanta when I had this happen. I had it towed back home and fixed it in time to still make the trip albeit behind schedule.
I have a 1997 mark and I am wonder what to torque the pan to 15ftlbs plus 60 degrees is what all data says is that right? Seems overly tight to me
my sean hyland book says 18-20. (what i used)
the ford book says 15 then 90 degrees.

pick one. you'll be fine.
I've had both leaks, the adapter gives you some warning but the oil sender unit could be catastrophic-Mine went about a year and an half ago, I had just left home and had driven it in stop and go traffic, and about 2 miles from home, i looked in the rear view mirror (lucky no cars behind me) and saw a heavy puddle as I pulled away from a light and a trail of oil leading from it-I opened the door and leaned out and looked under and it looked like a severed artery-pumping out big time. Shut it down right there and got it towed, the sender unit just let go with no warning. I went to the ford dealer and got one for $27, but when I installed it I got low oil pressure light (no noises thought)-I went to Advance and got a sender for $7, installed it, no more light...took the Ford unit back and got a refund. Weird.

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