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View Poll Results: Does your 308 Leak Oil?
Yup, it's a candidate for a SuperFund Cleanup site... 14 23.73%
Nope, dry as a cactus in the Arizona sun... 11 18.64%
One or two drops every month or so... 34 57.63%
Voters: 59. You may not vote on this poll

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  #1  
Old 12-01-2003, 04:17 PM
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Does your 308 Leak Oil? How much?

Hi folks. I just picked up a 308 the other day. It has a somewhat annoying oil leak. At first glance, it appears to be coming from the flat seal under the distributor. Can I simply pull the dizzy, replace the seal (actually there appears to be two in there), and fix it? Or does this require retiming the car again (I guess it can't hurt). Note, I know very little about these cars right now.

Secondly, there seems to be another leak coming from the other side, near where the cam belts attach (the seal that mates the cam with the head). This (I would suspect) would be a bad one to replace, as it would require the removal of the cam belts, obviously. I'm going to clean the car off underneath tonite, and then run it to see if I can more accurately spot the leak.

The thing is, the car has had just about every seal replaced about four years ago (about 2000 miles or so). I think that the seals probably got dried out from the previous owner not driving the car, and are now starting to leak (I've seen this many times on Porsches, particular since they are air cooled and expand more).

So, how much does your car leak? Systemic problem on these cars (someone told me they all leak).

???

Thanks,

Wayne
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  #2  
Old 12-01-2003, 04:56 PM
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It is not uncommon to find a bit of an oil leak associated with the cam seals. This seems to be especially true if a synthetic oil is used. At least this has been my experience.

My recommendation would be to drain the oil and replace with a mineral based oil. I have been using Valvoline's "Higher Milage" oil (or whatever it's called). It has conditioners to help older seals on older cars. If the leak doesn't slow considerably, get the cam seals replaced by someone who has done it many times before. Don't expect it to stop completely - it is an Italian car after all.

The synthetics leak so much with my car that I quit using them altogether with the exception of track events where my oil temp pegs out and I need the added protection of the syns. I'll drain my regular oil and fill it with Redline then when I am done I take it right back out again.
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  #3  
Old 12-01-2003, 04:56 PM
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You've just encountered the two most common 3x8 engine leak areas, the alternator & cam seals.

It's possible that the seals have dried out. It's equally possible & maybe more likely that they weren't installed properly in the 1st place.

The cam seal leaks are the more serious ones as there's risk oil getting on the timing belt & it jumping teeth under high revs or sudden rev changes. This is a interfering engine, so jumped teeth can result in valves thru pistons and/or damaged heads (ie: an instant $10K down the drain).

Also, the alternator is located down below the front cylinders, between the exhaust manifold and the block. Just where any oil dripping from the cam seal area will get sucked into the alternator & will destroy the slip rings & voltage regulator(been there...).

There are also some model specific distributor shaft leak problems with well known fixes.

What year & model 308 is it?

These leaks are fixable, but it takes careful work and knowledge of a few tricks. They also have a tendancy to reappear after too few years.

BTW, the cam belts must be changed every 3-5 years, and or 15,000 miles whichever comes first. It's a very good idea to replace the tensioner bearings at the same time.
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  #4  
Old 12-01-2003, 05:26 PM
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Verell,

Both the small leaks you noted when you saw the 308GTS here are now gone. She is bone dry and works great :-) Even cleaned the alternator and new bearing! The folks at KTR did a wonderful job :-)

Enjoy the Drive,

Steven R. Rochlin
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  #5  
Old 12-01-2003, 05:57 PM
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Verell is correct to suggest that they may not have been put in right to begin with. That is why I recommend someone who has done it many, many times before. Guess how I know?
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  #6  
Old 12-02-2003, 03:05 AM
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I do all my own work myself. I have quite a bit of experience with Porsches (see here: http://www.101projects.com), but not too much experience with these cars.

What are the tricks that you are referring to?

-Wayne
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  #7  
Old 12-02-2003, 06:00 AM
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Hello Wayne,

My 328 used to leak at the cam cover on the front bank. Two summers ago I did the service. Mine does not leak at the moment. I have never had a distributor leak but I hear they are somewhat common. When you reseal it, note which way the cam turns and the direction of the threads in the seal. The oil must be 'screwed' inward. Enjoy your F car. I've owned mine for over 15 years.

Now if I can get my pan gasket on my Porsche to stop leaking.

Lawrence
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  #8  
Old 12-02-2003, 09:17 AM
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Wayne,
From your web site it looks like you're quite a bit more experienced mechanic than the usual newcomer. BTW, the FerrariChat has just switched to a new system. The prior system with frozen contents is still available & searchable & has 99% of the topics dating back several years. It's down at the bottom of the home page as 'OLD FerrariChat.com Archives'. The link is:

http://ferrarichat.com/forum/forumdisplay.php?f=37

DISTRIBUTOR SEAL TIPS:
Getting the distributor seal on w/o popping the internal spring out is probably a no-brainer for any experienced mechanic. The following thread captures most of the tips & tricks that I recall:
http://www.ferrarichat.com/discus/me...20/237321.html

CAM SEAL&COVER TIPS:
In addition to the usual challenge of getting the cam seals on w/o popping the internal springs out, The cam cover-head joint where the seal(seal housing & o-ring in the newer Quattrovalvole(QV) (ie:: 4-valve 328 & 308 QV) engines mounts is problematic. It's much worse in the QV engines as the design is very different in that area. The gasket has to be carefully trimmed back so that when oil swells it it doesn't cut the edge of the seal (or the O-ring in the QV engines). Then a matchead sized dab of sealant (RTV) applied to fill the gap.
The biggest problems in this area are are:

- Seal popping out (fix: ding mounting area perimenter w/center punch)

- Gasket slipping away from the problematic joint just enough to let it leak.

I've concluded that using RTV or an anaerobic sealant as a gasket dressing is a major contributor to this problem. The sealants are just too slippery. I'm now recommending Hylomar due to it's tackiness.

What I really want to try is to drill & press fit a steel pin into the head about 1/4" back from the joint & protruding about 1/8", with matching holes in the cam cover and gasket. The pin should put a stop to the gasket slipping away from the joint.

If you search the archives, and find my prior posts about sealing the cam cover, you'll probably find them humorous. I was learning as I went.

- QV engines only - O-ring being pinched/cut by the sharp corner of the head-cover joint. (Fix: break the sharp edge very slightly with a file.)

These are a start & represent my most recent experience. I recommend you search the old archives for several threads on sealing cam covers.

BTW, there's Ric Rainbolt's cam belt replacement write-up that you may find useful in the following web site:

The Online Service Manual ( Go to www.ExpensiveCar.com, & click on 'Ferrari' for table of contents):
http://www.cameragear.com/ec/water.htm

I'm supposed to co-author a major update the next time I do a major service.

The 308 GTB Register's TechTips also has several other service procedures you may find useful:
http://www.r-design.net/308/
Click on [english], then LH menu's [Tech Tips],
then [Tech Tip #6: Water Pump]
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  #9  
Old 12-02-2003, 09:23 AM
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Welcome to Fchat Wayne. And we like Porschephiles here too. I also lurk about on the tech site on Pelicanparts.

I have the same leak under the dizzy on my 75 308. It is about 5 table spoons after I drive it and park it in my garage for a week. It is quite a bit involved to remove the dizzy, cam, plug it up with a plug, and put it all back. So, i am waiting for the next time I do a cam belt before getting into it. In the mean time, a drip pan under the car keeps it from getting out of hand.

One thing i can say about porsche is at least you can make them not leak. I can't seem to do that with the Ferrari, so far.
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  #10  
Old 12-02-2003, 09:29 AM
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If you find oil inside the distributor then the distributor seal is leaking.

If you find oil leaking beneath the distributor but none inside the distributor, then the small O-ring on the distributor shaft needs replaced. I replace mine routinely, they flatten out with age.

Replace the O-rings, lightly grease the shafts and O-rings, replace distributors and reset the timing.
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  #11  
Old 12-02-2003, 10:49 AM
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Guess everyone has their own problems. I can't get my Porsche not to leak. My Ferrari, for the first time in years, is not leaking. The Porsche is getting its second pan gasket in two years. Labor intensive job....
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  #12  
Old 12-02-2003, 02:20 PM
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Engines (and oil pans) are not designed to leak. Not Ferraris, not Lotus' and of course not Porsches. If you need to replace a seal or gasket more than once in a short period of time, then you should look at either the guy doing the job, or a problem with the parts you're putting together. Simple as that. Some jobs require a high level of skill to do right (the Lotus TC engine, Ferrari cam seals) and some are easy. If it's an "easy" job and it leaks, then something is out of whack with the parts. This whole notion that Ferraris are supposed to leak is just another way of saying you can't afford to fix what needs fixing, or you don't know how to do the job right.
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  #13  
Old 12-02-2003, 02:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken
Engines (and oil pans) are not designed to leak. Not Ferraris, not Lotus' and of course not Porsches. If you need to replace a seal or gasket more than once in a short period of time, then you should look at either the guy doing the job, or a problem with the parts you're putting together. Simple as that. Some jobs require a high level of skill to do right (the Lotus TC engine, Ferrari cam seals) and some are easy. If it's an "easy" job and it leaks, then something is out of whack with the parts. This whole notion that Ferraris are supposed to leak is just another way of saying you can't afford to fix what needs fixing, or you don't know how to do the job right.
I will respectfully disagree with some of that.

1: Shift shaft seal on a 308 (328, or 348 for that matter), The shaft is sealed by 2 simple O-rings. By virtue of the fact that the shaft has to slide, it has to have some clearance for that sliding action, and therefore when the oil is hot, it leaks out the seal. That is a matter of DESIGN, Stupid Design may I add. What happened to a good shift linkage that would bypass the oil pan altogether.

2: Early 308 distributor cam-shaft has no end plugs and is sealed to the internal part of the dizzy by a simple o-ring, with simple sliding on pressure with no groove or notch to seal against. This simple oring is NOT going to hold back 100 psi of hot oil pressure from the camshaft. The factory actually later recognized this problem by installing end plugs for the shaft so the oil will be stopped. Again, that is a bad, stupid design.

So, I'll admit to some amateurish, inexperienced hands if you also admit to getting off your high horses and stop calling everybody incompetent.
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  #14  
Old 12-02-2003, 02:59 PM
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So, I'll admit to some amateurish, inexperienced hands if you also admit to getting off your high horses and stop calling everybody incompetent.[/QUOTE]

Well, I wasn't aware I was calling everyone incompetent, just that some amatures have oil leaks and blame the equipment.

Not being a Ferrari owner, I can't say first hand just how badly designed the mentioned seals are. If they ARE designed to leak, then I stand corrected.

My Lotus TC engine is a famous leaker, and know what? Mine doesn't leak. I can see WHY it would leak: putting the front cover on right is an art, and the valve cover needs to be torqued exactly right. Plus, you have several different metals all with different coefficients of expansion...that's not a brilliant design either in some respects. But when joined correctly, it doesn't leak. Perhaps I gave Ferrari too much credit for having a design that actually holds oil. If it just doesn't work, then I'm pretty appalled.
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  #15  
Old 12-02-2003, 03:16 PM
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How much work is it to install the aluminum plugs on the older 308s? I keep replacing the O-rings.
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  #16  
Old 12-02-2003, 03:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by donaldh2o
How much work is it to install the aluminum plugs on the older 308s? I keep replacing the O-rings.
1. Remove cam shafts (lots of work here)
2. Machine a 1/2 inch long aluminum plug to fit the end of the adapter plugs of the Camshaft(s). make it long enough to cover the holes for the retaining pins so that the oil will not leak through to that point.
3. Install plug, tight, and with some glue/sealant, and now you have covered up the holes for the pins.
4. Drill a hole through the new plug to allow for the pin to mount through
5. Install the adapter plug back on the camshaft

6. Now, install the oring seals and the dizzy.

It requires a high quality lathe, and a high quality drill press with decent machine works skills. I would not try it if you lack a decent machine shop.

Last edited by yelcab; 12-02-2003 at 03:45 PM.
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  #17  
Old 12-02-2003, 10:38 PM
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Put some Permatex #2 on the O-ring!! It's non-hardening. My car has had a problem here since new, and only the use of good ole #2 stops it.
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  #18  
Old 12-03-2003, 04:53 PM
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Wow, lots of good knowledge here. If anyone has any Porsche 911 questions, I'll trade info (see here: http://www.101projects.com).

I cleaned off a lot of the engine (it was already pretty clean) last night and then drove it. I didn't smell the oil dripping on hte exhaust (that air-cooled smell), so I'm not sure if it's still leaking? The car sat for awhile, I'm hoping that running it for awhile will help - this does work sometimes for the Porsches...

-Wayne
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  #19  
Old 12-03-2003, 05:34 PM
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Hi Wayne!

The distributor o-ring are easy to replace as noted above.

The cam seals are bigger problem. If not done right.... the fix wont last for long. Pay close attention to what Verell said... the expanding cam cover gasket can cut into the cam seal and cause a new leak within a few hundred miles of replacement. Trim the cover gasket back a bit and its no biggie.

As it was said, using RTV or some other typical type of sealant wont cut it. I used Locktite red 518 flange sealant. Works like a champ. Pretty sure its an anaerobic (sp) sealant as mentioned.

It wouldnt surprise me if you do have such leaks given only 2000 miles in 4 years. These cars will really punish you if you dont use them!

WARNING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

If Wayne does end up doing a cam belt replacement and service on his car you F-chat guys better get ready! It will be the MOTHER of all tech articles on the subject! I have read 101 projects and own the Engine rebuilding book wayne wrote.... simply fantastic stuff. If Wayne were to do a similar cam belt article..... Ferrari dealers around the nation would put out a bounty on him!

Terry
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  #20  
Old 12-03-2003, 06:08 PM
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Regarding the topic subject line:

My car has always had 2 leaks.

I fix them, and instantly 2 different ones show up. This has happened several times. Fix the steering rack, and the diff leaks. Etc.

I took it to my mechanic to have ALL engine seals replaced. Drove it around Portland for several days, dry as a bone. Got it home and it pee'd perhaps a cup of oil on my driveway. I have no idea where it came from, but it never did it again. Just like a little child throwing a tantrum.

Since then, one distributor started leaking (O-ring, I'm sure), and the studs on the oil pan each have a drop of oil hanging from them. Not sure where this oil is coming from, but I've heard it's possible that the studs themselves can leak.
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