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2001 Corolla Oil Leak

by sirmark, January 26, 2015

I recently purchased 2001 Corolla 103313 miles on it. I drove the car about 500 miles and the oil light came on. I checked the oil level, need 3 quarts to bring it up. WOW!!

No signs of smoking and drops on the ground. I changed the PCV valve, saw some sludge in the hole but it still moved inside when I tilted it. Cleaned the engine. Now I see oil all along the undercarriage more to the drivers side. Two big puddles on top of the transmission on the drivers side. I checked the drain plug, oil pan, oil filter, valve cover gasket and no apparent in oil there. I removed the air filter case to get a better look at the side of the motor. There is no evidence of oil leakage that I can see except the 2 puddles on the tranny and the trail on the underside of the car. What would be in that area the would leak oil?

Any help would be appreciated.

You'll need to clean up that area and watch it closely for the source of the leaks. They do have dyes that you can add to the oil, then trace it with a UV wand or similar.

Possible the oil is running down from one side of the engine and dumping off onto the trans. Also possible that the oil leaks only under pressure. Hard to say for sure without being right there.

Common places for the oil to leak is the timing chain tensioner (on the passenger side of the engine, close to firewall). The front and rear oil mains are also common places for a leak.

I'd double check the valvecover gasket and the oil pan. Valvecover gasket is an o-ring type, so it seals best if the material is not completely crushed. There are little metal standoffs that prevent that - but they can corrode over time and it would be pretty easy to overtighten those bolts.

Oil pan uses FIPG sealant instead of a gasket - those generally hold on pretty well. But once they spring a leak, they are nearly impossible to seal - have to pry the pan off and start over from scratch. I's also look at the pan and note any dents or physical damage to the pan. It is actually part of a the structural element of the engine, if it took a good enough hit from debris or going offroad - it would be prime to leak.

But loosing 3 quarts over a 500 mile interval - at that consumption rate, I think you probably have both a leak (from your description) as well as heavy oil consumption. Some of the 8th gen Corollas have been found to consume oil at a pretty alarming rate. Some are 1-2 quarts every 5000 miles, some are 1-2 quarts over 100 miles! There are some that also don't drink an ounce of oil (mine is this way - knock on wood) - but may have other "issues", like EVAP problems (like mine).

Any possible way to get a maintenance history of the car? Any record or documentation of oil consumption?

Yeah beside oil consumption, engine oil leaking out at the flywheel cover would be from the rear main seal.

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The engine is clean. Not evident in the picture (fresh clean oil) puddles. The only evidence of oil leak is where the circle is, which is on the tranny under the air box. And on the tranny fin under where the arrow is. I can not see any runs on any part of the motor to indicate where the oil is coming from. This my be bad but I added STP oil stop leak. I went 180 miles and add 1/2 qt.oil. Today I drove 50 miles at a loss of (maybe 1/8 inch on the dip stick)

I just bought this car 1/2/15 for my son to drive to work and back need it to last about a year. He just has his driving permit so I have to be in the car with him so we drive 25 miles to work then I drive home then later I go back and he drives home. so about 100 miles per day, for the next few months then he will be able to drive alone so then 50 miles per day. I am getting 32 - 34 miles MPG my wife drives the good car and my truck gets about 13mpg so its the best option.

STP oil stop will likely slow a leak, if it is coming from a gasket. Does thicken the viscosity of oil slightly - which may in turn cause the oil to have a harder time to flow past the piston oil holes. But in your case, sounds like they might already be clogged.

Lots of members here have reported good results running Valvoline Maxlife high mileage oils or similar. High Mileage oils tend to have more esters (swells seals) and run a little on the heave side of their viscosity range. Some boost more detergents and additives, but that might just all be a marketing gimmick.

I'll try and pull up your picture at home - as photos are blocked at work.

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