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Avalon 97 3.0L Auto 175,000 Wisconsin Oil Leak
03-08-2013, 08:34 AM
Post: #1
Avalon 97 3.0L Auto 175,000 Wisconsin Oil Leak
I smell burned oil (very slight) with the heater on after about 20 minutes. I'm not losing much oil (1 quart per 3,000 miles). I've never replaced the valve covers or cam seals. Is it likely that I would smell the oil if it were the VC or cam seals? Thank you.
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03-08-2013, 10:59 AM
Post: #2
RE: Avalon 97 3.0L Auto 175,000 Wisconsin Oil Leak
My first thought is that you are smelling Anti-Freeze. Kind of a weird, burnt hair smell? I would check your coolant level to see if it is going down. Check the carpeting under the dash to see if it is getting wet. If the heater core leaks the coolant usually drips on to the carpet. On defrost the windshield will usually fog up instead of clearing. The fog is oily and hard to clean off because it has Anti-freeze in it.

Check that out and let us know for sure so we are sure we are working on the right thing.

Thanks for using the forum,
Garner

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03-09-2013, 02:51 PM (This post was last modified: 03-09-2013 02:54 PM by Dr Face.)
Post: #3
RE: Avalon 97 3.0L Auto 175,000 Wisconsin Oil Leak
Thanks Garner. I have had issues with other cars with the antifreeze leaking into the heater core and I am fairly certain that isn't the problem here. I'm pretty sure it's burned motor oil I'm smelling, but obviously I could be wrong. I cut some hair off my wife's head and burned it and that's definitely not the smell.
I want to assume it's a valve cover gasket, and or cam seals, but based on your reply, that may not be correct.
The antifreeze levels have been stable for as long as I can remember. My assumption was that oil was leaking down and burning on the hot engine and some of the air was drawing that burned oil smell into the car.

Since I'm new to the forum, I should stress that I was just kidding. I didn't actually cut my wife's hair and burn it. At least not off her head anyway.
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03-09-2013, 10:41 PM
Post: #4
RE: Avalon 97 3.0L Auto 175,000 Wisconsin Oil Leak
Acually, we welcome a little humor once in awhile... and we wont ask where the hair came from!

Rule of thumb is if it walks and talks like a duck, well you get the idea. IOW, if you smell oil (hot or burned) it's probably oil so the next step it to look around and see what's wet or damp. Leaks from the VC may be close enough to the exhaust manifold to cause an odor and you can probably look right at that area with a good flashlight. Leaks from the front cam seal(s) will be behind the timing cover but will usually show up as dampness near the lower belt pulley so you may need to look under the car and behind the splash shield, although this is only if the car has a timing belt. (I don't recall if this is a belt or chain driven cam) Typically this is too far from the hot engine parts to cause a smell with a small leak. You should also look at the trany area because that can drip or throw oil on the exhaust under the car at highway speeds.

Let us know what you find and we can chat more about the fix.
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03-09-2013, 11:38 PM
Post: #5
RE: Avalon 97 3.0L Auto 175,000 Wisconsin Oil Leak
Oh my God! You may be new but I hope you keep visiting! That is one GREAT sense of humor!! I sat here & laughed right to the last sentence. I’m just glad I didn’t tell you it smelled like a burnt heart or lung. Your poor wife would be in the ER and the cops knocking on my door.

As to the car, Rupe said exactly what I would have so there isn’t any reason for me to elaborate there.

Can’t wait to read your next post!

Thanks for using the forum,
Garner

Interested in Mining? Look here: Coal Mining, PA
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03-10-2013, 10:53 AM
Post: #6
RE: Avalon 97 3.0L Auto 175,000 Wisconsin Oil Leak
I can tell I'm going to like it here. I have been reluctant to use any forums since I had a bad experience many years ago when I was searching for a Penthouse. But that's a long story.
I appreciate the responses. You guys are great.
I haven't had a chance to get out to the car and really look it over because I'm lazy and it's pouring rain, which helps to melt all the Wisconsin snow. I have the added disincentive of Tiger Woods leading in the WGC at Doral. So, let's see...raining, cold, laziness, and golf on TV. Oh yeah, and we lose an hour today? That seals it. I'm staying put.
I'll probably feel guilty later and make an attempt. I'm sure you'll be on the edge of your seats waiting to see if I actually made it out of my recliner. But right now, my fingers are starting to cramp up. I gotta go.
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03-10-2013, 11:24 AM
Post: #7
RE: Avalon 97 3.0L Auto 175,000 Wisconsin Oil Leak
Not to worry. This time of year the weather plays a big part for the DIY market and we have adjusted to the arm chair mechanic's schedule, which usually means a stretch between posts. Seeing as my area (New England) had 3 feet of snow a few weeks ago and the mid west also got pounded the board has been pretty quiet lately.
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03-10-2013, 01:13 PM
Post: #8
RE: Avalon 97 3.0L Auto 175,000 Wisconsin Oil Leak
Sweet. It's nice to know there are others who would rather write in a forum about repairing cars than to actually go out in the rain and srape skin off their knuckles. Like I said, I'm going to like it here.
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