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2007 Grand Caravan SXT, roughly 150,000+ miles

I've been observing what looks like oil seepage out of the sides of the engine valve covers, is this a sign of the gaskets starting to blow? Could a stop leak product help?

Thanks!
 

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Latent car nut
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With the exception of head gaskets, "gaskets" don't "blow".

Seepage from valve cover gasket, regardless of brand or engine, is just a simple fact of life on pretty much all engines. Some times it is simply a sign of a PCV going bad, other times it is because the gaskets have shrunk. If you replace the PCV, you may see less seepage, if not, plan on replacing the valve cover gaskets.
 

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Just a "heads up..." replacing the PCV valve on these vans can be quite an experience. If you decide to do so, I'd suggest doing some searches on it here to be prepared for what you're up against. It doesn't seem like it would be particularly difficult, but there is a rubber "gasket" that holds it in place in the valve cover and that rubber hardens just like your valve cover gaskets, oil pan gasket, and so on. With that rubber hardened, it can be a bit of a challenge to pull that PCV valve out.

As for valve cover gaskets, they're not that hard to replace. You can probably pick up a set of Fel-pro gaskets from the local auto parts store and it will have the gaskets you need for both covers and the gaskets that go on the bolts that secure the cover. To replace, I'd recommend removing the wiper tray for easier access to the rear valve cover. Worst part is getting to the bolts/nuts in the center of each cover on the sides nearest the intake. In my experiece, getting to these bolts takes just a bit of creative tool adaptation.... think I used a u-joint to help.

Personally, I replace the valve cover gaskets and PCV as a set so that I can tackle the old PCV removal with the valve cover off of the van. Even then PCV removal can still be fun. YMMV.

120,000 to 150,000 miles is a pretty common mileage to begin noticing such leaks on these engines. FWIW, you may also have a leaking oil pan gasket at this point. That, too, is also not terribly hard to replace.
 

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Minor looking leaks to me, could be cold temperature related. Check the nuts/bolts for tightness and snug them down if need be. Those leaks aren't unusual and don't worry about blown gaskets.

You could, I'm not saying should, use some oil stop leak, or go to high mileage oil. In either case, use a top quality product, not some house brand. Your local Chrysler Dealership has some products on it shelves to consider, like Lucas. Could be less expensive elsewhere though.

Lucas Engine Oil Stop Leak: https://www.walmart.com/ip/Lucas-Oil-10278-Engine-Oil-Stop-Leak-1-Quart/36052508
 

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Drivin' Maniac
2002 Grand Caravan ES 3.8L
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Just fix the darn thing. NO STOP LEAK.

We replaced valve cover gaskets, PCV, and oil pan gaskets on our '02 a year or two ago. Not too hard once you remove the wiper cowl. ?

I had time left over so I replaced those rear plugs, too. ?
 

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The last photo looks like a leaking valve cover gasket the other two look more like the intake manifold gasket. there are some good you tube vids on replacing them. You could clean up those external areas with some degreaser and then first replace the valve cover gaskets, drive it a while and see if it still leaks anywhere. But, I suspect the intake manifold and plenum gaskets will need replacing if you want to stop it for good. All the gaskets are maybe $30.00 total. As mentioned PVC is worth replacing as well. Just do it!
 

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Unless I'm missing something, it looks like a very small bit of seepage from the intake plenum and maybe the oil pan. Perfectly natural at this point in it's life. I wouldn't worry about that at all unless it's enough to start dripping. It could go years before it turns into a leak and even then it won't "blow". Just keep an eye on it.
 
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Unless I'm missing something, it looks like a very small bit of seepage from the intake plenum and maybe the oil pan. Perfectly natural at this point in it's life. I wouldn't worry about that at all unless it's enough to start dripping. It could go years before it turns into a leak and even then it won't "blow". Just keep an eye on it.
I totally agree. Just keeps the rust at bay. :)
 
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I wouldn't even say what you have is seepage, I would say 'weepage'. And mechanics make big bucks on dealing with harmless weepage, especially BMW owners who spend thousands fighting weepage. Luckily, I'm a BMW owner who reads this forum and knows enough to ignore most weepage. Kind of makes you want to weep!
 

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I wouldn't even say what you have is seepage, I would say 'weepage'. And mechanics make big bucks on dealing with harmless weepage, especially BMW owners who spend thousands fighting weepage. Luckily, I'm a BMW owner who reads this forum and knows enough to ignore most weepage. Kind of makes you want to weep!
I agree with you.

Shall we pick a particular time so we can all weep together? :)
 

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Drivin' Maniac
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You wouldn't be laughing if you had a wife that said "My car smells! FIX IT!!!!" ?
 

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You wouldn't be laughing if you had a wife that said "My car smells! FIX IT!!!!" ?
That only happens when a mouse gets caught up in your blower fan and becomes a corpse. :)
 

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To echo what others have said, the PCV valve can be a real terror. I ended up putting a wooden dowel in the PCV opening to prevent it from squishing flat, clamping that with a vise grip, and using a wrench balanced on the engine block as a fulcrum so I could lever the vise grips down with my entire body weight. Even with all that, a few tears of manliness were able to escape before I got the thing out. Replacing gaskets is a breeze after that.

At 150k, it's a good point in the vans life to perform this maintenance if you have visions for the long term.
 

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I've been observing what looks like oil seepage out of the sides of the engine valve covers, is this a sign of the gaskets starting to blow? Could a stop leak product help?

Thanks!
[/QUOTE]
Just normal seepage from a motor that has some miles on it. No stop leak needed. You have three things going on at this mileage. One is that gaskets get hard with age and heat and will leak a bit, the PVC (positive crankcase ventilation) valve could use changing and with higher mileages you get some combustion passing into the crankcase and making the pressures in there a bit higher along with natural windage (misting of of oil caused by crank shaft rotation). A PVC valve replacement and the valve cover gaskets should cure the problem. I have a Gen 3 with a 3.3 (169K) and have done this maintenance plus I have installed an oil catch can into the PVC system. This keeps the oil suspended from windage from passing back through PVC system into the intake manifold and being burned and that adds life to your catalytic converter. After a month or so you can easily unscrew the bottom half of the canister and drain the oil that gets sequester there. The model I use comes with a dip stick in the cap. They are available on Amazon for various prices (and colors!!!) from around 20 bucks.

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I'm about to replace my valve cover gasgets. (221k) Yours isn't leaking really that much. I did the PCV a few years ago. Not fun.
 

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plus I have installed an oil catch can into the PVC system
Hey wow, I'm not the only minivan owner to have done this. Have run about 5k miles on it and only about 1/2" of oil collected so far. I'll post pics later, my set up is a bit different due to layout on the 4th gen van. After the first 1k miles noticed the engine sounds much smoother - super silent on the highway on a cozy stretch of clean blacktop. Have had my late-model Lexus and late-model CRV friends comment on the smoothness of the ride - puahing about 185k miles at this point.
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