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Discussion Starter #1
I'm working on putting in a new timing belt kit and just got the plenum and coils out when removing the spark plugs I discovered one is soaked in oil. The tube the spark plug goes in has oil in it too. Is this from a bad seal in the valve cover? Do I need to plan on replacing that too? Odd thing is, the electrode looked burnt up so it seems oil was seeping down the threads into the combustion changer. Possible? What do you think?

56877


56878
 

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To me that just looks like you have a leaky rocker cover gasket - oil running down into the spark plug recess and sitting there.

the oil on the end of the plug I would suspect got there when you unscrewed the plug and the pool of oil then ran down the thread.
I would look for and confirm a rocker cover leak or whatever else might be above the plugs and fix that. Oil is a good insulator so having the oil around the plug is not a huge issue but it might degrade the plug leads in the long term. Certain fix it but I wouldn’t loose sleep over it - unless the oil leak is something nasty.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
The van seems to run fine, although lately it has had issues with something like a misfire when accelerating on the highway. No CEL though. I'm putting new plugs and coils on as part of this job since I have to take them out anyway. I guess I'll take the valve cover off and report back with what I find.

I guess this could explain my oil consumption. I haven't been able to find a leak anywhere!
 

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Although you do need to replace the valve cover gasket, the ounce of oil leaked into spark plug hole is not the cause of your oil consumption... Like our 2010 4.0, it's mostly from oil getting past the piston rings, and also some leaking at the valve seals. Oil consumption has been drastically reduced since switching to 5W-40 / 0W-40 synthetic oil.



Don't forget to replace your intake plenum gaskets. Ours had obvious vacuum leaks.


 

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Discussion Starter #5
I had read about the unusual oil consumption in these vehicles, so I knew it was "normal" but I was very surprised when I saw this plug. I'm about to head back out to take the valve cover off.

Yes, I did get a new plenum gasket.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
So I loosened the valve cover bolts, but the cover won't come off. I'm afraid to whack it with a rubber hammer since it's plastic. What to do? :confused:
 

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Sounds like it's nice and tight, maybe leave it alone and just tighten things down..

Is that motor oil or power steering fluid around the spark plug? It's easy for power steering fluid to spill over, especially if the front wheels have been off the ground and the wheels steered back and forth manually. That happens fairly often.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Yes, I'm thinking I'll just leave it for now and move on with the timing belt project. I may reattempt the valve covers after the belt is done, or just save that for spring when it's warmer. I have new plugs and coils so it will be at least better in that regard. Maybe changing to 5w-40 oil will help in the mean time too.

It's definitely motor oil.
 

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Any chance it was power steering fluid? Is the reservoir nearby?
 

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Discussion Starter #10
It's definitely motor oil. I have ATF+4 in the power steering system, and it's not that. Besides, some of the plugs in the rear bank had oil on them too, and I don't see how power steering fluid could get back there without making a mess of the entire engine.

Since I had to get the timing belt job done, I decided to tighten everything on the valve covers back down and try again another time. I'll see how it goes with the new plugs, coils, and 5w-40 oil. Maybe I can put this off until spring.

Thanks!
 
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