Engine oil leak

Deezil_n_Dachs

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2013 Passat TDI SEL Premium
Yesterday the wife pulled the car out of the garage to let it idle and warm up before she headed into town. As she walked back through the garage she saw an oil stain on the garage floor, maybe 2" x 3" around. I'm not sure when it formed, but I'm 100% confident it wasn't there over Christmas holiday. I did the 40K mile service that week and everything was clean and virtually spotless before and after the service. I looked under the hood and the dipstick, oil filter housing, around the engine, pulled the cover off and looked everywhere and found nothing evident. Shining a flashlight down behind the engine on the passenger side, that small space near the turbo where you can look down and see the splash guard there was a single drop of oil. Looking under the car I could see a small trail on the edge of the Diesel Geek Panzer Plate, so I had her park the car and she used my truck for her errands.

We put her up on ramps this morning and removed the Panzer Plate, and splash guard. I was expecting that there would be enough oil to run down and drip all over the place, but there was barely any. Total combined between what was on the floor and splash guard, MAYBE a teaspoon. I searched everywhere under the car, under the hood and couldnt find anything, then right before I was gonna crawl out from under I saw a very small film of oil behind the crank shaft pulley. There's a shroud of some sort that encloses around the timing chain cover? My first thought was crankshaft seal leak, but I don't know. We've put about 1500 miles on it since the service, oil level is right where it should be. It wasnt over filled. Drain plug in the engine and DSG were dry and clean. When it popped the fuel filter canister open to change the filter some diesel fuel splashed out and down onto the frame. I wasnt able to get all of it cleaned up due to where it landed, so I thought maybe...but this was definitely oil that we found. No odor, and its that sooty black that we're used to seeing in our dip sticks.
There's been no engine maintenance done other than the 10K mile interval services and the air conditioner compressor was replaced at around 25K miles.
Anyone seen anything similar? Suggestions on what could be the source?
 

FormerOwner

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I would like to check the oil level after the engine is completely cold and the car is parked on a flat surface. That way, you can figure out how bad the leak was- by checking the dipstick. Top off if needed.
 

Deezil_n_Dachs

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I would like to check the oil level after the engine is completely cold and the car is parked on a flat surface. That way, you can figure out how bad the leak was- by checking the dipstick. Top off if needed.
Yep, I'm with you on that. I did it first thing this morning before I started it to put on the ramps. The oil level is dead on where it's supposed to be.
 

FormerOwner

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Ok great. I would check it daily for about 5 days to get a baseline and then some data... in the back of my mind I worry, but I try not to about this!
 

Rico567

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And whatever you do, if you suspect something like a seal leaking, make written records, date them and keep them. They could prove invaluable later.
 

Herkguy

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To document also recommend that you take some photos of any suspected leak areas. Then using something like simple green(biodegradable degreaser ) spray around the areas and rinse with low pressure water. Avoid high pressure and direct spray at electrical connectors and components. They should be water tight but water can be forced into them.

Then keep reviewing the suspected areas for fresh oil periodically. It doesn't sound like its a massive leak so this may help find the source.
 

NSTDI

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A tiny amount of oil will go a long ways so it may be a while before the dipstick shows anything. Does oil level drop between changes?

I had my car in for an oil change last week, the dealer said they saw a bit of oil on the bottom of the engine. They asked me to come back after driving it a bit and they'd check it. My 80,000 KM warranty is close to expiring (bought extended to 200,000), I'll bring it back in next week. I have not noticed any oil under my car.

Don
 

Deezil_n_Dachs

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With everything cleaned up and wiped down, the splash guard and Panzer plate are reinstalled. We'll drive it back up onto the ramps again next weekend to see how things look.

There's been no real oil level change between services. I check it the morning after each fuel fill up in the garage where its been parked overnight. The leak we saw this weekend is the first indication whatsoever that there's a problem.
 

tdiatlast

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A tiny amount of oil will go a long ways so it may be a while before the dipstick shows anything. Does oil level drop between changes?

I had my car in for an oil change last week, the dealer said they saw a bit of oil on the bottom of the engine. They asked me to come back after driving it a bit and they'd check it. My 80,000 KM warranty is close to expiring (bought extended to 200,000), I'll bring it back in next week. I have not noticed any oil under my car.

Don
If you DID notice any oil under your car, you would have to have a substantial leak.
A leaking seal would never show up with oil on the ground, just an oil-stained engine.
 

psd1

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I think you are doing everything right. If you dare to run without the Panzer plate maybe leave it off next time the car is going to be parked for an extended amount of time, this might make it easier to see where the leak is coming from…if there is one. Of course this would mean more crawling around on the cold concrete.

Give your wife a pat on the back, or take her out for dinner for her attention to detail! :)
 

TurboDieselPoint

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You mentioned the oil seems to be coming from behind the timing belt cover. Isn't the timing belt tensioner hydraulic? Just a wild guess, but perhaps that is what is leaking the motor oil.

Good luck!

TurboDieselPoint
 

Deezil_n_Dachs

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We drove down to Knoxville last weekend on a business trip and spent the week there. Absolutely no evidence of the oil leak until Wed afternoon. Also to note that there was no change after Wed either. I've nailed this down to a specific condition/situation. When making a hard left turn from a stop, under somewhat heavy acceleration. I was driving the car both times and I had to put it to it pretty hard to get across multiple lanes oncoming traffic. I know this isn't necessarily an uncommon thing for most, but since I dont have to guess or interpret anything that another driver might try to describe, I'm confident in what I feel facilitates the leak. I'll dig into the source a little deeper and see what I can find.
 

NSTDI

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It should never leak under any conditions that would be considered normal driving, including what you describe.

Don
 

Deezil_n_Dachs

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The car went to the dealer today for the 23N5 ECM update, and they were asked to look for the source of the oil leak while they had the car. They said the turbo oil drain tube banjo bolt was leaking, so they replaced it. I'm skeptical, but we'll give it a few days and see.
 

FormerOwner

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It is plausible. Remember, turbo pipes can loosen if they aren't installed right the first time.
 

JdC Machine

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In my short time here, I ran across a thread from another member who found the turbo drain banjo bolt fitting at the block to have a small leak.

This is why I prefer to change the oil in a way I consider to be the right way. Crawl under it and remove the drain plug. While I'm down there, I have a good view of a lot of things and have the chance to look around a bit for any potential issues. Those who use a fluid extractor won't see something like this as soon as somebody who actually gets under a vehicle often. Just my opinion.
 
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50pascals

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^^I probably started the thread. Oil return line where banjo bolt attached to block. You can probably see it on the top of the back of the block. On a lift it's very easy to see.

I've done nothing with mine. So far the oil stain is only on the block.
 

Deezil_n_Dachs

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This is why I prefer to change the oil in a way I consider to be the right way. Crawl under it and remove the drain plug. While I'm down there, I have a good view of a lot of things and have the chance to look around a bit for any potential issues.
I agree, and I was under for a bottom drain oil change just a couple weeks before the leak showed up. Everything was virtually spotless then and again when I crawled back under the find the source of the leak. It took probably 15 or 20 minutes to find anything at all, which is why I'm skeptical about the banjo bolt that they pointed out. Unless I'm missing something that they could see better with the car on a lift it was perfectly dry and clean. Guess that goes to show how quickly things can change.

We'll see in time. I'm going back under this weekend to check again and clean the splash shield. The oil from the leak before the repair is still there taunting me.
 
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Deezil_n_Dachs

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Yep, but from what I can tell it's not a constant leak. It's shown up twice over the last 2 weeks, and oddly enough only under the circumstances I described earlier. I think each time has been less than a teaspoon.
 

PassatSE4me

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This is why I prefer to change the oil in a way I consider to be the right way. Crawl under it and remove the drain plug. While I'm down there, I have a good view of a lot of things and have the chance to look around a bit for any potential issues. Those who use a fluid extractor won't see something like this as soon as somebody who actually gets under a vehicle often. Just my opinion.
Agreed.

You still won't convince the "toppers" though.
 

jimbo1mcm

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For OP: Thanks for informative posts. Please let us know the outcome.
 

Deezil_n_Dachs

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We put her up on ramps again yesterday, pulled the splash shields off and found no new evidence of the oil leak. I confirmed the banjo bolt that the dealer replaced is on the center of the aft side of the engine block, with the tubing that it secures running straight up to the turbo. The ridges and ripples on the side of the block could allow oil to travel towards the crank shaft, but I find it unlikely that it would have done that without getting on the oil pan wrap and leaving some residual oil that would have soaked into it. We're going to have to keep an eye in it and see how it goes.
 

Deezil_n_Dachs

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Checked yesterday and it's back again. Got some photos this time! Contacted the dealer and sent them the pictures. They agree that it appears the main seal is leaking, and even agree that it's covered under the power train warrantee (if it turns out to in fact be that seal.) We shall see. Here's a couple snap shots.

Edit-They put us in a loaner 2015 SE TDI.

This is what I see when looking down behind the engine, passenger side. The oil drops are under the crankshaft seal area.


Oil drop on the shroud that surrounds the crank shaft area.
 
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JdC Machine

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Definitely not from the turbo drain being way over there. I've never had the front-end of a TDI apart but I imagine it's a quick and simple task to pull the vibration damper and timing cover(s). Hopefully, they put a knowledgeable and well-skilled TDI tech on it.
 

uberhunt

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nebraska
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We drove down to Knoxville last weekend on a business trip and spent the week there. Absolutely no evidence of the oil leak until Wed afternoon. Also to note that there was no change after Wed either. I've nailed this down to a specific condition/situation. When making a hard left turn from a stop, under somewhat heavy acceleration. I was driving the car both times and I had to put it to it pretty hard to get across multiple lanes oncoming traffic. I know this isn't necessarily an uncommon thing for most, but since I dont have to guess or interpret anything that another driver might try to describe, I'm confident in what I feel facilitates the leak. I'll dig into the source a little deeper and see what I can find.
I read with interest about your problem. If indeed this is related to turning, and making the car lean, then about the only thing this can be related to is the transmission snorkel, and the seal on the transmission drain plug. It may be worth to review how much oil you used and how much oil you removed. Check if you can see if this is engine oil or transmission oil. My two cents on this one and good luck.

Uberhunt
 

Deezil_n_Dachs

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Talked to the SA after they removed the timing belt cover. The seal around the crank shaft is clean, with no sign of a leak. They did find a trail of black viscous fluid from the water pump weep hole. It doesnt appear to be coolant or DSG fluid, and has the consistancy of engine oil but has no odor smell at all really. They reached out to tech service, and collectively they don;t really know what this is or why it's leaking. They're changing the water pump (under warrantee). I described the conditions that seem to bring on the leak, which they weren't aware of. I have no idea why, or even if it has anything to do with it, but it's standing out as a contributing factor to me. They were kind enough to send a photo of what they found.



There are absolutely no other leaks under the car. Drain plugs have been clean and dry from day one. All hose and tubing connections are as well.
 
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