Caravan COLD Engine Oil Leak?? Help!!

Hi everyone,
I know that this is the "GM" group, but unfortunately there is only like 10 people posting in the "Dodge" group, so I will still try to get some
info. here from any mechanics in the group.
I am hoping that someone can help me out here and try to solve "a big mystery" that none of my mechanics can seem to solve.
I have a 1995 Dodge Caravan with 170,000 thousand miles. Its the 3.0L V6 engine. A little over a month ago, the car developed a MAJOR oil leak, where oil would basically just POUR out of the engine. The car would lose about 1 quart of oil every 5 minutes the engine was running.
My regular mechanic of 10+ years was "positive" that it was the "rear main seal" and he doesn't do major engine work anymore, so he recommended some other guy that I never heard of or went to before.
Anyway, I brought the car there, and the guy looked at it, and he said that the "crankshaft seal" was totally gone, and that the car needed a new "timing belt" as well. And sense I can't afford a new car right now, because I am only working part-time, and need transportation, I told him to fix it.
Plus, I was HOPING to get at least another year or two out of this car, because 2 years ago, I spent $2,000 dollars for a rebuilt transmission when the tranny went out, and last year I spent $800 dollars for a new fuel pump, and another $800 dollars on all new brakes and rotors! So in the last 2 years alone, I have sank $3,600 into this car!!!!
It took 2 days, and the cost was $800 bucks!!! So, I bring the car home, and find out that now, the engine is completely doing something else. What happens now, is that now the engine is leaking oil when the engine is COLD. When you 1st start the car and the engine is cold, oil DRIPS out. As the engine warms up, the leak slows down, and stops after the engine gets hot.
So I bring it back to the guy, and leave it there for another 2 days, and he calls me back and tells me that he "CAN'T find anything wrong with it, and doesn't see it dripping any oil", but yet charges me another $50 bucks to look at it.
So Monday night I put a piece of cardboard under there. Tuesday morning I go to start it up, and sure enough drip, drip, drip for about 10 minutes until coming to a stop.
Tuesday night I do the same thing, and put a new piece of cardboard there, and this morning I start it up, and once again drip, drip, drip, for about 5-10 minutes until the engine gets warm.
So I call the guy back, and told him that its still dripping when cold, and he says "That's strange", he never heard of anything like this before?? So now he wants me to drop it off again for another couple of days so that he can "look at it again"??
So does anybody know what the heck is going on here, and what the big "MYSTERY" is??? Why does the engine leak oil when cold, and then stop leaking oil after it warms up?
Does the "crankshaft seal" need time to expand or something??
Any info. and or suggestions would be GREATLY appreciated!!!!
Thanks!
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
MICHELLE H. wrote:

Post this on rec.autos.tech
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
MICHELLE H. wrote:

<snip>
Ok. You've sank $3,600 into this car. There's nothing wrong with that. It's a part of car ownership. Don't panic and make an expensive mistake at this point.
The car is currently going drip, drip, drip. Are we talking one quart every 100 miles, every 500 miles, every 1000 miles?
"Rear main seal" is the same as a "crankshaft seal". $800 is a reasonable price for changing the seal and timing belt.
"I spent $2,000 dollars for a rebuilt transmission" - that's normal for a transmission rebuild and it should last for 100,000 miles.
"I spent $800 dollars for a new fuel pump" - Sounds too high to me. Did you take it to the dealer?
"$800 dollars on all new brakes and rotors" - Again, too much, even if they changed the master cylinder.
It's quite possible the "crankshaft seal" needs a couple hundred miles to break in. You really need to drive the vehicle until you can figure out what kind of oil mileage your getting. If your getting 1,000 miles per quart or better, I wouldn't worry about the oil drips - just remember to top up every other fill up.
Assuming you didn't drive the vehicle with no oil in the engine, you should be able to get at least another 30,000 - 50,000 miles of reliable service from your Caravan.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

FWIW this question is also posted in R.A.M.Chrysler....
I wonder if it really needed a new tranny in the first place assuming it has the A604/41TE in it. Shops still seem to replace the whole thing when all that is wrong is Dexron poisoning, a speed sensor, or the solenoid pack.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
The independant shop may be good for general purpose fixes,
but over the years, I've found that a dealers shop is more familiar with the specifics of the brand.
The indie may have not have the experience, diagnostics, or tools to find the problem, and to fix it correctly.
Take your leak to a dealer !
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

And I have found that, just as often, this is not the case.
At rec.autos.tech, I posted about some of the problems experienced by a person whom I helped with a similar Dodge issue. (Engine replacement, reseal, etc etc).
Some weeks after this happened, she had a problem with the engine running rough and took it to the dealership. They diagnosed and told her it was going to need a new computer and kept it for a couple of weeks. I had it taken to a local independent, who repaired an ignition issue and sent it home working fine.
Dealerships are not always what you hope they will be.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Motorsforum.com is a website by car enthusiasts for car enthusiasts. It is not affiliated with any of the car or spare part manufacturers or car dealers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.