Oil on spark plugs

Hi all,
Just fitted new plugs to my Fiesta (1.25L Zetec) and noticed that the plug for the cylinder furthest from the drivebelt (passenger side) had
a fair bit of engine oil on the threads (but none on the firing tip). There was no oil around the plug hole. I think this might tie in with why it's been drinking about half a litre every 4-6 weeks since Ford did a cambelt change in August IIRC :/ There doesn't appear to be any mix of oil and coolant.
Is it likely to be head gasket leakage or piston rings? Do you think I'll be able to get Ford to fix it (for free!) ?
Is there any point in getting hold of a compression tester?
Thanks and have a good new year!
Peter.
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On Fri, 30 Dec 2011 13:42:13 -0800, Peter Spikings wrote:

If you do one mile a week, your oil consumption is excessive. If you do 1,000 miles a week, it's pretty good...
If by "Ford", you mean a main dealer, the chances of them accepting responsibility for excessive oil consumption following a cambelt change are less than zero...
Your engine is noted for using oil, and for breaking up piston rings; cure is a replacement short engine if new enough to warrant it, a second hand engine if reasonably new, or scrapping it if it's an early one.

No.
Possibly, but see above.

Maybe. As long as it is less than three years old, of course.

None whatsoever.

You too.
Chris
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On 31/12/2011 8:42 AM, Peter Spikings wrote:

Why was the cambelt changed?? normal service or did it break????
If it was a normal service there should be no change in the oil consumption after a cam belt is changed. Why should there be?? the engine has not been opened.
If it broke then that's a different story.
:/ There doesn't appear to be any

Do you think

Well no - as it just maybe part of the natural wear and tear with the engine in this case. On the assumption is that your car may have done quite a few miles maybe over 100,000 mls (160,000 kms) and that the belt is being changed for the second time.
Nowdays with consumer laws workshops cover themselves and will either write out what repairs are needed and over estimate the repairs just in case.

As mentioned by Chris No.
It should be used in conjunction with other tests not alone as you can get false positives in the results.

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On 30/12/2011 21:42, Peter Spikings wrote:

Whilst it's known that this engine uses oil, it's also possible that the cam cover gasket is leaking oil down the spark plug well...
Lee
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Even thought you said you couldn't see any oil pooling, it's worth a proper look with a torch and/or a camera.
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Lee wrote:

Seconded. Oil from inside can only appear as soot, as it will be burned off.
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On Sat, 31 Dec 2011 11:22:59 +0000, Lee wrote:
[...]

Good point. A lot depends on how much oil is being lost; the OP needs to advise to get any more useful advice.
Chris
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On Dec 31 2011, 12:04pm, Chris Whelan

Hi all and thanks for the responses :)
This is just a guestimate but I'd say half a litre of oil a month which for me is roughly 600 miles. The oil was definitely liquid and unburned and seemed to be all on the thread. I suppose it could have pooled around the plug hole and moved onto the thread as I unscrewed it but there didn't seem to be much around the hole after it was removed and I noticed the oil.
I'll use a brick to make it run at fast idle tomorrow to see if the cam cover gasket is visibly leaking. Failing that I'll have a look in a few weeks to see if it's collecting around the new plug.
Thanks again for the help and sorry for the late follow up post!
Peter.
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On Sun, 01 Jan 2012 11:02:34 -0800, Peter Spikings wrote:
[...]

One litre per 1,200 miles would be within limits for that engine.
If the business ends of all four of the old plugs looked the same, it runs fine, and your only issue is the oil consumption, stop worrying about it and just remember to check/top it up at sensible intervals.
If it's due an oil change, you may find that it uses slightly less with fresh oil in it. (But don't change it if it's not due!)
Use genuine Ford oil from a dealer; it's usually reasonably priced, and you know you've got the correct specification, which is important with Zetec engines.
Chris
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