On Tue, 11 Oct 2005 19:35:58 +0000, email@example.com wrote:
Wow...this could be a lot of things.
Was the car RUNNING when you had it on the lift? Remember, the oil system
gets pressurized, and what may NOT be leaking at a stop or idle may gush
Are all the oil pan bolts tight?
Are you SURE it's oil? Could be tranny fluid. When they burn they smell
similar. Check your tranny cooling lines.
Valve cover gaskets OK? Again, under pressure, things may leak that don't
These are the obvious things. These problems SUCK! But, usually when this
has happened to me in the past, it was the oil pan coming loose. Happened
4 times on four different Toyotas.
Also, check the gasket on the oil filter.
BTW, how many miles? If you can't figure this problrm out, I will gladly
take this car off your hands, and all it will cost you is $125. BTW, what
color is it? ;)
My 97 Camry 4 has this same exact problem. I used to think it was the
smell of exhaust but your description is more accurate. Does this
smell occur only when you are sitting still and the fan is on?
I have no oil leaks and the dealer found nothing. I think they just
didn't look for anything.
"You've just one problem. You stand too close to the ball after you've
hit it." -- Sam Snead
If you do not oil the rubber ring on the oil filter and wipe the seat clean- I
like paper towel- at installation it might be possible for a slight deformation
to form that would allow a drop at a time to escape. The 4 cyl has flanges on
the block below the filter that can catch a little oil. If this is not possible
on the 3 liter maybe the drip lands on part of the exaust lines and would
smoke-burn away quickly with no trace? At idle and sitting still the smoke
trace would pretty much surround the front of the car, but in too small amount
to be visible. ??? When I change my oil, any drips or spills make breathing
difficult for a little while. Airflow helps a lot.
In my case it is definitely not the oil filter. This odor is present
at all times when the vehicle is standing still and the fan is on. It
doesn't matter how long it's been between oil changes and there is no
"The only time my prayers are never answered is on the golf course." --
I'm responding to all the responses to date. No, the car was not
running on the lift. There is no physical evidence of leakage down
the faces of the heads/block, so I think we can rule out the valve
cover gaskets. The area around the bottom of the oil filter is dry
and no evidence there of oil spillage/leakage.
Now, the idea of a very slightly loose oil pan combined with a
pressurized block when running might be the solution. If it's blowing
a tiny amount of air out past the gasket with some oil vapor in the
air, it might be enough to make the smell as it hits the exhaust
manifold or pipe, depending on where this is happening.
Does anyone know the proper torque amount for the pan bolts?
Now, one other interesting thing, is that about 6" of the rear engine
cradle arms (those behind the engine and attached back behind the
wheels) both are covered on the bottom (only) with a very thick black
substance that looks a lot like undercoating, but the car has never
been undercoated. No other part of the bottom of the car has this
coating. You can wipe some of it off with a finger and its like a tar
I'm surmising that this might be the remains of oil spray from the pan
on both sides?
The hot/burned oil spell only occurs when the car is at a standstill
and the ventilation system is running.
On Wed, 12 Oct 2005 21:53:24 +0000, firstname.lastname@example.org wrote:
First, my 1980 Corolla. Losing oil, but obviously not burning it.
Looking under the hood at work, an inspector points to the A arms and
said, that looks like oil to me!
In '86, after tighening the oil pan 3 times in 6 years, I trade it for an
'86 Corolla. Guess what?! So, every 3-4th oil change, I check the bolts
(After I tightend them the second time they never came loose again...that
was about 200,000 miles ago!)
Last year, I bought an '88 Supra. Guess what?! Only problem is, the oil
pan was tight! All except maybe three bolts. i tightened them up, and the
leaking has slowed, but it still leaks.
What you are seeing is the spray escaping from the seal, mixing with dirt,
sand and road grime and becoming the tar-like substance you're seeing.
You won't need to worry about rust for a while!
Now, Toyotas don't (or didn't) have pan gaskets. I think in my Supra's
case, somebody removed the oil pan and put in a cork gasket, and it has
developed gaps. Check with the Toyota dealer; if there is enough room, and
there is a gasket, loosen the bolts and replace the gasket. (although I
never had to do this before....over 200,000 on two cars without ever
replacing or regooping...). You may have to 'goop' it, use whatever Toyota
recommends. Or, just tighten them up and see what happens! Like I said,
two cars well over 200,000!
Good luck...I'd like to know how this turns out!
Oh, and my offer is still good...$125 and I'll take it off your hands!!!
I LIKE Solaras :)
But that Supra sure looks like it's going to be a PITA...
I have checked the oil filter, engine oil pan and transmission pan
bolts. All are tight and no sign of oil leakage from any of them.
If I get a chance, I'm going to clean the engine block and engine
carrage frame and then watch for evidence of oil blow by.
On Wed, 19 Oct 2005 12:57:34 +0000, email@example.com wrote:
I can't remember and am too lazy to look ;O
Did you mention/look at the valve cover and gasket?
Have you had undercoating applied to the car?
Tranny cooler lines look OK?
Yup...we ARE clutching at straws now...
> On Wed, 19 Oct 2005 12:57:34 +0000, firstname.lastname@example.org
> > I have checked the oil filter, engine oil pan and
> transmission pan
> > bolts. All are tight and no sign of oil leakage from any of
> > If I get a chance, I'm going to clean the engine block and
> > carrage frame and then watch for evidence of oil blow by.
> > Paul
> I can't remember and am too lazy to look ;O
> Did you mention/look at the valve cover and gasket?
> Have you had undercoating applied to the car?
> Tranny cooler lines look OK?
> Yup...we ARE clutching at straws now...
I think the oil pan bolts are torqued to 69 in-lbs, say 6 ft-lbs.
Cleaning the engine to check for leaks is a good idea.
I like to use Simple Green automotive degreaser, environmentally
friendly and leaves a nice minty fresh smell.
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The crankcase is supposed to be held at a slight vacuum that draws oil fumes
into the combustion system for burning instead of out into the atmosphere.
When that one way valve is clogged, or the lines attached to it, the
crankcase loses vacuum and the fumes leak out from a variety of places. It
is called a PCV valve. Get a new one, they are cheap.
I'm sure the Chipmunks will like that when they start looking for a home
for the winter! ;)
OK, they always tell us when something breaks, go back to the last
thing worked on and it's most likely the problem.
That proved so here, although the 60 month service had so many things
touched, I had to go over the entire engine department.
And, it was right in front of all of us. The PCV valve had been
pulled out of the gromet on top of the valve cover when the mechanic
was working on changing the back row of spark plugs and tucked down
out of sight. Putting it back in the gromet solved the smell problem.
We never found any oil leaks, and in hind sight, the symptoms make
sense. You could only smell hot oil (not burning) when at idle with
the ventilation system operating. If the car was off, no smell inside
or out. The small amount of PC vent gas was being sucked up and into
the ventilation system enough to be detectable.
Thought I'd let you all know the solution.
On Tue, 11 Oct 2005 19:35:58 GMT, " email@example.com"
Thanks. I will check that tomorrow, but I don't think I will be as
lucky as you. I have the 4-cylinder Camry and the PCV valve is right
on top in plain view. I would have seen it loose. But I will check
for a bad seat and any loose hoses also.
"The only time my prayers are never answered is on the golf course." --
Checked the PCV valve for operation and it is good. The hoses around
the throttle body appear to be fine. I stuck my nose down near the PCV
valve and I could smell an oily odor very similar to the offending one.
I called Toyota dealer for an appointment. Service manager told me to
try something else first. He said I have mold spores in the vent
system. He suggested I go to auto parts store and get Fridgi-Fresh
spray and spray into vents. I told him this odor smells like petroleum
product and he told me the plastic is being eaten away inside the vents.
I'm not sure I believe all this but if the dealer is telling me try
something myself first before bringing it in I think I'll try.
"You don't know what pressure is until you've played for five dollars
a hole with only two in your pocket." -- Lee Trevino
If we have molds that are eating plastic, western civilization as we
know it is about to come to an end. Truly, the ultimate "meed" WILL
inherit the earth!
It is possible you have mold though, but ususally they smell like
urine or clorine in the vent system. They grow mostly on the
evaporator where it is damp. They don't like heat, so running the
heat system full blast can sometimes kill them off.
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