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tar drips under engine?

Joined
28 December 2002
Messages
144
Location
Santa Rosa CA
I have been getting some small tar drips under my engine area for a couple of months now and was wondering what this could be from. The Dealer thought it was the cam seal and replaced it. There was a bit of oil leaking from that that was fixed but the tar drips kept on coming. I get about one every week or two. They are very hard - you can scrape them off the cement floor and they hold their shape. I'll try and attach a picture.

My car is a '91 with no major mods except a comptec exhaust. It has 111,000 miles and running stong.
 

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I had similar symptons along with some small amount of smoke after I shut off the engine. I traced it to the spool valve gaskets and replace them and the smoke and tar stopped. I believe the "tar" is from the oil cooking on the exhaust.
 
Also check your CV boots for any cracks or leaks. That stuff looks just like what's inside the boot and if it's cracked the grease oozes out easily but starts to harden with a little time. Good luck.
 
please let me know when you figure this out--I have had the exact tar spots, with the same shape on my garage floor for several years--I have a 92
 
The stuff in your photo is potting material from the crank/cyl sensor assembly.
If it is fairly hard when cold, and is also all over the top of your a/c compressor bracket, than it is a positive i.d.
They normaly 'weep' a bit with age, and is of no concern. If yours drips continuously, then something is not right. The only time I have seen them do that is when the car has a continuous overheating problem. Also, if your dealer replaced both front cam seals, and did not spot this, he is, well to be kind, missing something. It is also possible that he did not understand exactly what you were concerned about, and since he sees the black stuff from the sensor assembly all the time, did not think it was a problem.
Are you sure that what you are seeing is a continuous situation?

Let me know if I can help.

MB
 
I've had a couple of people point to the cam sensor but I can't see where that is or any dirt/goop around where I think it is. It drips about once every other week so I'm not too worried about it short term. I'll have the dealer look at it next time I'm in.

I don't know why a potting compound would melt. Any part near an engine usually has a pretty wide temperature range and material melting points usually don't change over time. The engine temp is right on spec.
 
mc-ca said:
I don't know why a potting compound would melt. Any part near an engine usually has a pretty wide temperature range and material melting points usually don't change over time. The engine temp is right on spec.

Its called poor design parameters. Happens all the time. Some result in recalls, some don't. Depends on the likely consequences, which in this case seem to be none.

The sensor is behind the front head intake cam gear and is 100% out of sight.
If it is melting fast enough to drip, it will usually show coming out the forward edge of the timing cover, lower area. It also, then drips onto the a/c comp bracket.

MB
 
Here are some pics I just took of the tar stuff coming from the cam sensor.
It looks like oil but not, very hard tar like.




 
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I've had the exact same stuff dripping for years. It's not a problem exept I have to clean the floor every few months. It seems to come from somewhere just forward of the oil filter area. I have a 92 with 140,000 miles and no problems have resulted from this condition.
 
I think that I found a cure for this. Another issue that I had was very slight oil drips that I eventually chased down to my oil pan. The drain plug was not making a good seal. The threads were messed up as the best that tightening could do was to slow the leak. This kept the bottom of the oil pan wet with a little bit of oil. About 4 weeks ago, I had the whole oil pan replaced. Now it's nice and dry and the tar drips are gone. I'm not sure exactly what the root cause was but the new oil pan fixed it.
 
I had this same problem after my TB/WP change from the local dealership. I also noted some of the dripping from a shiney metal plate below the engine. After living with it for a year or so, I asked the dealership what's up? They said I needed to have one of my valve cover gaskets replaced. (And gave me a quote that made me cry:eek: )

Long story short, I had the valve cover gaskets changed. Turned out that when the TB/WP job was done, the valve cover gaskets were part of the service and the dealership had used RTV all along the perimiter of the gaskets. All that silicone was gooping onto my floor. The dealership credited me the gasket replacement to get the job done right. No more leaks!!!
 
Re: tar drips under engine? Crank/Cyl Sensor

The stuff in your photo is potting material from the crank/cyl sensor assembly.
If it is fairly hard when cold, and is also all over the top of your a/c compressor bracket, than it is a positive i.d.
They normaly 'weep' a bit with age, and is of no concern. If yours drips continuously, then something is not right. The only time I have seen them do that is when the car has a continuous overheating problem. Also, if your dealer replaced both front cam seals, and did not spot this, he is, well to be kind, missing something. It is also possible that he did not understand exactly what you were concerned about, and since he sees the black stuff from the sensor assembly all the time, did not think it was a problem.
Are you sure that what you are seeing is a continuous situation?

Let me know if I can help.

MB

This is exactly my issue and its being resolved during a timing belt water pump replacement. My mechanic says that unless there is some trick he is not seeing, he has to pull the plenum in order to undo the wiring harness to this sensor. Is there a trick?
Thanks
 
No Trick. You need to pull the cam gears and the plate behind the cam gears and the sensor is mounted to the front head.
BTW, you know this thread is 4 years old:):)!!

Regards,
LarryB
 
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