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PostPosted: Tue Sep 20, 2016 
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Location: Lithia
City: Lithia
Name: Chad
Model Year: 1997
A while back I changed my 97 Miata valve cover gasket and CAS-O ring because it was bleeding or weeping. Place gasket sealer in the six locations required, installed with new FelPro gasket. Leaks quite a bit for a while. Redo the job making sure to clean off old gasket (pain in the ass), torque to 60 in-lb. Put Permatex http://www.permatex.com/products/gasket ... -dressing/ on it because a buddy told me that I could and it would work. Well.... It doesn't work. It doesn't weep any longer but it seems to be leaking from the front somewhere (of course). I believe it to be around the intake Cam due to it being on the passenger side of the car. I do have an OEM gasket in the garage. I guess I will be trying that next. So, my questions are:

1)How would I know if it's the Cam seals or the valve cover gasket. Reasoning: Oil drains down the front near the cams close to the intake CAM.

2) The exhaust tube on the driver side of the valve cover is leaking into right before my throttle body. The tubing is clear, I blew into it and there was no blockage. I replaced my PCV and have a new tube leading to the intake manifold right after the PCV. Would there be any significant reason for this?

3) Is there an easier way to clean the liquid gasket maker after installation? I recently found out about gas and rubbing alcohol but it takes a while for me to remove the left overs of the old gasket sealer.

Thanks for the advice in advance. Just looking for some assistance because it does leak a pretty good bit of oil.

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1997 MX-5 NOT Leather/Chaste White automatic w/ 121k original


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 20, 2016 
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I would only use an OEM CAMcover gasket and O2 sensor safe RTV for the 6 points.

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 20, 2016 
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Location: Lithia
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Name: Chad
Model Year: 1997
Sounds about right. It's the red high temp sealant. I'll put that on and see if it works better. The Felpro was having a hard time staying in the grooves so I'm pretty sure it's that....

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 20, 2016 
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Model Year: 2001
Probably a cam seal. Have you ever replaced them? Has the timing belt been replaced?

Most of us include those seals with timing belt replacement because they're easy to get to at that point.

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 20, 2016 
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Location: Lithia
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Name: Chad
Model Year: 1997
I know the timing belt was replaced about a year to a year and a half ago. Don't know if the cam seals were done at this time. My guess is that it wasn't. Guess I should contact Mazda and get replacement seals as well. That will be a pain in the butt to change though. Not looking forward to that weekend lol.

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 20, 2016 
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Yeah, shops are really good at doing exactly what you tell them, or the minimum required job. "Timing belt? Got it, we'll take care of that for you." Without considering that it might be wise to replace the timing belt tensioner and pulleys, the water pump and a few oil seals while it's apart. Job security, I guess.

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 20, 2016 
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Location: Lithia
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Name: Chad
Model Year: 1997
Understood. I'll add that to the list lol. At least I will learn how to set the timing on the car.

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PostPosted: Thu Sep 22, 2016 
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Location: Lithia
City: Lithia
Name: Chad
Model Year: 1997
Loren, I just got off of the phone with the mechanic shop that my dad had taken the car to before I got it. The list of repairs that they did were:
1) 2 crank seals (because the crankshaft was leaking) they said that the crank was/is walking inside the motor causing it to leak.
Have you ever heard of this happening on a big nose crank before?
2) Upper and lower timing belt covers
3) replace driveshaft
4) place a used harmonic balancer on the car
5) new temp sensor
6) pcv valve

When I asked if he replace the valve cover and cam gaskets when they did the cover he informed me that he didn't know. He also said that the valve cover didn't need to be removed on the car in order to fix the crankshaft seal. That is the only information that was in his records of all of the repairs that they did.

My dad told me that the car was at the shop multiple times due to the leaks. He said that they also put in new for the oil pan gaskets and all seals. Guess the shop either didn't do what they said or they have "can't remember shit" syndrome. It's a shame that they charged him so much money and to possibly find out that they did not do half the work required or necessary to do the job properly. I am replacing the valve cover gasket again this weekend while focusing on now moving the cover after installation so no rolling will occur. I will probably go up to 60 in lb torque on the cover and hopefully some of the leaking will stop. From my assessment of the gasket replacement this time I am noticing that more oil is winding up on the ground after the car sits for a time compared to before. I believe this to be faulty installation on my part. Just wanted to give some feedback with the assistance you guys have been giving me.

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PostPosted: Thu Sep 22, 2016 
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Name: Loren
Model Year: 2001
This is why you shouldn't take your Miata to just any shop.

There's no crank walk on a Miata (except for a rare problem with certain NB's having thrust washer issues), and if there was, the engine wouldn't still be running this much later, and it wouldn't be the cause of an oil seal leak. TIME is the cause of the oil seal leak. They are rubber, they harden with age and leak.

So, anyway, they did all of this work to the car in the name of oil leaks instead of doing what it actually needed AND fixing all of the potential oil leaks at the same time.

You can't remove the front timing covers (without breaking or risking breaking them... I can't say that I've ever actually tried) without removing the cam cover first.

You can't replace the crankshaft oil seal without removing the timing belt. And you certainly can't reinstall the timing belt without having removed the cam cover.

I could go on. But, just take anything this shop told you with a grain of salt. They "did stuff" in an effort to stop oil leaks. Whatever.

What YOU should do is a full "enthusiast level" timing belt job.

You'll find the "timing belt laundry list" in this thread:
http://tampabaymiatas.net/forum/viewtop ... 8&p=136621

That covers all of the normal oil leak possibilities. (except the oilpan, but it is extremely well sealed from the factory and almost never leaks... so, unless your shop CREATED a leak there, the oilpan should be fine... and they would have had to remove the engine from the car to do the oilpan!) The only other common oil leak would be the rear main seal, which should be replaced whenever you do the clutch.

Oh, don't overtorque the cam cover bolts! If you look at how that is designed, you have metal (cam cover) on metal (head) when the bolts are tight. The rubber gasket is NOT being further tightened or squished once you've reached that point! Tightening those bolts more is just a recipe for breaking one off in the head. Tighten them to spec, no more than that. No benefit there.

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PostPosted: Thu Sep 22, 2016 
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Location: Lithia
City: Lithia
Name: Chad
Model Year: 1997
Exactly. I don’t trust the shop. There are too many unknown variables in this whole thing. I have already taken down the list and will begin to purchase everything. I’ve done minor things here and there. This list seems like it might be a little expensive so I’ll have to attempt to stop the leak from the valve cover and then get all of the parts on hand before requesting a “tech day” possibly from the group. I have heard mixed opinions as far as the cam cover bolts go. I have heard not to touch them, but I have also seen how it makes removal so much easier. I do have a ft & in lb torque wrench. Is there a sealant under the cam covers that I should be aware of or would the normal sealant used with the gaskets work? Also, would you recommend that I go all Miata on the seals and belts and such or can I order everything off of Rockauto?

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PostPosted: Thu Sep 22, 2016 
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Model Year: 2001
I think Rock Auto parts are fine as long as you stick with known name brands.

No sealant on the cam cover gasket except where specified in the corners.

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PostPosted: Thu Sep 22, 2016 
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gotcha. thanks again

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PostPosted: Thu Sep 22, 2016 
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Location: Lithia
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Name: Chad
Model Year: 1997
Seems like it is going to be about $200-250. Would you recommend any good name brands?

Thinking of going with the Flyin' Miata kit. It has the majority of stuff that is required. The only other stuff that is not included is the water pump, cam cover (valve cover) gasket, timing belt tensioner pulleys, and the cam gaskets.

https://www.flyinmiata.com/na8-fm-hose- ... t-kit.html

By the way have you ever heard of a timing cover seal?

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PostPosted: Thu Sep 22, 2016 
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Model Year: 2001
Timing cover seals are the little rubber bits that go between the plastic covers.

The FM kit would be a great way to go. A good inexpensive replacement waterpump would be GMB.

For bearings, just avoid the generic or unkown stuff. SKF, Timken, NTN, NSK, and a few others are known good.

I've found that if I don't know a brand, it's easy enough to Google "anybody use Timken bearings" or something like that and see what comes up. If you're dealing with a crappy product, you'll find out pretty quickly.

The full "timing belt job" will cost you probably $300-400 depending on where you buy your parts. (OE parts are more expensive, obviously) But, once you've done ALL of that, you have nothing to worry about on the top or front of the engine for about 80,000 miles. When you do the clutch, replace everything you can reach on the back side, and you'll have a reliable and mostly leak-free Miata for years!

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PostPosted: Thu Sep 22, 2016 
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Location: Lithia
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Name: Chad
Model Year: 1997
I won't have to worry about the clutch because I have an automatic. I will look into everything because the fm kit seems like a good choice with some additions. The only thing that would worry me after all of this is something top end related like the rings or something. I guess I should do a compression check as well.

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 21, 2017 
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Location: Lithia
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Name: Chad
Model Year: 1997
Update: So I was finally able to go ahead and take some time off to try to fix the oil leak. This is what I did in the process.

1) Removed intake manifold and cleaned (crappy PCV valve had oil all inside there).
2) Replaced all 4 injectors (not intended but when I was trying to replace the gaskets one crumbled in my hands).
3) Cleaned EGR valve and throttle body.
4) Removed broken bolt out of the head and replaced valve cover gasket.

All that being done and it's been 200 miles and not a leak yet. I will cross my fingers and pray that the bolt was the leaking issue. See you guys on the 27th.

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 21, 2017 
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Model Year: 2001
Nicely done, sir!

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 21, 2017 
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Maybe I missed something but was that a cam (valve) cover bolt that was broken off in the head?

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 21, 2017 
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Model Year: 1997
Yeah it was one of the side ones in the intake side.

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