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    Thread: rear main oil seal leaking ( did my mechanic flub up?)

    1. 08-26-2012 03:09 AM #1
      not too long ago, I'd say 16 months tops, I had my throw-out bearing on my clutch fail.
      when I finally saved up enough money to pay a mechanic to install a brand new clutch kit
      my mechanic also recommended I change my rear main engine oil seal while the gear box was off the car. This seemed reasonable to me so I said "go for it!"

      now a year and a half has passed and my clutch has begun to slip. a week ago I changed my oil
      and verified the correct amount of oil on the dip stick. I have been driving this car long enough to know it does not burn or leak any oil.

      except a few days ago I felt my clutch slip in 5th gear on the highway on the way to work.
      I was bummed. could I really be that hard on the clutch and wear it out or glaze it severely
      to cause this? well I babied the car for a week hoping i had simply overheated the clutch and
      some chill driving would bring it back.. but no joy.

      today I got under the car with a shop light and inspected the bottom of the gear box and
      low and behold...

      there is like a metal access plate of some kind near where the gear box mates the engine
      and I detected a little bit of my fresh oil seeping from the seam there. I also verified on the
      dipstick that the oil level was three lines of tiny dots ( on the dipstick) lower than it was when I changed the oil last week. this pretty much makes me sure it is my rear main oil seal
      leaking and tossing motor oil all over my NEW clutch.

      dammit I am mad. the mechanic offered a 1 year warranty on parts and labor but
      I feel that if they had done the repair correctly that this wouldn't have happened.

      could my driving habits cause the rear seal to fail?



      just wondering if people thing I should pick a different mechanic this time
      or if I should go back to Earl at aamco transmission and say.. look man...
      Im leaking oil from a part you installed..

      my instinct tells me to pick a new mechanic tell them what happened and hope
      they will be careful and install a new oil seal and clutch carefully and
      correctly so that this never happens again in the life of this car..

      thoughts?


      also I am assuming the intermittent slipping and oil has destroyed the clutch disc.
      I don't suppose anyone would argue that cleaning the oil off completely would
      save the clutch and it would function normally if cleaned and re-installed?
      I assume not but wouldn't mind saving $150 dollars.

    2. Member GTIVRon's Avatar
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      08-26-2012 04:11 AM #2
      The clutch material absorbs oil so cleaning it off won't help.

      I'd say if you went 16 months with no issue it's not the mechanics fault.

      The rear main leaking probably won't spew oil onto the clutch anyway. More than likely the slave cylinder.
      2002.5 Jetta 1.8T - TOTALED (dodging deer)
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    3. 08-26-2012 04:52 AM #3
      Quote Originally Posted by GTIVRon View Post
      The clutch material absorbs oil so cleaning it off won't help.

      I'd say if you went 16 months with no issue it's not the mechanics fault.

      The rear main leaking probably won't spew oil onto the clutch anyway. More than likely the slave cylinder.


      K. thanks for the reply! I will investigate that possibility. in either case the gear box is coming off and it will be apparent what's going on at that point. right?

      *edit

      I did visually check all around the slave cylinder externally today and saw no sign of leakage.
      if so the system is leaking internally. but again.. good post and I will definitely be prepared to
      purchase that part when it comes time to start loosening bolts.
      Last edited by mkIIIvr6fan; 08-26-2012 at 04:57 AM.

    4. Member masterqaz's Avatar
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      08-26-2012 02:11 PM #4
      2 13mm bolts hold the slave in, Remove them and pull the slave out slowly, check the rubber boot for rips/cracks. If its leaking itll make itself apparent.

      None the less youll be removing the trans but its nice to know as well.
      Coming soon 4dr pd golf on air dipped blue with hitch racks and skid. Real work horse
      Automatic cause shifting short ratio sucks

    5. 08-26-2012 09:30 PM #5
      will do. I checked the brake fluid level and it didn't appear to be low
      but I want to pull that slave cylinder out and have a look anyways.
      wonder if I can do that w/o disconnecting brake lines.
      probably not eh..

      if the slave cylinder isn't leaking it should appear dry when I take it out is that correct?

    6. 08-26-2012 09:55 PM #6
      Quote Originally Posted by mkIIIvr6fan View Post
      not too long ago, I'd say 16 months tops, I had my throw-out bearing on my clutch fail.
      when I finally saved up enough money to pay a mechanic to install a brand new clutch kit
      my mechanic also recommended I change my rear main engine oil seal while the gear box was off the car. This seemed reasonable to me so I said "go for it!"

      now a year and a half has passed and my clutch has begun to slip. a week ago I changed my oil
      and verified the correct amount of oil on the dip stick. I have been driving this car long enough to know it does not burn or leak any oil.

      except a few days ago I felt my clutch slip in 5th gear on the highway on the way to work.
      I was bummed. could I really be that hard on the clutch and wear it out or glaze it severely
      to cause this? well I babied the car for a week hoping i had simply overheated the clutch and
      some chill driving would bring it back.. but no joy.

      today I got under the car with a shop light and inspected the bottom of the gear box and
      low and behold...

      there is like a metal access plate of some kind near where the gear box mates the engine
      and I detected a little bit of my fresh oil seeping from the seam there. I also verified on the
      dipstick that the oil level was three lines of tiny dots ( on the dipstick) lower than it was when I changed the oil last week. this pretty much makes me sure it is my rear main oil seal
      leaking and tossing motor oil all over my NEW clutch.

      dammit I am mad. the mechanic offered a 1 year warranty on parts and labor but
      I feel that if they had done the repair correctly that this wouldn't have happened.

      could my driving habits cause the rear seal to fail?



      just wondering if people thing I should pick a different mechanic this time
      or if I should go back to Earl at aamco transmission and say.. look man...
      Im leaking oil from a part you installed..

      my instinct tells me to pick a new mechanic tell them what happened and hope
      they will be careful and install a new oil seal and clutch carefully and
      correctly so that this never happens again in the life of this car..

      thoughts?


      also I am assuming the intermittent slipping and oil has destroyed the clutch disc.
      I don't suppose anyone would argue that cleaning the oil off completely would
      save the clutch and it would function normally if cleaned and re-installed?
      I assume not but wouldn't mind saving $150 dollars.
      How many miles on the car in total? And how many miles since the clutch replacement 16 months ago?

    7. Member masterqaz's Avatar
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      08-27-2012 07:41 AM #7
      Quote Originally Posted by mkIIIvr6fan View Post
      will do. I checked the brake fluid level and it didn't appear to be low
      but I want to pull that slave cylinder out and have a look anyways.
      wonder if I can do that w/o disconnecting brake lines.
      probably not eh..

      if the slave cylinder isn't leaking it should appear dry when I take it out is that correct?
      It'll come out still connected. Yes it should look dry if not leaking.
      Coming soon 4dr pd golf on air dipped blue with hitch racks and skid. Real work horse
      Automatic cause shifting short ratio sucks

    8. 08-28-2012 09:21 PM #8
      update*


      just got back in from the garage. I took the access panel off the gear box
      that reveals the back side of the flywheel I assume and the panel was coated with burnt clutch fibers
      and an oily substance that I am assuming is brake fluid as it was not quite slippery enough to
      be thought to be motor oil.

      so that makes me pretty sure the slave cylinder has in fact failed and has effectively destroyed my
      new clutch. bummer.

      well only thing to do now is to round up some money for parts and fix it up.
      dont worry I am pretty sure the clutch dust was suspended in the oily mix so that it didnt get airborne and pose a health risk. the fibers were in an oily cake all inside the clutch housing and some were pasted to the back of the access panel.

    9. 08-28-2012 09:28 PM #9
      Quote Originally Posted by Peter Badore View Post
      How many miles on the car in total? And how many miles since the clutch replacement 16 months ago?

      the car has 187,xxx.

      approximately 10,000 miles since clutch overhaul.


      give or take a couple thousand ya know.. I have the receipt somewhere

    10. 08-28-2012 10:20 PM #10
      ok so i knew I was half a$$ing the job not removing the slave cylinder and looking at it..
      and after writing that last post it got to bugging me.

      I just got back from removing the slave cylinder and visually inspecting it..

      and what I saw was it was dry to be sure. it was covered in black clutch material
      but it was NOT visibly soaked in brake fluids. I did note that the green rubber boot had a 1cm
      rip in it, but inside the boot was dry. it was not oozing brake fluid the way I would expect it to
      if this part had failed.

      now I am not 100% sure but I am leaning more towards the rear main seal again.
      and that belief is also supported by my oil level in the engine dropping when it never had before.

      what do you think guys? sound reasoning?

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