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Major oil leak - 2017 PD - suspect oil filter seal

Bob.W · 8 · 1191

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Offline Bob.W

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    • au Australia
      Coffs Harbour
Hi Folks,

Car is 2017 PD Diesel (D4FB engine) - under warranty so pro serviced at intervals, I have done the oil + filter at the mid-point of this just for peace of mind (roughly 5000kms).

Did oil + filter 2 days ago and as I've done for yrs on this car and previous, seemed to go fine. Ryco R2695P filter + Valvoline 5w-30 oil. The Ryco comes with 2 o-ring seals, one small one for the end of the bit that runs down the middle of the filter and a much larger one thats for the filter housing itself. Changed both.

Next day as the wife drives out to work, we're about 20kms from town - I notice oil drips on garage floor. Figured I must have accidently spilt some small amount during change that was under bodywork, made mental note to check when she returned that arvo. Upon checking I notice theres a decent amount of oil thats spilt directly down from under the oil filter holder. Check oil level, about 3/4 full.

I assume it's the rubber o-ring seal, read up - find others have had issue with this.  I remembered that when putting on the new large filter o-ring seal, I noticed it was slightly smaller in thickness to the previous OEM one.  I assumed this might have been the cause, so pulled the old thicker one from my trash and put it back on. The holder states 35nM torque, so I apply this with a cheap torque wrench I have - even though it seems very tight.

Cleaned up as best I could - and off to work she goes again. Upon getting home today i check and it's a HUGE MESS under the bonnet....oil has gone all over the place - clearly has been spraying out under pressure - so again I can only assume this is source of it.  The oil level it literally not on the dipstick.

So I'm very alarmed.

I have put another couple of litres of oil in the engine. My plan is to replace the oil and another new filter tomorrow, then run the engine and observe if the leak is coming from the oil filter and if so from the seal or other.

Anything else you would recommend?   It seems near impossible to clean the oil from under the bonnet, it's not as bad as I've likely lead on, but it's still a big mess as I'd previous prided on having a very tidy bay.

It seems tricky to balance not overtightening the oil filter and having it too loose.  I'm always wary of cracking plastic when you screw it on too hard - and I've already found if you go too tight you can make the o-ring seal pucker up.

Sorry to ramble - any advice appreciated.   :-/
  • 2017 PD 5 door hatch, diesel 1.6lt, auto


Offline BrendanP

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    • gb United Kingdom
      East Midlands
I'd suggest you clean as much oil off as you can and run the engine to see where it's leaking from. I don't think the big o-ring gets compressed much just by tightening up the cap beyond the 35Nm, it sits in the gap and I wouldn't have thought that much oil could work it's way past the screw threads and past the o-ring. I've done over a dozen oil changes with various after-market filters and never had a leak.

If oil has sprayed all over the engine bay I'd look for a leak elsewhere, or see if the cap has a crack in it. The only time I've had oil going everywhere is when I forgot to put the filler cap back on.
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Offline Bob.W

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    • au Australia
      Coffs Harbour
Brendan, much thanks for the reply - this issue was worrying me so much I actually dreamt about it - yikes!  IMagined a family member had takent he car out this morning and cooked the engine.  :-/
I'd suggest you clean as much oil off as you can and run the engine to see where it's leaking from. I don't think the big o-ring gets compressed much just by tightening up the cap beyond the 35Nm, it sits in the gap and I wouldn't have thought that much oil could work it's way past the screw threads and past the o-ring. I've done over a dozen oil changes with various after-market filters and never had a leak.
I think I've realised what I did wrong - I believe I placed the large oil filter seal too far up the cap, there's a number of grooves that it can slot into and stupidly I assumed that like most seals it'd be placed in the highest slot possible, so that it would seal against the lip and rim when they come together.

From watching a few videos this morning this seems that it's NOT the case and it's actually placed in the 3rd or 4th slot down from the top.  So it would seem this would explain the issue as even when I fully screw the cap in, the seal is not being properly made.....sadly it made a decent enough seal to mean that the oil that did come out was under some pressure and was jetted all over the place.

I'll pop some videos up but I do wonder about whether it's worth trying to clean the oil off the underside of the engine etc?  Strikes me as tricky as you've got a lot of electrics and rubber hoses etc - and what solvent to use so you don't do more harm than good is hard.

Anyway better go tak a few pix and get this sorted - will post my mess up. thanks again, any more thoughts welcomed. :-/
  • 2017 PD 5 door hatch, diesel 1.6lt, auto


Offline Bob.W

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    • au Australia
      Coffs Harbour
Hmmm yes, well as I suspected the issue seems to have been that the large rubber o-ring/seal was incorrectly placed by me too far towards the top of the spin on cap/lid.

When I removed the lid the seal was all the way at the very top of the lid, MUCH HIGHER than it should be.  I cleaned as much of the oil off as I could (just using rags, no solvents) - put new seals on in the correct positions, made sure to apply some oil to both the seals before putting back on (this was also part of my mistake previously as I stupidly thought there was enough oil around the seals already, but in not applying oil fresh onto them when I did up the lid I believe they 'caught'/bound to the lip and so didn't make a good seal).

This video despite being for another branded car, does explain the issue and common mistake of putting the o-ring in the wrong position:


Didn't use a torque wrench, felt it better to go by feel.

Topped oil up to full and then ran engine for 5-10mins in park. Observed and could see no leaks at all, revved engine up to 2000rpm and still no leaks.  Turned off engine and allowed to rest for 5mins, drained oil (I didn't want to have the old oil in there that might have had issues from going so low). Replaced oil.

When under the car I was mortified by how far down the oil spill had gone - it was almost at the very end of the muffler/exhaust pipe! Again just wiped off as much as I could by hand.

Whats also become evident to me and it sound very obvious to say, but I SHOULD have run the car for several minutes after the change just to ensure all was fine.  Such a no brainer but I've been changing oil and filters for so many years and is such a 'basic' task I didn't feel it needed.  But I will be sure from now on to ensure I ALWAYS do this as it could have been easily spotted.

So should be sorted.....but if anyone has any strong thoughts on whether I should go to great lengths to clean up the spilt oil on the underside of the engine etc please let me know but I will assume it's a tad hard and also no all that beneficial.

I do feel very silly thats for sure. :-(
  • 2017 PD 5 door hatch, diesel 1.6lt, auto


Offline Greyhound

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    • gb United Kingdom
Don't know if you have "Gunk" degreaser product in AU?
I would use that to remove as much oil as you can without knocking into fixtures or cable looms.
Maybe use paintbush to apply the degraser fluid, then rags to wipe off the oily mess.

Downside is if you leave the oily residue as it is, it will collect dirt and debris, but the upside is it will protect from rust :)
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Offline BrendanP

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    • gb United Kingdom
      East Midlands
I'm glad to see it was an easy fix! If you get the engine nice and hot I would have thought the oil would run off down to the bottom of the engine apart from where it gathers in crevices. It should wipe off a lot easier if it's hot. Brake cleaner makes a pretty good degreaser. If there are crevices that have oil pooled in them, I would get some clear plastic tube, dip it in where the oil has gathered, put the other end in your mouth and suck it up the tube, taking care not to suck it into your mouth.
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Offline Bob.W

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Thanks for the replies - I spent a few hours cleaning as much up as I could with rags. Decided that spraying a bunch of solvent was just too risk - as there's a lot of different plastics/materials in the engine area and there's a significant risk that the solvent damaged these.

As BrendanP stated, I figured that over time the heat of the engine would get the vast majority of the oil to drip off - though again as stated by Greyhound dust would collect on it. But felt this was the better option.

The lesson learnt after this is to run your engine and observe for a few minutes even if you only do relatively benign work on it - am surprised that there's not more info out there about the proper spot to have the o-ring on cartridge type oil filters as just being a bit off can lead to potentially disasterous situations like this.
  • 2017 PD 5 door hatch, diesel 1.6lt, auto


Offline AndyBeck

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    • gb United Kingdom
      W Yorkshire
Good to see this resolved.  The old boys I used to work with would always run the engine for a minute or so with the bonnet up, wait five and then recheck the oil level.
Spraying with an engine cleaner which says it washes off with water (and washing off with water) should be safe, the oil itself might affect some of the plastics, so best to get it clean.

« Last Edit: September 26, 2021, 12:22:38 by AndyBeck »
  • 2017 PD 5dr Tourer, 1.4l Turbo GDi, Manual, Blue


 


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