In reply to a message from sus1 sent Fri 16 Nov 2007:
Yes, there is a sump to block sealing strip at the back which could
give way or be incorrectly installed and leak lots of oil from near
the rear main seal. This leak would mostly leave the inside of the
bell housing clean if it is not the rear main seal itself (assuming
you have the tin cover over the lower part of the bell).
The reason I asked about overfilling is that sometimes the collar
on the dip stick can move and thus give false readings on the stick
if it doesn’t go all the way down (causing overfill), or goes too
far (underfill). Also sometimes an owner can shove the stick in
wrong if it is slightly bent and instead of going through the small
hole in the sump baffle to the oil below, it skids across the top
and you overfill to get the mark registering on the stick.
If you overfill it will throw the excess out - especially at high
revs - and then settle down. Sometimes people with an incorrect
stick see this and say ‘The car is using a lot of oil’ so they keep
filling and the car keeps losing. If they would leave it alone and
see if it loses any more after the first part, they would see it
was OK. Same with people who keep overfilling the E-type header
tank and then say the car is overheating because it throws water
out. This would settle too if they would only stop filling it.
But in your case it sounds like things were normal and then a
problem developed with the rear sump seal.
The other rare cause is if somehow a lot of fuel got into the sump
it would lift the oil level, but you would smell this easily on the
stick and the oil would of course go very thin. Water would give
other signs too of course and show up as a low coolant level as
The original message included these comments:
The car started using lots of oil last year - until then only as
much as would be normal. I have checked the oil feed pipe, and
changed the seals, etc etc.
I think I’ll take everything apart again, and double check, before
taking the engine totally apart!
The bellhousing is very dry - and after the last testdrive, in
april!, the oil was running/dripping from the exhaust aft of the
gearbox - so YES - I was affraid of the thing catching fire!
I read somewhere that the oil sump/pan can leak at the rear end -
anyone got a comment on that?
I don’t think I’ve overfilled the sump! But just to make sure -
66 2+2, 73 OTS, 76 DD6 Coup�, 85 XJS 5-spd conver, 93 XJ12
Cambridge, United Kingdom
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