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Recently was contacted by a friend who has a '02 9-5 2 litre estate which was showing an occasional flicker of the oil pressure light. Things culminated with a tappety noise from the top of the engine. I decided that a look under the head cover and in the sump was called for. Top end looked spotless so dropped the sump. As usual the hardest part was getting the 3 nuts off the exhaust / turbo joint. All 16 bolts out the sump and it dropped free. I just had to put a jack under the crank pulley and remove the big nut on the top O/S engine mount. About a centimeter lift and the sump comes out.

So far so good, new 'O' rings, filter and oil and all back together. I thought that was it. Until a couple of days later when a serious oil leak was reported. Looking under it seemed that the crankshaft oil seal was the culprit so I ordered one up and set about replacing it. Went pretty easily, Mrs [email protected] with a foot on the brake and engine in 4th and the bolt came out easily. Tension off the auxiliary belt and the pulley came off by hand. The edge of the oil seal was really soft and floppy so I thought that I'd found the problem. Back together again. Fired it up and within 30 seconds oil was pi**ing out. 'Oh dear me' I was heard to say !'

Next, check that all the sump bolts were correctly tightened. All at the right torque. Except the 4 at the crank pulley end are too awkward to get a socket onto so a 13mm spanner and guesswork has to do. The centre 2 felt a bit 'soft'. Turns out they had pretty much stripped their threads. These ones go into the bottom edge of the timing chain chest plate so are into alloy. This was going to be a 'bit difficult' !!!

Luckily the drilling and threads in the plate are about 6 to 8 mm deeper than the bolts normally fitted. I found a couple just the right length and carefully wound them in. As I 'nipped' them up I could see just a fraction of movement at the sump joint. Again I thought - got it !

No such luck ! 'Oh dear me' again. Wiping off all the oil I could see I then restarted the engine and used a mirror to look up behind the pulley. Sure enough it was coming from up there somewhere. Pulley off again and clear indications of oil all around the BIG circlip holding in the oil pump cover. That was a real pig to get off ! My circlip pliers are not big enough bit a bit of prizing with a screwdriver and it popped off.

The cover came out easily and the 'O' ring round the edge was completely flat, not protruding above the groove in which it sits. I managed to source a suitable new 'O' ring from an engineering contact and stuck it all back together again. I do NOT recommend doing this without a suitable pair of circlip pliers. WHAT A PIG. However it did go back in and all back together again. RESULT - NO LEAKS.

Now, as to why ? I think that the 'O' ring ( and possibly the oil seal) were on their way out but were up to the lower pressure exerted previously due to the partly clogged pick up strainer. Once this limitation was relieved they gave up the unequal struggle.

Paul @ Kippen


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