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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a 2002 VW Jetta Wagon TDI. It is exactly 20 years old (first registered in September of 2001) with 260,000 miles. Today I found my very first oil leak on the engine. It is leaking on the back side especially under the intake / exhaust manifolds (see attached photos - I tried to describe the location of the photos in the photo title). As far as I can tell it is not the valve cover. The oil is spread all over the rear side of the engine under the manifolds. There are some oil marks on the intake manifold visible in between the exhaust manifold in Photo #2. Anyone have any thougths on what seal is leaking?

Photo #1 - Under Valve cover
Photo #2 - Under exhaust manifold
Photo #3 - Rear side of block under coolant hose
Photo #4 - Rear side of block above coolant hose
Photo #5 - Above exhaust manifold under valve cover


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Valve cover seal Leaking. 3 choices from best to worst.
1- buy a new valve cover because no good VW sites sell just seal
2- buy the seal here https://www.amazon.com/Engine-Gaske...dp/B07DLTG9B9/ref=psdc_15728871_t3_B07C5PJZNM
3- remove valve cover, clean both surfaces and silicone it back on
I‘ve done #3 many times ,just bought #2 for the first time last week because most #1’s are made in China unless you pay big$$$’s. Hope this helps some. Btw change the breather grommet and oil cap also if you like a clean motor. I fill my oil up through the filter housing to keep valve cover dry
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for your quick response and suggestions Mattyc5094,
I reused the valve cover and the existing seal the first two times the timing belt was done. No valve cover leak. Last time I did the timing belt (in early 2020) I decided to buy a new valve cover from ECS Tuning ($200) just because the other was so old. So this seal is only a little over a year old. However, I will try #2 or #3 of your suggestions since they are both easy and inexpensive. Three questions:
- For #2, do you remove the existing vulcanized seal from the valve cover?
- For #3, do you leave the vulcanized seal on the cover install it with silicone?
- Which type of silicone did you use for #3?
(I definitely like clean engines and I have replaced the breather grommet. My oil cap has not leaked yet)
 

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Check out this video for gasket installation
I‘ve used weatherstrip adhesives to hold rubber in valve coves with great succes. if you plan on the silicone to just seal the old valve cover then any gasket maker silicone will work, I use the grey because it’s less noticeable. The only drawback with the silicone method is every time you remove valve cover you will need to clean it all off and redo it. I don’t believe the rubber for the replacement gaskets are that good because they all start leaking a year or so later.
 

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I've done two TB jobs on my car and didn't remove the valve cover. There are cam-locking tools that don't require pulling the valve cover. 220k miles and my valve cover isn't leaking (and now that I've said it it'll start leaking :ROFLMAO:).

Buy an actual new VC, torque properly, don't remove bolts again (baring some concerns of a cam/valve issue there's zero reason to remove them), and run for a couple of decades with no leaks.
 

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I had an oil leak with a wetness pattern similar to yours that started after a timing belt change. In my case, it was the vacuum pump seal that was cracked and leaking. I hadn't noticed how hard and brittle it was when I had the vacuum pump off to install the camshaft timing jig.
 

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Any decent TB kit should come with a new seal for the vacuum pump. Yes, these are leak points.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks for all your comments.
UhOh, would you please let me know which cam locking tool you used where you can change the timing belt without removing the valve cover. That would be a great help.
Last time I did my timing belt (18 months ago) I did intstall a new valve cover and torqued it to spec. After further investigation into my leak, I have confired that the valve cover is not leaking (Photo 1). It turns out that my Intake Manifold was loose and was leaking (Photos 1 &2) and created a mess on the back of my engine.
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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Now that I found my leak from the Intake Manifold... I have more questions:
As I was taking the parts off to remove the Intake Manifold, I found some oil in the tube before the ERG valve (Photo 1), also some oil and sludge in the ERG valve (Photos 2 & 3), and sludge in the Intake Manifold (Photo 4). There was also oil in the Intake plastic tube by the valve cover oil separator entry and down by the turbo (Photo 5 & 6).
Is this normal?
To address this, I am planning on installing a catch can from KermaTDI. Has anyone tried the catch can? Did it work?
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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
In case someone is interesed in how I cleaned the intake mainfold... Here is what I did:
1) Scraped as much of the sludge out with a screw driver (this was before I had made my homemade special scraping tool)
2) Soaked the manifold in gas for 24 hours. Fully submerged. I put it in the pan shown in the photo 1 and filled it to the top. Placed a plastic bag over it so that the gas would not evaporate too quickly
3) After soaking, I began the cleaning process in the pan. I kept a significant amount of gas in the pan, so the manifold was continually soaked while cleaning. I also repeately rinsed it in the gas to wash out the sludge. I ran a shop rag through the channels (see photo 1) and used my special homemade tool (bent metal rod in photo 1) to scrape all surfaces on the inside. I also used the rod to move the shop rag around inside. It spent about one and a half hours scraping and cleaning with the shop rag
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4) Lastly I brushed the outside with a steel brush and rinsed it inside and out with clean gas. I was happy with the result (see photos 2, 3, & 4)
 

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Here's the cam "locking" tool:

Metalnerd Long Reach Cam Lock for ALH

I'd hold off on any "catch can" until after you have things back and running properly: get a baseline. Can't readily say how much oil one can expect there. It's possible that that breather puck is needing replacement. If you're doing a lot of idling you're likely to see more oil pressure here: a lot of idling is NOT good.

If you drive properly (get engine warmed up and exercise it from time to time), along with good oil (almost all oil it better today than back when these cars were engineered), you're not going to see any significant coking.
 
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