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EyeDoc1
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PostSubject: Mystery oil leak   Mystery oil leak EmptySat Oct 05, 2019 4:02 pm

It may be a mystery to me, but the forum will hopefully help out. I've had a small leak that's gotten worse on a 1998 Riv with 187,000 miles on it. I've replaced both valve cover gaskets and just replaced the lower intake manifold (LIM) gasket along with the throttle body gasket and a new coolant elbow. Leaks are sometimes tricky since a leak at point A manifests itself at point B. This one appears at the front on the motor, in the vicinity of the power steering pump and/or the water pump. Since I've never replaced either, and both appear to be working just fine, I don't know if either part, if removed, has any sort of gasket that would fail and leak oil. Obviously a water leak at the water pump leaks...um...water. It's oil, not power steering fluid, so that's not likely either, since the oil is clean, and I just changed the oil yesterday. Would either unit cause a leak or would it be something worse, like something behind the timing cover, which would scare the bejesus out of me. Any pointers would be appreciated.

Regards,

Christen
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PostSubject: Re: Mystery oil leak   Mystery oil leak EmptySat Oct 05, 2019 9:58 pm

Try using a dye kit for whatever system you may think is leaking.

So, if you want to check for engine oil leaks you can buy the appropriate dye and the lamp w/plastic glasses that help you see where the leak is coming from.

Once you get the Kit and if you find it is not engine oil that is leaking, then you can get the dye for whatever system you want to try next and still use the glasses and the light.

The kits can be relatively inexpensive yet very useful for finding leaks in areas where it could be more than one thing possibly leaking. Just do one at a time and give the dye the recommended time to work.
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EyeDoc1
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PostSubject: Re: Mystery oil leak   Mystery oil leak EmptySun Oct 06, 2019 12:28 pm

I have tried the UV dye to no avail, BUT, to be honest, I'm not sure I knew what I was looking at or where, nor did I clean the undercarriage.  I am going to remove the rear lifting eyelet or shackle as my days of motor pulling are at an end.  What I FAILED to do was completely clean the undercarriage, and I guess I gotta get it up on ramps and painstakingly clean the front of the motor from underneath to pinpoint the source of the leak.  Any idea if you can get an oil leak from the power steering or water pump, or are these component without any passageways for oil?  I don't want to pull parts for the sake of pulling, replacing/cleaning, and bolting back on.  Any info you or any other forum members can supply on these two issues would be appreciated.
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albertj
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PostSubject: Re: Mystery oil leak   Mystery oil leak EmptySun Oct 06, 2019 8:17 pm

It's a pain to completely wash the engine and then to diagnose a leak but it is a bigger pain to do unnecessary work that requires you bend over fenders or pull the engine.

The heads have oil passages.

No kidding your best move is to clean the engine, put dye in the oil, run it a few miles and pull into your garage and hit it with the UV light while wearing those fashion accessory contrast glasses.  

At least you can see the effing oil.

I posted elsewhere about a radiator leak I had where there was a hairline crack in a tank that opened only under pressure. It opened such that it only leaked when hot and above idle, and it peed on the ground, careful to avoid any part of the engine compartment.  It was a small leak.  It took me *years* to figure that leak out.  I used dye and what not BUT since it was not splashing in the compartment the dye did not help.  I was diagnosing something else, had warmed up the car, blipped the throttle (via the cable under the hood) and WHIZZ a little stream went from tank to ground.  

My GM dealer's service manager and I had a good laugh about that one. Even though I had dye in teh system there was no trace of the leak. At lest that does not happen with oil leaks.

I promptly overhauled the cooling system (new hoses, stat, new Valeo radiator it has 2 extra rows) and have not had to talk to the cooling system since.

Albertj.


Last edited by albertj on Mon Oct 07, 2019 5:40 pm; edited 1 time in total
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EyeDoc1
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PostSubject: Leak may be coming from the front crankshaft seal???   Mystery oil leak EmptyMon Oct 07, 2019 2:57 pm

Cooling systems are problems, in and of itself.  The more I think about this mystery leak, (and nobody ever weighed in on this topic), the power steering pump and/or the water pump probably have NO oil passageways to leak onto the ground and are merely bolted to the engine block. Period.  If it's not valve cover gaskets, LIM or the aforementioned parts, that leaves a likely possibility that it's the front crankshaft seal that has decided to bedevil me.  Meaning pulling the tire, plastic panel, and getting the bolt to come loose by air tool or "bumping" the starter.  Once the bolt is free, I can borrow a harmonic balancer puller from AutoZone or O'Reilly parts and have at it.  In the write up on pulling the harmonic balancer, one recent post mentioned the harmonic balancer "spinning".  I can't quite understand what the guy meant by the harmonic balancer "spinning" since I assume you're just using the puller to remove it from the spindle, for all intents and purposes, and that force is operating perpendicular to the block.  And there's some difference of opinion between a 1/4"-28 thread or a 4 or 5" carriage bolt vs an M6-1.0 thread.  Not familiar with the metric measurements, but I'm sure the local hardware store has what I'd need, and maybe this is used IF you are using a steering wheel puller and having it do double duty in place of the properly designed harmonic balancer tool.  As for the front crankshaft seat, is there any special tips or tricks I need to know, beyond lubing the rubber seal parts with a good sticky grease? I've seen videos where people put a little gray sealant on the outer race, and that smacks me as being unnecessary and downright injurious, if you ever have to remove it.  Any help, as always, is appreciated.
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PostSubject: Re: Mystery oil leak   Mystery oil leak EmptyTue Oct 08, 2019 5:00 pm

So I crawled under the '98 Riv and noticed oil leaking in the vicinity of the oil filter.  I then sprayed some Gunk Engine Cleaner (Gel) and thankfully the stuff seemed thick enough that it wasn't dripping in my eyes (yes, I wear safety glasses), waiting the requisite time, and hosed it all off.  Today I'll probably see more (but it's raining, and I'm a fair weather part changer). So since the oil is right there, front of the engine, passenger side, firewall, and between the power steering pump and the oil filter mounting thingy, I'm starting to think that hey, oil leaks when the car is off.  If that's the case, could it be that there's a gasket on the part that holds the oil filter?  I looked on Rock Auto and ran across a multi ported gasket called the Oil Filter Adapter Gasket, P/N Mahle B31639, that'll set you back a whopping $0.22 or a Few Pro 70644 at $0.45.

Mystery oil leak B31639-ZZ1-08-18-14__ra_t

I looked in the ultimate parts manual, but for the life of me I didn't see this, and will be looking at the factory service manual (FSM) next.

Anyway, does anyone know a good write up on replacing this gasket?  I haven't seen anything, but would appreciate being pointed in the right direction.  I gonna assume you're gonna be draining the oil, because if it's leaking when the car's not running, the oil level might be at a point where it's seeping out, or oil passageways dump oil back down toward the filter.  Again, no mechanic, just a shade tree part changer intrigued by the challenge of seeing if I'm smarter than the guys that bolted these things together.  Any assistance, as always, is appreciated.
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PostSubject: Another request for comments on an oil leak   Mystery oil leak EmptyThu Oct 10, 2019 7:40 pm

Update.  Well, the factory service manual, Vol 3, page 6-66 shows removal of the oil filter adapter gasket as a simple 4 bolt removal process.  Simple, but not easy.  Use a 1/4" drive and 13 mm sockets along with ratcheting box wrenches and 3 of the 4 bolts are relatively easy to remove from underneath (always 1 bolt that takes the same amount of time as removing the other 3, or more).  Be prepared for a messy oil mess, even though I drained the oil and removed the filter.  The hardest thing you'll be doing is trying to removed the old gasket.  Oh the paper part comes off easily, it's that silicone stripe that's left.  That thing is good night nurse trying to get off.  FORGET Permatex 80652 gasket remover.  Worthless as the stuff come out of the 4 oz tube like an oil colored goober that refuses to stick to the metal for a chance to chemically at least attempt to dissolve the residue.  52 years of using Permatex products and this stuff is a clunker.  So it's razor blades and scraping with a little light sanding that'll set you back a good hour to an hour and a half.  After examining everything, I think I'm gonna pull the crank pulley off and examine that seal for serviceability.  Since I've never removed the front engine cover, is it possible for the leak to be emanating from behind the cover and seeping down?  If so, perhaps it's just time to call it a day and send this rig off to Fiddler's Green.  I've no idea, once removing the cover, what a shade tree part changer could do there.  Obviously I'm gonna instill some dye, but stuff where the timing chain resides tends to scare the bejesus out of me.  Any comments would be appreciated.
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PostSubject: Re: Mystery oil leak   Mystery oil leak EmptyThu Oct 10, 2019 9:25 pm

EyeDoc1 wrote:
Update.  Well, the factory service manual, Vol 3, page 6-66 shows removal of the oil filter adapter gasket as a simple 4 bolt removal process.  Simple, but not easy.  Use a 1/4" drive and 13 mm sockets along with ratcheting box wrenches and 3 of the 4 bolts are relatively easy to remove from underneath (always 1 bolt that takes the same amount of time as removing the other 3, or more).  Be prepared for a messy oil mess, even though I drained the oil and removed the filter.  The hardest thing you'll be doing is trying to removed the old gasket.  Oh the paper part comes off easily, it's that silicone stripe that's left.  That thing is good night nurse trying to get off.  FORGET Permatex 80652 gasket remover.  Worthless as the stuff come out of the 4 oz tube like an oil colored goober that refuses to stick to the metal for a chance to chemically at least attempt to dissolve the residue.  52 years of using Permatex products and this stuff is a clunker.  So it's razor blades and scraping with a little light sanding that'll set you back a good hour to an hour and a half.  After examining everything, I think I'm gonna pull the crank pulley off and examine that seal for serviceability.  Since I've never removed the front engine cover, is it possible for the leak to be emanating from behind the cover and seeping down?  If so, perhaps it's just time to call it a day and send this rig off to Fiddler's Green.  I've no idea, once removing the cover, what a shade tree part changer could do there.  Obviously I'm gonna instill some dye, but stuff where the timing chain resides tends to scare the bejesus out of me.  Any comments would be appreciated.


No kidding, your best move is to clean the engine, put dye in the oil, run it a few miles and pull into your garage and hit it with the UV light while wearing those fashion accessory contrast glasses.

The engine crank seals are one piece and last a very long time. I have heard, however, that a bottle of stop leak and a 100+ mile cruise the same day can work.
The consequence is that quite some time later the seals will shrink again. Eventually (some years) the stopleak quits working.
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EyeDoc1
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PostSubject: SOLVED: Mystery oil leak   Mystery oil leak EmptyFri Oct 25, 2019 9:25 pm

I was confused. I thought it was the Buick I did the UV dye test on. It wasn't. It was a different rig. I figured if I changed both valve cover gaskets, and changed the lower intake manifold with the new improved aluminum one, and I still had a leak it might be the front of rear main bearing seals...except these seemed clean. There was just oil on the oil pan bolts and on the transmission bolts. Jeso Criminy as my roommate used to say. And I thought, ok, what's left? While underneath I noted a cross member was scuffed up quite a bit...leading me to believe that perhaps the cross member was subject to issues with those speed bumps on our tertiary roadways, and maybe, just maybe, the pan took a hit somewhere. Nothing visible but you never know. Torquing the bolts did nothing. So what the heck.

I ordered a new oil pan and a new oil pan gasket from Rock Auto. Gasket was a Mahle (OS32147) at about 29 bucks and a new pan (Spectrum Premium GMP11B) at 41 bucks. I figure I'm in for this much, what's a few bucks more.

I removed the old pan. It wasn't glued in, which thankfully made installation easier. I had to remove the oil pan filler pipe or snorkel, and the gasket scraping was more of a PITA, but finally got it done. The little replacement gasket came with the Mahle oil pan gasket. BTW, that's not a standard gasket. I think it's called a "windage tray" and when you see it, you'll better understand the name). Torqued the oil pan bolts to 124 INCH pound in a criss crossed pattern and fired that baby up. Added UV dye in case of a minor leaks and so far...nuttin. Nothing. So sometime the simplest (albeit dirtiest) job was the correct. You are wise if you can pinpoint a leak and/or have a clean undercarriage. Mine was a mess. I just got a minor squeak topside now, and usual that means a water pump bearing, an alternator bearing, or a supercharger bearing. I did change the supercharger oil, so hopefully that's not the issue. I just have to isolate where the noise is coming from.

PS. If you're in a fix, you local eye doctor (optometrist) may lend you the offices' UV light. I have a great unit with a big butted battery that'll light up the night underneath the car. He may let you borrow it. If your nice.
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PostSubject: Re: Mystery oil leak   Mystery oil leak EmptySun Oct 27, 2019 9:08 pm

The minor squeak could be one of the tensioner or idler pullies. Slip the belts off and turn pullies by hand. You'll find the squeaker wheter it is an accessory or a pulley. If a pulley - replace it. Squeaking pulley is a 4-alarm fire -- when they fail they frag and turn your belt into a whip, which will tear your hood liner (which are now unobtainable) and wreak other damage. Not worth it for the $5 or $10 for a replacement pulley.
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EyeDoc1
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PostSubject: I was wondering how best to find the squeak   Mystery oil leak EmptySun Oct 27, 2019 10:11 pm

I tried the old "ear to a piece of wood" trick, and it doesn't seem to be the alternator, nor the supercharger.  I'll do that tomorrow and go on squeak patrol.  Gave it a bath today, and it nice to have a nice riding rig that's not leaking like a sieve.  Also drilled a 2" hole in the plastic undercarriage shroud to access the radiator bung without removing it in the future.  You'd have thought GM would have thought of that at the factory...but what do I know.
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albertj
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PostSubject: Re: Mystery oil leak   Mystery oil leak EmptyMon Oct 28, 2019 7:46 am

EyeDoc1 wrote:
I tried the old "ear to a piece of wood" trick, and it doesn't seem to be the alternator, nor the supercharger.  I'll do that tomorrow and go on squeak patrol.  Gave it a bath today, and it nice to have a nice riding rig that's not leaking like a sieve.  Also drilled a 2" hole in the plastic undercarriage shroud to access the radiator bung without removing it in the future.  You'd have thought GM would have thought of that at the factory...but what do I know.

"Ear to a piece of wood" maybe isn't necessary -- in my experience, simply turning the pullies by hand works. It did take me a little time to figure out what that really meant, though, maybe I'm a little slow on the uptake. What it means to me is to grip the pulley with three fingers and turn slowly, back and forth at least 720 degrees (two full turns) feeling for any clicking or roughness whatsoever. Such pullies are suspect. The ones having any roughness I replace. The ones that click, I then flick-spin them pretty hard to see if they spin freely and if they chirp or squeal whilst doing so. If so then they go. If not then what you've got is a sealed bearing with dry moving parts (usually dry balls in a cage and race). The main idler pullies tend to have such bearings, they are intended for life-of-the-car (150K or so depending on who you ask - GM isn't saying).

It sucks to pull an alternator just to replace the bearings.
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PostSubject: "ear to a piece of wood" was an old mechanics trick if you didn't have...   Mystery oil leak EmptyMon Oct 28, 2019 12:37 pm

a mechanic's stethoscope.  I had no idea such a device existed until I saw an auto shop teacher produce one in 1971.  I never took any formal classes in mechanics, which is why I say I'm merely a part changer.  A Jersey school had night classes where you could bring your own car to work on under the supervision of the shop teacher, and he was making a few extra bucks on the side. Win-win.  So in the absence of that formal stethoscope, a wooden dowel about 2 feet long, preferably with a rounded end on one side for your ear, made a great conductor in place of the fancy tool.  Used in the Army as well, as a broom handle and a mop ALWAYS seemed to be present.  Imagine that.  So I used a short painter's extension handle and pretty much ruled out the alternator and the supercharger snout, the two things easily accessible without running the risk of slipping and getting a dowel shoved in my ear or splintering in pieces.  Todays the day when I disconnect the belts, and I'll follow your advice and see if I can pinpoint the squeak.  And you are correct...if you don't fix it, it ain't gonna get better on its own.  Before I did the lower intake manifold (LIM), I wasn't aware of the squeak.  I'll let you know what I find.
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PostSubject: Re: Mystery oil leak   Mystery oil leak EmptyFri Nov 01, 2019 1:17 pm

EyeDoc1 wrote:
a mechanic's stethoscope.  I had no idea such a device existed until I saw an auto shop teacher produce one in 1971.  I never took any formal classes in mechanics, which is why I say I'm merely a part changer.  A Jersey school had night classes where you could bring your own car to work on under the supervision of the shop teacher, and he was making a few extra bucks on the side.  Win-win.  So in the absence of that formal stethoscope, a wooden dowel about 2 feet long, preferably with a rounded end on one side for your ear, made a great conductor in place of the fancy tool.  Used in the Army as well, as a broom handle and a mop ALWAYS seemed to be present.  Imagine that.  So I used a short painter's extension handle and pretty much ruled out the alternator and the supercharger snout, the two things easily accessible without running the risk of slipping and getting a dowel shoved in my ear or splintering in pieces.  Todays the day when I disconnect the belts, and I'll follow your advice and see if I can pinpoint the squeak.  And you are correct...if you don't fix it, it ain't gonna get better on its own.  Before I did the lower intake manifold (LIM), I wasn't aware of the squeak.  I'll let you know what I find.

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PostSubject: Re: Mystery oil leak   Mystery oil leak EmptyFri Nov 01, 2019 1:49 pm

As best as I can tell, it’s the front tensioner assembly with the smooth and ribbed pulleys. I’ll noticed that the belt on the smooth pulley that is connected to the supercharger isn’t tracking dead on and drifting a bit, indicating the shaft might be a bit bent. Also, while I can’t get it to squeak, it does not exactly spin like I’ve seen bearings spin when they’re new. I think that tensioners given up the ghost, so I ordered a new one from Amazon. I’ll have it on Monday, and install it on Tuesday. If I wanted to get one from the junkyard, it’s about 26 miles away, that’s round-trip times two, Plus gasoline and aggravation and traffic. Forget it. Just ship me a new one. Best price I could find was about 82 bucks. Had it been the other tensioner for the accessory belt, I think Rock Auto is doing a blowout sale for like 17 bucks. But that was a lot harder to do. I’ll pay the money and let you know how it goes
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PostSubject: Re: Mystery oil leak   Mystery oil leak EmptySat Nov 02, 2019 11:56 pm

EyeDoc1 wrote:
As best as I can tell, it’s the front tensioner assembly with the smooth and ribbed pulleys. I’ll noticed that the belt on the smooth pulley that is connected to the supercharger isn’t tracking dead on and drifting a bit, indicating the shaft might be a bit bent. Also, while I can’t get it to squeak, it does not exactly spin like I’ve seen bearings spin when they’re new. I think that tensioners given up the ghost, so I ordered a new one from Amazon. I’ll have it on Monday, and install it on Tuesday. If I wanted to get one from the junkyard, it’s about 26 miles away, that’s round-trip times two, Plus gasoline and aggravation and traffic. Forget it. Just ship me a new one. Best price I could find was about 82 bucks. Had it been the other tensioner for the accessory belt, I think Rock Auto is doing a blowout sale for like 17 bucks. But that was a lot harder to do. I’ll pay the money and let you know how it goes

Depending on prior maintenance it can be very smart to replace all the minor pullies together.

As the pulley bearing wears the pulley will spin off axis. The tensioner may not be dead; Gates tensioners last a **Very** long time due to the springs they use (they have a nice write up about the differences on their site somewhere).

Albertj
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PostSubject: Re: Mystery oil leak   Mystery oil leak EmptySun Nov 03, 2019 12:32 am

while on the subject I noticed a very light chirp/ squeak when I first start the car. after it warms up it seems to stop I think its the s/c pulley but i'm not sure 95 riv 100,345
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PostSubject: Re: Mystery oil leak   Mystery oil leak EmptySun Nov 03, 2019 1:24 am

Funny you should mention the Gates pulley. I did see the write up on how to replace it and noted the supplied part number. I compared the price between Rock Auto with Amazon, and decided to get it from Amazon. Not much of a difference in price, and Amazon was a bit speedier and if there’s a problem, they appear to be a little easier to deal with then RockAuto. The write up on the Gates pulley was very positive for the supplied part. Hopefully, it’s the last time I ever have to replace it
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PostSubject: Tensioner delivered and installed   Mystery oil leak EmptyMon Nov 11, 2019 11:50 am

The things you learn. Mind you, I replaced the Lower Intake Manifold to get rid of the nasty oil gunk in the radiator, and that job was successful. If people haven't done this job, it's not a question of if, it's a question of when. And the new oil pan and Mahle gaskets stopped the oil leak. I'm concluding that perhaps a tap to the pan from those ubiquitous "speed bumps" jarred the pan. Installed the oil pan and gasket without gasket sealant, given the pan and gaskets were new and it appears to be working. Now, the racket of squeaking and squealing under the hood was confirmed to be on the supercharger belt, because I removed it, turned the belt 90 degrees to clear the idler pulley (the smooth one under the passenger side motor mount) and viola, no squeak. So either the new Gates tensioner I installed was bad (doubtful) or the idler pulley was going, or...or...perhaps the part changer (me) FAILED to make sure the supercharger belt was mounted absolutely, positively square on the smooth tensioner pulley and not being prone to wobbling if you just slap it on and expect the car to do the alignment for you. Which it was-misaligned. Realigned the belt on the pulley/tensioner and squeak disappeared. Bottom line take home message? Don't "assume" the serpentine belt is self-aligning, like the fan belt on the old '62 Ford. Problem solved, case closed. Gotta go check the trunk leak next, but that's another thread. Thanks for everyone help.

And on a side note. Speed bumps. I had gotten a check engine light a couple of years ago and couldn't figure it out, until I was doing some rear brake work. Removing the drivers side rear tire, I noticed a glint of shiny steel, and put my finger into a hole the size of a dime in the gas filler pipe!. Seems "wheel hop" had caused the inside of the rear tire to scrape the filler neck line, eventually wearing a hole in the steel pipe. Guess years of ignoring the "go slow" warning caught up with me. Couldn't find one in the junkyard nor could I find one online (part discontinued), so I resorted to the "Home Improvements" solution. Duct tape. Duct taped that sucker and two or more years later, no check engine light. Albert was kind enough to find a reference to pipes that are available, but for now...I'm good.

Oh, there's also a decent thread for cleaning out the coolant reservoir to get it clean by using oil soak type kitty litter, brake cleaner and some rags. That works, but you'll be shaking yourself into traumatic brain injury. I just used brake cleaner, rags, and an old skool wire hanger. Get one out of your mother's closet...the old bronze style, not those cheap white one. She'll never notice its missing, and you can bend those hangers to most shapes to get it 90% clean. I'm not a fanatic, but why put more gunk into the system than I need. Here's hoping.
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PostSubject: Re: Mystery oil leak   Mystery oil leak EmptyMon Nov 11, 2019 9:32 pm

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