Source of this leak?

Drivetrain problems

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Source of this leak?

Postby robertverhey » Mon 21.10.2019, 07:37

This leak has appeared the day after I replaced the gearbox oil, and though I’ve been peering up from underneath with a powerful torch I can’t seem to find any obvious source. I poured in 1.8litres through a funnel/tube (with no spillage), the speedo cable is properly inserted and clamped down and the drain plug is good and tight. The area where the driveshaft exits the gearbox is dry, as is the interface between engine and gearbox.

Are there any other places where the oil might be coming from?
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Re: Source of this leak?

Postby HJ2 » Mon 21.10.2019, 08:05

Perhaps the seal on the speedo gear is missing / broken?
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Re: Source of this leak?

Postby robertverhey » Mon 21.10.2019, 08:45

Hmm yes good thinking. I whipped the cable out again just now and while the o-ring looks intact, I’ll replace it and see if it helps. What I did notice is that the level of oil in the gearbox seems very high, in fact it’s lapping at bottom of the speedo cable hole (see pic). Should it be that high? Every other gearbox I’ve ever worked on, the fill line is about half way up the casing. When replacing the fluid, I let it drain for quite a while, and then only added exactly 1.8 litres. Have I overfilled it?
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Re: Source of this leak?

Postby Rambo » Mon 21.10.2019, 09:09

Just a few thoughts...

Did you drain it when the gearbox oil was warm and how much came out ie was it fully drained ? And are you sure there wasn't any overspill and its just taken time for it to find your garage floor ?

I have a figure of 3 pints in my memory for gearbox volume so 1.8L is not far away
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Re: Source of this leak?

Postby Rambo » Mon 21.10.2019, 09:16

Just checked something on the Wiki....

It does say 3 pints. It also says 1.8L which isn't the same thing. 3 imperial pints is eguivalent to 1.7L so maybe it is just overfilled ? I don't know hiw much difference this would make :smt017
Last edited by Rambo on Mon 21.10.2019, 09:22, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Source of this leak?

Postby robertverhey » Mon 21.10.2019, 09:18

Now that you mention it, what came out was nowhere near 1.8 litres. I just assumed it had been lost over time by attrition, probably the first time it has been changed since new (29 years!)

Maybe I should drain it again and fill it again. Easily done on the hoist

Surely can’t be right for the fluid to be that far up the transmission casing? And that’s when cold. When warm it would inevitably create pressure and leakage past the o-ring
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Re: Source of this leak?

Postby robertverhey » Mon 21.10.2019, 09:21

Rambo wrote:Just checked something on the Wiki....

It does say 3 pints. It also says 1.8L which isn't the same thing :smt017


Quite so! It’s closer to 1.4 litres
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Re: Source of this leak?

Postby Rambo » Mon 21.10.2019, 09:28

Did you do this ? Extracted from the Wiki...

"The challenge lays not in removing oil but putting it in. The transmission is filled through the hole where the speedometer drive cable enters the housing. The first job is to remove the Speedometer Cable and speedometer gear from the gearbox and remove the speedometer gear to check the oil level. Please do this before draining the old lubricant. If you're not able to remove the cable, it's better to find out while there's still oil in the transmission"

PS see my prev. post. Doesn't 3 imperial pints equate to 1.7L ??
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Re: Source of this leak?

Postby robertverhey » Mon 21.10.2019, 09:44

Yes I was getting my imperial pints mixed up with US pints. Now occurs to me that the speedo gear also has a “dipstick” role, so maybe I shouldn’t get too worried about how much went in and just use that to get the level right, then replace the o ring. Still seems awfully high to me though, brought up on a diet of cortina and early elan gearboxes!
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Re: Source of this leak?

Postby Rambo » Mon 21.10.2019, 09:48

I know JohnW has recently done work on his gearbox. He might have some useful knowledge. He usually does :wink:
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Re: Source of this leak?

Postby Simon_P » Mon 21.10.2019, 10:39

That looks rather full!
The capacity is 1.8l - that doesn't mean that is how much you should put in. The fill level is on the speedo drive gear what does that read?

There is an upper and lower limit on the fill level so 1.8l and 3 pints are probably both correct, an exact conversion would be of no consequence as the amount needed is sufficient for the level to be between the lines.
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Re: Source of this leak?

Postby muley » Mon 21.10.2019, 10:58

I also think it is overfull.

Had a leak on my last S2. Turns out the gearbox was filled to the brim by a previous owner ~ M100 Elan is unlike old cars with combined filler/level plug!

I've never managed to get anything like 1.7l. into a gearbox, using the dipstick on the drive gear.

I'd be concerned that overfilling would play havoc with the input shaft seal..

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Re: Source of this leak?

Postby Simon_P » Mon 21.10.2019, 11:06

Yes mine also... right to the top
Interestingly (?) the WSM states 1.9l, 3.3 imperial pints or 4.0 US pints - take your pick its only use is so you know how much to buy.
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Re: Source of this leak?

Postby Fredjohn » Mon 21.10.2019, 13:34

I recently changed my drive shafts, so had to refill the gearbox. Removing the speedo drive was a right PITA. So when I topped mine up I made a temporary dipstick: a long bolt (M6?) fastened to a 1/2" square metal plate with 2 nuts tightened at the "full" level. I just put the plate flat on top of the filler hole, so dipping the bolt into the hole and the oil.

Saves having to put the speedo drive in and out, so potentially damaging the oil seal.
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Re: Source of this leak?

Postby HJ2 » Mon 21.10.2019, 16:03

Take care that when the speedo gear is nof fully inserted (due to a broken O-ring?) it does not show the correct level of fluid as well!
If not fully seated you might think that the fluid level is OK, but actually it is too full now...

Make sure that the speedo gear is fully inserted when trying to read the fluid level on the markings...
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Re: Source of this leak?

Postby John_W » Mon 21.10.2019, 18:54

It sounds to me like you've over-filled it. However you say that the area around the speedo drive is dry, so I can't think where it would be coming from. Can't you tell by the colour/cleanliness/smell of the drip you've found whether it is gearbox oil or not? (Syntrans has a very distinctive smell.)

The attached pictures shows the fill level marked on the speedo gear and the amount of oil I drained from my gearbox earlier this year (1.8 litres). I therefore refilled it with the same amount. This doesn't mean you should use 1.8 litres - it depends on how much you managed to drain out. I had warmed the gearbox by a longish drive and jacked the car on a severe port list in attempt to get as much out as possible.

As it happens the handbook quotes a volume of "Capacity - refill 1.8 litres (3.2 imp. pint)". The Service Notes section FF quotes a gearbox capacity of "1.9 litres (3.3 imp. pt.; 4.0 U.S. pt)" but this is from dry; it also quotes a refill volume of 1.8 litres.

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Re: Source of this leak?

Postby Rambo » Mon 21.10.2019, 19:38

That's a great kettle John. 1 8L = 1800 l. Well I never. We need a new Wham version that converts L to imperial pints :lol:

PS does Maggie really allow you to fill it with gearbox oil ?





No, didn't think so :o
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Re: Source of this leak?

Postby robertverhey » Wed 23.10.2019, 05:34

Update. Thanks for all useful advice and input above. As it turns out the level of oil in the gearbox was LOW despite appearances, it didn’t even register on the speedo cable gear dipstick. I have made sure this is pushed fully home and clamped down but no fluid is registering on it. Go figure!

I’ll just leave that for now and start to look elsewhere because the leak has not subsided at all. Turning my attention to the N/S driveshaft oil seal, which looked bone dry from below but sure enough was wet when I ran my finger over the housing near the driveshaft exit.

I’ll get there.....
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