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johnwink

2001 Boxster oil leak (left of center)

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Hi there,

I am new to the forum, and mightily impressed with the great information here. Many thanks to the great people that make this happen! Hopefully some day I'll be able to contribute. I've only had the car for a couple of months, and haven't had a real chance to get under it yet, so please forgive my uninformed descriptions here.

I have two problems. As of this morning, I am experiencing the white smoke at startup that is symptomatic of a faulty air/oil seperator. No smoke yesterday, so the problem came on very quickly. I'll call the dealership on Monday for that. At the same time that I was checking that out, I noticed some oil spots under the car.

The oil spots are not huge, but big enough to worry me. The largest is perhaps two inches in diameter, and there are three of four smaller ones. I take the car out perhaps 2-3 times a week, so I suspect this leak started around 10-14 days ago. They are under the engine, a little left of center. There is a square plate of metal under the car with a bolt in the middle, looks like it could be an oil drain plug? There is some oil around that. However I think there is some oil futher back as well, not far from what may be the oil filter.

I'm hoping that my air/oil seperator has been dying over the last two weeks and leaking oil and that is all. But I have a sinking feeling that that's a naive idea. The electronic readout when I turn on the key shows plenty of oil. I will check the dipstick to be sure before driving to the dealership (12 miles). My car is a 2001 Boxster with 30K miles on it.

Does anyone have any thoughts on what this could be? Does an air/oil seperator ever leak under the car, or is smoke on startup the only symptom?

Any help provided will be hugely appreciated. Many thanks!

John Wink

Montreal, Canada

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The Air Oil Seperator ( AOS) also has a bellows that looks like a little accordian. The bellows can crack and break apart. The bellows is located on the bottom of the AOS. A failed AOScan also cause your oil filler tubes to contract and expand and eventually crack. Both the bellows and cracked filler tubes can lead to oil on the ground. If the oil is dead center and more to the drivers side these 2 items might not be the culprit as they are both on the passenger's side. But it is possible that oil could be traveling down the main support frame cross member that runs from tire to tire under the car right where the transmission meets the engine block. The Rear Main Seal ( RMS) and Intermediate Main Seal ( IMS) are also at this support crossmember. If the RMS or IMS are at fault you should see more of a heavy nosebleed at the support frame cross member. The last photo is definitely a RMS or IMS problem. The photos below and the search feature on this site can help you find more info. Your new AOS will come with a new bellows and you will need to purchase a new J tube. A J tube is a recommended replacement when doing the AOS. The cost is just south of $30 for the J tuble. You will need your VIN number when ordering the J tube because the part is different after 1998. Good luck?

Bellows connected to air oil seperator.

IMG_0444.jpg

Red A identifies Oil filler tubes Blue B is the J tube that connects from AOS to the Throttle Body (TB)

oiltube.jpg

RMS and/or IMS problems (red X is rear jacking point and bolts into the rear main support cross member.

rearjackingpoint.jpg

Hi there,

I am new to the forum, and mightily impressed with the great information here. Many thanks to the great people that make this happen! Hopefully some day I'll be able to contribute. I've only had the car for a couple of months, and haven't had a real chance to get under it yet, so please forgive my uninformed descriptions here.

I have two problems. As of this morning, I am experiencing the white smoke at startup that is symptomatic of a faulty air/oil seperator. No smoke yesterday, so the problem came on very quickly. I'll call the dealership on Monday for that. At the same time that I was checking that out, I noticed some oil spots under the car.

The oil spots are not huge, but big enough to worry me. The largest is perhaps two inches in diameter, and there are three of four smaller ones. I take the car out perhaps 2-3 times a week, so I suspect this leak started around 10-14 days ago. They are under the engine, a little left of center. There is a square plate of metal under the car with a bolt in the middle, looks like it could be an oil drain plug? There is some oil around that. However I think there is some oil futher back as well, not far from what may be the oil filter.

I'm hoping that my air/oil seperator has been dying over the last two weeks and leaking oil and that is all. But I have a sinking feeling that that's a naive idea. The electronic readout when I turn on the key shows plenty of oil. I will check the dipstick to be sure before driving to the dealership (12 miles). My car is a 2001 Boxster with 30K miles on it.

Does anyone have any thoughts on what this could be? Does an air/oil seperator ever leak under the car, or is smoke on startup the only symptom?

Any help provided will be hugely appreciated. Many thanks!

John Wink

Montreal, Canada

Edited by kbrandsma

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Thanks for the great description and pictures!

The last photo (of the IMS or RMS problem) is where I was looking. On the right-hand side of your photo you have the square plate that I mentioned, with a bolt in the middle and a bit of oil, just like mine, so I'll assume that's nothing. :-)

The oil in your photo from the RMS leak on the left is approximately where I'm seeing oil, but I have a lot less of it than in the photo. So maybe I have a smaller leak. Or if I'm really REALLY lucky then the oil may be travelling down the cross-member from the AOS or somewhere else like you described. I need to get a better look at the thing.

My gut tells I've probably blown my AOS and RMS in the same week. I'll let you know the grizzly conclusion...

Thanks again!

John Wink

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As you suspected the bolt in the middle of the square plate is the oil drain plug. An aluminum crush washer is used under the plug as a seal. If the crush washer has been reused several times it may no longer be sealing 100%. I tend to replace the crush washer everytime I change the oil.

Thanks for the great description and pictures!

The last photo (of the IMS or RMS problem) is where I was looking. On the right-hand side of your photo you have the square plate that I mentioned, with a bolt in the middle and a bit of oil, just like mine, so I'll assume that's nothing. :-)

The oil in your photo from the RMS leak on the left is approximately where I'm seeing oil, but I have a lot less of it than in the photo. So maybe I have a smaller leak. Or if I'm really REALLY lucky then the oil may be travelling down the cross-member from the AOS or somewhere else like you described. I need to get a better look at the thing.

My gut tells I've probably blown my AOS and RMS in the same week. I'll let you know the grizzly conclusion...

Thanks again!

John Wink

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I had my 98 5 speed apart this winter and replaced the AOS, RMS, IMS, J Tube, clutch, O2 sensors and Oil Filler tubes. I was leaving a quarter size drop of oil every other day or so. When I had it all apart to determine the problem I decided to replace them all. The total cost with some additional tools (like transmission jack) was just north of $1200. I figured at my mileage of 52K, it was time or near time to do most of the items. The RMS and IMS priobably wasn't necessary but I did them anyway because of the convenience.

This photo shows the RMS and IMS and very little oil saturation from them, but you see the cross member (and oil on it) and the area below the bellows (passenger side) with fresh oil. My oil filler tubes were cracked and the previous owner had just replaced the bellows but not the AOS. I was not careful enough in replacing the middle oil filler tube and so I also had to replace an additional one that connects to the engine block. I had broke off the ears that connects to the engine block. If you like I have some info on that part of the oil filler tube I could send you.

IMG_0403.jpg

I would check your oil filler tube and replace if needed. If they are cracked and damaged the AOSmost likely is the problem. Check your AOS and also your J tube for presence of a large amount of oil. Some folks just replace the bellows first so you could check your bellows and replace if needed. If leak is still there then AOS and J tube. You could save the RMS and IMS until such time it is determined that they are the problem. The RMS and IMS requires removing the muffler/exhaust, transmission and clutch. If you do it yourself, probably not a big deal, but if a shop or Indie it will cost you north of $2K. I would highly recommend replacing your clutch if over 30-40K miles or if they are damaged by oil saturation.

Good Luck and keep us posted. IMHO I think it is ok to drive as long as oil is checked often.

Edited by kbrandsma

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Hi again,

Thanks for the wealth of advice. This is fantastic!

I had another look at it. Not an easy thing to do... I live in an apartment building, so I don't have access to good tools or a lift. Essentially all I could do is shove a digital camera under the car at various spots and snap pictures. They're not great, and way too close range, but it looks as if the oil leak is only in the area shown in this version of your picture (red-circled area). Other parts that I got pictures of are pretty clean.

I'd love to have a crack at this myself (I used to work on my cars), but unfortunately I'm going to have to leave this one to the dealer. Lack of tools aside, I'm planning on shipping this car the to U.S. in a few weeks (I'm moving to Washington state from Montreal), and the car will be refused if there is any evidence of a fluid leak. So sadly this is not a good time for me to try and learn about my new car. :(

Given that this'll be a dealer thing... I trust my dealer. Should I ask him to change the RMS and IMS since he's already got it open? That way I'll have the RMS, IMS, and AOS all fresh and new. For sure I'll have him check the tubes at the same time, thanks for the tip. I have 30K miles (48K kms) on the car and the clutch still feels good, so I'd rather let that go unless it's contaminated (which I doubt, or I'd probably feel it). Your thoughts?

I'll call the dealer in the morning. From the sounds of it, I should be able to drive the car there without too much trouble.

Thanks again!

John Wink

Here is the mark-up:

post-30529-1209335837_thumb.jpg

Edited by johnwink

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If oil is coming out of the transmission crankcase housing where it bolts on to the engine block, you may have an RMS issue. Hard to say without better photo shots. The only reason to take it apart would be to confirm a RMS leak or not. A leak no matter how small may eventually saturate the clutch but more importantly the Dual Mass Flywheel ( DMF). If oil gets on the DMF it will need to be replace and that is a spendy item. ($500 to $700 US plus any markup from the dealer.) When people replace the clutch they usually don't replace the DMF but simply re-install the old one. The RMS is less than $25 US, the expense is the labor to get to it. I replaced my IMS because it had a new redesign since my old but original 1998 was installed. The IMS cost about $90 US. A new clutch is $375-$500 US. The deal is that to get the car torned down to really looking at the RMS and IMS you have to remove the clutch and the DMF. So if the AOS is throwing oil (oil tubes and bellows included) replace and clean everything up. Then drive and wait to see if leak is stopped. You don't need to remove transmission and clutch to get to the AOS. The RMS is above the oil level and won't leak unless driven. If you ship the car to US, it most likely won't be leaking.

What part of Washington State are you going to. I live in Everett, which is about 30 minutes North of Seattle.

Good luck and keep us posted!

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Hello John.

Keep us posted on this issue

For my point of view, I hope it's only a deffective lower AOS tube.

It could also cause an oil spot in this area.

Good luck

Fred

post-24675-1209387573_thumb.jpg

Edited by El Acura

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Sounds like I should take care of the AOS (assuming that's the smoke issue, which it probably is...) and leave the rest alone for now. Thanks for the tip on the RMS not leaking when the car is stationary. If it IS the RMS, it's such a slow leak that driving it on and off of the transporter won't cause it to leak.

I'm moving to Redmond (or somewhere near there) some time in June. I can buy you lunch or a drink to thank you for all the advice. :)

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Hey Fred, always great to hear from you!

Thanks for the advice and the great mark-up on this photo. It makes it really easy to understand things! (I guess I owe you a beer too!)

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Hey Fred, always great to hear from you!

Thanks for the advice and the great mark-up on this photo. It makes it really easy to understand things! (I guess I owe you a beer too!)

You're welcome.

Keep us posted on your Boxster in its new town...

Good luck with your new life in Washington.

See ya

Fred

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A quick update... It being "that time of the year" in Montreal when those who don't drive their Porsches through the winter bring them out and have their service done, I'm going to have to wait a week or so before the dealer will be able to look at my car. Less smoke yesterday when I started it up to drive it to the dealership, though that's probably irrelevant.

I'll keep you posted. In the mean time, two wheels for me...

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Hi folks,

A question and and update...

Question: I'm looking at the Porsche workshop manual for the Boxster, it it seems to indicate that the AOS (actually two of them) are under the oil pan. However everything we've discussed here indicates that it (singular!) is on top of the engine. Can anyone unfog my brain on this?

Update: Dealership still has my car, going on two weeks. They've promised a diagnosis by Monday. Aside from missing two weeks of top-down weather, I'm really a little worried... I have to make sure this thing in running and not dripping so I can stick it on a transporter to Seattle in a couple of weeks. The stress is killing me.

I know, I know... If you can't take the heat, buy a Toyota. :-)

Thanks,

John

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Hi folks,

A question and and update...

Question: I'm looking at the Porsche workshop manual for the Boxster, it it seems to indicate that the AOS (actually two of them) are under the oil pan. However everything we've discussed here indicates that it (singular!) is on top of the engine. Can anyone unfog my brain on this?

Update: Dealership still has my car, going on two weeks. They've promised a diagnosis by Monday. Aside from missing two weeks of top-down weather, I'm really a little worried... I have to make sure this thing in running and not dripping so I can stick it on a transporter to Seattle in a couple of weeks. The stress is killing me.

I know, I know... If you can't take the heat, buy a Toyota. :-)

Thanks,

John

Hello John.

What your looking at it's the end of the AOS system in the oil pan.

What you want to change is on page 10-22 and 10-23.

Next time, bring me your car... :cheers: A Porsche should be on the road...

post-24675-1210381219_thumb.jpg

Edited by El Acura

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Two weeks after dropping the car off, I finally got an assessment.

1.) They haven't seen any smoke at startup. Maybe the car was just having a bad day (or "it's a boxer engine" syndrome).

2.) The oil leak is the RMS, might as well do the IMS while they're in there.

Here was my conversation with the service advisor:

John: How bad it the leak?

Advisor: Not that bad, really. Unless you're going to have the car inspected, it's no rush.

John: I'm getting the car inspected in a month.

Advisor: Uh-oh.

So I'm down CAD$1475 for the two seals, which sounds in-line with what others have been saying on the forums. He'll check out the clutch while he's in there, but apparently the clutch kit is in the CAD$1000 range, so unless it's down to the rivets, no f---ing way.

So, my tally to date for eight months of Boxster ownership:

Regular maintenace including replacing a busted trailing link: $1800

16" Porsche rims (thanks again, Fred!) and snow tires: $1200

CAA membership to get dead car towed to the dealership: $200

Troubleshooting and a new battery (how did I miss that one??): $500

New RMS and ISS to correct an insignificant oil leak: $1475

Joy of driving a Porsche: Priceless. Or so I am trying to convince myself. <_<

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Here is the end of this sordid tale...

The delearship observed no smoke on startup. They pressure-tested the cooling system and found no leak. I don't think they inspected the AOS.

The oil leak was the RMS. They replaced the RMS and ISS with the new-style parts. While they had it apart, they called to tell my the dual-mass flywheel was on it's way out. I had them replace it ($1234 for the part, no additional labour). I kept the old part for posterity...

So far I've driven this thing approximately 5000 km. I've spent approximately $5000 in repairs. Hopefully the experience will get better from here on in.

Thanks for all your advice!

John Wink

2001 Boxster 2.7

New RMS

New ISS

New DMF

Empty bank account

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