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Discussion Starter #1
In the process of doing the clutch on my VG33ER, I came across what seems to be the haphazard work of a mechanic who previously worked on the vehicle. There is (or at least what seems to be) gasket maker sticking out of the gap between the oil seal retainer and the block, with oil leaking out from the bottom side of the gap. The problem is, the RMS itself was in flawless condition when I took everything apart, so is there a good way to salvage it and just put on a new retainer gasket, or will I end up replacing both? There is always the possibility of squeezing a line of quality gasket maker where it's currently leaking but I don't know if that will hold and for how long. Here's a picture of the situation (the leak is coming from the bottom of the retainer where there appears to be no gasket, or it was sucked in):

 

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When you do the oil pan gasket, you make a bead of RTB around the entire thing, including on the seal. Thats most likely what you're seeing. I'm not sure if you're meant to go on top of it as-well as in this picture, but it doesn't hurt.

If I'm interpreting what you are saying correctly, you mean it is leaking below the curved gasket, which would be the oil pan gasket. It kinda twists and sits a little funky, at least when I did it, so that probably why you see it on the edges but not in the center. You probably want to replace it since its a long way back in there if it fails. It would be fairly difficult to try to do just that rear one without breaking the seal on the entire pan, so you may have to consider that. Another note: You can do oil pan gasket w/o dropping the trans, but it's a PITA because you have to wrestle the diff.

Also on the RMS, I think its kinda hard to tell whether it's good or not. I went through the leak detection process and thought it was the pan gasket, replaced that, and it started leaking even more, so clearly the oil pan was leaking enough pressure to where when it sealed, it put more pressure on the RMS and made it leak more. I didn't see anything glaringly wrong with the RMS, but remember it isn't just a stationary seal, the crank is spinning in that seal fast, so slight wear makes a big difference. If it were me, I would replace it while you're in there.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
When you do the oil pan gasket, you make a bead of RTB around the entire thing, including on the seal. Thats most likely what you're seeing. I'm not sure if you're meant to go on top of it as-well as in this picture, but it doesn't hurt.

If I'm interpreting what you are saying correctly, you mean it is leaking below the curved gasket, which would be the oil pan gasket. It kinda twists and sits a little funky, at least when I did it, so that probably why you see it on the edges but not in the center. You probably want to replace it since its a long way back in there if it fails. It would be fairly difficult to try to do just that rear one without breaking the seal on the entire pan, so you may have to consider that. Another note: You can do oil pan gasket w/o dropping the trans, but it's a PITA because you have to wrestle the diff.

Also on the RMS, I think its kinda hard to tell whether it's good or not. I went through the leak detection process and thought it was the pan gasket, replaced that, and it started leaking even more, so clearly the oil pan was leaking enough pressure to where when it sealed, it put more pressure on the RMS and made it leak more. I didn't see anything glaringly wrong with the RMS, but remember it isn't just a stationary seal, the crank is spinning in that seal fast, so slight wear makes a big difference. If it were me, I would replace it while you're in there.
I figured the extra goop wasn't entirely meant to be there, but now that you give me that perspective on how the oil pan gasket sits, it makes more sense. I'll take your advice and replace the RMS because it's a $10 part and it's nice to have the piece of mind that something so far in isn't causing a major oil leak. Granted, the oil pan gasket will be a pain but not as much as dropping the trans was. I did something similar with my vq35de when I did the subframe drop on my pathfinder, so I have some familiarity with the process.

Anyway, thanks for the input, and I look forward to (hopefully) getting rid of what's arguably one of the hardest things to diagnose.
 

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I figured the extra goop wasn't entirely meant to be there, but now that you give me that perspective on how the oil pan gasket sits, it makes more sense. I'll take your advice and replace the RMS because it's a $10 part and it's nice to have the piece of mind that something so far in isn't causing a major oil leak. Granted, the oil pan gasket will be a pain but not as much as dropping the trans was. I did something similar with my vq35de when I did the subframe drop on my pathfinder, so I have some familiarity with the process.

Anyway, thanks for the input, and I look forward to (hopefully) getting rid of what's arguably one of the hardest things to diagnose.
Yeah sounds good. I agree, oil leaks in that area are a fun one. Dropping the trans is quite a job. Oil pan is definitely a fun one too. Everything sounds easy until you lay the bead of RTB down and you've gotta put it in place without touching anything....any way, good luck. As I said I have done the same hunt, and still haven't quite got it. The two definitely improved to problem, but I still have a little coming from somewhere...maybe block plugs next... For now a dime size every 3 weeks is a whole lot better than a silver dollar every time its parked :)
 

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Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
I installed the new seal about a 1/8 inch past flush in hopes it would seal better (as opposed to in the same spot as the previous seal), as well as lining the leak pictured above with Permatex Ultra Black after copious amounts of wiping and brakleen.

Related to the timeline of the job itself, I might as well give an update and a fair warning for those looking for a clutch kit for the VG33ER. I bought a LuK kit from PartsGeek Apr. 1st. Arrived at my door on April 9th, but they send me an Exedy kit and the friction disc is unusable.

I contact them immediately and wait 3 days for them to tell me it's going to be at least a 3 week turnaround before I can get another part, and that I have to pay return shipping. Long story short if you get a damaged part from their site, be prepared for your timetable to slide back immensely. I'm just going to order the friction disc and just take the $130 hit because I can't leave my trans sitting out on the driveway for close to another month.

Good news is, I will have a nicer pressure plate (and clutch disc) than I paid for. Bad news is it won't be done nearly as soon and I would've spent less buying the Exedy kit from RockAuto to begin with.

I will update this thread periodically on how the seal holds, hopefully I can tell the difference between the locations of my oil leaks now that the bellhousing is all clean.
 

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2001 Xterra 4WD Auto 3.3L NA V6
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If I read that right, you ordered "A" and they sent "B"?

It's their mistake, so it should be on them to correct it.
 
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