Is it possible for a head gasket to leak only oil to the outside of the head?


Asked by Apr 25, 2013 at 09:39 PM about the 1991 Mitsubishi 3000GT 2 Dr SL Hatchback

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

While making the 110 mile interstate trip home from work at 80 mph.  Stopped at store
and had oil everywhere.  Had lost around two quarts of oil.  Appears to be coming from
the head gasket on the back bank but hard to really tell because oil is everywhere. No oil
above the head gasket area.  No oil in radiator or water in oil.  No loss of compression
and car still runs fine all except for the oil leak.  Prior to this trip car only used about a
quarter of a quart between oil changes.  204000 miles on car but only about 30000 on
head gaskets.  Any suggestions?

26 Answers

yes. it certainly is, often it's because the gasket has "gone soft" or could luck out and just simply be valve cover gaskets. this could create a situation of "bubblin' loose" head bolts~ Seen oil dripping out of the exhaust manifold bolts (how weird is that). Oil is slippery and can get pratically everywhere, the valve cover gaskets, would be a lot less dramatic, but skads easier than some major modifications~

3 of 3 people found this helpful.

if it's fizzin' re-torque the head(s)~

2 of 2 people found this helpful.

hey dandyoun, great hearin' from you in the form of a question, kinda tests the brinksmanship here, don't it?

1 of 1 people found this helpful.

It's interesting when we review what makes certain Japanese labels unique, for example Subaru is always 4 wheel drive and H- configuration to keep the center of gravity down. Mazda works hard to put competitive, stylish cars out there, Honda "-git a hoooondaaahie" ad from their introduction as a motorcycle manufacturer has stuck with them to the design of their autos, which are pretty darned good, Nissan will always be Datsun to me, and like Toyota, Mitsubishi just feels like a Zero, burnin' hot onward to a firey self-interest. Had these too, with the gutless "MCA jet" experience of 1980 many common suppliers but a notch less reliable, in my personal experience~ Toyota is the undisputed champ in terms of quality and reliability ~ glad you're dandyoun and can release the angry chimps on you~

2 of 2 people found this helpful.

Thanks judge. Built this one for my fifteen year old son. Bad thing is that I only have one more year to drive it before I hand him the keys. (Will sure miss this car) Guess I will pull the intake and exhaust manifolds in the morning to be able to get a better look.

1 of 1 people found this helpful.

The Japanese are more resourceful than the Koreans who are just riding the crest, as they haven't really done their homework but rely on other engineering, like cheating thru a test, eventually are going to get the wrong answer. The style and discipline of the Japanese seems to stick with their auto-making, branching out into other industries like Mitubishi televisions (of which has reliably worked since 1988) big-ass direct CRT~


I'd triple check the valve cover gasket to make darn sure before a head gasket job is done. Could clean area, then look for exact origins of leak.

3 of 3 people found this helpful.

Oh yes it does. Y'all always tend to give great advice and I would be a foul not to ask for y'all's help. If it appears to be the heads would you suggest retorgue or would gasket replacement be a better fix.

3 of 3 people found this helpful.

Thanks mrmoony. Will look them over real good. But at first glance there does not appear to be any oil above the exhaust manifolds.

2 of 2 people found this helpful.

ole' softie~

1 of 1 people found this helpful.

Maybe so. But I do like my toys. Better just get it fixed and park it for awhile. Bout time to get back started on my 85 z28. Bad thing is cant seem to get excited about it anymore. Would rather build me one like his but the vr4 model instead of the sl.


Another common cause of oil leaks is the oil pressure sending unit. Check that out before pulling heads.

1 of 1 people found this helpful.

If your real gentle u might be able to get valve cover off without hurting the gasket and try to 're torque bolts and put cover back on for no cost.if none off the bolts move in that area, means leak isn't fixed. Assuming that's the problem in the first place. Try to lightly tighten valve cover bolts, butt not too much you'll squeeze the gasket out of place.

2 of 2 people found this helpful.

Thanks tenspeed. The majority of the oil appears to be in the area of the sending unit. Just hard to tell exactly because the oil is everywhere. It must have been blowing out real bad from some where. Will check it first.

1 of 1 people found this helpful.

If I can't figure out where it's coming from I will try that mrmoony. Thanks. I already have new valve cover gaskets ordered just in case I need them. If I do re torque should I do it to spec or go a little over what they call for?

1/8 turn from breaking? no, stick to the documented torque, thank you~

1 of 1 people found this helpful.

To specks with all bolts equal. Start from middle and tighten working to the ends at the same time.

1 of 1 people found this helpful.

Lol. Thanks judge.

1 of 1 people found this helpful.

naw. mrmoony is on top of the game....just watchin' colbert right now~

1 of 1 people found this helpful.

I knew what you meant judge. It's all good.

are you using an rtv gasket sealant to do the valve covers?....remember ole' Indian Head Gasket Shellac? can still find it.~

mercurochrome, saccarin, Lead car batteries (todays are antimony alloy), lead balance weights on car wheels? cable speedometer, kick-down linkages? mechanical weight vacuum advances? stuff just goes out of favor before we get a chance to get used to it~


Use it in the corners around the cam seals. But it's not recommend for the rest of the rubber gasket. Will probably use it on whole gasket this time.


How many hours to replace a valve cover gasket and oil can gasket on a 1999 Mitsubishi 3000GT?

1 of 1 people found this helpful.

For a DIY a couple hours maybe. With oil pan drop the frame support out from under it and the pan will come out easier.

i have just bought 2002 mitsi lancer with a 4G9 engine. Noticed an oil patch on floor a couple of days after purchase, replaced sump gasket and distributor seal, still seeping oil from distributor/block/head area. finally pinpointed the problem to the head gasket. No other problems to indicate blown gasket or cracked head. Did research and found SAAB site describing retorquing head bolts as practically routine maintenance for one of their models, so tried it on my mitsi in accordance with workshop manual specs and sequence. A very simple procedure that took only about an hour, and seems to have fixed the problem absolutely.

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