2003 CTS 3.2L Engine, oil leak
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Cadillac CTS First Generation Forum - 2003 - 2007 Discussion, 2003 CTS 3.2L Engine, oil leak in Cadillac CTS Coupe, Sport Sedan and Sport Wagon Forums; Greetings, I am hoping someone might have an idea of what I might be up against. I have a 2003 ...
  1. #1
    originalsoul31 is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    2003 CTS 3.2L Engine, oil leak

    Greetings, I am hoping someone might have an idea of what I might be up against.

    I have a 2003 CTS with the infamous 3.2L engine. Recently I noticed a slight amount of smoke coming from under the hood, occasionally when at a red light, or when the car is turned off after driving. I was already aware that the car has an oil leak, and initial diagnosis stated that it was coming from the crankshaft position sensor--which I now do not believe. I never really paid much attention since the leak was not a big leak at all. But, when I started noticing the smoke was happening a bit more frequent, it led me to research further.

    When I was able to get a better view of the smoke, I noticed that it appeared to be coming from possible oil dripping onto the exhaust on the driver's side, but I couldnt see a visible drip from anywhere. It also seemed as if the smoke would come from closer towards the back of the engine. Now, there were no signs of coolant loss/contamination. Oil did not seem discolored or contaminated. Its just the annoying smoke like oil is dripping onto the engine block some kind of way. I've heard that it could be valve cover gaskets gone bad due to the cold weather--which we have experienced a lot this winter in Dallas. I've heard oil cooler. Ive heard PCV. I dont know what to have checked.

    Any help that could be provided would be wonderful.

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    jran0823's Avatar
    jran0823 is offline Cadillac Owners Enthusiast
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    More than likely the valve cover gaskets leaking. Hard to see with the insulation over top of the covers.

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    Ikera's Avatar
    Ikera is offline Cadillac Owners Fanatic
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    Re: 2003 CTS 3.2L Engine, oil leak

    Valve cover gaskets on these engines fail due to flawed PCV design.
    PCV system will get clogged up, pressure will build up inside crankcase and will cause valve cover gaskets to blow. This problem is more sever in cold climates.
    If you are going to be addressing this issue make sure to fix the PCV system first, (there is a thread about it here as well)

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    originalsoul31 is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: 2003 CTS 3.2L Engine, oil leak

    jran0823...thats kinda what I was thinking since I can see a spill onto the exhaust. I just cant see a drip from where the spill starts. Do you think this will be a huge problem, or will things improve a bit as the weather gets warmer?

  6. #5
    Ikera's Avatar
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    Re: 2003 CTS 3.2L Engine, oil leak

    Quote Originally Posted by originalsoul31 View Post
    jran0823...thats kinda what I was thinking since I can see a spill onto the exhaust. I just cant see a drip from where the spill starts. Do you think this will be a huge problem, or will things improve a bit as the weather gets warmer?
    at least make sure you PCV system is working, otherwise your oil will be getting contaminated way faster than it should, and other gaskets and seals might fail
    if you fix your PCV system it probable won't be leaking as much anymore

    my PCV system was clogged up at the top the intake the manifold and at the block
    here is a pick, the circled port is clogged up



    ----------

    here is a link addressing the PCV fix
    http://www.cadillacforums.com/forums...?highlight=PCV

    and here is a link addressing valve cover gaskets replacement
    http://www.cadillacforums.com/forums...?highlight=PCV

  7. #6
    Mike14706 is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: 2003 CTS 3.2L Engine, oil leak

    I have replaced my valve cover gaskets, the intake manifold gasket, as well as the engine oil cooler. I noticed now for the past couple days that while driving that there's a leak .i am also aware that I have a leak still. Been keeping an eye on the oil level. It's a small leak . I parked the car while it was running and shined a light where I could see where the smoke is coming from. Appears it's coming from the exhaust manifold on the drivers side. I can see where the oil stains are but I don't see where it's dripping from. But I know it leaks whil driving. I don't work on cars , but I do know when something's wrong . This may sound a little extreme but To be honest I am a little paranoid about a fire being started. Can anyone give me any pointers or help on what this might be..

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    Ikera's Avatar
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    Re: 2003 CTS 3.2L Engine, oil leak

    did you make sure your PCV system is working?

  9. #8
    Mike14706 is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: 2003 CTS 3.2L Engine, oil leak

    Quote Originally Posted by Ikera View Post
    did you make sure your PCV system is working?
    No I haven't. How do I check it ? The pcv is a breather right?

  10. #9
    Ikera's Avatar
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    Re: 2003 CTS 3.2L Engine, oil leak

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike14706 View Post
    No I haven't. How do I check it ? The pcv is a breather right?

    yes, PCV is using vacuum to evacuate blow-by gas inside crank and the positive pressure created by blow-by.
    if your PCV is clogged the positive pressure will build up inside crack case will blow the weakest gasket. so even if you replaced the gaskets but did address the issue of the positive pressure build up the same gasket can blow again or worse, you might blow out a gasket that isn't easy to replace, like oil pan or rear main seal.

    Anyway, the way I check if PCV is working, is check for vacuum from the oil fill cap,
    remove the oil fill cap while the engine is running, put your hand over the hold and you should feel sucking, if you don't feel sucking try to put a plastic bag over the hole and see if there is sucking.
    if you still haven't see/feel anything, it's probably because there is not vacuum and your PCV system is clogged somewhere

  11. #10
    jran0823's Avatar
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    I just did my gaskets on Monday for the third time in 4 years. The 3.2 is just not a good engine design for cold climates. Mine actually built up enough pressure it blew the drivers side gasket out. Lost 4 qts of oil from starting it and getting it into the shop at work. Luckily no engine damage.good thingies keep a quart of Mobil 1 in the trunk.

  12. #11
    Mike14706 is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: 2003 CTS 3.2L Engine, oil leak

    Quote Originally Posted by Ikera View Post

    yes, PCV is using vacuum to evacuate blow-by gas inside crank and the positive pressure created by blow-by.
    if your PCV is clogged the positive pressure will build up inside crack case will blow the weakest gasket. so even if you replaced the gaskets but did address the issue of the positive pressure build up the same gasket can blow again or worse, you might blow out a gasket that isn't easy to replace, like oil pan or rear main seal.

    Anyway, the way I check if PCV is working, is check for vacuum from the oil fill cap,
    remove the oil fill cap while the engine is running, put your hand over the hold and you should feel sucking, if you don't feel sucking try to put a plastic bag over the hole and see if there is sucking.
    if you still haven't see/feel anything, it's probably because there is not vacuum and your PCV system is clogged somewhere

    Ok. Well I did notice the the vaccum line by the radiator up top looks like it might missing a line... And as for this car it's starting to become a money Pitt...

  13. #12
    Ikera's Avatar
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    Re: 2003 CTS 3.2L Engine, oil leak

    Quote Originally Posted by jran0823 View Post
    I just did my gaskets on Monday for the third time in 4 years. The 3.2 is just not a good engine design for cold climates. Mine actually built up enough pressure it blew the drivers side gasket out. Lost 4 qts of oil from starting it and getting it into the shop at work. Luckily no engine damage.good thingies keep a quart of Mobil 1 in the trunk.
    it also could be that your valve covers are warped and have you made sure your PCV is working? or have you done the PCV upgrade?

    I know the original PCV vacuum ports were pretty small, I didn't do the upgrade but I did drill out the holes to make them bigger

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