: Just told driveshaft is shot. What should I do?



jam224
02-11-04, 04:58 PM
Hello,

I have a 1997 DeVille with about 107000 miles. I just spent $400 to replace the water pump and a few other hoses that were leaking coolant and $900 to replace the valve cover gasket and rear main seal, both of which were leaking oil (onto the exhaust-terrible smell and smoke). After $1200, the car ran fine for about 50 miles and then began to smoke again. After bringing back to mechanic, I was told that the driveshaft has a vibration which will continue to cause the seals to leak, even if replaced again. Has anyone else had this problem? Do you think that I should drive the car until it dies or get rid of it ASAP? The oil is not leaking fast (2 qts/1000 miles) but the smell is pretty bad! I love the car, but the lack of reliability of this engine is killing me. I think the previous owner must have abused it. Thanks for any input!

coffeebreak1
02-11-04, 05:16 PM
just replace the driveshaft should solve the problem.:yawn:
Hello,

I have a 1997 DeVille with about 107000 miles. I just spent $400 to replace the water pump and a few other hoses that were leaking coolant and $900 to replace the valve cover gasket and rear main seal, both of which were leaking oil (onto the exhaust-terrible smell and smoke). After $1200, the car ran fine for about 50 miles and then began to smoke again. After bringing back to mechanic, I was told that the driveshaft has a vibration which will continue to cause the seals to leak, even if replaced again. Has anyone else had this problem? Do you think that I should drive the car until it dies or get rid of it ASAP? The oil is not leaking fast (2 qts/1000 miles) but the smell is pretty bad! I love the car, but the lack of reliability of this engine is killing me. I think the previous owner must have abused it. Thanks for any input!

zonie77
02-11-04, 05:22 PM
What does the mechanic mean by driveshaft? It doesn't have one like a RWD car. How much did he tell you it would cost?

zonie77
02-11-04, 07:44 PM
OOooopppps, I had Seville on the mind. If it's RWD that's different.

The bushing the driveshaft fits into in the trans may be worn. More likely than the driveshaft in my experience.Even if it's the driveshaft it should only need the front "yoke" replaced. They aren't cheap but should be in the $1-200 dollar range. The bushing is cheap but you have to take the tailshaft off the trans. You don't have to take the trans itself out.

ShadowLvr400
02-11-04, 09:17 PM
97, entire lineup was FWD with northstar. Catera the exception, but barely counts.

jam224
02-12-04, 11:15 AM
Your right. It is front wheel drive, and I'm not exactly sure what the mechanic meant. I'll ask. Does anyone know what a repair like that would cost? I just don't know if spending even a few hundred dollars more is worth it - if something else will go wrong (given high mileage). Thanks for your help!

Eldobroken
02-12-04, 12:12 PM
Your right. It is front wheel drive, and I'm not exactly sure what the mechanic meant. I'll ask. Does anyone know what a repair like that would cost? I just don't know if spending even a few hundred dollars more is worth it - if something else will go wrong (given high mileage). Thanks for your help!High Milage is ok i have 170K on my eldo beaten on regulary but maintaned. Mabye he is trying to say constant velocity Joint's. There are 2 so i dont see how he used the term driveshaft? Mabye he meant that you were getting the shaft. Try shaking the axles with the car in the air and look for play. Goodluck.

zonie77
02-12-04, 06:48 PM
jam224,

I wouldn't have a clue what it would cost to add a driveshaft to a FWD car that doesn't have one. LOL

To have any idea we need to know what he wants to replace.

Capn Hook
02-12-04, 08:42 PM
Due to the fact that the Drive Axles are splined into the
transmission, the only way they could cause an oil leak
is if the axle broke in the middle and punctured the oil
pan!!! And this is highly unlikely as the weakest point in
a front wheel drive "drive axle" is the CV Joints. And when
they let go, it is usually at the wheel bearing end.

If you are still leaking engine oil I would advise that
you get a second opinion. Can you see smoke when
you lift the hood and if so, what area is it coming from?

The Northstar has a goofy runner in the exhaust
system that passes right between the engine and trans-
mission. Both engine oil and transmission fluid can leak in
the area of this pipe. Trans fluid from the front area of
the trans and engine oil not only from the rear main seal,
but many other areas as well. The Low Oil Level Sending
Unit, Oil Pressure Sending Unit, Oil Pan Gasket, and both
A and B Crank Position Sensors can leak engine oil. Then
up front there is the Timing Chain Cover and Front Engine
Seal. Up top the only thing that can leak are the Valve
Cover Gaskets.
If the smoke is coming from underneath and a little
right of center, the culprit is probably below. If the smoke
is coming from front or rear center, valve cover gaskets.
Yes I understand that you just some of these parts replaced
at a substantial cost, but worse case senario is that it may
need to be done again. The repair is only as good as the
person doing the repair.

I am not a Northstar expert, I am a mechanic who has
been fixing cars for 23 years. I just happen to be here in
this forum trying to get help with a very odd problem on a
Northstar that existed before I did a head gasket job on the
vehicle. (See "Mechanic Needs Help" post.)

This is what I would suggest: Shop around until you find
someone who tells you the first thing he needs to do is
de-grease your engine. This is your first clue that this guy
knows what he is doing. He should also tell you that some-
times, oil leaks are a process of elimination. Some components
may not leak all the time, especially if a mechanic is standing
there looking at it! Trust me!!!
Be prepared and bring your own engine de-greaser as they
may not have any in stock. Don't buy junk, get 2 cans of Gunk,
it works and the mechanic knows it.
Please understand that mechanics can only test drive a
vehicle so long. There is other work to be done and we can
only be gone so long. Oil runs "down" so you start at the highest
point and work your way down. And you concentrate on the
major leaks first... Oil pressure sending unit, rear main seal,
then front seal... These are the main gushers in the order
written. Some minor leaks will require the customer to drive
the vehicle for a fews days and return for a re-check.

I hope this helps and good luck.

Cap'n Hook

jam224
02-13-04, 12:30 PM
Many thanks to zonie and, especially, Capn Hook! I'm going to talk "turkey" with this mechanic and if he doesn't give me any other options, I'll get a second opinion. He has been nice enough to offer to refund my money or replace the seal again-which I believe requires that the tranny be removed. Anyway, thanks for the advice and I'll let you know how it works out...

BeelzeBob
02-13-04, 03:09 PM
Many thanks to zonie and, especially, Capn Hook! I'm going to talk "turkey" with this mechanic and if he doesn't give me any other options, I'll get a second opinion. He has been nice enough to offer to refund my money or replace the seal again-which I believe requires that the tranny be removed. Anyway, thanks for the advice and I'll let you know how it works out...

Ask what "seal" he replaced. The rear main seal that you mention that was replaced has absolutely NOTHING to do with the drive axles or the CV joints....and drive axles and CV joints have absolutely NOTHING to do with engine oil leaks....and drive axle vibrations and such have nothing to do with seals leaking....

Sounds like your "mechanic" is freely spending your money to repair things until he finds the problem.

And...if it wasn't vibrating when you took it in the first time why did the drive axle suddenly fail and cause a vibration now...???? You are in the middle of getting screwed I'm afraid.

It is very possible that in the process of removing the trans to get to the rear main seal that the drive axles were damaged. They have to be removed from the trans to drop it or the engine to do the rear main seal (which rarely if ever leaks on a Northstar BTW....) so damage could have been done then which is what I would expect if a driveaxle is really failed at this point and vibrating.

In any case of leaking oil the first and foremost thing to do is to positively diagnose the leak and make sure that the correct thing is fixed. Usually on that engine the first place I would look for an oil leak as bad as you describe is the oil filter adapter seals (easy fix) or an oil cooler line fitting (another easy fix). Either of those items can drip oil onto the exhaust crossunder pipe and cause smoke and smell. And often they seem to be the last thing checked as replacing lower crank case seals and rear main seals makes more money for the mechanic.

I would have a stern talk with your mechanic and/or take the car to a dealer or other garage that has dye/black light leak testing capability to find the source of the leak so it can be fixed once.