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Discussion Starter #1
Hello, I am having trouble finding out why my 98 Catera is dripping motor oil (with a little bit of water mixed) As well as A LOT of white smoke coming from behind the lower section of the engine when idle after 3 min, running/at stops, after being run when i pop open the hood as well.:confused:

A lot of sludge and grease is seen underneath the car all around the transmission, engine oil pan and just seen everywhere in the bottom section of the car/engine looking from underneath the vehicle.:confused:

This is a mystery because i have changed the valve cover gaskets which was in issue before, (but not anymore) since i have changed the worn gaskets, and also cleaned the excess grease around the engine with engine degreaser that was left behind. I also have double checked to see if i may have out the valve cover gaskets on incorrectly and their was no mistake made.

I have also checked to see if the oil filter might have been loose, but no oil was found near it just around the surrounding housing metal areas. I also checked too see if any nuts/bolts had to be tightened on the transmission tray or motor oil tray and their was no signs of these items loose to make this oil spill. what other possibilities could this smoke, oil come from? it is very hard to diagnose because it is very difficult to see behind the engine unless one takes it out. inspecting underneath dose not work as well because it is coming from above the lower section of the engine, which is not visible to see exactly wear the leak is at but can be seen just traveling and dripping near the trays

last few comments: The car overall inside smells like smoke/ oil ect.. getting really annoyed that i cant fix this myself with all the time/ money invested buying parts, seal leaks that don't work ect..,I checked for codes and I have a check engine light on with a bulb and exclamation mark, but no codes related to my other mentioned problems, just a p0501 code about my faulty speed sensor or Abs Tc light(speedometer not working as well), that shows up that's just another issue to fix..

Any help or suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thank you!:eek:
 

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Platinum 2001 Cadillac Catera Sport
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1,840 Posts
This is a wild guess but here goes. could be a combination od a few things. A leaking oil cooler is mixing oil & coolant. A leaking Heater Bypass Valve is leaking that mixture to the ground.

Check under the oil filler cap. Is there a white emulsion hiding there? Feel under the HBV. Wet? Look on the tranny directly under it. Is it stained with coolant/oil residue? The smokey smell in the interior. The cabin air intake is directly behind the HBV.

Could be the liquid is dripping on the hot surface the the mist is getting sucked into the cabin intake. like I said, its a wild guess.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
your first response about the oil cooler seems like i could check it out, as well as the heater bypass.. where exactly are both of those components?:confused:

Also could their be an issue with the actual head gasket?(not valve cover)

the motor oil cap is actually a brownish color underneath.. seems like oil was mixing with the water when the valve cover gaskets were leaking? i heard that this could make the water brownish, but that's another issue, but back on topic..

directly under the tranny theirs just alot of grease all over as mentioned before, no coolant visible but their is moisture mixed with the grease around the bottom of the car(more then a typical car). with the oil/water dripping along the surrounding walls of the tranny tray/ motor oil tray.

all in all i just want to take one final shot before calling it quits, its a shame if i did because the cars body is in great condition, and runs stable yet it bugs me too see all these issues i had to fix along with it. No matter how good the body is, its whats inside that counts..



i will post pictures tomorrow because my battery is dead, thanks for the suggestions!

any other suggestions are welcomed! :)
 

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Platinum 2001 Cadillac Catera Sport
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The engine oil cooler lives in a coolant gallery inside the engine block, under the intake plenum. It's immersed in coolant. The old worn coolant turns acidic and eats at the cooler until it leaks and the oil and coolant mix. When they do it creates an emulsion that ranges in color from cream to chocolate with the consistency of mayonnaise. The fix is a new oil cooler and several short mileage oil changes to flush the mayo. A cooling system flush must be done also. Engine heat will eventually boil the water out of the oil passages, the steam exiting through the crankcase breather box.
http://www.vauxhallownersnetwork.co.uk/showthread.php?63566-Changing-the-Oil-cooler-on-an-Omega-V6-Pics-to-follow

The HBV lives behind the engine near the firewall. It's notorious for leaking but luckily, as Cadillac parts go, it's fairly inexpensive. Three hose clamps and a vacuum line are all it takes. Of course it's hard to get to but not so much that you couldn't do it yourself. The picture above shows the location of the HPV and Breather Box.
http://www.vauxhallownersnetwork.co.uk/showthread.php?95376-How2-Remove-The-Windscreen-Scuttle
http://www.vauxhallownersnetwork.co.uk/showthread.php?89567-Replacing-the-Heater-Bypass-Valve-2.5-and-3.0

I mention the Breather Box because you mentioned the Camcover Gaskets. If they were replaced without the Breather Box being cleaned the gaskets will leak again. When the Breather Box clogs crankcase pressure builds and must find an exit. The easiest is by forcing the plastic covers to flex causing a leak through which the oil will drip onto the hot exhaust manifold heat shields and creating the smoke. Like everything Catera it's not easy to get to but if you're in that part of the engine bay it would pay to clean it when you change the HBV.
http://www.vauxhallownersnetwork.co.uk/showthread.php?118814-Cleaning-the-Breathers-on-the-V6
 
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