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    Thread: Was doing a tune-up, and yeah, this happened . . . (oil in spark plug holes)

    1. #1
      What's wrong with my car?
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      Was doing a tune-up, and yeah, this happened . . . (oil in spark plug holes)

      Alright, so, long story short, life has been hectic, but I've decided to return to the world of auto maintenance and take care of my care and my wife's van.
      It's been a while, so I understand that my questions might be really, really dumb.

      I was changing the spark plugs on my 2007 Aveo LT, yesterday, and as I pulled the spark plug cable boot up from the channel that it went down into, to connect to the spark plug, the bottom 4" of the boot was saturated in oil.

      I double took, obviously, and made sure it was oil, and sure enough, when I removed the spark plug, itself, the entire spark plug socket was saturated in oil, and the plug itself.

      Each spark plug was like this.

      I did an extensive cleaning of each spark plug cable boot with some degreaser, and made sure no oil was in the boot itself, where the head of the spark plug connects.
      I sprayed some degreaser down every channel, and made sure my spark plug socket was cleaned of oil, before I put in the new spark plugs.
      (Autolite Iridium XP3923)

      So, yes, I am going to ask, so be sure you're sitting down and down have any drinks nearby, for fear of laughing so hard that you spit coffee/soda/beer on your computer:

      This is not some new layout, format for cars since I used to work regularly on them, where the spark plug channel is supposed to have oil in it, right?

      The car ran perfectly fine.
      Yes, it has 142,000 miles on it, but still runs great, averages 37 MPG, and it a great daily driver.

      I have a dreaded head gasket leak, don't I?

      That would explain my other issue, and that was my antifreeze reservoir was empty.


      So, entertainment ensue, and I deserve it, for not maintaining my car better.
      This is, though, changing now that a lot of other things in life have calmed down.

      Any and all help is appreciated.

      Oh, yeah, pics for reference, in case I described it poorly, and no one is clear what I'm talking about:
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    2. #2
      Almost time to do my timing belt
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      Oil in the spark plug wells is symptomatic of a valve cover gasket leak. Not a really difficult DIY job - perhaps 2 hours the first time through. However, it's likely that the plug wires have been in the oil long enough to start rotting. It would be a good proactive step to replace them along with (but not before) the VC gasket. A blown head gasket is unlikely, unless the vehicle overheated. Just add coolant to the tank.

    3. The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to avguy For This Useful Post:

      Acutteridge (08-31-2017),AndrewButler05 (09-14-2017)

    4. #3
      What's wrong with my car?
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      You, sir, have made my day a lot more pleasant.

      I was debating, if it were the head gasket, to tackle the whole job (not sure if I could be down a car for a couple days, so it would have to be done in a day), or just drive my trusty little steed into the ground.

      I've done plenty of valve cover gaskets, back in the day, so this is an easy task.

      Side note: I'm having a blast getting back in to working on cars, so at least it's not a chore, or bothersome.

    5. #4
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      Agree with AVguy, I had the same problem, oil in the spark plug wells. New valve cover gasket fixed it up. Mine had to be replaced at only 68000 miles.

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      Acutteridge (09-13-2017)

    7. #5
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      I believe the spark plug oil issue was resolved. The lack of coolant could be a number of things. But you should check for leaks, most importantly check the plastic neck that comes off the head that has the thermostat in it. It cracks and fails. With your car being a 2007 it could already be aluminum though.


    8. The Following User Says Thank You to petrified.rabbit For This Useful Post:

      Acutteridge (09-13-2017)

    9. #6
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      I just did my spark plugs and wires last weekend, and I get the same thing, oil in the spark plug wells - Every. Single. Time.

      It's a leaking valve cover gasket which is not serious at all. I've tried using gasket putty even though it's not recommended, undertorqueing slightly, overtorqueing slightly, etc. I'm going to start doing the plugs and gasket at 25,000 miles instead of 40,000.

      Your coolant leak sounds like a separate issue. Check thoroughly for external leaks first, maybe with UV dye.

    10. The Following User Says Thank You to zchandran For This Useful Post:

      Acutteridge (09-13-2017)

    11. #7
      What's wrong with my car?
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      So, back from vacation, which was a ton of electronic disconnect, but house maintenance and car maintenance.

      I did change the valve cover gasket, but the car has been sitting for three days now, while I was waiting for the new radiator to arrive.
      I started a new thread regarding that debacle.

      But, thanks for the heads-up on the valve cover gasket.
      Took me about an hour, and replaced all the O-Rings for the valve cover gasket bolts, also.

      There was fresh oil on the valve cover, in places, after doing the spark plugs a couple weeks back.

      Onward, and upward.





    12. The Following User Says Thank You to Acutteridge For This Useful Post:

      AndrewButler05 (09-14-2017)

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