Possible Rear Main Seal Leak - Honda Civic Forum

6th Generation Civic In the years from 1996 to 2000 Honda released it's 6th Generation Civic. Chassis codes: EK9, EK4, EK3, EJ6, EJ8, EJ9, EM1

Possible Rear Main Seal Leak

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Old 04-27-2015
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Possible Rear Main Seal Leak

I need some help to figure out whether I have an oil pan leak or rear main seal. There is oil at top of pan on driver's side. However, the bell housing connected to engine housing has a separation in it and a square notch that drops of oil are draining from. I don't understand why there is a gap between these two housings. There is a bracket that connects to the bell housing and the engine and it is tempting to want to disassemble, but I don't want to drop components from their assemblies without having a good idea on how the subassemblies fit up with each other.

I have been unsuccessful in being able to locate good drawings or photos to help me better understand how to break down the assemblies and change our the rear seal gasket.
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Old 04-27-2015
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Re: Possible Rear Main Seal Leak

Recent oil change?

You know that on many of these engines, every time the oil filter is removed, oil runs down the support brackets over to the bellhousing and makes it LOOK like a rear main leak?
And oil runs around the oil pan area along the back of the block?


I didn't see any good pics on google either.
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Old 04-28-2015
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Re: Possible Rear Main Seal Leak

That is encouraging. Perhaps the filter is leaking and would make sense that it is leaking under pressure when car is running and dripping down brackets appearing to be coming from housing. There is oil on back side of pan. I'll take a closer look tonight. Thank you.
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Old 04-28-2015
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Re: Possible Rear Main Seal Leak

I've posted 2 pics. the one with the exhaust pipe, the black is the oil pan and shows the fit up of the bracket with oil seeping through. this is the most descriptive pic i could take on my back under the car. Any thoughts would be appreciated.
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Old 04-28-2015
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Re: Possible Rear Main Seal Leak

I see the oil streak on the bottom of the pan in the first pic., but it also kinda looks like its oil stained all around the bottom of the engine and trans (or lousy pics??)

I'd probably get some brake cleaner and clean it all spotless, even spray up into the bellhousing area, clean off from the top down......then give it a drive and try to see where the leak begins. Leaks from the top such as VTEC solenoid and distributor, etc., would end up at the bottom of the bellhousing too.
Coating everything in white powder may help as a leak tracing agent.


However, if you can let it run and watch oil dripping out of the bellhousing and nowhere else above....then it's probably a rear main. (or maybe the rear of the oil pan)
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Old 04-28-2015
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Re: Possible Rear Main Seal Leak

Thanks for your feedback. Look at the rectangular notch where both mating parts come together. I definitely saw oil dripping out of that rectangular notch with my own eyes just after starting up the car to establish oil pressure.

this is what i am calling the bell housing - although i am not sure that this is the bell housing. there is a kind of u-shaped (more square than u) bracket and i am not sure if the oil is coming from the rear main seal.

Does the fact that the oil is coming from this notch mean it is a rear main seal leak or is this notch created because of how the bracket mates to the housing?

Still not sure how to interpret this. Open to any thoughts. Thanks again!
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Old 04-28-2015
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Re: Possible Rear Main Seal Leak

The bellhousing is the area that contains the flywheel, clutch and throwout bearing and fork (manual trans) or the torque converter on an automatic trans. It's basically a somewhat hollow area between the engine and trans.

The cast bracket is probably used as both a support or stiffener and a shield to cover up the flywheel. I think it's held on with maybe 4 bolts but I don't remember if there is other stuff in the way of getting it out to look inside the bellhousing area easily.

If it's dripping oil out while you watch, that's a rapid leak IMO. Any oil leakage within the bellhousing area should end up at the bottom, where that hole is.
It could be rear main seal or oil pan gasket....(I've been fooled by the oil pan gasket before LOL)...or something strange and unusual.

Pan gasket is a hell of a lot easier to replace IMO than pulling the trans and clutch off..... so take that into consideration..


Has someone recently replaced the pan gasket? How long has it been leaking? Did you just get the car and don't know anything about its history?
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