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Oil on cam cover?

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Location: Coventry

Oil on cam cover?

Post by RadfordJim » Tue Nov 06, 2018 11:32 am

I noticed a small amount of oil in the well on the cam cover channel, just in front of the distributor. It looks like it's coming from the base of the distributor, even though I can see sealant squeezed out from the joint. Not worth worrying about as I can soak it up with a paper towel after a long run.

More recently though I've noticed oil in other parts of the channels but I can't find a leak. Wilf's notes say "The usual cause of oil in the channels in the central cam cover is spillage when topping up the sump" but I'm confident it's not that.

Advice would be greatly appreciated.
Jim in Coventry - Home of the Daimler

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Location: Nottingham

Re: Oil on cam cover?

Post by Petelang » Tue Nov 06, 2018 2:30 pm

I've had oil leaking from the timing case joint at the top due to the bolts securing the alternator bracket, one broken, another missing. The fan then acts as a central lubrication system, blowing it over the top of the engine and everywhere!
Check the alternator or dynamo is secure and look closely at the joint top of the centre of block.
Peter Langridge
Cloud Nine Classic Weddings, Nottingham.

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Re: Oil on cam cover?

Post by Sonus » Tue Nov 06, 2018 2:47 pm

I have the same issue and spoke to Russ Carpenter about ti and he suggested it might be the O-ring in the distributor base that is leaking

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Location: West Midlands

Re: Oil on cam cover?

Post by silverdart » Tue Nov 06, 2018 9:57 pm

I have owned four Darts over the years and all of them eventually tend to get some oil in the tappet chest cover.

I do not believe this has come from topping up the oil, but I do not know where it comes from.

In my case I think it is unlikely that it is from the distributor, as I get oil in both of the valleys.

It is nice to know I am not the only one with this condition as I do all my own engine rebuilds etc.

Obviously, this must be disconcerting for those who have paid lots of money for an engine rebuild.


Big Col
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Location: Leeds

Re: Oil on cam cover?

Post by Big Col » Tue Nov 06, 2018 11:07 pm

Just a theory, and a mad one at that, but set screws fix the cover to the block utilising a spring washer. The threads in the block are threw holes to the chest cavity. Could oil travel up the threads by capillary action or vapourization and then condensate in the Wells. Maybe some thread sealer or silicone would cure the issue.
I hope I have used the correct terms and am not talking utter codswallop.
I may be slow but I’m rough as well !

Ian Hastings
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Re: Oil on cam cover?

Post by Ian Hastings » Wed Nov 07, 2018 12:14 am

Wipe up the excess oil then sprinkle talcum powder over the tappet cover.
After a few motoring trips you will be able to see from whence the oil cometh!

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Re: Oil on cam cover?

Post by heh101353 » Thu Nov 08, 2018 6:55 pm

First of all thanks to Ian for the brilliant idea of talcum powder ... albeit a bit late for me

Same problem here, both "valleys" ... for quite some time now.

First it was the base of the distributor leaking. Easy to determine and easy to fix.
Some time later it started again.
My mechanic told me to wipe it as clean as possible - not that easy with all those auxiliaries in the way -
and check it frequently. After some 200 miles first signs of leakage but alas I was not able to determine where it came from. I've been on a 1500 mile return trip to Italy. Waiting at a a traffic light I noticed some fumes coming out of the left front wheel arch. At closer inspection in the workshop we figured oil is leaking from the valve cover, dripping down to the exhaust manifold and going further down onto the left exhaust pipe. So that's where the fumes are coming from.
The car is now at the workshop and the valve covers have to come of, new gasket to be put in place and hopefully that's it.
Funny thing is that the gaskets are not leaking at the places easy to inspect ...

I'll let you know how things are progressing

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Re: Oil on cam cover?

Post by Ozzsp250 » Fri Nov 09, 2018 2:46 am

Ian I like your idea, we have always used the developer from crack detection kit, clean area suspected then spray the developer over area which leaves a thin white powder not unlike talcum originating leak quickly spotted.

I see product on UK Ebay: ... rk:17:pf:0

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Location: Yarm, UK

Re: Oil on cam cover?

Post by DavidH » Fri Nov 09, 2018 12:20 pm

I came across this item (USA based) from Penta Motorsports who can supply silicon valve cover gaskets.

http://www.daimlersp250dartownersclub.c ... -services/

I don't know if anyone has tried these, or if they are available in the UK, but they may be less prone to leaking than the originals.

Big Col
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Location: Leeds

Re: Oil on cam cover?

Post by Big Col » Fri Nov 09, 2018 8:51 pm

If it is the rocker covers then gravity may not be to blame directly. Oil would run down the head to the side of the chest cover not into it. If the rocker gaskets are to blame then the oil may be pissing or vapourising into the chest.
Is any oil evident on the bulkhead?
I may be slow but I’m rough as well !

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