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Oil in the spark plug

 
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Old 10 Jul 2010, 10:43 am
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Question Oil in the spark plug

A bit of history, if it matters: The car's been a bit sluggish lately and the idle is a bit rougher. I got the car at ~80k miles and now it's got 92k. I don't know if/when the spark plugs were changed last (mom's not big on scheduled maintenance). Since the fuel injector cleaner didn't do anything for the idle (as it did for my wife's Camry) and not knowing if the spark plugs were ever changed, I figured it was time. Thanks to THIS THREAD I figured I could do it myself... first time doing the plugs in anything other than my push mower.

I worked right (driver's side) to left (passenger's side). When I got to the far left plug (#!?), there was about an inch of oil on the wrench when I pulled it out... at least my eyes and nose tell me it's oil. I got the plug out and it looks the same as the other 3. Looking down into where the new plug will go, I don't see anything; all the oil obviously dripped down in.

So a few questions for my wondering mind:
1. Is an engine seal or something gone?
2. If yes to 1, is the car safe to drive to the mechanic or should it be towed?
3. If yes to 2, should I waste the new new spark plug in there or should I put the old one back until after it's fixed?

Thanks for all the help!

Edit: The rubber spark plug cover was on there fine, and it was clean all around it, so I'm not thinking that oil could have leaked in from the top. Also, the oil was obviously old/used, and if I (or Mom's quickie lube) would have slopped any in from the top when adding oil, I *think* it would have looked cleaner than that.

Last edited by 02PurplePT; 10 Jul 2010 at 10:48 am.
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Old 10 Jul 2010, 11:27 am
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Default Re: Oil in the spark plug

Your problem is probably just a leaking valve cover gasket. Not a big deal and perfectly safe to drive.
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Last edited by heifetz17; 11 Jul 2010 at 12:22 am.
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Old 10 Jul 2010, 11:55 am
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Default Re: Oil in the spark plug

I hope you put in new wires and didn't buy stock ones!
There is a gasket around each plug in the valve cover - safe to drive and unless you're using a lot of oil, not a danger. Remember - it's accumulated over all those miles....
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Old 10 Jul 2010, 12:48 pm
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Default Re: Oil in the spark plug

Thanks for the responses. She's all back together, and seems to run smoother in my 2 trips around the block. Maybe it's just my mind, but it doesn't seem as sluggish in the quick drive.

Yup, new wires, too. I figured they were an easy fix while I had it open. I got Omni Spark, the only ones O'Reilly had. Hopefully they're ok. My concern wasn't the loss of oil, but if I caused any damage by pulling the spark plug out & allowing that to drain down.

Now if only the AC repair is that easy. It sat unused for about the first half of summer (while I was driving the convertible) and now the AC doesn't blow cold air. I've added 134a to my wife's Camry before, but the PT says you need to evac the system. Since I don't have the proper tools, we'll see what my mechanic says it needs :/

Last edited by 02PurplePT; 10 Jul 2010 at 01:57 pm.
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Old 10 Jul 2010, 05:05 pm
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Default Re: Oil in the spark plug

If you have oil in the tube hole you should change the valve cover gasket and the 4 tube seals.

Not a big deal just clean everything with degreaser and then yank the manifold and valve cover and replace the string gasket and 4 tube gaskets, Felpro has a gasket set about 15$
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