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Thread: Oil leak from spark plug tube seals... or worse?

  1. #1
    hethrowsthehammer's Avatar
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    Oil leak from spark plug tube seals... or worse?

    Hi all,

    2013 500T. I just installed an ATM FMIC and ATM fenderwell intake and then reflashed the ECU to Euro+Drive Stage 2. During a spirited test-drive of my new setup, the boost was only maxing out at 24 PSI, the same as when I was tuned to Stage 1. I opened the hood to let the engine cool down and noticed oil leaking out of all 4 coil packs.

    I know that the seals are a known issue, but is it suspicious to see leaking from all 4? I know for sure it's not the AOS because last week as preventative maintenance I replaced that PCV valve, cleaned the AOS, and replaced the gasked connecting the AOS to the valve cover. There is no oil in the vicinity of the AOS.

    Question 1: is the concensus that the seals and possibly valve cover gasket need to be replaced? Or does this indicate a bigger issue?

    Question 2: is this related to why I am not seeing any additional boost after tuning to Stage 2?

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    Senior Member Fabio13's Avatar
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    There's an o-ring (not a gasket) between the pcv box an the valve cover. It tends to leak.
    2013 Fiat 500 Sport AT, Xpel Ultimate Clear Bra, 3M Crystalline Window Tint, Black top stripes, Black "500" (wide) side stripes. Fiat "500" Stainless door sills by Mopar. BlueTooth music streaming. OBDII BlueTooth Torque gauges streaming to smart phone. Michelin Pilot Sport A/S 3 Plus tires, STS rear sway bar, Euro+Drive NA 500 Tune, BMC reusable air filter and Spare Tyre with cover.

    Blast to drive! 25 years newer than last car!

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    Moderator map's Avatar
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    Second question first, no, an oil leak wouldn't cause a boost problem. Are you relying on the factory boost gauge to determine boost?

    You might want to pull your coil packs and use a flashlight to take a look inside each tube. Each tube has a seal that can leak, but I usually catch leaks after 1 fails. Once enough oil accumulates in the tubes, it'll short out the coil. Replacing an oil seal requires pulling the valve cover and replacing all 4 seals and the cover gaskets. (Youtube will explain how.) I assume you used a factory AOS o-ring as your replacement. If an undersized o-ring was installed, that could be your leak. When those leak on a Fiat, oil can collect, often beginning in #4 tube first.

    If it's been leaking for a while, the old method called for cleaning the area and check often for fresh oil. A modern method is to use an oil dye and a black light (flashlight). Add the designated amount of dye, take it on a drive, then look for the area that glows.

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    hethrowsthehammer's Avatar
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    AOS o-ring was OEM. 100% not leaking from there!

    Yes I'm relying on ECU readings for measuring boost.

    I will likely replace the valve cover gasket and plug tube seals, but thought it might be strange that all 4 have failed, since mostly I've read #1 fails first.

    I like the oil dye idea, though!
    Last edited by hethrowsthehammer; 08-28-2020 at 01:16 AM.

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    Pull an oil sample and have it analyzed. You may have fuel dilution of the oil. This will cause leaks by thinning the oil out. You may also have over-pressurization of the crankcase. Verify the pcv system is functioning properly and plumbed properly if it has been altered. No hoses kinked in a tight bend. Kinked hoses have been found to be the cause of over-pressurization for some.

    From what I gather, you are not seeing increased boost with the second tune. I am not aware of what their different functions or parameters are. Increased boost from either tune or even stock boost from stock tune could correlate to increased oil and compression/fuel bypass beyond the rings if the rings. Rings have been found to be, or to have become improperly aligned, in some cases.

    Fuel dilution will allow more bypass, which could cause these issues-pressurization of crankcase, and resultant tube seal and/or other leaks.

    I’d suggest an oil analysis and a leakdown test are in order.
    Last edited by pasomoto; 08-28-2020 at 02:44 AM.

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    hethrowsthehammer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pasomoto View Post
    Pull an oil sample and have it analyzed. You may have fuel dilution of the oil. This will cause leaks by thinning the oil out. You may also have over-pressurization of the crankcase. Verify the pcv system is functioning properly and plumbed properly if it has been altered. No hoses kinked in a tight bend. Kinked hoses have been found to be the cause of over-pressurization for some.

    From what I gather, you are not seeing increased boost with the second tune. I am not aware of what their different functions or parameters are. Increased boost from either tune or even stock boost from stock tune could correlate to increased oil and compression/fuel bypass beyond the rings if the rings. Rings have been found to be, or to have become improperly aligned, in some cases.

    Fuel dilution will allow more bypass, which could cause these issues-pressurization of crankcase, and resultant tube seal and/or other leaks.

    Id suggest an oil analysis and a leakdown test are in order.

    Replaced the spark plug tube seals and valve cover gasket yesterday. Next up: compression test and boost leak test just to be sure. I would send out an oil test but I've addedd 1.5 quarts of fresh oil over the last month.

    Also, EuroCompulsion is saying that it is quite possible that I'm not seeing increased boost because the new FMIC is working more efficiently than the stock system.

    How can I tell whether my PCV system is over-pressurized?

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    Moderator map's Avatar
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    I don't have a boost gauge, so don't know for sure. I seem to remember something about the boost gauge being an estimate, based on what the computer thinks it is boosting. As I say, I don't know that to be true.

    http://www.fiat500usaforum.com/showt...ck-boost-gauge

    For testing internal pressure, in the past I've put a T in a line connected to the block. With a stuck PCV valve, pressure in the crankcase can build up, especially if the engine has excess blow-by. I'm not sure where you could tap the Fiat engine as it needs to be "inside" of the PCV; maybe attached to the dipstick tube???
    Last edited by map; 08-29-2020 at 01:25 PM.

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