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Discussion Starter #1
Hey there. I'm trying to figure out the best plan of action for an oil leak on my 97 Sentra. I seem to get about 300-500 miles before my oil hits the low mark on the dipstick. I'm guessing this would be classified as a bad oil leak. When I pull out of parking lots, there's usually 5-10 drips on the ground, mostly coming from the same spot (seems engine, passenger-side).

I'm trying to figure out where to start. Should I roll it to a car wash with a degreaser and clean the engine up and attempt to find where the oil is coming from? Is there a common place or two to check? It's got about 123,000 miles on it, and has been leaking for the past 10,000 (I never let the oil drop below the low line on the dipstick, however). It's getting annoying and mildly pricey.

Any advice?
 

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Cone Dodger
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i would clean up the engine compartment really good, then apply some engine oil dye and drive it around. with a UV light, the dye should reveal itself along with the actual source of leak.

usually due to age and mileage, the front crank seal goes, along with the oil pan, timing case covers, and valve cover gaskets.

a leak detection kit should run you less than $100 but it comes complete with an assortment of oil based dyes, UV light, and yellow glasses.
 

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If its the passenger side good chance this is the front crank seal, look behind the crank pulley....
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Dumb question, but what is the crank pulley? What does it look like so I can identify the area? Is this something that can be addressed with a mere socket set and standard tools and a jack? The most complicated mechanical work I've ever done is the upper timing chain tensioner replacement, so I'm quite a rookie (though I did do it successfully without any subsequent leaks).
 

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the pulley at the bottom of the engine passenger side that drives the belts for the Alt, A/C and power steering water pump.
Yes, it not hard, there were directions the forum, i will look for and add as an edit.
You do need a torque wrench.
I would think if you have done the timing chain tensioner this should be OK for you.
this is a sticky in the Engine section for the GA16DE, sorry it so long....
http://www.nissanforums.com/ga16de-1-6l-engine/70714-replacing-front-seal.html
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Hey, thanks a ton for pointing me in the right direction. From reading that entire thread, it sounds like this is likely the problem. I'm thinking that maybe I should clean everything with engine cleaner just to make certain it's coming from the engine area, but I have a stupid question: How is someone supposed to clean an engine, out of curiosity? I mean, not the entire engine, but just the surrounding area without harming the environment? I know that sounds silly but I live in an apartment and I was just going to attempt this on the street. Would you just let'r rip on the street and attempt to spray this thing down with degreaser? Also, do I need to run water on the area that I degreased or can I just spray and wipe up?

Sorry, heh...
 

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I don't normally have this problem, one spot of Oil and my other half is all over me to get it fixed....
You should be able to find a cleaner that can be washed down the drains then yes wash the residue down the storm drain. It will go in the river so make sure its a suitable cleaner.

Another option is the car wash, the water is re-cycled so it not such a big deal.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Ok, so while I wait to accumulate the funding to get the parts and tools needed to perform this job, I have a second semi-related question. Since my oil gets low because of this leak, I'm always checking my oil. The problem is that my oil pressure sensor never lights up on the dash. I could literally run the car out of oil I imagine, and I'd still get no light. I bought a new oil pressure sender thinking that it might be the problem, but I can't find where it's supposed to go for the life of me. I looked in the factory service manual to no avail.

Any pointers?
 

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Well I think you should think of the Oil light more as a "game Over" sign.
It will come on when there is no Oil and the pressure drops to where damage is done.
If it flickers on at low engine speed and on bends you know it low and you better do something quick.
If you want to know whats going on you should get an Oil pressure gauge.
But that leads to the same issue, where is the sender ?
My Ga is gone, I will look in the FSM and post if i find it. I am sure others have found it though, try searching for "Oil pressure gauge"
 

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The oil pressure switch is on the Oil filter side of the block, to the right as looking at the Oil filter and up a little.
Its in the FSM 1996 Sentra page LC14
 
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