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Hole in my valve cover (not PCV) and oil leak

Help, Advice and DIY Tutorials on Volvo's extremely popular car line -- Volvo's 1990s "bread and butter" cars -- powered by the ubiquitous and durable Volvo inline 5-cylinder engine.

1992 - 1997 850, 850 R, 850 T5-R, 850 T5, 850 GLT
1997 - 2000 S70, S70 AWD
1997 - 2000 V70, V70 AWD
1997 - 2000 V70-XC
1997 - 2004 C70

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Volvomort98
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Re: Hole in my valve cover (not PCV) and oil leak

Post by Volvomort98 »

In addition to the valve seal leak at "the hole" and some seepage elsewhere, I'm concerned about a bad head gasket. I'm playing the "is it worth it game."

This is a separate issue I've been experiencing but I've been loosing coolant through my reservoir cap. I've also gone through 3 radiators in the last couple of years, 2 within the last year, and only a few months ago I replaced the lower radiator hose and it is already leaking where it connects to the radiator. I'm getting pressure built up in the coolant system so even when the car is warm and pulling coolant through, if I open the reservoir cap I get coolant spraying out because there is a lot of pressure built up inside the system. Still, I'm not loosing much coolant except for what is coming out of the cap and out the lower hose and there is no coolant in the oil/oil in the coolant that I can tell...

http://www.atthetipwebs.com/technologyi ... gasket.htm

In the intro of these instructions the poster talks about similar issues and theorizes that "Combustion / exhaust air was getting by the head gasket, into the coolant system and forcing the coolant into the reservoir and out the cap, leaving the block without coolant (if none was added regularly)." I have a feeling this is what is going on.

So... I'm on the fence about simply plugging "the hole" and I'm on the fence about doing an entire head gasket job. Need to determine if the engine/car is worth the work (180k miles and 22 yrs old...).
'98 Volvo S70
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erikv11
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Re: Hole in my valve cover (not PCV) and oil leak

Post by erikv11 »

You can "rent" a combustion gas tester for free from most auto parts stores. You just have to buy the test fluid. Detects the presence of combustion gases in the coolant. With these test kits a yes answer is unambiguous, and if there are combustion gases in the coolant then absolutely the head gasket is bad. I'd check it out in your shoes.

Head gasket keeps separate three compartments, combustion-coolant-oil, leak(s) can be one-way or two-way and can involve any combination of two or even all three compartments.
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Re: Hole in my valve cover (not PCV) and oil leak

Post by Volvomort98 »

erikv11 wrote: Fri Jul 10, 2020 1:59 pm You can "rent" a combustion gas tester for free from most auto parts stores. You just have to buy the test fluid. Detects the presence of combustion gases in the coolant. With these test kits a yes answer is unambiguous, and if there are combustion gases in the coolant then absolutely the head gasket is bad. I'd check it out in your shoes.

Head gasket keeps separate three compartments, combustion-coolant-oil, leak(s) can be one-way or two-way and can involve any combination of two or even all three compartments.
Thanks. I will test it this weekend. Always good to have a definitive answer instead of simply a guess.
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Re: Hole in my valve cover (not PCV) and oil leak

Post by Cookeh »

Chuck W wrote: Thu Jul 09, 2020 5:01 am I know I replied to this last night...

That hole is normal and as you guessed, there seal on the cam cover has failed, for whatever reason.

There is another THREAD on this forum discussing the same issue.

I read a long thread on it and searched on some others a while back, but can't remember where it was, but the deal is that on earlier versions of the engine, that port was actually connected to something in the head itself. The turbo models never had this system.
At some point, the head was revised, deleting that port, but the cam cover never was, and thus there is a "hole" to nowhere. (Well, it's blanked off on the head).
If oil is coming out of it, your cam cover seal has failed.

Your "rock" is probably just random debris that happened to wind up on top of the engine, and not part of anything engine-related.
To throw a spanner in the works, my 96 850 T5 has that hole.
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Re: Hole in my valve cover (not PCV) and oil leak

Post by Volvomort98 »

Cookeh wrote: Fri Jul 10, 2020 4:47 pm
To throw a spanner in the works, my 96 850 T5 has that hole.
Is something connected to the hole or is it left empty? It looks like they made the change somewhere in '93 or '94.
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Re: Hole in my valve cover (not PCV) and oil leak

Post by Cookeh »

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Re: Hole in my valve cover (not PCV) and oil leak

Post by FLXC90 »

Keep in mind, that hole is only in the cam space, The PCV hose coming in should be the only pressurization this space gets. This area is NOT tied to a head gasket leak.
Your coolant symptoms may be. The combustion gas test is a MUST. the only sure way to know.
I drove the POS70 for three years adding a little coolant every week. ( and oil regularly) But never had the test fluid turn green/yellow, or lost compression. Ran like a champ.
These motors have been known to run steady compression, not overheat as long as the fluids are monitored, and have minor HG leaks.
Mine was at a stage 0-1/2 because of the leaks. Verify that your cap and bottle are good.
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Re: Hole in my valve cover (not PCV) and oil leak

Post by Chuck W »

Cookeh wrote: Fri Jul 10, 2020 4:47 pm
To throw a spanner in the works, my 96 850 T5 has that hole.
As does my '97 T5.

Like has been mentioned, there is nothing behind it on the head.

They changed the head, but didn't change the cam cover casting.
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Re: Hole in my valve cover (not PCV) and oil leak

Post by ZionXIX »

My 850 turbo has it too. Didnt even know.
I tried to probe it with a zip tie but it goes nowhere. My engine gives off a lot of crankcase pressure and I've never seen anything come out of there.
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Re: Hole in my valve cover (not PCV) and oil leak

Post by Volvomort98 »

Thanks for the close up picture. That’s exactly how mine looks except more oil. That hole is just plain weird! Haha.

Looks like there’s a little oil in there but if you have crankcase pressure it’s probably coming through the PCV hose.
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