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Mike, Technician
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Vectra 2005 - 3.2 Noticed the car was leaking a little

Customer Question

Attachment: 2013-03-24_053318_vectra.pdf

Vectra 2005 - 3.2 Noticed the car was leaking a little transmission oil on garage floor. Took it to the Dealer he said it was oil coming from leaks around the cam bearing seals, leaking down from there and travelling down and falling on the left hand side of the radiator. I questioned as I advised them the oil was red and smelt like transmission oil not black like engine oil. They said no this is where the oil is coming from, I felt it strange and there was not a sign of any engine oil leaking on the garage or on the engine. They then replaced the cam bearing seals and said better do the timing belt as the car is over 6 years old, so I agree to this. A$2500 later they said there had to be extra time spent removing the manifold, another Holden Dealer said the manifold should not of been removed for those repairs. Bought the car home and the same oil leak below the left hand side of the radiator where the pipes go in and now there is another oil leak, red oil at the back of the engine just below where the manifold and exhaust pipe are, and also red oil on top of the rocket cover around the cam shaft seals on the left hand side. It also appears there is oil going onto the exhaust system I can see staining and smell hot oil smell. What do you think it is going, they also had the car for over 2 days and charge out 10hrs of labour, which the other Holden Dealer advised was excessive for the work carried out. This is a new Dealer as I moved towns and I have never had any problems at all from my old Dealer, it has been regularly serviced and in top condition i purchased new


has always been garaged. thankyou. I have invoices for you to see what has been carried out - these are confidential.

Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Car
Expert:  Mike replied 4 years ago.
Hello and Welcome to justanswer..

My name is XXXXX XXXXX Im happy to help you with this...

If its Red oil / fluid you are seeing - then its transmission fluid as you suspected - and the fact that you mention its around the radiator area - usually means the pipe/s / seals are leaking where it / they go into the radiator...

That would have been the first thing to check given its red oil as you say so why they didn't do that I just dont know - Maybe they saw other black / engine oil leaks - which there could have been - but you wanted the red oil leaks dealing with -so you are no further fact, you are a lot worse off.

Without seeing it or being there - I can only suggests that the pipes to the radiator need checking to see if the unions are tight - sometimes thats all it is - Others have splits in the pipes - even on the radiator body - we see the solder leaking sometimes - all sorts of areas - it all needs proper checking. Too - you have these other leaks now - I can only assume that as all that work has being gone on, they have disturbed the pipes in questions etc - and made the leaks worse...even along the pipe circuit.

It therefore all needs proper checking - The fluid system is under pressure in use, so the fluid is no doubt being forced out / squirted around and so now you have it on the manifold / rocker covers etc -- it will as I say, squirt as you drive..

It basically needs those pipes / pipework/ fittings and rad checking out properly to get this sorted - I tend to think that you would be best taking the car elsewhere - maybe to the dealer you have been speaking with - Its always very difficult when you move to an area because you don't know how good garages are - but something has not been done right here for sure. If you take the car elsewhere to get the repairs done that you wanted doing in the first place, they can give you an overview of the work done so far as well - check it all out for you.... Let me know how you get on.

Let me know if you need anything more on this at all -

>> >> Meantime -- Please click on the OK rating to Excellent ratings service for me now, Thank you for that... and you can get back to me anytime if you need / wish..

Best Rgds, MIKE.

Please note, you are rating the content of my "answer" - my help to you - not the "system" which can experience delays etc which are not under my personal control -or delays caused by "time -off" which we all have on occasion - Thank you.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Thankyou, can you please advise was it necessary to remove the manifold and be charged $260 on the initial estimate, as this was the reason given to load the account further, was it necessary to remove it for the cam seal and cam belt repair. I notice on the parts there is no manifold seal gaskets. Also they have a policy of draining the engine oil and putting it back into the engine with any extra oil required, is this an acceptable procedure can only think it is cost saving or environmental.

I would of thought new oil would of gone in, can't believe this big Holden Dealer. Since my question I have been back twice and each time I come home the same problem, they say it is fixed so I am going back again this morning to look at the bottom of the left hand side radiator either oil from the pipe or just maybe red radiator fluid coming from the hose perhaps a pin hole under pressure, so they are going to do a pressure test of the radiator why was this not done as you say .... 4 trips into them and they have not fixed the obvious, and as you say never any engine oil on the floor I do not believe the cam seals were leaking at oil misdiagnose for sure.


Another trip in today No.4. and they have finally admitted I am right as you confirmed, there is a leak on the pipes going into the radiator, fracture in the pipe, the car recently had an accident and the radiator was replaced, the old radiator was pushed back. (accident was 2 months ago). I informed them of this on my first contact with them I then said you misdiagnosed were the cam seals really leaking as there was no signs of engine oil on the floor. They said there was oil was contained in the housing. !! what do you think of this as an explanation can the oil be held in the housings? If there was a slight seepage would you have recommended the cam seals be replaced.


I have had the jack of this outfit. Now $900 to have the pipes replaced however it may be covered by insurance if they will state that they believe it was caused by the accident and not a Vectra problem.


Be really greatful for your comments on these latest developments, thankyou.

Expert:  Mike replied 4 years ago.
Hello again Richard..

First - my sincere apologies - I had issues here which meant I just could not get back to you until now - so I do apologise for that....

Thank you for your reply -

Looking through what you have said..

I cannot see any reason at least on the face of it , as to why the manifold should have been removed no. That said, while to do the seals that shouldn't "per book" be necessary - sometimes in reality, while one is a doing a job - sometimes for odd reasons such becomes necessary to progress with what should have been a straight forward job .... seized items / access difficulties and so on - We have all had such happen to us - what I would suggest is ask them...,. say to them that you know it shouldn't have been required so why was it... and see what they have to say on that.... You saying re no gaskets listed on the invoice for the manifolds is somewhat once removed, new gaskets should be fitted..

As regards the draining of the oil and then putting back - that is not necessary for this job -I really do not know why they should have done that... removing the seals with the engine oil would not result in a serious loss of oil - just drips- the oil level is not up to the seals ! Further yes - once oil is drained - new should be used generally....

So now Im at the point where they have found the issue - in your reply above... So all that work that they have done was not necessary - and it was what I said all along and as you suspected..

Oil can be held in the bell housing yes - but you have noted and reported a serious loss of engine oil any way if that were happening - you had in fact been reporting the loss of the red oil - which was visible - not held anywhere. Bottom line is on this one, they got it wrong... On many many vehilces there is a slight seepage from seals and its nothing to worry about - they have to be dealt with as -is at the time - but no, they got this one very wrong .

Its very very probable that the previous accident caused the leak of the pipes - in fact even though I cant see them - I would say its 100% the cause...from what you have said. These pipes are the solid type, you say the rad was pushed back - they wont stand much movement and will split -causing such it has to be that ....

I hope that the above all helps clear things up for you. Once again, my apologies for the delay my end.. I hope all goes ok for you now - by all means let me now if you wish ..

Best Rgds, MIKE.

Please do click on the OK~ Excellent ratings for me now at this point too as that is how Im credited for helping you - Thank You in advance for that.

Rgds, MIKE.