[Healeys] Does synthetic oil leak more?

Bob Spidell bspidell at comcast.net
Fri Jan 17 10:36:41 MST 2020

I've learned from experience--aka 'the hard way'--that there are 
'sealants' and 'adhesive sealants' (aka 'glue').  The adhesive 
sealants--while appropriate in some instances--can glue parts together, 
making them very hard to separate if the need arises.  My mechanic used 
black 'Right Stuff' and no gasket to seal my BJ8's pan to the block, and 
when I cracked the pan I hurt my elbow--apparently, permanently--sawing 
the pan off with a serrated knife.

This is known; there are some photos on the 'net of people lifting a SBC 
by the intake manifold, which had been 'sealed' to the heads with Right 


ps.  Re: "Even though the factory manual states not to use sealant 
around the casing seal of the brake ring ..."  When I rebuilt my BJ8's 
OD a couple years ago I found evidence that a sealant was used--it was 
brownish/orangeish--and since I bought the car with 64K miles on it I 
don't believe it had ever been apart before.  I used one of the silicone 
sealants, and last I checked I had no leaking at the brake ring.

On 1/13/2020 6:12 PM, Harold Manifold wrote:
> I agree it is very important to keep any foreign material out of the 
> overdrive unit. I have had good luck using Loctite Gasket Maker. See 
> attached picture. I believe it is a similar product to Permatex The 
> Right Stuff.
> Harold
> ------------------------------------------------------------------------
> *From:* gradea1 at charter.net [mailto:gradea1 at charter.net]
> *Sent:* Monday, January 13, 2020 9:46 AM
> *To:* 'Robert Begani'; 'Harold Manifold'; 'warthodson at aol.com'; 
> '050.rpl at gmail.com'; 'healeys at autox.team.net'
> *Subject:* Re: [Healeys] Does synthetic oil leak more?
> Bob-that was another place the synthetic comes out...thru the threads. 
> If you use anything, like pipe sealer or PTFE (teflon) just be careful 
> not to get any near the entrance to your overdrive.  Overdrive oil 
> must be spotless due to the tiny drillings in the system. I was able 
> to fix my seeps elsewhere with Permatex "Right Stuff" but be careful 
> again to do a very neat job. I still recommend regular 30W non 
> detergent mineral oil (as does the factory book) to refill the trans 
> and OD. Some modern oils can foam in the overdrive and cause issues.
> Even though the factory manual states not to use sealant around the 
> casing seal of the brake ring-that will leak with most synthetics and 
> also seep with regular oil. Had to" Right stuff" the casing seam post 
> rebuild to stop that seeping. Another place synthetic runs out is at 
> the bottom casing plug. I do not have too much experience using 
> silicone gaskets.  I rebuilt with paper and aircraft sealer (old 
> school-but original).  I expected leaks or else it wouldn't be 
> authentic British. Hank
> -----------------------------------------
> From: "Robert Begani"
> To: "Harold Manifold"
> Cc:
> Sent: Monday January 13 2020 5:38:23AM
> Subject: Re: [Healeys] Does synthetic oil leak more?
> My problem is leaking from the brass drain fitting in the bottom of 
> the overdrive.  When I used motor oil eventually by tightening the 
> fitting, the drips would stop.  With the synthetic oil the drips will  
> not stop.  Over the summer, while the car was sitting in the garage, 
> there was a puddle in the plastic container I placed under the fitting 
> before leaving for cooler weather.  I just tightened the fitting a 
> little more and the drips are reduced to 2 per day.  Am thinking about 
> using a thread sealant on the fitting and RTV on the gaskets.  Or, is 
> there a silicone gasket available?
> Also, is a silicone gasket for the valve covers worth the expense to 
> stop leaking?  Or, a combination of silicone gasket and Ultra 
> Permatex?  I have aluminum alloy valve cover.
> Bob Begani
> *From:* Healeys <healeys-bounces at autox.team.net> *On Behalf Of *Harold 
> Manifold
> *Sent:* Saturday, January 11, 2020 11:51 AM
> *To:* warthodson at aol.com; 050.rpl at gmail.com; healeys at autox.team.net
> *Subject:* Re: [Healeys] Does synthetic oil leak more?
> Hello,
> All of your observations are a factor. Here are some comments from an 
> article about synthetic oil leaks:
> Synthetic oil WILL NOT cause leaks. It may however make already 
> worn-out gaskets/seals more evident, by leaking past them, and/or 
> cleaning any sludge and other gunk that was sealing the existing leak. 
> This is because Synthetic oil has much better cleaning properties, 
> flows much better than conventional oil, and hence also lubricates 
> much better than conventional oil (This is a good thing).
> I use a GL-4 synthetic gear oil in my transmission and it leaks. 
> Believe it not not one of the leak mechanisms is from the interior 
> along the bolts and drips from the bolt head on the exterior. I am 
> changing the gaskets on my transmission and trying bonded sealing 
> neoprene washers on the fasteners.
> I may be pursuing the impossible dream of a leak free Healey.... Harold
> ------------------------------------------------------------------------
> *From:*warthodson at aol.com <mailto:warthodson at aol.com> 
> [mailto:warthodson at aol.com]
> *Sent:* Saturday, January 11, 2020 7:24 AM
> *To:* manifold at telus.net <mailto:manifold at telus.net>; 
> 050.rpl at gmail.com <mailto:050.rpl at gmail.com>; healeys at autox.team.net 
> <mailto:healeys at autox.team.net>
> *Subject:* Does synthetic oil leak more?
> I am not a leak expert, but I find this hard to understand. For there 
> to be a leak there has to be a hole. Is it because the synthetic oil 
> molecules are smaller than the non-synthetic oil molecules? Given that 
> the "holes" come in different sizes this seems illogical. Is it 
> because the synthetic oil is more slippery? How is that measured? How 
> much more slippery is it?
> Gary Hodson

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