Leaky Rear Main Seal - Dilemma
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Thread: Leaky Rear Main Seal - Dilemma

  1. #1
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    Aug 2006
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    Utah
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    Leaky Rear Main Seal - Dilemma

    Question: Are there any known shortcuts to get enough room to separate the transmission just enough to remove the drive plate and replace the rear main seal?

    My original 2002 Honda Odyssey EX-L transmission now has 136k miles and operating perfectly fine and shifts like new. I drain and refill transmission fluid every other engine oil change using Autozone's Coastal Multi-Vehicle Synthetic Blend ATF (a much less expensive equally rated alternative to Honda's ATF). I have been doing this procedure for about 60k miles ever since I had a tranmissions pressure switch fail Ė so it must not be harming and must be helping. The ATF when draining has been clean and very few particles are attached to the magnetic drain plug.

    My dilemma now is Iíve had an annoying rear main seal leak for the past 2+ years that is getting on my nerves enough that Iím ready to tackle it. Iím tired of pressure washing under than van, cardboard on the garage floor to contain the oil, checking the oil level, being afraid to go on very long trips with it, etc, etc. I had been waiting for the transmission to fail or show signs of failure to justify tearing it all down, but that hasnít happened yet. I have tried using different brands/types of engine oil (full synthetic, partial synthetic, high mileage, and so forth), stop leak products, replaced the PCV valve, etc; nothing works. Obviously, the leaky seal is not related to my special treatment of the transmission, but given the good condition that I think the transmission is in; I donít want to replace/rebuild it yet.

    I have the Haynes Repair Manual and I simply donít want to go through the process stated of removing everything from the A/C to the radiator and drop the engine/transmission just to replace a $15 seal.

    Are there any known shortcuts to get enough room to separate the transmission just enough to remove the drive plate and replace the seal?

    If so, please share details.

    I just thought I would ask before I start the huge endeavor.

    Thanks for any repsonses.

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  3. #2
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    San Jose CA
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    That would be quite a project just to fix a damn leak! I would be thinking about selling it.
    A large drip pan or park it on the street won't do it?
    Did you try a much thicker oil? like 20w-50 regular oil. Synthetic is usually thinner and flows better at same weight so that's NOT what you want.
    2000 Ody
    Origional trans 143K
    Trans cooler, ATF changed every 25k.

  4. #3
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    I don't owe anything on it - so that is reason enough to keep it. Mechanically, nothing is really wrong with it other than the leak. Drip pan doesn't provide enough coverage - the oil leaks out from the flywheel dust cover and onto the frame, underbody, and exhaust dripping to the ground over a large area. Don't want to park it in the street. I have not tried 20w-50 as I'm worried an oil that thick will not provide proper engine lubrication - causing a much worse problem than I have now. The most annoying thing is when traveling up steep hills the oil runs directly onto the hot exhaust and smolders which causes enough fumes for them to travel in through the cabin ventilation. It kinds of sucks that for those who try to make the tranny last in these; the engine seal ends up going bad before the tranny.

  5. #4
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    What oil weights have you tried? Maybe try a slightly thicker regular oil, like 10w-40.
    Other's have reported getting new oil leaks with synthetic.
    2000 Ody
    Origional trans 143K
    Trans cooler, ATF changed every 25k.

  6. #5
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    Actually, I haven’t ever even tried regular 10W-30. I’ve always used synthetic, synthetic blend, or a high mileage formula of 5W-20 or 5W-30 – I live in a cold weather climate so I stick to the 5W – but since I keep it in the garage, probably not too much of an issue. I perform all my own oil changes. Perhaps just a move to a regular 10W-30 will help. I will try that first then move to regular 10W-40, but 20W-50 is too far outside the manufacturer specs of 5W-20 for me.

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