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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Vortech oil leak-Update!!!

So we are supposed to be taking a 2500 mile round trip to Myrtle Beach this coming week. I was under the car doing a quick visual a few weeks ago and saw a (Geeky CSI reference here) high velocity splatter pattern on the inner splash shield on the passenger side. It was just a light misting of motor oil directly in line with the a/c compressor. I looked around and followed the trail up until I saw the source which was the vortech head unit just dripping occasionally straight down onto the a/c pulley which would splatter the oil onto the plastic splash shield.

I hate leaks of any kind and especially before a trip like this it made me worry enough to pull the head unit and check it out. Here are some pictures of what I found. While there are some areas of oil residue I cant see a blatant leak source. The little pool of oil by the pressure line orifice was left there when I removed the fitting. The oil would collect on each lobe surrounding the return line, this line points straight down when installed. The return hose was clamped tightly, but I could still spin it on the fitting easily. It just seems strange that a gravity fed oil retun line could become the source of a leak like this all of a sudden.

There was a bit of oil pooled in the charge cooler line coming out of the Vortech, but not much more than a thumbnail size spot, I hear this is fairly normal...Since the warrenty is long since expired on this should I open up the gearcase and check the big o-ring that seals it? What do you guys think?





 

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That is a tough one! Could you see where the oil was coming from while it was still installed? If it was coming from the gearbox seem then MAYBE I would check that o-ring. Otherwise I would put it all back together making sure to replace the drain line and clamp. If you could move it around then oil got between the hose and the fitting somehow.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
bluebullitt2180.1 said:
That is a tough one! Could you see where the oil was coming from while it was still installed? If it was coming from the gearbox seem then MAYBE I would check that o-ring. Otherwise I would put it all back together making sure to replace the drain line and clamp. If you could move it around then oil got between the hose and the fitting somehow.

It was really hard to see much when it was installed. The mounting bracket covers the part of the case where the gearbox and cover connect so you cant see it at all. I could only see where the oil would collect and then drop from. I just partially filled the case with oil and capped off the oil lines and will let it sit overnight to see if anything shows up. It would be great if all it ended up being was the oil return line, I will replace that no matter what.

The problem with going into the gearbox is that nobody will sell you parts for these units. Vortech doesn't want people (understandably) doing repairs on them..I think I could find an oring at an industrial supply place around here though...
 

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I know it is just a gearbox in there! I really know that, but I wonder what little spring they threw in there to screw with us if we take it apart. Just saying I would be afraid to take it apart, on the off chance that some little something would drop out of place and I wouldn't be able to get it back in place. I would really suspect that the leak was coming from one of the lines!
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
bluebullitt2180.1 said:
I know it is just a gearbox in there! I really know that, but I wonder what little spring they threw in there to screw with us if we take it apart. Just saying I would be afraid to take it apart, on the off chance that some little something would drop out of place and I wouldn't be able to get it back in place. I would really suspect that the leak was coming from one of the lines!
Upon further review I agree with you....Here is a picture (not my Vortech) of the gearcase opened up. At the very least I would have to remove the pulley, and then who knows what would await me. I think I'll replace the return line, clean everything up and drive it around for a day to check it out. Worst case I'll not be able to take the B next week...:mad: My son will be as upset as I will, we are going for his High School graduation...I think he wants to see the car as badly as he wants to see me :lol:

 

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I'd say clean everything real well, reinstall, and drive for a few miles (and pull some good boost for good measure). Then let it cool down and feel around for oil. That doesn't look like a very bad leak (not that any oil leak is a good one, lol), and personally if it was just residue and I couldn't find any leaks after cleaning, I'd take the car for the ride, but that's me.
 

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MaineBullitt said:
My son will be as upset as I will, we are going for his High School graduation...I think he wants to see the car as badly as he wants to see me :lol:

I don't blame him one bit. :badgrin:

I hope this turns out well. Put a few miles close to home and just keep an eye on things.

Congratulations to your son!!!
 

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When I installed my Vortech I had no leaks, after running the car about 30 minutes I drained the oil and removed the oil line on the bottom to drain the Vortech. After this procedure I again had no leaks. After driving about 50 more miles I drain the oil again, and once again disconnected the oil line on the bottom to drain the Vortech. After this change I had a small leak where the oil line connects to the head unit. Tightened everything up and no leaks.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Update...

So I filled the gearbox with motor oil and positioned the unit as it would sit in the car, with the drain fitting pointing straight down. The next morning there was a slight trail of fresh oil coming out where the gearbox o-ring should be sealing. This is not what I had hoped for. I will not drive the car on this long a trip with a known issue like this so I decided to go ahead and open the case up. I figured if I do that and can't get it back together or even if I do get it back together and it still leaks I am no worse off since either way I wouldnt take the B on the trip. But at least I have a chance to fix the problem if I open it up.

So I pulled the pulley, pretty easy with a bit of heat per Vortechs instructions. After that it was just removing the 1/4x20 screws and pulling the cover off. Sure enough the o-ring is badly compressed, and I could see exactly where the oil was passing through.

The next issue was going to be finding the o-ring to replace it with. Vortech will not sell internal parts to dubbers like me, so I went to a couple of industrial supply houses and they hooked me up. I bought three so if it ever happens again I'll be all set. While I was there I had them make up a pressure line in aeroquip braided stainless steel teflon hose to replace the original, cost $34.00 compared to 2x that through mail order. I also got a nicer looking aeroquip hi-temp oil return line at the same time. So now my plumbing will be all new and more rugged and better looking!

Tonight I will re-assemble everything and drive the car the next 2 days before our trip to check for leaks. This has really turned out much easier than expected. I will say that I wouldnt want to try to replace any of the bearings on my own. I dont have access to the proper tools for that so if that becomes necessary I will ship it off the Vortech for a complete rebuild....John R
 

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MaineBullitt said:

While I was there I had them make up a pressure line in aeroquip braided stainless steel teflon hose to replace the original, cost $34.00 compared to 2x that through mail order. I also got a nicer looking aeroquip hi-temp oil return line at the same time. So now my plumbing will be all new and more rugged and better looking!
I would be very interested in seeing pictures of those two lines. At that cost I might be interested in ordering a set for my setup (if the shop is willing to mail order them).
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
bluebullitt2180.1 said:
That is awesome! You have bigger cohonez than I do!
Or a lot less common sense......Time will tell....You may see an urgent post from me on this board from somewhere in rural Virginia next weekend pleading for help!!!

Kidding aside, I figured worst case if I couldn't manage the repair on my own I'm no worst off since I wasnt going to take the B with the leak. I feel pretty good about this all now, especially after seeing how bad the o-ring looked....
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
5111 said:
I would be very interested in seeing pictures of those two lines. At that cost I might be interested in ordering a set for my setup (if the shop is willing to mail order them).
I will get a couple of pics up tonight. This place might do mail order but honestly any local (to you) aeroquip industrial hose dealer could do the same for you without the hassle. I worked at an aeroquip dealer as a kid in high school so I have a small amount of knowledge left after all these years, and that helped a bit in knowing what to ask for...

Vortech feed line is 26" overall length with -4 female hose ends. I asked for 27" in stainless steel braided teflon which will way more than handle the temp & pressure of the Vortech. Plus it's a way better looking line than the red vortech supplied line.

The return line is a high temp blue aeroquip line (pic tonight) that is a step up from the vortech fabric braided line which hardened & got brittle on mine. Also looks better, added bonus....Tonight I will get the aeroquip number for the return line......
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
5111 said:
I would be very interested in seeing pictures of those two lines. At that cost I might be interested in ordering a set for my setup (if the shop is willing to mail order them).

So here are the pics of the hoses. The return line is just a hi temp/low pressure (still 250 psi!) hose made by Aeroquip. I layed it next to the original for comparison. The casing on the new line is a hard nylon type material. Part number is FC332-08. I am still just using worm drive clamps on that line.....



 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Why it was leaking....

Here are 2 pictures, one with the original o-ring and one with the new one. I layed a level over the groove to show how compressed the original had become. It's amazing it still sealed at all.....


 
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