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Robert R
Robert R, ASE Certified Master
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Experience:  Dodge Master Certified, Dodge Sprinter Certified
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Dodge RAM 3500 4x4: My cummins (5.9 L dieslel) engine is leaking

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My cummins (5.9 L dieslel) engine is leaking oil from the front left side of the engine about 3/4 of the way up on the left hand side....(looking at the engine from the front) (facing the windowshield)...Any idea what it might be and how do you fix it.

Hello, My name isXXXXX am a Certified Auto Technician with 25+ years experience. I will do my best to assist you. I don't know your automotive experience level, so I may have to ask questions of you before I can answer. I only know as much about your concern as you have stated in your post, so please feel free to add as much detailed information as possible.

Just to clarify, are you saying that the leak is on the passenger side of the engine front, or on the Driver's side? Very front of the engine by the radiator or on the side of the engine?

Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Passanger side on the front of the engine...I have had the leak for about two months...and have just been adding oil ....not too much about 2 liters every 5000 the last week I have started to hear a loud squealing sound like a belt slipping...
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

I have some pictures I took with my cell phone.....that I could send to you if that helps.


Yes, can you get the pics posted somewhere like Photobucket, and Post a link here to the Photos so that I can view them? Or if you can get them on your computer, you should be able to attach them here by clicking on the paperclip in the edit window that you type your response into.... let me know if you can post the pics....
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

I am trying to download the pictures off my iphone now...



Ok, let me know when you get them posted, and if you use a filesharing site, be sure to post the link to the pics here....Thx
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
It wa hard to get my camera into a position where I could take a picture....The leak is shown best in the first and second picture....
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
These are all the pictures....

Ok, Let me look over the Pics, I'll get back with you shortly....thx!

Customer: replied 4 years ago.
i have to go out for about an should we proceed.

Ok, I am pretty sure I know where the source of the leak is, unfortunately it is in a location that will require that the camshaft be removed in order to replace the gasket. There is a possibility of a Dowel Pin inside the engine backing out and getting trapped between the cam gear and timing gear case, if this happens, the gear case will be broken and can be seen from above fairly easy and you will have a large leak. yours seems that the gasket cracked and slid out and started leaking... I'm posting your pic first so I can point out the source of the leak, then some other pics demonstrating why I think it's leaking there...

Here's one of your pics:

Pointed out is the suspected leak area.

Here's some pics to describe more clearly where the leak is coming from:


This one shows what can happen if the Dowel Pin Backs out and falls into the Cam gear:


This one shows the area where the gasket can break and slide out, (note the large area of gasket with no bolt holes to keep the gasket in place):


If you need to be away for a bit, no problem, just post a reply when ready and I will be happy to help, Remember, There may be a delay between my answers because I may be helping other customers or taking a break. Thanks for your understanding


If you need additional information, don't hesitate to ask, I am happy to help until your concern is resolved. Thank you and thanks for using JustAnswer!





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Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Is this a known problem with these engines or does it happen on only rare occasions.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

What would be the flat rate hours to fix this problem at a shop?


I will be about an hour...


Tom C

It only happens on rare occasions, Only some of the earlier engines have the problem with the Dowel Pin, Later engines have a modified Timing Gear Case that will capture the Dowel Pin if it becomes loose. Not sure on your engine though, so I thought I would mention the Dowel Pin problem just in case. To tell for sure on the leak, you need to remove the radiator fan and the fan hub and mount from the engine, when it is off, the affected area can be clearly seen and it is easy to determine if the Gear Housing is cracked... usually if the gasket is bad, you can see that it slid out....either into the engine or out of the engine....


If you need additional information, don't hesitate to ask. If I have answered your question, clicking "Accept" is greatly appreciated. Thank you and thanks for using JustAnswer!



Customer: replied 4 years ago.

If this is just a gasket (I hope) what would be the time a shop should charge in hours to fix the problem...If a cracked case then what

This is a big job, I Remember it being about a 17 hour job, the Valve covers, Rocker Assemblies and Push Rods need to be removed so that the Tech can use wooden dowels to hold the Tappets up away from the Camshaft, so that it can be removed for access to remove the gear case. Of course, the front of the vehicle has to be removed to gain access to remove the rather large Camshaft. Care must be taken when the cam is out to not drop the tappets into the oil pan... If the Gear Case is cracked, you can purchase another one, the labor is the same either way, If the cam gear is not damaged it can be reused, if any gears are damaged, they must be replaced... This is very rare...

I think most shops will charge AT LEAST 10 hours flat rate to do this repair, likely more....

Robert R and 2 other Dodge Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
one last question...what would cuase this situation to occur....
Customer: replied 4 years ago. do i get to keep the pictures you made so I can take them to the shop after I accept your answer.....
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Sorry I have so many questions....What is the risk if I do not fix this for about 4 months...and just keep adding oil.....I have to wait for summer to be able to fix it myself....

If you look at the pinkish gasket below, you will notice 2 areas where the bolt spacing is rather large compared to the rest of the holes, this larger spacing allows for the gasket to begin sliding due to the normal heating and cooling expansion and contraction of the dissimilar metals. this causes the gasket to slide out and crack eventually causing a leak.


There is no risk other than the loss of oil if this repair is put off for a while, just be sure to keep the oil level full....


If you need additional information, don't hesitate to ask. If I have answered your question, clicking "Accept" is greatly appreciated. Thank you and thanks for using JustAnswer!




PS - When you click on the pics to view the fullsize image, you can right click and click on save image....

Thank you for "accepting". remember, I'm still available if you have any additional questions on this concern....

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Customer: replied 4 years ago.



It appear that I accepted your answer but it appears that for the same subject there is another Accept outstanding....Not sure what this means?

Hi, Yes, I have received an accept from you, You only have 1 question open. So there should be no other questions pending an "accept" so you should be ok as I have received payment from you aready, so no need to accept again... Thanks!

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