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2000 Kia Sephia - Leak Behind/Under Intake Manifold

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New User

Nov 5, 2015, 3:27 PM

Post #1 of 3 (837 views)
2000 Kia Sephia - Leak Behind/Under Intake Manifold Sign In

I'm a "redneck geek" of sorts, just getting off my first major repair work on my car (so just knowledgeable to be stupidly and incredibly dangerous), and I've got a leak that I can't identify (either location or type of fluid).

2000 Kia Sephia
1.8L DOHC 16V
185,000 miles

I had to take the cylinder head off in order to drill out (yes, *drill out*) a broken spark plug that had apparently welded itself to the cylinder head and would not budge using an "easy out." (Fun, very exciting issue: breaking tools, four-foot breaker bar, etc., but not the subject of this post . . . .) Anyway, I tore everything down to the engine block (intake and exhaust manifolds, power steering pump, alternator, and even the pre-cat just for fun), fixed the spark plug issue (drilled out, rethreaded, and installed a spark plug helicoil), resurfaced the cylinder head (probably would have been fine, as it was still within spec, but I did it anyway, just to be safe, and because it was already off), cleaned all mating surfaces, installed new gaskets and cylinder head bolts (properly torqued to Chilton's specs), and put everything back together. After refilling and double-checking all the fluids, I performed a dry compression test on the cylinders (175, 170, 170, 155 psi 1-4 respectively), installed the spark plugs, and took her for a test drive. She drives nicely.

She sounds and feels like she's new until she gets up to operating temperature, then I get a rough idle (that increases in "roughness" the longer she's driven) kind of a like a slowly pulsating shimmy-shake about once a second or so. Never happens until she's up to temperature though, and as long as we're moving, she still feels and sounds beautiful. After we stop, she shows a pretty severe leak of something from somewhere (apparently behind or under the intake manifold). It doesn't smell like fuel, doesn't feel or smell like oil, doesn't look or smell like coolant, it gets all over the underside of the car, all the way back to about two feet before the tail pipe, all over the passenger side of the firewall, and extends into the passenger side wheel assembly, but everything left (driver's side) of the intake manifold is bone dry. Plus, it never happens if she's driven only a short distance where she doesn't get up to operating temperature, and after she's cooled down, she won't keep leaking. To me, in all of my un-edumacted lack of expertise, it seems like power steering fluid.

I'm not finding any coolant in the oil, oil in the coolant, or a drop in oil or coolant levels. I am noticing a *small* drop in my power steering fluid, more so than might be reasonably explained by a cooling of the engine, but not necessarily enough to correspond to the amount of fluid that's leaking out. It's not condensation, as it doesn't evaporate, and it's still clearly visible as a nice dark shiny liquid all over the underside of the car and inside the engine compartment (as previously described) after she's been sitting overnight. I'm also finding traces of fluid (not a lot) on the alternator/water pump V-belt, but none on either the AC/power steering pump V-belt or the timing belt. I replaced the crush washers on the high-pressure power steering pump banjo fitting, and rechecked all of the hoses that I could identify to make sure they were properly clamped. I'm not finding any indication of leakage from any hoses or on the visible mating surface seams of the cylinder head with engine block or manifolds. In other words, I cannot yet pinpoint a specific location from which anything is leaking.

One final thought . . . . I don't think she's leaking while I'm actually driving. I think she starts leaking after I've shut the engine off, as after she's been sitting for 10 seconds or so (maybe a little longer, but not much), she'll start steaming (from what I believe is the leaking fluid contacting the hot engine surfaces), and the steaming will significantly increase for about 60 seconds, and then subside, but she doesn't steam at all while I'm driving or idling.

I'm somewhat at a loss (though that loss may be more related to my lack of expertise than an easily identifiable problem).

Thanks for your thoughts!
James Lorenzen
Redneck Geek

Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
Discretesignals profile image

Nov 5, 2015, 4:18 PM

Post #2 of 3 (830 views)
Re: 2000 Kia Sephia - Leak Behind/Under Intake Manifold Sign In

We really can't tell you what is leaking because we are not there to see it. First you need to determine what kind of fluid it is. If it is all over the back of the engine, you need to clean it off. Then get it up on a rack and let the engine run while you watch to see where the leak is originating from.

As for the drive-ability issue, is the check engine light on? Might need to look at some scan data while the engine is idling rough to grasp an idea where to look for the issue.

Since we volunteer our time and knowledge, we ask for you to please follow up when a problem is resolved.

New User

Nov 5, 2015, 5:42 PM

Post #3 of 3 (822 views)
Re: 2000 Kia Sephia - Leak Behind/Under Intake Manifold Sign In

That's part of my problem. When I'm looking at it while it's running, I see no active leak. All I see is the fact that the liquid's there. I've cleaned it off to see if I can tell where it's coming from, and when I go to check it again, it's just kind of magically returned, again with no indication that I can see as to its source.

Really, I think that checking, cleaning, and rechecking may be the only option I have, unless you possibly could guess at some potential sources that might make sense, and then I could specifically check those more closely.

Regardless, I'll be checking it again tonight when I get home.

As for the check engine light, no, it's not lit. But I do have an OBD scanner, and it comes up clear anyway (if for some reason the check engine light just wasn't working for whatever reason). However, I haven't actually checked the running data, so that's something I'll definitely check tonight as well.
James Lorenzen
Redneck Geek

(This post was edited by JamesRyann on Nov 5, 2015, 5:44 PM)

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