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Oil on spark plug--even after head gasket change

mede116

Member
Joined
September 21, 2020
Messages
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City, State
Briarcliff Manor, NY
Year, Model & Trim Level
2003, Explorer XLT EddieB
Hello, all! First post!

I've run into an issue I'm hoping the community can help me on, so please pardon the extensive explanation. Thanks in advance.

I have an '03 Eddie Bauer with the 3.0 flex fuel engine; 1-owner car that's been cared for well.

In late August, engine had slight and brief misfire when accelerating from a stop. I checked all 6 plugs and noticed that one of them, the one closest to brake slave cylinder, was wet (pictures attached). I already noticed oil sweat on the head gasket cover right above the plug with the oil.

It clearly seemed the issue was gasket so I changed it. In doing so, I noticed significant oil residue inside the intake manifold, which I took to indicate faulty PCV valve and so I changed that too and cleaned the manifold, which improved performance noticeably.

A couple of weeks later, I checked that same spark plug and noticed same amount of oil. Judging by the condition of the plug, it seems that the issue is recent (burnt oil residue on electrode is minimal), but I could be wrong.

Any thoughts on what the issue might be? Car is driveable and runs well, using it daily actually; no misfires since that one time.

Pictures include the sparkplug's hole (notice the burned oil spot around it) and head gasket cover.

Any questions, let me know.

Thanks again!
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My guess is that the oil is leaking into the spark plug well from a valve cover leak.



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First I think we need to sort out what you changed. In the Thread Title you say "Head Gasket" and then in your Thread you say "Head Gasket Cover". I have never heard of a "Head Gasket Cover". I think you meant to say "Valve Cover Gasket". I would agree with Rick, that the oil leaking into the spark plug well is from a leaking valve cover and if that is what you changed then what you have now is just old residue, which if you didn't get it all cleaned up when you changed the gasket should burn away after a few run cycles.
 






First I think we need to sort out what you changed. In the Thread Title you say "Head Gasket" and then in your Thread you say "Head Gasket Cover". I have never heard of a "Head Gasket Cover". I think you meant to say "Valve Cover Gasket". I would agree with Rick, that the oil leaking into the spark plug well is from a leaking valve cover and if that is what you changed then what you have now is just old residue, which if you didn't get it all cleaned up when you changed the gasket should burn away after a few run cycles.

Hi there!

Thanks for the response and sorry for the confusion. What I changed was the valve cover gasket, not the head gasket. I also meant to say valve cover, not head gasket cover--I'm not a mechanic by trade. I cleaned the spark plug after putting in the new gasket, and the oil I found a few weeks after seemed to be new. Could the oil be seeping in from anywhere else?
 






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