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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've got a 1989 Golf with an 8v motor.

After fixing the multiple leaks from the passenger side of the engine (crank, cam, intermediate seals) I'm now confronted with yet another leak coming from the OTHER side of the motor.

This one seems to be in multiple places (bell housing, cv joints, all the different bolts on the transmission). Doesn't smell like gear oil at all, so I'm assuming it's a badly leaking main seal that is leaking all over everything else. My clutch isn't slipping, yet.

Is there anything else it may be?

Is it a real bear to do a main seal in this type of car? I may just have to pony up the $500 to have a shop do it.
 

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There are lots of things that could be leaking and getting down where you say. Rear main seal is one, but anything from a leaking valve cover gasket running down the engine to an input shaft seal on the transmission can show up there. Clean it up real good. There is an access cover at the end of the oil pan, remove that and spray brake cleaner up inside to dry and clean things out. Then wipe inside there as best you can and leave the cover off. Engine block, transmission, CV joints, clean them all real good and then take it for a short drive. Inspect with a strong light, no leak signs, take it for a longer drive. Once you start to see signs of the leak you can better determine where it is coming from.

Just FYI, the transmission has to be removed to do the rear main.
 

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I would just bit the bullet and remove the transmission. Reseal the transmission since it is not that hard to do [as long as the case housings are not leaking]. While it is out, replace the rear crank seal and do not forget to reseal the rear engine cover.

Then you are done. No more leaks. Do not forget to replace the clutch rod seal [inside the trans input shaft]. Check that rod bushing to make certain it is not worn out.
 

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If you have to remove the transmission to stop your leaks it is a good time to replace the clutch too especially if you don't know when the clutch if and when it was last replaced. It adds some cost ($125-150) but can prevent aggrivation down the road. FR
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks for all the advice. I'm fairly sure it's something to do with the engine and not the tranny, because the fluid leaking is engine oil and not gear oil. I cleaned everything off and started it up for a few minutes, then shut it down, and the only drip I have is directly from the middle of the bell housing where the trans meets the engine.

I really don't know if I'm qualified/have the tools to remove the transmission from a car. I read over the procedure in Bentley, but it still seems involved in terms of supporting the motor and removing all those engine/trans mounts.

I may have to bite the bullet on this one and have a shop do it, but I'm still thinking about it.
 

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there is a mail oil galley plug under the bellhousing as well. It can leak a lot if it comes loose. You can pull the trans in the driveway but you need a crane or support frame to hold the engine in place: http://www.harborfreight.com/automo...000-lb-capacity-engine-support-bar-96524.html

you also need an 8mm 12point serrated wrench to remove the inner axles and a 30mm socket to remove the outer axle nut and a 12 point 9mm socket for the clutch. You need some standard tools and the rest is procedural. You need to be able to "bench press" the trans and rotate it for removal/install.

If this all sounds a bit much then look for a local VW specialist.
 

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My engine support beam is a 2X4 with an adjustable hook mounted on it that extends between the fenders. The hook slides right or left a bit in a 4" long groove (made by drilling consecutive holes in the board) and can be adjusted by turning a nut on the hook shaft. The nut is supported by a large fender washer so it doesn't slip through the groove. The hook extends through on to a hole cast in the head to support the engine. The 2X4 also has grooves cut in the ends so it rests in the fender slot on both sides of the car -- ie. it does not rest on the visable part of the fender when the hood is closed. The engine can also be blocked from below but it helps to have the engine supported so it can be adjusted up or down. I use a scissors jack under the transmission to move the tranny up and down. I can usually jack the car, remove the tranny/replace the clutch and any misc. seals in 4 hours. Probably 8 or 12 hours if it is your first time. Years back, my garage was under my house and I used to support the engine from above using a steel "I" beam that supported the house and a chain fall. I had to remove the cars hood for that method. FR
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I left it over the weekend sitting in the garage. Got home tonight and it had dripped like 6 drops right from the middle of the bell housing. Just as a side note, the oil pan gasket is pretty wet....could the oil pan be leaking on that side that is really close to the bell housing and this simulating a main seal leak?
 

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Oil pan gasket leaks are not uncommon in older engines. The gasket is easy to replace and not too expensive. Replacing the gasket also gives you an opportunity to clean out the sludge from the oil pan. One hint: use a 1/4 inch drive extension with a straight sided 10mm socket to reach up to the bolts in that small area between the pan and the transmission. Some of the oil pan bolts below the crankshaft at both ends of the engine screw into the aluminum oil seal carriers so snug those bolts in carefully so as not to strip out the holes. The area where you are seeing oil is directly below the rear main seal -- I'd still suspect the main seal but the time and money invested in replacing the oil pan gasket is well worth a try. FR
 
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