View Full Version : 2000 I30 with some oil leaks

09-24-2009, 03:27 PM
Please bear with me as this is my first post and I know nothing about cars!

I recently acquired a 2000 I30 from a family member who was the original owner. It has 63,000 miles and appears to be in relatively good condition. I have all the records and the car has had service at all recommended mileage intervals and oil changes every 3,000 miles.

Before acquiring the car the Infiniti dealership near my family member performed an inspection and said there is a small leak in the real main seal, one axle seal and a crank seal. Now that I have the car back home and have used it for a few weeks, I see the small leak in the real main seal. I brought the car into the local mechanic I use and without mentioning the Infiniti dealerships findings, I had him check it out. He said the real main seal had a slight leak as well as one axle seal. He did not see a leak at the crank seal. So forgetting about the crank seal which can be done later and separately if need be, it was good to get confirmation. From underneath he also looked further up the engine and suspects a valve cover seal may be leaking too.

The path forward that he recommended was to drop the transmission to replace the real main seal and at the same time replace both axle seals and stop there. This would cost me $493.50 for labor, plus the three seals. After a few weeks if we see any appreciable problem with the crank seal and/or the valve cover seal, we can replace them at that time as it will not cost more or less than if they were replaced while the transmission was down. he did not give me a price for the crank seal, but replacement of the valve cover seal is $321.00 for labor, plus the seal.

I have a few questions and a concern. First, do you agree with the mechanics approach? Second, are his prices fair at $814.50 (labor for rear main seal and both axle seals and labor for valve cover seal if needed)?

My concern is dropping the transmission sounds like a big job and I am wondering if the mechanic could cause more harm than good. Considering the leaks are minor and I can live with a piece of cardboard under the car in the garage, should I hold the work off or will the leaks get progressively worse? On one hand I say the car is 10 years old, but on the other, it only has 63,000 miles, cars require maintenance and based on the fact that I only put on 10,000 miles per year, I can see having this car for quite a while.

Your thoughts are appreciated.


10-10-2009, 02:44 PM
Happens to a lot of them, Maximas too! Rear main isn't that common but the upper oil pan lip seals spew and they have to drop the oil pan to replace the two lip seals and orings plus silicone it. Labor in our area is $95/hr so your estimate sounds about par for what he's doing.

10-10-2009, 02:46 PM
oh, and I am doing the valve covers on my i30 this week. the rear one pukes down the back of the block and is a PITA to change. You can buy your parts for a maxima from for 20% off of wholesale MSRP and take the parts to the mechanic to save $$.

10-11-2009, 05:45 PM
i30 guy, thanks much for the information. I do have a few follow-up comments and questions.

At this point I still an not certain the problem is the rear main seal. There are drips of oil coming for that exact spot, put I guess it could be coming from above. In any case based on the clean piece of cardboard I put under the car, I have two, possibly three leaks. I suspect one of the leaks is the rear valve cover gasket. The leaks are not bad, but since the car only has 63,000 miles on it, my thinking is to get the leaks fixed.

I have learned that the IF the problem is the rear main seal, the transmission must be dropped to change the gasket. However, if it is the upper oil pan instead, does the transmission still need to be dropped? If so, does it not make sense to get the real main seal changed at the same time?

Parts - I found a place on line by the name of Infiniti Parts USA. The cost from them for the rear main seal (I assume it includes the retainer) is $32.00. For the upper oil pan I am told I will need to buy a rear and front oil gasket which he called a 1/2 moon (I think this is what you are calling lips seals) and they are $8.62 each and the RTV silicone. The O rings, which I am told go between the the upper oil pan and the block are $3.46 each. Do I need two or three O rings? If I need to buy a rear valve cover gasket, it is $33.15. There is also am Infiniti dealership in your neck of the woods that sell parts under the name "Infinit Parts Warehouse" for about the same price. They are located somewhere in Orange County. I guess I can check with, but I would not think they would be much less.

Labor - I know nothing about cars, but if I go to my local mechanic, who I trust, I would need to supply the parts, so I have somewhat leaned these parts over the past few weeks ;-) My question is, the job seems very complicated to me and I am wondering if a non-Infiniti or non-Nissan trained mechanic can do the proper job, or should I find a Nissan dealership to do the work?

Thanks again,


lightning mobile lube
10-17-2009, 02:07 PM
anyone worth his salt can do the job, but those Nissan/Infiniti guys have just that ounce or pound of extra know how to get it done. But if you're dropping the tranny, you might as well get it ALL looked at! I just bought an entire transmission for 900$ with NO labor since I'm doing it all myself.. You realize that those prices are based on the average joe tech doing that repair? I myself probably wouldn't lose TOO much money on the standard flat rate program... So check out all those possibilities, but see if You have to wash it from higher up than what you were looking at. and work from the top down. THat's the standard practice, but look for a HUGE leak from the lower seals if other leaks come from above.. Just 'cuz they come from above don't mean they don't come from below as well. Look for a backyard mechanic. Because Mechs know all sorts of stuff about the mechanical working of the engine and trans, but the Techs know WHY it works that way and can go deeper if you need it. Don't pay for more than you need, my friend!

10-31-2009, 11:22 AM
We don't sell very many rear mains, I would say about 2-3 a year. We do oil pan reseals about 3-6 a month. If you are doing the lower pan it's just silicone. The upper pan is two lip seals and two orings with silicone. If you do the valve cover gaskets make sure you get the spark plug tube seals and an intake manifold gasket. I work for a Nissan dealer and is our website. The parts are genuine nissan and we sell for 20% below wholesale msrp. So you get the parts for the same cost the repair shops do.