Small Oil Puddle on the Intake Manifold

This is not an uncommon problem, but motor oil belongs inside the engine, not outside, so I took the time to immediately address this issue.

My '76 has an Edelbrock Performer intake manifold, but I've had the same problem before with OEM parts, and in this case, the manifold was not to blame. The oil was seeping through one of the manifold bolt holes.

The red arrow above points to the small puddle of motor oil that would accumulate one or two days after I drove my car.

Fortunately, this issue was limited to just one bolt and, therefore, the solution was simple:

  1. Remove the bolt
  2. Clean it thoroughly
  3. Use Teflon­­™ tape on the threads
  4. Reinstall the bolt
  5. Drive the car and check for leaks

If you read some of the online recommendations on how to address this problem, you may end up having a tough time deciding how to address the issue.

Suggestions range from using RTV, ARP thread sealer, or a number of similar products to help seal the bolt threads, which act as a wick resulting in the aforementioned puddle on the manifold. Most of them are fine suggestions and I'm also sure most if not all would stop the seepage, but I decided to use Teflon™ tape since it's a clean, fast, and easy solution to this problem.

Besides, even Edelbrock recommends it.

I removed the bolt in the area where the seepage was taking place and cleaned it thoroughly. When I had the motor rebuilt, I also had them paint it Chevy Orange, so all the intake manifold bolts got painted. Not what I would've wanted if I had been given the option, but it was no big deal. 

Of course, when you start removing painted bolts, the paint is going to flake off and that looks horrible. Sure, you can carefully paint them with a brush but they never look right. The shop that fixed the "China Wall" leak a while ago did this, and you can tell.

So I decided to scrape all the paint off this one. Eventually, I will take care of the rest.

With the threads clean, I wrapped tape twice around them in a clockwise direction. You do this so it doesn't unravel as you tighten the bolt.

I'll bet most DIYers have at least one or two rolls of Teflon™ tape in their toolbox. It certainly makes these types of repairs an easy proposition. When it comes to other types of sealants, you need to clean and dry both surfaces to the best of your ability in order for the sealant to do its thing. Teflon™ tape is a lot more forgiving.

Anyway, with the tape in place, I reinstalled the bolt.

I took the Vette out twice for long drives, and there's not a drop of oil to be found on the manifold.

Problem solved!