Q – My Boxster S just got its SECOND main seal and when the technician was inspecting it, he mentioned that it also had a leaking oil separator. What annoys me is why another mechanic who recently inspected my car did not tell me about the leaking main seal or the separator. I found out after my car left a puddle in my garage. Now I am suspicious about the inspection that I had. — Peter
A – Clearly two main seals is one too many and right off the bat, one has to wonder about why a quality part, installed by a quality tech, could fail so soon after replacement. I sense your frustration. Comebacks occur but the real measure of your service provider is the way you are treated in that situation. Oil seals are tricky to install and require special tools to do so properly. It has happened to me too. I am sorry you had to go through it twice and I hope that this is the end of that story for a good long time.
Oil separators are common failing parts. They are made of plastic that becomes brittle with age and heating/cooling cycles. Replacement is often recommended when removing the engine on many Porsches both early and late based on overlapping labor savings so who knows whether the leak was from one or both components. It was still a good idea to replace it.
As far as your inspection, technicians who perform inspections have a vested interest in doing a thorough job and calling out things that are amiss. Typically, inspecting a car leads to servicing the car. I can only speculate that the leak was too small to detect or developed after the inspection. From a technician’s perspective, when wetness is noted, a value judgment of severity is rendered. Is it just showing a discoloration? Is it seeping, showing signs of dampness; or is there an active drip coming from the component? When a technician calls an oil leak a high priority, it can be very expensive advice. It has to be tempered by the severity of the leak, the cost of repairs, and possible consequences of doing nothing but monitoring the leak. For a car that has been on the road for a number of years, it is not uncommon to see wetness oozing from various places. To determine severity, if the leak is subtle, I recommend an engine wash followed by ultraviolet leak detection. After the wash, dye is added then the affected area is viewed with specialized glasses after a short test drive. If it does not show up directly, a re-inspection a few days later is in order. Leaks can be more than annoying but sometimes the cure is worse than the disease. MC