An oil leak made its presence known on my way to Jekyll Island, Georgia for Thanksgiving.
Oil was leaking from somewhere on the left side of the engine. Driving the car resulted in oil being blown all over the undercarriage.
I don't suspect something like a valve cover gasket because I don't see any oil residue above or near the oil filter. I really, really hope the oil pan gasket is not the culprit. Fixing that is a nightmare. Hopefully the problem will be something not too difficult.
After a bit of searching, I traced the leak to one of the oil pressure sending units. These screw-in sensors do occasionally fail over time. Replacing one of these shouldn't be too bad.
I ordered a new sensor and set time aside to install it. Removing/installing the old sensor is easy. Getting to the sensor can be a challenge. The entire air cleaner assembly had to be removed to allow access to the sending unit.
This is the new oil pressure sending unit. This sensor controls the warning light in the instrument cluster, (there is another sending unit for the oil pressure gauge). Replacement is quite simple.
Getting to the existing sensor proved to be more of a challenge than I expected. This sensor is mounted forward of the oil filter in a rather tight spot. The air cleaner assembly, mass airflow sensor, and intake hose had to be removed to make room.
This is a closeup of the culprit. After many years and miles, the internal sealant in between the plastic and metal parts of the sensor can fail allowing a leak to develop.
With the engine running, oil would drip from the body of the sensor onto anything located directly below it. Driving the car resulted in the dripping oil being blown over the undercarriage. Oil that gets on the hot exhaust will burn off.
This is the old sending unit. Oil was leaking from the body of the sender.
I installed the new sensor, put everything back together, and made sure the oil level was ok. All was well after the repair.