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1979 350 rear main seal question

wonl2

Member
Joined
Dec 25, 2013
Messages
11
Location
United States
Corvette
1979
I have a 1979 with a 350 engine and automatic transmission. The car has just under 60,000 miles. I bought the car in November of 2013 and noticed that there is a small amount (3 - 5 drops) of oil under the car after driving. I understand that the 350 engine is notorious for rear main seal leaks. I purchased a new Fel-Pro rear main seal as well as a new Fel-Pro oil pan gasket. I bought the rear main seal fearing the worst and hoping for the best.
What is a tell tale sign the rear main seal is leaking? When I removed the flywheel cover, the flywheel and torque converter were dry and oil free. I would think that if the rear main seal was leaking, the interior of the bell housing would be soaked with oil. Am I wrong?
 

frank_nesta

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 24, 2004
Messages
199
Location
Los Angeles, CA
Corvette
1977 Convertible and 2017 Black Rose Grand Sport
I think you are spot on with your logic. Normally it is the valve cover gaskets that are leaking. They are notorious.
 

Hib Halverson

Technical Writer for Internet & Print Media
Joined
Jan 10, 2001
Messages
13,453
Location
CenCoast CA
Corvette
71 04 12 19
The belief that the Gen 1 Small-Block V8 is "notorious" for rear main seal leaks is misguided. While it is true that rear main leaks are possible, the older Small-Block is not an engine which has a chronic problem with that.

If you found no leakage once you removed the converter cover then the rear main is not leaking.

You're dripping oil is coming from somewhere else.

Change the valve cover gaskets and see what happens.
 

wonl2

Member
Joined
Dec 25, 2013
Messages
11
Location
United States
Corvette
1979
Thanks Frank and Hib, I was planning on replacing the valve cover gaskets anyway. That's my weekend project, among other fixes.
 

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