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I recently bought a 99 cr-v 5 speed and 180,000 miles; there is a smell of gear oil when i drive and no leaks on the ground. it runs good and the guy i bought it from mentions that it was leaking a bit but i haven't had time to check it out. any suggestions where to start looking would be appreciated.
 

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There shouldn't be gear oil in anything on there. The radiator can leak when they get that old, but that would smell like antifreeze. The rear differential uses a special dual pump II fluid, but if that were leaking you should be able to see it. The front transfer case is part of the transmission so that would be regular ATF (MTF in your case) you would smell. Older ones are known to leak engine oil. It could be the valve cover or the small black plastic cam plug on the side of engine right in front of the distributor. The oil could be running down the engine and burning off before it gets a chance to drip.
 

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thanks for the reply, is there a location that is more prone to leaks than another? the guy i bought it from replaced the valve cover gasket before i took it but the smell is still there.
 

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thanks for the reply, is there a location that is more prone to leaks than another? the guy i bought it from replaced the valve cover gasket before i took it but the smell is still there.
If you smell burned oil, it's likely the valve cover gasket which sits above the exhaust manifold. Feel around the joint with cylinder head by hand or paper towel. if that checks out, I would do a more thorough check on all the areas Shryp mentions, starting at the top and going down.
 

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Valve cover and gasket are a common source of leaks. You can tell if there is a leak by oil coming down the side of the engine. If the leak is in the front of the gasket then it may hit the exhaust manifold and make the smell worse. One way to fix is to remove the valve cover and gasket, and put a thin coat of RTV sealant on the bottom of the gasket. This will provide a good seal and hopefully eliminate your leak.
 
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