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2011 5.3 Oil Leak

133K miles - oil drops above filter / saturated trans

2011 5.3 Oil Leak

Postby Gibson6 [OP] » Dec 27 2020, 5:12pm

I know this is posted on a lot but figured I would share my trucks issue to add to the database and see what opinions the great minds in this forum may have to share.

I have a 2011 5.3 with just over 133K miles on it. I have had it for about 30k of those miles and have changed the oil at least every 4k. Recently I have noticed drops of oil on the bottom of the trans, above the filter in various spots, and saturation on the trans itself. It is not enough to leave a drop on the garage floor but I noticed my oil level was low the other day. Pictures are below.

Questions for the great minds here:
Since it is not enough to even leave a drop on the floor, is it worth messing with at this point?
Does this look more like a seal issue or a cooler issue? I have seen posts on both when searching...
I am leaning toward doing nothing at this time except keeping an eye under the truck and on the oil level but anything else I should watch for?

any other input is greatly appreciated. I will use this thread to keep track of any new issues on it and also any progress I make in fixing her...

thanks guys

OIL LEAK 3.png
ABOVE OIL FILTER LEAK.jpg
BOTTOM OF TRANS OIL LEAK.jpg
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Re: 2011 5.3 Oil Leak

Postby Chevboy0167 » Dec 27 2020, 8:38pm

Normally I would say cooler lines and/or cooler line seal but yours looks dry right under the cooler line adapter. From the pics, the leak looks like it is coming from up higher like around the oil pan seal maybe?

Spray it it all off with brake parts cleaner and allow to dry. Start it up and crawl under to take a peak and see if it starts to leak around the adapter and or oil pan seal area. This may take a while so give it some time. If you see nothing, give it a few days of driving then check again.

When you say oil level was low, how much? How long has it been since the last oil change? Remember, these engines do burn some between the 3-4K mile oil change intervals.
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Re: 2011 5.3 Oil Leak

Postby Gibson6 [OP] » Dec 27 2020, 9:14pm

Thanks for the reply and I will try that. I normally do fill each oil change with the oil level 3/4th the way up the dip stick... when I checked it after noticing these drips it was 1/4th up. I am about 2500k since last change... just always looking too keep her in tip top shape!
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Re: 2011 5.3 Oil Leak

Postby GBSierraSLE » Dec 27 2020, 9:51pm

Do you have the updated driver's side valve cover? This can help with oil consumption.

I would check the oil pan bolts.
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Re: 2011 5.3 Oil Leak

Postby Gibson6 [OP] » Dec 27 2020, 10:09pm

Not sure about the updated valve cover... haven't heard of that before...

Will check pan bolts too
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Re: 2011 5.3 Oil Leak

Postby GBSierraSLE » Dec 27 2020, 10:16pm

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Re: 2011 5.3 Oil Leak

Postby Gibson6 [OP] » Jan 24 2021, 11:24pm

Thanks for that bulletin GBS I am looking into that... not sure if it was done on my truck or not yet.

I did do a recent change though and this time instead of using the KN screw on to tighten it one full rotation i just did hand tight which was 3/4 of a rotation. This seems to have solved the driplets on the filter but there are still driplets as seen here.

0B3DAC34-3324-4149-ABBC-10672DA33954.jpeg
C4204AD9-0482-41A8-A052-9497872F6C06.jpeg


As long as its not even dropping on the garage Im gonna leave as is for now and just check the level regularly... moral of the story for me at least is hand tight oil filters for life. Only using the kn wrench OFF for clean(er) oil changes
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Re: 2011 5.3 Oil Leak

Postby EKinMN » Jan 24 2021, 11:34pm

Looks IDENTICAL to my 2010, lol. I think it looked like that for it's last 30,000 miles. I used about a 1/4 - 1/2 qt of oil in 5,000 miles, so it was really nothing I wanted to spend too much time on. Just funny to see your pics, and think...gee, that looks so familiar!
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Re: 2011 5.3 Oil Leak

Postby FoxProDenali » Jan 24 2021, 11:53pm

Most likely the rear main seal. Mine looks the exact same and my trans cooler and oil cooler lines are brand new, so is the oil pan gasket. Just the worst.
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Re: 2011 5.3 Oil Leak

Postby been100years » Jan 25 2021, 12:18am

I agree with it most likely being rear seal. My 2007 looks just like those photos. The mechanic said by the looks of the oil on mine its going to the rear of the truck. Also synthetic oil will find its way out faster then dyno oil.
OP did you check your oil cooler blank off plate? Some of those oil drips by the filter are caused by that gasket leaking. I changed mine out and put some good gasket maker on and it stopped leaking in that area on mine. Oh and my guy said as long as the rear seal is not gushing out to just leave it alone. He's an honest guy he could have just cashed the check.
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