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I have an 03 Frontier with 3.3V6, auto, 4wd with 165,000 on the odometer. I've replaced both valve cover gaskets, and other stuff that are non oil related. Now my mechanic tells me the oil leak is coming from the rear main seal and possibly the head gasket. Says he can't tell if the head gasket is leaking for sure till he gets the tranny down to replace the rear main seal. Anybody with close to the same mileage had this problem? I mean if I have to pull the engine to replace a head gasket, then I'm kinda considering getting a JDM used engine with low mileage off ebay and putting that in. I can't imagine at that point the price would be that much different. So next question has anybody ever bought one of these engines and had any success with it? Help please.
 

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You can do a compression test on each cylinder to check for signs of a blown head gasket.


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An external oil leak from a head gasket won't affect compression. Honestly, I'd be surprised if the oil leak is from the head gasket. Two common areas for oil leaks at the back of a VG engine are (1) the oil pan rear lip seal (which requires R&R of the oil pan to fix) and (2) the rear main crank seal (which requires removal of the transmission and flywheel OR removal of the engine to access).
 

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So how much oil do you lose? Like: is it really worth trying to fix on an engine of this vintage? You've got 165K on yours; many mechanics will tell you that it's not so successful or cost-effective to chase down oil leaks after 75K.

Me: I check/add oil like every 2 weeks with my 1988 Mazda truck and 1998 Frontier, each with 215K or more miles, not a big deal.
 

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75K is just "breakin' in" on a Nissan VG engine!
 
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