Been poking around my car this morning just checking usual stuff like the filter and wotnot. Upon removing the left hand spark plug to check wear I noticed it to be covered in oil. The plug next to it was in the same condition, however the other two seemed fairly clean.
When you say covered in oil, do you mean the tip (ie the sparking bit) or the bit above the bolt bit. If above then the cam cover gasket has had it. Take it to a dealer, or do it yourself 3 times. Then buy the correct sealant for it (£8) and do it again and it'll be fine from then on (fingers crossed here).
Clean oil off plugs too, then remove plugs and clean properly. Oil will continually reappear as it seems to be quite happy living in the plug leads and it is a right sheet to get it all out.
If below (ie plug tip), err not good.possibly worn engine.
Most likely some valve seals have failed and you just need a cylinder head overhaul. But if the engine still runs OK and does not misfire the oil consumption is OK and you don't get any blue smoke you can ignore it for a while.
What mileage is the engine ? History ?
You could get it rebuilt, as I think it may be the rings that causes this (oil on the plugs).
If not, someone will soon let me know.
Or you could get a recon engine, or a 2nd hand engine.
Have a look in the for sale section on here, and also on www.vectra-sport.com
Might be best to get a garage to give you a quote on it too.
Any warranty ?
Hmm, no puff of smoke on start... clean as a whistle. The car is has extreamly high millage though (just hit 130k today). So I'm not surprised to find excessive wear.
Funnily enough the car runs perfectly well and I've not noticed anything out of the ordinary - I would expect that having spark plugs caked in oil would seriously hamper the spark causing a major power loss.
I'll have my local garage take a peek and tell me how much it would cost. For now, however, I think I'm just gonna forget about it and start saving... so that when it eventually does decide to go belly up then I can get it sorted.
Ta for the advise anyway folks, it's more than appreciated.
I'm sorry, but even if the valve had burnt completely away you wouldnt get oily plugs. wet plugs, yes, are you sure its not just petrol ? Running rich would get the plugs black, then getting washed with petrol would give the apearance of oilyness.
If it really is oil then its either oil retention piston rings or i suppose some freak head gasket failure between the oil gallery and the cylinder. Are you getting much blue smoke out the exhaust, and reduced performance.
The physics for the worn out valve theory is as follows:
After engine is stopped for the night. Some amount of oil in the cylinder head will start draining through the valve seals and valve guides into the engine. If the valve is slightly open the oil will enter the engine area and start fouling parts like the spark plug. There is no other way for it to enter the engine area unless you have a cracked head. If the piston cause this then you should notice the engine not running very well anyway with definite signs of blue smoke.