So today, I decided it was time to find out what was making a noise that sounded like popcorn popping coming from the driver's side front wheel well. That part was simple enough.
Guess which side the noise was coming from!
If you guessed the top picture, you were right! It was a simple fix- I just tightened the lower swaybar endlink bolt (endlinks were recently replaced, not by me fwiw). What I found when I took off the plastic undertray was a bit more aggravating.
Oil. All over the bottom and side of the oil pan and also on the bottom of the transmission.
Also, on the stupid plastic skidplate/undertray thing.
None visible on or around the valve cover, however. I didn't feel around because the engine was still hot.
Yes, that's a Euro-only 4-banger (I know you're jealous), which makes about 85 wheel horsepower. 10 or 11 seconds to 60 mph. So invigorating, especially with an oil leak from some unknown area of the engine.
Another picture of the left side of the swaybar. If you can't tell from the photo, it's beginning to rust away. Also, note the mystery fluid present just past the bend. Probably oil as well.
Also, can anyone with experience with these cars tell me how useful that brake duct(?) on the left is? Is it a good idea to remove the outer sections of the lower grille that block airflow to it? The car has a stock pre-facelift bumper, fwiw.
So that's my day. Went in to fix a rattle, came out of the shop with knowledge of a rusty swaybar and a rather large oil leak of unknown provenance.