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> Disappearing Engine Oil, 5 litres dissapears in under 24 hours! I'M CONFUSED!
850T5GOLD
post Dec 4 2012, 02:51 PM
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OK, this is a bit of a long story but bear with me. I probably wont get any answers but I thought it was an interesting story. It's certainly got me puzzled.

Last weekend I decided my brothers 850 T5 was well over due an Engine oil and AFT change (two years for oil and never for the atf). The car has done 182,000 and drives great. Any way I bought 20 litres of 15w-40 and 20 litres of DEX 3 atf as it worked out a lot cheaper and it can be used for my fathers 940.

Anyway on Saturday I got the engine warm and noticed the oil pressure light flicker on and off. it had never done that before so I should have checked the dipstick there and then but I just went ahead and drained the old oil and removed the filter. To my surprise only about two litres of black oil came out despite the fact my brother swears he checked it 2 weeks before and it was fine. I thought this was odd as the engine had been running perfect and at that level I would expect serious damage to have been done. I fitted the new filter and sump plug with washer, filled a 5 litre tub from the bigger 20L tub and poured in 4L. I checked the dip stick and it took the remaining litre to get the level correct. I checked it again and then started the engine to get the oil into the filter etc and the level was still perfect. I finished the atf change(that's another story) and thought it a job well done.

The next evening my brother was about to use the car and I said I would check the level one more time now it was cold. There was nothing on the dipstick. There was no oil under the car so I slowly topped it up but nothing showed on the stick. I knew there was at least 5 litres in there so I didn't want to over fill it but when I started it, it sounded tappety. I put another couple of litres in and the noise reduced but still nothing on the stick. he then drove the car for a short journey and it drove fine but I said it was still tappety. I checked the oil again and now the handle snaps off the dipstick.

At this point I sound like a complete buffoon but I have done oil changes many times before and am really very competent mechanically (I'm an engineer). Any way this gets me doubting the dipsticks accuracy so I suggest he let our neighbour who's a mechanic take a look the next day and basically today he came back and said he drained the oil and there was only 2.5 litres of oil in the engine. He topped it up and it's running fine and I fixed the dipstick with glue to check and it's perfect there as well. The thing is I know that I put enough in there, and my 20 litre tub has only 10 left.

The car is fine now thankfully but I just wanted to hear peoples suggestions to explain this. I know the obvious ones are that it was my mistake and I didn't put enough oil in, or I don't know the difference between a 1 litre and 5 litre tub but I assure you that this wasn't the case. Is there any where internal this quantity of engine oil can leak to? the transmission? Coolant?

Any way sorry if that was a bit long winded but I want to check I'm not going mad

Thanks for reading.
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Restom
post Dec 7 2012, 10:09 AM
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The engine has to either be leaking it or burning it.
Check your oil level frequently and keep it on the full mark. If you frequently check your oil level you will get a good idea of how often you need to add oil. Add before it gets to the low mark to give you a buffer. Always carry oil with you if necessary.
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Vermont
post Dec 7 2012, 11:22 AM
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QUOTE (Restom @ Dec 7 2012, 10:09 AM)
". . . The engine has to either be leaking it or burning it . . ."

Yeah; I can't believe that the exhaust isn't blue with burning oil smoke.

I once had a Toyota whose valve guides/seals started wearing and let oil seep in and burn. It consumed oil as fast as this OP's vehicle; but what it was doing wasn't a secret.
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850T5GOLD
post Dec 7 2012, 03:54 PM
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Thanks for the reply's guys.

I agree with you that it can only burn or leak but that's precisely why I'm so confused. It doesn't normally loose oil, at least no more than would be expected. It tends to use about 1/2 litre every 3 months (I don't know how many miles that translates too). In terms of leaks, there are none. There is a slightly oily sump which I think is leaking from the joint between the bottom of the dipstick tube and the sump but this is a tiny amount. And since getting the level back to normal it has stayed there. It does smoke slightly at start up but I think this is mainly water vapour as the smoke is white and the PCV needs sorting. Also the oil I put in couldn't have burnt off between the full and empty dipstick readings because the car was only driven for 200-300 yards.
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SeaMike
post Dec 23 2012, 11:15 PM
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QUOTE (850T5GOLD @ Dec 7 2012, 02:54 PM)
Thanks for the reply's guys.

I agree with you that it can only burn or leak but that's precisely why I'm so confused. It doesn't normally loose oil, at least no more than would be expected. It tends to use about 1/2 litre every 3 months (I don't know how many miles that translates too). In terms of leaks, there are none. There is a slightly oily sump which I think is leaking from the joint between the bottom of the dipstick tube and the sump but this is a tiny amount. And since getting the level back to normal it has stayed there. It does smoke slightly at start up but I think this is mainly water vapour as the smoke is white and the PCV needs sorting. Also the oil I put in couldn't have burnt off between the full and empty dipstick readings because the car was only driven for 200-300 yards.



With engine running at normal operating temp, and the bonnet up, pull the oil dipstick up 1" inch, does smoke/steam come out? If so, your Oil Trap and or flame trap is clogged badly

This cause crank pressure to build up A LOT and that pressure pushed the oil out the seals.

Also, the BLACK oil does not lubricate well at all, and this may have led to or will lead to premature oil ring and compression ring failure.

The engine may start to burn the oil, because of insufficient regular oil and filter changes.

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