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Thread: Where's my oil going?

  1. #1

    Default Where's my oil going?

    I bought a 1991 MGM GS and had a bunch of work done on it: new belts, plugs/wires, valve cover seals, PCV, etc. It runs beautifully, idles smoothly, and has... well, not plenty of power, but as much as you'd expect from a stock 5.0 .

    When I bought the car it had brand new oil in it. I drove it for a couple of thousand kms and noticed the oil was getting dark, so I figured I should change it. Only 0.5 L (yes, half a litre!) of oil came out when I drained it! This, despite the oil showing ABOVE FULL on the dipstick! Yikes... so, I filled it up and drove it for another few hundred kms, keeping an eye on level and colour like a hawk. I noticed it getting dirty again (but level still high) and so I changed it again: 2.5 L came out this time. I filled it again, this time with some SeaFoam added to the crank case in case sludge is collecting the oil somewhere. After only a few hundred kms of driving, only 3.75 L came out.

    So, basically, I'm using about a litre of oil every few hundred kilometers. There are no drips, no smoke, no smell, no nothing to suggest that oil is being used. The dipstick shows beyond full all the time, and it does change colour as the oil ages, so it's not like it's "stuck" on old oil somehow. When I shut off the car, there's no significant sound of oil dripping back into the pan like I would expect.

    After an oil change, the "oil" idiot light stays on for slightly longer than normal, which I would expect as the oil pumps through the filter. Then the light turns off. So it seems like the pressure circuit is working fine and, even with only 0.5 L in the crankcase, the car still had oil pressure, which blows me away.

    Anyone have any idea where my oil is going?!

  2. #2
    2 decades of DDing Box Panthers, now in a Whale VicCrownVic's Avatar
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    Disconnect the breather tube between the oil fill and throttle body, then, with the car running, see if there is noticable exhaust looking fumes coming from there. I had one do that and I figured it was bad rings. Unfortunately I never actually confirmed this theory. This one was breathing out 5 quarts of oil over just a couple hundred miles and it looked like exhaust fumes coming from that breather.
    Vic

    ~ 1998 Mercury Grand Marquis LS - new DD
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    Gone but not forgotten:
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  3. #3
    Member WagonMan's Avatar
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    Just to be sure, you do know there is 2 drain plugs on the oil pan? One in the front and one under the belly. If you just undo the front one, you will only get about a quart or so out of it.
    WagonMan
    1990 Colony Park
    1970 HEMI Superbird

  4. #4
    The Brown Blob 87gtVIC's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by WagonMan View Post
    Just to be sure, you do know there is 2 drain plugs on the oil pan? One in the front and one under the belly. If you just undo the front one, you will only get about a quart or so out of it.
    WagonMan
    This. came ready to write the same thing. A lot of people see the front one and just touch that not even knowing about the rear one. Good luck.
    ~David~

    My 1987 Crown Victoria Coupe: The Brown Blob
    My 2004 Mercedes Benz E320:The Benz

    Quote Originally Posted by DerekTheGreat View Post
    But, that's just coming from me, this site's biggest pessimist. Best of luck

  5. #5

    Default

    Wow, no, I didn't know there were two plugs. When did they introduce that? My '77 Cougar with the 302 only has one plug (off to the side, so obviously a different pan); why on Earth do they need two plugs?

    Now, forgetting about it (or not knowing about it) wouldn't explain why I'm getting different volumes of oil out with every change, would it?

    I'll check into that breather tube, too.

  6. #6
    I'm an air-conditioned gypsy gadget73's Avatar
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    1979 on the 5.0 in the Fox and Panther chassis. The crossmember is in the way of a large front sump but Ford oil pumps are in the front. Rear sump is where the oil mostly lives, front is where the pump sits.


    better question is how much oil are you putting in each time? If you're adding 5 quarts but only draining the front it will be way over-full. I wouldn't put much worry into the oil breather until the oil is at the proper level either. Its going to have issues if the level is way over full.

    86 Lincoln Town Car (Galactica).
    5.0 HO, CompCams XE258,Scorpion 1.72 roller rockers, 3.55 K code rear, tow package, BHPerformance ported E7 heads, Tmoss Explorer intake, 65mm throttle body, Hedman 1 5/8" headers, 2.5" dual exhaust, ASP underdrive pulley

    91 Lincoln Mark VII LSC SE, triple black (Timewarp) - poly front bushings, KYB struts and shocks, Holley SystemMax1 lower intake, SilverFox AOD valve body,

    1984 Lincoln Continental TurboDiesel - rolls coal

    Quote Originally Posted by phayzer5 View Post
    I drive a Lincoln. I can't be bothered to shift like the peasants and rabble rousers

  7. #7

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    Thanks. Yes, Iíve been ďfillingĒ it every time, which now I realize is why Iím getting more out of the front drain plug every time. Good grief, it would have been nice if the Chilton manual had mentioned two plugs! Anyway, I guess Iíll be draining the oil this afternoon LOL!

  8. #8
    Member WagonMan's Avatar
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    Funny? story. I knew a garage that would only drain the rear of the pan and wipe the outside of the oil filter to make it look like he installed a new one. This shop ripped everybody off. WagonMan
    1990 Colony Park
    1970 HEMI Superbird

  9. #9
    Wagon Addicted Tiggie's Avatar
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    I can’t believe it ran with that much oil in it. It would be interesting to know how much comes out. I bet it’s at least 8L.

  10. #10

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    Just changed it and got about 7.5 L out of both holes (insert mom joke ), not including the filter. I'm sure glad I came to you guys!

    It ran really well, actually, with that much oil in it. Hopefully it didn't get used to it and start running badly with just the required amount!

    At least the dipstick is now showing full and it's all clean.

  11. #11
    fomoco panthers !
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    I have a little sign that I put on the dash when I need to have an oil change done by a shop. " This car has 2 oil drain plugs, please drain all motor oil."
    I always check the dipstick after an oil change, If it reads above full, I know they did not drain the front sump. Of course they will lie and say they did.

  12. #12
    Carthago delenda est Lutrova's Avatar
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    The trick is to get a good enough oil leak going that you never have to change the oil, but keep topping it off one quart at a time.
    1987 Lincoln Town Car - Signature, "Prudence"

  13. #13
    I'm an air-conditioned gypsy gadget73's Avatar
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    Not a good trick. The sludge and contamination in the oil builds up until you end up making nasty carbon cookies in the engine.

    86 Lincoln Town Car (Galactica).
    5.0 HO, CompCams XE258,Scorpion 1.72 roller rockers, 3.55 K code rear, tow package, BHPerformance ported E7 heads, Tmoss Explorer intake, 65mm throttle body, Hedman 1 5/8" headers, 2.5" dual exhaust, ASP underdrive pulley

    91 Lincoln Mark VII LSC SE, triple black (Timewarp) - poly front bushings, KYB struts and shocks, Holley SystemMax1 lower intake, SilverFox AOD valve body,

    1984 Lincoln Continental TurboDiesel - rolls coal

    Quote Originally Posted by phayzer5 View Post
    I drive a Lincoln. I can't be bothered to shift like the peasants and rabble rousers

  14. #14
    Carthago delenda est Lutrova's Avatar
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    Well, yes, you might wreck the engine. But all that oil will coat the underside of the car, saving it from rust. And while 302s are a dime a dozen, the number of rust-free Panthers dwindles by the day.

  15. #15
    GMN Regular DerekTheGreat's Avatar
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    Umm, you must be joking. Just use some used motor oil if you're that cheap rather than ruin a good engine. Better yet, use a product designed to fight against rust like Fluid Film or Krown. I'm really liking Fluid Film over Krown these days but Krown is all I can get applied to my car and I don't feel like buying an air compressor and all that or making a total mess in my driveway/garage with that schmutz. I get 'em done at a facility and then touch up what they miss with some cans of the product, all without sacrificing an engine or anything else for that matter.
    1985 LTD Crown Victoria - SOLD
    1988 Town Car Signature - Current Party Barge

  16. #16

    Default

    I think Lutrova was joking, yeah.
    1991 MGM GS - stock summer cruiser, with lovely A/C
    1977 Cougar XR7 - stock summer cruiser, with no A/C
    2009 G8 GT - un-stock summer cruiser
    A couple of Elantra Tourings - I have a strange obsession with them!

  17. #17
    I'm an air-conditioned gypsy gadget73's Avatar
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    My car originally ejected about a quart every tank of fuel. It was very well coated. it still had rust, and the engine blew up when I fixed the oil leak so I'm gonna go with that being a losing proposition all around. I had grease in my armpits for a week when I replaced the engine in that pig, by far the most disgusting engine job I have ever done. I also caught it on fire and it roasted a transmission and some of the wiring. It started because of a fuel leak but the massive amounts of gunk under the car kept it going.

    0/10, do not recommend

    86 Lincoln Town Car (Galactica).
    5.0 HO, CompCams XE258,Scorpion 1.72 roller rockers, 3.55 K code rear, tow package, BHPerformance ported E7 heads, Tmoss Explorer intake, 65mm throttle body, Hedman 1 5/8" headers, 2.5" dual exhaust, ASP underdrive pulley

    91 Lincoln Mark VII LSC SE, triple black (Timewarp) - poly front bushings, KYB struts and shocks, Holley SystemMax1 lower intake, SilverFox AOD valve body,

    1984 Lincoln Continental TurboDiesel - rolls coal

    Quote Originally Posted by phayzer5 View Post
    I drive a Lincoln. I can't be bothered to shift like the peasants and rabble rousers

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by WagonMan View Post
    Funny? story. I knew a garage that would only drain the rear of the pan and wipe the outside of the oil filter to make it look like he installed a new one. This shop ripped everybody off. WagonMan
    My buddy busted a dealership on this because he wrote his initials in sharpie on the filter when he changed it
    Priceless
    ..

  19. #19
    I'm an air-conditioned gypsy gadget73's Avatar
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    and people wonder why I don't trust other people to work on my stuff.

    86 Lincoln Town Car (Galactica).
    5.0 HO, CompCams XE258,Scorpion 1.72 roller rockers, 3.55 K code rear, tow package, BHPerformance ported E7 heads, Tmoss Explorer intake, 65mm throttle body, Hedman 1 5/8" headers, 2.5" dual exhaust, ASP underdrive pulley

    91 Lincoln Mark VII LSC SE, triple black (Timewarp) - poly front bushings, KYB struts and shocks, Holley SystemMax1 lower intake, SilverFox AOD valve body,

    1984 Lincoln Continental TurboDiesel - rolls coal

    Quote Originally Posted by phayzer5 View Post
    I drive a Lincoln. I can't be bothered to shift like the peasants and rabble rousers

  20. #20
    Member of the Orb Alliance packman's Avatar
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    That's why I change my own oil. A friend had his car at Jiffy Lube for an oil change back in the day; watched another kid change the oil on another car. The kid/mechanic drained the oil and forgot to put the plug back in. Changed the filter and dumped in some oil and was about to fire it up when my friend shouted to the kid to check underneath the car. Sure enough, the oil he had just dumped in was pouring out of the oil pan drain. My friend took his car to his parent's place and did the oil himself.

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