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Old 04-15-2008, 11:19 AM
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Oil Information and Myths busted.

Mods: Sticky this please? It will quell a lot of oil issues.

I'm posting this as a public service for all the people out there with oil questions and confusion over conventional, synthetic, and pure synthetic motor oils... In this post, there will be basic information regarding the different types and grades of engine oil, and (proper) basic operations and maintenance of the internal combustion engine.

I can not take any responsibility for writing any of this, it was all taken from http://www.carbibles.com, and proper thanks go out to the author, Chris Longhurst, for this plethora of information. The rest of this post will be an abridged version of The Engine Oil Bible, please follow the link to view the full text in its original form.

Chris has also informed me that this text is ever changing. This specific excerpt was taken on April 16th, 2008. For up to date information, again, please visit his website over at www.carbibles.com. For an up to date changelog, visit http://www.carbibles.com/whatsnew.html.



What does my oil actually do?
An engine oil's job is primarily to stop all the metal surfaces in your engine from grinding together and tearing themselves apart from friction whilst transferring heat away from the combustion cycle. Engine oil must also be able to hold all the nasty by-products of combustion, such as silica (silicon oxide) and acids in suspension. It cleans the engine of these chemicals and build-ups, and keeps the moving parts coated in oil. Finally, engine oil minimises the exposure to oxygen and thus oxidation at higher temperatures. It does all of these things under tremendous heat and pressure.

Sludge: Black Death for the 21st Century
There's a snappy new moniker for Black Death now, and it's called sludge. The cause is the same as Black Death and it seems to be regardless of maintenance or mileage. The chemical compounds in engine oils break down over time due to prolonged exposure to high temperatures and poor maintenance habits. When the oil oxidises, the additives separate from the oil and begin to chemically break down and solidify, leading to the baked-on oil deposits turning gelatinous, and that nasty compound is what is lovingly referred to nowadays as sludge. It's like black yoghurt. What doesn't help is that modern engines, due to packaging, have smaller sumps than in the "good old days" and so hold less oil. This means that the oil that is present in the engine can't hold as much crap (for want of a better word) and can lead to earlier chemical breakdown.
The most common factor in sludge buildup is mineral oils combined with a lack of maintenance by the car owner combined with harsh driving conditions. But this isn't true in all cases. For some reason, a 2005 Consumer Reports article discovered that some engines from Audi, Chrysler, Saab, Toyota, and Volkswagen appear prone to sludge almost no matter how often the oil is changed.

What does sludge look like?
Below are two of those photos. On the top is what the cam case should look like in a well maintained engine when photographed through the oil filler cap. On the bottom is what the same type of engine looks like when suffering sludge buildup.


Picture credits: Ketchup from "bimmerfest" forums

In this example, the consensus was that the sludge buildup was caused by an overheating engine, oil that hadn't been changed for 20,000 miles of stop-go city driving, a lot of cold starts and a period of about 12 months in storage without an oil change. Most of this happened before the current owner got it.

When is sludge not sludge?
Easy. When it's an oil and water emulsion from a leaking or blown head gasket. If this happens, you get a whitish cream coloured sludge on the inside of the oil filler cap. The filler cap is typically cooler than the rest of the cam case and so the oil/water mix tends to condense there. So if you take the oil filler cap off and it looks like it's covered in vanilla yoghurt or mayonnaise, you've got a blown head gasket. A surefire way to confirm this is if your oil level is going up and your coolant level is going down. The coolant is getting through the breaks in the head gasket and mixing with the oil. When it gets to the sump it separates out and the oil floats on top. A slightly more accurate way to check for this condition is to use a combustion leak tester, or block tester. If you're in America, NAPA sell them for about $45 (part #BK 7001006). If you're in England, Sealey sell them for about £70 (model number VS0061). Combustion leak testers are basically a turkey baster filled with PH liquid, with a non-return valve at the bottom. To use one, run your engine for a few minutes until its warm (not hot) then turn it off. Use a protective glove (like an oven glove) and take the radiator or reservoir cap off. Plug the bottom of the combustion leak tester into the hole and squeeze the rubber bulb on top. It will suck air from the top of the coolant through the non-return valve and bubble it through the PH liquid. If the liquid changes colour (normally blue to yellow), it means there is combustion gas in the coolant, which means a head gasket leak.
There is one other possible cause for this yellow goop : a blocked scavenger hose. Most engines have a hose which comes off the cam cover and returns to the engine block somewhere via a vacuum line. This is the scavenger hose which scavenges oil vapour and gasses that build up in the cam cover. If it's blocked you can end up with a buildup of condensation inside the cam cover, which can manifest itself as the yellow goop inside the filler cap.

Mineral or synthetic?
Mineral oils are based on oil that comes from dear old Mother Earth which has been refined. Synthetic oils are entirely concocted by chemists wearing white lab coats in oil company laboratories. For more info, see the section on synthetics further down the page. The only other type is semi-synthetic, sometimes called premium, which is a blend of the two. It is safe to mix the different types, but it's wiser to switch completely to a new type rather than mixing.

Synthetics
Despite their name, most synthetic derived motor oils (ie Mobil 1, Castrol Formula RS etc ) are actually derived from mineral oils - they are mostly Polyalphaolifins and these come from the purest part of the mineral oil refraction process, the gas. PAO oils will mix with normal mineral oils which means Joe public can add synthetic to his mineral, or mineral to his synthetic without his car engine seizing up. (In truth, Mobil 1 is actually made by reformulating ethanol).
The most stable bases are polyol-ester (not polyester, you fool). When I say 'stable' I mean 'less likely to react adversely with other compounds.' Synthetic oil bases tend not to contain reactive carbon atoms for this reason. Reactive carbon has a tendency to combine with oxygen creating an acid. As you can imagine, in an oil, this would be A Bad Thing. So think of synthetic oils as custom-built oils. They're designed to do the job efficiently but without any of the excess baggage that can accompany mineral based oils.

Pure synthetics
Pure synthetic oils (polyalkyleneglycol) are the types used almost exclusively within the industrial sector in polyglycol gearbox oils for heavily loaded gearboxes. These are typically concocted by intelligent blokes in white lab coats. These chaps break apart the molecules that make up a variety of substances, like vegetable and animal oils, and then recombine the individual atoms that make up those molecules to build new, synthetic molecules. This process allows the chemists to actually "fine tune" the molecules as they build them. Clever stuff. But Polyglycols don't mix with normal mineral oils.

Mixing Mineral and Synthetic oils - the old and busted concepts
For the longest time, I had this to say about mixing mineral and synthetic oils:
  • If you've been driving around with mineral oil in your engine for years, don't switch to synthetic oil without preparation. Synthetic oils have been known to dislodge the baked-on deposits from mineral oils and leave them floating around your engine - not good. I learned this lesson the hard way! It's wise to use a flushing oil first.
  • If you do decide to change, only go up the scale. If you've been running around on synthetic, don't change down to a mineral-based oil - your engine might not be able to cope with the degradation in lubrication. Consequently, if you've been using mineral oil, try a semi or a full synthetic oil. By degradation, I'm speaking of the wear tolerances that an engine develops based on the oil that it's using. Thicker mineral oils mean thicker layers of oil coating the moving parts (by microns though). Switching to a thinner synthetic oil can cause piston rings to leak and in some very rare cases, piston slap or crank vibration.
  • Gaskets and seals! With the makeup of synthetic oils being different from mineral oils, mineral-oil-soaked gaskets and seals have been known to leak when exposed to synthetic oils. Perhaps not that common an occurrence, but worth bearing in mind nevertheless.

Mixing Mineral and Synthetic oils - the new hotness
That's the thing with progress - stuff becomes out-of-date. Fortunately for you, dear reader, the web is a great place to keep things up-to-date, so here's the current thinking on the subject of mixing mineral and synthetic oils. This information is based on the answer to a technical question posed on the Shell Oil website.
There is no scientific data to support the idea that mixing mineral and synthetic oils will damage your engine. When switching from a mineral oil to a synthetic, or vice versa, you will potentially leave a small amount of residual oil in the engine. That's perfectly okay because synthetic oil and mineral-based motor oil are, for the most part, compatible with each other. (The exception is pure synthetics. Polyglycols don't mix with normal mineral oils.)
There is also no problem with switching back and forth between synthetic and mineral based oils. In fact, people who are "in the know" and who operate engines in areas where temperature fluctuations can be especially extreme, switch from mineral oil to synthetic oil for the colder months. They then switch back to mineral oil during the warmer months.
There was a time, years ago, when switching between synthetic oils and mineral oils was not recommended if you had used one product or the other for a long period of time. People experienced problems with seals leaking and high oil consumption but changes in additive chemistry and seal material have taken care of those issues. And that's an important caveat. New seal technology is great, but if you're still driving around in a car from the 80's with its original seals, then this argument becomes a bit of a moot point - your seals are still going to be subject to the old leakage problems no matter what newfangled additives the oil companies are putting in their products.

A quick guide to the different grades of oil.

Fully Synthetic
Grades
0W-30
0W-40
5W-40
Characteristics
Fuel economy savings
Enhances engine performance and power
Ensures engine is protected from wear and deposit build-up
Ensures good cold starting and quick circulation in freezing temperatures
Gets to moving parts of the engine quickly

Semi-synthetic
Grades
5W-30
10W-40
15W-40
Characteristics
Better protection
Good protection within the first 10 minutes after starting out
Roughly three times better at reducing engine wear
Increased oil change intervals - don't need to change it quite so often

Mineral
Grades
10W-40
15W-40
Characteristics
Basic protection for a variety of engines
Oil needs to be changed more often

"High mileage" oils.
More and more oil companies are coming out with "high mileage" oils now, some recommended for engines with as few as 75,000 miles on them. So what is a "high mileage" oil you ask? Well very generally speaking, these oils have two additives in them which are more suited to older engines. The first is normally a burnoff-inhibitor which helps prevent the oil from burning off if it gets past an engine seal into the combustion chamber. The second is a "seal conditioner", the exact makeup of which I'm not sure of, but it's designed to soak into seals such as head- and rocker-cover gaskets and force them to expand. Thus if one of the seals is a bit leaky, the seal conditioner will attempt to minimise the leak.
I've not had experience of high mileage oils myself, but a few people who've e-mailed me have passed on various tales from it being the miracle cure to it making no difference at all. I think the general rule-of-thumb though should be "if it 'aint broke, don't fix it." Just because your engine has over 75,000 miles on it, doesn't automatically mean you need high mileage oil. Is the exhaust sooty or smokey? Are you noticing oil leaks? Is the engine consuming oil? If your engine is working fine, the exhaust is clean and you're not noticing any problems, my guess is that it doesn't need high-mileage oil.

Viscosity and Viscosity Index (VI).
The proper viscosity is the single most important criteria of a lubricating oil. The basic performance of machinery is based on the viscosity of the lubricant. Viscosity is, if you like, the resistance to the flowability of the oil. The thicker an oil, the higher its viscosity. The chart below shows a rough guide to ambient temperatures vs oil viscosity performance in both multigrade (top half) and single grade (lower half) oils.
Multigrade oils work by having a polymer added to a light base oil which prevents the oil from thinning too much as it warms up. At low temperatures, the polymers are coiled up and allow the oil to flow as it's low number (W number) indicates. As the oil heats up, the polymers unwind into long chains which prevent the oil from thinning as much as it normally would. The result is that at 100°C, the oil has thinned only as much as it's higher rating. Think of it like this: a 10W30 oil is a 10-weight oil that will not thin more than a 30-weight oil when it gets hot.
The viscosity index of a lubricant is an empirical formula that allows the change in viscosity in the presence of heat to be calculated. This tells the user how much the oil will thin when it is subjected to heat. The higher the viscosity index, the less an oil will thin at a specified temperature. Multi-viscosity motor oils will have a viscosity index well over 100, while single viscosity motor oils and most industrial oils will have a VI of about 100 or less.


Viscosity and oil weight numbers is quite a nauseatingly detailed topic. So if you're curious about why a 15W50 oil is so-called, then put on the geek shield and pop over to the Viscosity Page.....

Last edited by BadMofo; 04-17-2008 at 09:02 AM. Reason: Posting up relevant information, received permission from intellectual owner
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Old 04-15-2008, 11:44 PM
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Good find mate!
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Old 04-16-2008, 12:19 AM
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really nice find! i printed it all out and used it as bathroom reading material
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Old 04-16-2008, 12:40 AM
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Old 04-16-2008, 12:43 AM
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Good find, man.

I'm thinking of checking into 'Amsoil' myself.
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Old 04-16-2008, 10:09 AM
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Servicing and checking
For God's sake don't skimp on either of these. You can never check your engine oil too often. Use the dipstick - that's what it's there for - and don't run below the 'min' mark. Below that, there isn't enough oil for the pump to be able to supply the top of the engine whilst keeping a reserve in the sump. All oils, no matter what their type, are made of long-chained molecules which get sheared into shorter chains in a running engine. This in turn means that the oil begins to lose it's viscosity over time, and it uses up the additives in it that prevent scuffing between cams and followers, rings and cylinder walls etc etc. When this happens, fresh oil is the key. And don't worry about the engine oil turning black. It will lose it's golden-brown colour within a few hundred miles of being put in to the engine. That doesn't mean it's not working. Quite the contrary - it means it is working well. It changes colour as it traps oxidised oil, clots and the flakes of metal that pop off heavily loaded engine parts. Just don't leave it too long between oil changes.

So how often should I change my oil?
You can never change your engine oil too frequently. The more you do it, the longer the engine will last. The whole debate about exactly when you change your oil is somewhat of a grey area. Manufacturers tell you every 10,000 miles or so. Your mate with a classic car tells you every 3,000 miles. Ole' Bob with the bad breath who drives a truck tells you he's never once changed the oil in his car. Fact is, large quantities of water are produced by the normal combustion process and, depending on engine wear, some of it gets into the crank case. If you have a good crank case breathing system it gets removed from there PDQ, but even so, in cold weather a lot of condensation will take place. This is bad enough in itself, since water is not noted for its lubrication qualities in an engine, but even worse, that water dissolves any nitrates formed during the combustion process. If my memory of chemistry serves me right, that leaves you with a mixture of Nitric (HNO3) and Nitrous (HNO2) acid circulating round your engine! So not only do you suffer a high rate of wear at start-up and when the engine is cold, you suffer a high rate of subsequent corrosion during normal running or even when stationary.
The point I'm trying to make is that the optimum time for changing oil ought to be related to a number of factors, of which distance travelled is probably one of the least important in most cases. Here is my selection in rough order of importance:
  • 1. Number of cold starts (more condensation in a cold engine)
  • 2. Ambient temperature (how long before warm enough to stop serious condensation)
  • 3. Effectiveness of crank case scavenging (more of that anon)
  • 4. State of wear of the engine (piston blow-by multiplies the problem)
  • 5. Accuracy of carburation during warm-up period (extra **** produced)
  • 6. Distance travelled (well, lets get that one out of the way)

If you were clever (or anal) enough, you could probably come up with a really clever formula incorporating all those factors. However, I would give 1, 2, and 3 equal top weighting. Items 1 to 3 have to be taken together since a given number of "cold" starts in the Dakar in summer is not the same as an equal number conducted in Fargo in January. The effect in either case will be modified by how much gas gets past the pistons. What we are really after is the severity and duration of the initial condensation period. All other things being equal, that will give you how much condensate will be produced and I would suggest that more than anything else determines when the oil should be dumped.


What else happens when I change the oil then?

Engines pump about 10,000 litres of air for every litre of fuel consumed, and along with all that air, they suck in plenty of dirt and grit. A good air filter will stop everything bigger than a micron in diameter - everything smaller mostly just floats around harmlessly in the 0.001inch minimum thickness oil films that separate all the moving parts. Despite all of this, there will always be submicron particles that get in and there will be places in the engines oilways where they will gather. Every time you empty the oil from your sump, you're also draining this fine grit with it.

Checking the oil in your engine, and topping up.
To a lot of people, this little section could be categorised by the rearranging the words "granny eggs teaching suck your to". But you'd be surprised by the number of people that don't know how to do even this basic task. When checking the level of oil in the engine, the car should be on a level plane, and should be relatively cold. I've run into several people lately who insist in keeping the crankcase topped off completely, and they invariably check the dipstick just after shutting down the engine. Reading the oil in this way results in an erroneous reading because a quantity of oil (usually about half a litre) is still confined in the oilways and passages (galleries) of the engine, and takes some time to drain back into the crankcase. (On the image, the blue areas are where oil is likely to still be running back down to the sump). On seeing what appears to be an abnormally low level on the dipstick, these people then add more oil to the oil filler at the top of the engine. The oilways and passages all empty, and suddenly the engine becomes over-filled with oil, going way above the 'MAX' mark on the dipstick.

What happens when an engine is overfilled with oil?
So you topped up the engine when it was warm after getting a faulty dipstick reading, or you put too much oil in when you changed it yourself. What's the worst that could happen? Well the problem with this is that the next time the engine is run, the windage in the crankcase and other pressures generated by the oil pump, etc. place a great strain on the seal on the rear main bearing.
Eventually, often much sooner than the ordinary man in the street might expect, the rear main bearing seal ruptures, and the engine becomes a 'leaker'. If you've got a manual gearbox, this means one thing: this oil goes right onto the flywheel and the face of the clutch disc. A lubricated clutch is A Bad Thing. If this still goes unnoticed, the front seal is the next to go, and the engine then becomes a 'gusher' (or to be more colourful, it starts pissing oil all over the place). As well as smothering the clutch with oil from the rear, the oil now coming from the front leak will be neatly distributed about the engine bay as it hits the front pulley - often propelling it out as far as the brake discs. At the same time as this Hollywood disaster movie is unfolding outside the engine, things aren't working out any better on the inside. As you can see from the diagram, the correct oil level is really close to the rotating crank. Overfilling will mean the crank dips into the oil and churns it into a froth. Froth is good on certain types of coffee but not good in an engine. The mixture of aerated oil will be forced into the bearings and in case you didn't know, air is not a lubricant. Typically this means that bearing damage will follow quite rapidly, especially if you are driving on a motorway. You'll know bearing damage when you get it. The engine smells like a garage mechanic cooking over an open flame and the noise coming from the engine is the sort of thing you'd normally hear in vaudeville plays when a piano is pushed down a flight of stairs. As if that all wasn't bad enough, the excess oil gets thrown up into the piston bores where the piston rings have a hard time coping with the excess oil and pressure. It gets into the combustion chamber and some of it will get out into the exhaust system unburned resulting in a nice patina of oil all over the platinum surfaces of your catalytic converter. This renders it utterly useless for good.
Well, you did ask.

So what's the best way to check the oil level?
If your engine is cold (for example it has been parked overnight) you can check the oil level right away. The oil will have had time to settle back into the sump. Just make sure the car is level before you do. If the engine is warm or hot (after you've been driving) then you should wait for 30 minutes or so to let as much oil as possible drain back into the sump. Checking it first thing the next morning is ideal.
It's worth pointing out that you should double-check your owner's manual too - some cars, like I the '92 Porcshe Carrera, require that the oil is checked while the engine is running and the oil is at temperature.

This is all great. Now how do I actually change my oil?
A good number of readers will get to this point in the page and think "this is easy - I could do this!", and for the most part, you can. Below is a generic, idiots-guide to changing the oil in your engine. It's not specific to any particular car but ought to cover most engines.

Before you start, you'll need the following :
  • new oil (duh!)
  • a drain pan
  • an oil funnel
  • rags
  • a socket wrench set and / or hex wrench set (allen wrenches)
  • an oil filter remover
  • a new crush washer
  • nitrile gloves (not latex - mineral oil eats latex gloves)
  • engineer / shop manual, if one is available

1. Start your engine and run it for a couple of minutes to get some heat into the oil
2. Leave the engine to stand for 5 or 10 minutes. When you started it, it heated the oil but it also filled the oilways. You want the oil to drain back to the sump.
3. Take the dipstick out or loosen it off and break the seal where it plugs into the engine dipstick tube. This prevents a vacuum building up behind the oil when you start to drain it.
4. Get your drain pan / oil container and stuff it under the sump. Make sure it's sitting under the sump drain plug. I Really like the combined drainer / container types. They look like regular oil containers but if you lay them on their side, there's a pop-out plug. When you drain the oil, it runs into the side of the container, then you can put the plug back in and use the same container to take the oil away.
5. Put your rubber gloves on. Try to use the disposable type. Your mum / wife will never forgive you if you use the washing-up gloves. Remember - used oil is toxic and carcinogenic. If you get it on your skin, it could cause problems. Use your socket wrench or allen wrench to loosen the sump plug just slightly. Once it's loose, remove it by hand.
6. Be amazed as the black syrup runs out of the engine and into your container. Be more amazed how, if it's windy, those last dregs just won't hit the container no matter where you put it. They will however go all over the road/garage floor/cat.
7. Remove the old crush washer from the sump plug and throw it away. Replace it with a new one. Use some of the oil from the drain container on the end of a rag to wipe around the drain hole in the sump. This will help clean any mess away and leave you with a smooth surface. Screw the sump plug back in by hand until it's finger tight and then use your wrench to crush the washer. This can vary from a quarter turn to a half turn. Don't overdo it or you'll strip the threads. Similarly, don't leave it too loose or it will fall out. If in doubt, use a torque wrench set to the value indicated in your shop manual.
8. Now get your oil filter remover out. Push the oil drain container under the oil filter - when you spin it off, there will be a lot of oil comes out. Use the filter remover to grip the oil filter and spin it off anticlockwise. 99.9% of oil filters take some muscle to get going. This is why a filter remover is a must-have. Stabbing the filter with a screwdriver and using brute force may work, but you'll be finding oil all over yourself for weeks to come if you use that method. Apart from that, some cars have aluminium inserts that protrude out of the engine block into the body of the filter, so firing a screw driver into the filter near its base (the strongest part) may shear that aluminium bit off the engine block. That Would Be Bad. If you really can't lay hands on a filter wrench, try sandpaper - wrap it around the filter, sand-side-in and grip the paper backing - you might be able to spin the filter off like that. Once the filter is finger-loose, spin it off by hand.
9. Clean off the face of the oil filter mount on the side of the engine block using a rag. Use a little oil on a rag to wipe around the seal of the new filter and spin it on by hand. Once it's locked against the side of the engine block, another quarter-turn by hand is normally enough to secure it in place.
10. Pull the drain container out from under the car and use a rag to wipe down any excess oil that has spilled down the side of the engine block. Pay attention around the sump plug and the filter. These are places you'll be checking later for leaks so the cleaner they are now, the better.
11. Use a little WD40 on the oil container and an old rag to clean the remaining oil down into the container. Put the plug back in and make sure it fits snug. That's your waste oil. Don't drink it.
12. Up to the top of the again engine now. Put the dipstick back in. Find the oil filler cap and take it off. It might say "OIL" or it might say "710". It is not a "710 cap" as one person once asked for. "710" is "OIL" upside-down. Some people need to be told....(LOL)
13. Look in your shop manual for the system capacity with filter change. This will be more than the capacity without a filter change. A lot of oil containers now come with capacity marks on the side of them. Put your oil funnel into the oil filler hole and pour in the right amount of oil. Do it slowly. If you do it quick, you'll get airlocks and the funnel will burp oil in your face.
14. Once you're happy you've got enough oil in there (check it with the dipstick if you're not sure), remove the funnel, replace the oil cap and replace the dipstick.
15. Pull the main high tension wire from the distributor cap or in some way disable the engine so that you can crank it over but it WILL NOT start. (Note : you might want to pull out the fuel pump fuse too - if you crank the engine without it starting, it will still be pumping fuel - that could cause a backfire or damage the catalyst). Crank it over until the low pressure light goes off, and another 15-20 seconds for good measure. You are pumping new oil into the empty filter and then expelling all the air from the oil lines and cavities.
16. Replace the high tension lead (and fuel pump fuse) and start the engine and let it idle for a minute or so. Stop the engine. I don't want you crawling under a car to look for leaks when the engine is running. There's so many things that can go wrong with spinning fan blades, belts, human hair, clothes, fingers and the odd dodgy auto-gearbox that will slip into "D" and run you over.
17. With the engine off have a look at the side of the engine block around the oil filter. Check the area around the sump drain too. Both should be as clean as you left them with no sign of leaks. If there's a leak, a little tightening of the drain plug or filter should cure it.

One reader suggested and additional step before (9) above. When he changes his filter, he fills the new one up with clean oil and waits for it to soak into the filter itself. Once he's satisfied that the filter is soaked, he pours the excess oil out of the filter and then screws it on to the engine.

Job well done. Now you should have hands that smell of talcum powder and rubber (from the gloves), a couple of greasy, slippery tools and a container full of old oil. Oh, and a crush washer and filter. If you've got more than this, you took something off that I didn't tell you to. If you turned the engine off before checking for leaks, you should also have a full complement of fingers, hair (if you had it to start with) and you should still be fully clothed. Congratulations. You've changed your engine oil.


Finally, and just as importantly: Disposing of used engine oil.
Think about it for a minute. What did you do with that last oil change? Pour it away down a drain? Seal it and bin it? The annual average for oil which is just washed away is 720Million gallons! About 120Million of that is from tanker spills which leaves another 600Million from domestic and business disposal. This all ends up polluting the groundwater.
So what can you do? Well, you can dispose of your used oil properly. Firstly, it's worth noting that engine oils which have been used are mildly carcinogenic. This means cancer, specifically skin cancer. To be safe, wash any off quickly with a de-greaser like GUNK. For heavens sake, don't use petrol (gasoline) - most fuels contain long chain hydrocarbons, which when exposed to skin pass right through to the blood stream. (This can mean liver damage, and possibly failure) Better still, wear protective gloves. Once the oil is drained into a suitable container, try your local garage. All garage workshops must have disposal barrels and many will allow you to dump your oil into their barrels. In the UK, many DIY superstores now have oil disposal banks where you can empty your used oil, and it's collected every couple of days by a tanker. So next time, just think about first. If only for the fact that in most civilised countries, it's actually an arrestable offence to dispose of oil in the public sewerage system. If you live in the UK, phone 0800 663366 to find the location of your nearest oil bank.

A Practical example of the proper procedures saving an engine.
I started these pages back in 1994 and have been adding to them ever since. I've always followed my own advice and in 2005, it paid off big time. I'll tell this in the past tense because it'll get lost in the page and I'll forget to update it when I change motorbikes.
So I owned a 2001 BMW R1150GS motorbike. I bought it pre-owned from my local dealer who assured me it had been through the workshops as part of the "standard procedure" of them taking a bike in and re-selling it. For 2 years I'd been riding it with horrible engine noise and engine detonation (pre-ignition). Every time I took it back to the dealer, they were adamant there was nothing wrong with the engine, and that "they all do that". Not believing them, I finally found an independent BMW specialist who took the engine apart for me. It turned out the BMW dealership had lied - the bike had never been in their service department. This was evidenced by the fact that the cylinders had sand in them. The dealership had never bothered to check the bike and wouldn't believe my complaints about the noisy engine. The independent mechanic fixed it all up for me - an $1100 repair bill that involved basically stripping down the entire engine, honing the cylinder barrels, putting in new piston rings, cleaning the pistons, barrels, heads, throttle and airbox, flushing and cleaning the whole thing and putting it all back together. The point is that during the two years I'd been riding it with sand in the engine, I'd been religiously topping up the oil and changing the filter. It's a testament to BMW engineering that the engine ran without seizing up, but it's also a testament to paying attention to your oil changes. If I'd let it slide, or not done the filter, that engine would not have been a rebuild - it would have been a far more costly brand new engine.




Again, thanks go to Chris Longhurst of Carbibles for all of this awesome information. Go to his website... he has much more information on there about many many different topics. A lot of us could stand to learn a lot about cars in general from this website, and I highly recommend it.

Also, I will post a link here (as well as the one that can be found on his website itself) for those of you who might wish to make any type of donation to Chris for his hard work.

Last edited by BadMofo; 04-17-2008 at 08:55 AM.
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Old 04-16-2008, 05:05 PM
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Old 04-24-2008, 06:25 PM
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sometimes i think that "high mileage" isnt ness. consider my engine,
h22a4 with 202,000 original miles and leaks because my oilpan hondabond went a little bad, its like... dude just go get the stuff to fix it.
just like goo that you spray in you tire to fix a leak its for those "challeneged" car people.

if your on this forum and reading this and your honda motor is leaking?
go fix it, if you feel that secure buying it than go for it, just consider, if that stuff "seal conditioner" gets past your rings and burns your gonna foul out your plugs pretty fast im assuming?

could be wrong on several point, but thats my personal view.
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Old 04-28-2008, 11:59 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thomas97 View Post
sometimes i think that "high mileage" isnt ness. consider my engine,
h22a4 with 202,000 original miles and leaks because my oilpan hondabond went a little bad, its like... dude just go get the stuff to fix it.
just like goo that you spray in you tire to fix a leak its for those "challeneged" car people.

if your on this forum and reading this and your honda motor is leaking?
go fix it, if you feel that secure buying it than go for it, just consider, if that stuff "seal conditioner" gets past your rings and burns your gonna foul out your plugs pretty fast im assuming?

could be wrong on several point, but thats my personal view.
That's pretty much the same point that Chris Longhurst was trying to make. If it ain't broke, don't fix it (if your conventional/synthetic motor oil is working, there's no reason to switch to high mileage).

And I think that the seal conditioner is meant for harder to reach seals though... like the rear main seal, balance shaft seals, etc... Anything that involves a lenthy tear-down basically. I agree with you... if it's just an oil pan gasket/hondabond, or a valve cover gasket, etc... then it's time to just man up and replace it lol =).

Last edited by BadMofo; 04-28-2008 at 12:03 PM.
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Old 05-09-2008, 02:05 PM
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really nice find! i printed it all out and used it as bathroom reading material
haha, thanks for sharing!
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Old 08-13-2008, 07:46 PM
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Re: Oil Information and Myths busted.

awesome dude this is great :)
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Old 05-23-2009, 06:02 PM
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Re: Oil Information and Myths busted.

So which is worse oil that is "3 months old" or oil that has 3k miles on it? I only drive about 7k miles a year so my "month" always comes sooner than my mileage, how much should I worry about this?

Last edited by mckillio; 06-17-2009 at 06:04 PM.
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Old 06-12-2009, 01:04 AM
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Re: Oil Information and Myths busted.

Very good info. What would be the best oil brand to use?
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Old 08-04-2009, 04:25 PM
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Re: Oil Information and Myths busted.

Excellent Post. Thanks.
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Old 01-03-2010, 12:37 PM
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Re: Oil Information and Myths busted.

great post, to the guy above...I think you should change it every 3 months because my truck sat while I was deployed in iraq and changing the oil was priority when I got home, it was nasty and lumpy from all the condensation
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Old 03-18-2010, 05:01 PM
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Re: Oil Information and Myths busted.

can anyone tell me the size of the center bolt on a 97, think i have have to go buy the tool for that specifiacally
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Old 03-27-2010, 11:43 AM
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Re: Oil Information and Myths busted.

VERY informative. Niice job.
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Old 04-13-2010, 04:11 AM
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Re: Oil Information and Myths busted.

very useful but idk if i missed it but is it better to run thinner oil or more viscous oil
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Old 05-22-2010, 04:15 AM
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Re: Oil Information and Myths busted.

I've never heard of disabling the engine and cranking it after an oil change...

Also, explain the "wait til low pressure light goes off" part a bit, I've never seen any such light come on in my lude...
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Old 12-25-2010, 04:54 PM
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Re: Oil Information and Myths busted.

Really nice, thanks
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Old 01-04-2011, 01:34 AM
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Re: Oil Information and Myths busted.

alot of useful info. personally i change mine every month......... i live in a wet climate here in Washington and i live down a dirt road alot of dust lol.... all im saying you cant go buy every 3 months or 3,000 miles. different climates is different routines... i just turned a book into a page lol jp great article alot of solid intel
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Old 09-28-2014, 09:01 AM
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Re: Oil Information and Myths busted.

What is best weight for goin turbo.
I previously been using 5w30 royal purple only
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Old 02-03-2015, 02:13 PM
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Re: Oil Information and Myths busted.

Some 2012 wear test results.
Lots of dry reading. But very informative when deciding on the $10/qt vs the $6/qt stuff.

Quaker State’s New “Defy” Motor Oil – Lab Test and Wear Test Data - Corvette Forum
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