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Old 10-22-2007, 03:01 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Exclamation Sudden Mystery Oil Loss 1qt/700 miles!

I've been losing 1qt/700 miles for a few months now. The oil usage is strange because the level will be fairly constant for ~700 miles then suddenly drop a quart. No smoke out of the exhaust. Engine is not covered in oil, nor are there any drips on my garage floor. I've tried different grades, dino, syn. They all do it.

Power is great. Smooth accel on partial and full throttle. I can log but not sure what to check that will tell me where my oil is going. Knock signal maybe?

I have two catch cans now to help. The PCV line separator is basically dry. The breather line separator has only a quarter teaspoon of condensation/oil after 700 miles.

GST did a compression/leak down test last week and said everything was good. Cylinders 1 and 3 had 5% leak down. Cylinder had 4%. But cylinder 2 had 10%. This would seem a bit high, although Mike assured me that this is acceptable and it not likely to be the cause of my oil loss.

Because of the satisfactory compression/leakdown I decided to swap the turbo. I was trying to eliminate bad oil seals in the turbo. It's not the turbo.

This last time it dropped, I drew a sample and sent it off to Blackstone to determine if the shearing, fuel, etc. Still waiting for the results.

Today, I'm getting some help from the guys at GST to hunt down the source of the oil loss.

Cliff notes:
  • 1qt/700 miles
  • Good power and idle
  • No smoke
  • No drips on the garage floor
  • Nothing significant in either catch can
  • GST did a leakdown Cyl 1=5%, 3=5%, 4=7%, 2=10%
  • GST did compression "good" (no numbers were recorded)
  • Replaced the turbo
  • Waiting on Blackstone result to rule out/in shearing or fuel dilution
  • GST will pull the header to inspect it and the valves
  • Headers were dry
  • Exhaust valves look OK
Any thoughts, ideas, comments are encouraged.
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Old 10-23-2007, 07:28 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Pull the headers. Dry. Exhaust valves looked good.
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Old 10-23-2007, 07:36 AM   #3 (permalink)
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I think most people with consumption have the oil level fairly stable for a while and then it suddenly drops. For me it was fine for 5,500 miles and it recently dropped 1/2 a quart within a few weeks.

What are the details on the different oil and grades? Shearing doesn't always equal consumption. How many miles on the car?

-Dennis
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Old 10-23-2007, 07:40 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Just want to ask a basic question so realize its not intended to insult you :)
1) When you change the oil are you seeing it as "full" on your dipstick afterwards?
2) Are you checking this on a level surface after the motor has been heated up but has been off for a little while?
3) Do you measure how much oil comes OUT when you change it, or are your estimates of 1 quart loss purely by looking at the dipstick?
4) You do realize that when you change oil on a cold motor and put a new oil filter in that 1: the oil filter soaks up/retains some oil and 2: oil consumption on turbo cars is normal (not a lot though)

Its peculiar to me that you say you notice it all of a sudden. It would make a whole lot more sense if this was gradual and you notice it going little by little. Anything else you can share?
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Old 10-23-2007, 11:02 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bluesubie View Post
I think most people with consumption have the oil level fairly stable for a while and then it suddenly drops. For me it was fine for 5,500 miles and it recently dropped 1/2 a quart within a few weeks.

What are the details on the different oil and grades? Shearing doesn't always equal consumption. How many miles on the car?

-Dennis
Blackstone results have not come back yet. I think there are ~30,000 miles on the engine.

I have tried basically any oil that you buy off the shelf in the 5w-30 thru 10w-40. Synthetic and petroleum based.

5,500 >>> 700 Can't really compare the two values.
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Old 10-23-2007, 11:11 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by noahrexion View Post

Its peculiar to me that you say you notice it all of a sudden. It would make a whole lot more sense if this was gradual and you notice it going little by little. Anything else you can share?
It is strange isn't it?

Just want to ask a basic question so realize its not intended to insult you :)
1) When you change the oil are you seeing it as "full" on your dipstick afterwards?
Yes. I usually check it the next morning before I start the car. 5qts for a full oil change including the oil filter.

2) Are you checking this on a level surface after the motor has been heated up but has been off for a little while?
Every morning before the car is started. Garage is fairly level.
3) Do you measure how much oil comes OUT when you change it, or are your estimates of 1 quart loss purely by looking at the dipstick?
I haven't really done this with any precision.
4) You do realize that when you change oil on a cold motor and put a new oil filter in that 1: the oil filter soaks up/retains some oil and 2: oil consumption on turbo cars is normal (not a lot though)
I believe 5qts for an oil change with filter change on the 2.5 turbo is necessary. This is also how much I add. =)

I'll make it a point to accurately measure the oil drained and compare it to the indicated level on the dipstick prior to the drain. There will be some oil trapped in the oil filter and this would probably account for 1/2 to 3/4qt?

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Old 10-23-2007, 02:12 PM   #7 (permalink)
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I think since the motor is not brand new, its had its share of use being that is has 30k, that the oil left in the motor in the form of coating can be unaccounted for. We can just say that it is residual, since between every oil change there is a small amount still coating all the parts. Depending on the size of the filter you are using; they can retain a decent amount. If you pull the filter off and drain that, I can't imagine how the actual filter element would retian any more than 1/3 quart or so.

I've actually been thinking about this for a few hours since I posted. I honestly don't know what the capacity of the EJ25 is, I do not have a Subaru anymore and I never had a 2.5 so its hard to comment on that. However, if you are using any set value and sticking to it than it really doesn't matter.

Example: You drain all your oil and change the filter. You put in 5 quarts total. 700 miels later you check your level and you see you are about 1 quart low. You ask yourself how the **** something like that can happen in so little miles. Assuming that you changed your oil while the motor was cold (cause its not fun otherwise) and checked it right after; this could happen every time as the 700 miles you put on after the oil change can account for what the filter absorbs/holds while the motor is off AND the "residual" oil aformentioned.

If however you change your oil and start the car and bring it up to operating temp, then let it cool a bit and THEN check it and your diptstick says full; and STILL 700 miles later it all of a sudden (after repeating what you did, as in letting the motor cool before checking again) it requires 1 full quart to bring it back to full then I just am out of ideas.
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Old 10-23-2007, 03:37 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Can you explain this statement - "The oil usage is strange because the level will be fairly constant for ~700 miles then suddenly drop a quart"

What I mean is, do you check it every 100 miles, full every time and then in 100 miles it drops? What were the driving conditions when it drops and when it doesn't drop? How often do you check your oil? If you top it up does it drop again at exactly 700 miles or is it significantly more or less?
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Old 10-23-2007, 05:51 PM   #9 (permalink)
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If oil is indeed disappearing it's either leaking out of somewhere, or getting past the rings and burning up. Can there be a 3rd option?

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Old 10-23-2007, 06:30 PM   #10 (permalink)
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No, you can't compare 700 and 5,500. What I was saying that most people with consumption will find that they're ok for x miles and all of a sudden the oil level drops drastically.

Try using an oil that meets ACEA A3 specs and/or one with a high HTHS (German Castrol, M1 10W30 High Mileage, any Redline, Valvoline Max Life). A 10W40 has a lot of viscosity index improvers so it's probably not much help with consumption regardless if it's conventional or synthetic.

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Old 10-24-2007, 07:04 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bluesubie View Post
No, you can't compare 700 and 5,500. What I was saying that most people with consumption will find that they're ok for x miles and all of a sudden the oil level drops drastically.

Try using an oil that meets ACEA A3 specs and/or one with a high HTHS (German Castrol, M1 10W30 High Mileage, any Redline, Valvoline Max Life). A 10W40 has a lot of viscosity index improvers so it's probably not much help with consumption regardless if it's conventional or synthetic.

-Dennis
Thanks Dennis.
It's funny that you mention the M1 10W30 High Mileage. This is the last type of oil that went into the engine. The sudden 1qt drop occurred at 300 miles on this oil.
I received the UOA yesterday and will post the results soon. It stayed in grade, retained ample additives, and low insolubles. AKA no signs of excessive shearing, blow-by, or ring wear.

Keep the ideas coming, please!
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Old 10-24-2007, 08:28 AM   #12 (permalink)
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I think Westwind999 and myself have some outstanding questions remaining to be answered :) I will go as far as to say that he agrees with me in that we are both unsure as to how the checking vs. dissapearing is going on.
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Old 10-24-2007, 08:38 AM   #13 (permalink)
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Everything with the car itself seems to be normal mechanically so it's a little odd. The only other thing I can think of is to try a 5W40.

-Dennis
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Old 10-24-2007, 10:09 AM   #14 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bluesubie View Post
Everything with the car itself seems to be normal mechanically so it's a little odd. The only other thing I can think of is to try a 5W40.

-Dennis
I have some Rotella T 5w-40 already for the next drain.
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Old 10-24-2007, 10:18 AM   #15 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by noahrexion View Post
I think since the motor is not brand new, its had its share of use being that is has 30k, that the oil left in the motor in the form of coating can be unaccounted for. We can just say that it is residual, since between every oil change there is a small amount still coating all the parts. Depending on the size of the filter you are using; they can retain a decent amount. If you pull the filter off and drain that, I can't imagine how the actual filter element would retian any more than 1/3 quart or so.

I've actually been thinking about this for a few hours since I posted. I honestly don't know what the capacity of the EJ25 is, I do not have a Subaru anymore and I never had a 2.5 so its hard to comment on that. However, if you are using any set value and sticking to it than it really doesn't matter.

Example: You drain all your oil and change the filter. You put in 5 quarts total. 700 miels later you check your level and you see you are about 1 quart low. You ask yourself how the **** something like that can happen in so little miles. Assuming that you changed your oil while the motor was cold (cause its not fun otherwise) and checked it right after; this could happen every time as the 700 miles you put on after the oil change can account for what the filter absorbs/holds while the motor is off AND the "residual" oil aformentioned.

If however you change your oil and start the car and bring it up to operating temp, then let it cool a bit and THEN check it and your diptstick says full; and STILL 700 miles later it all of a sudden (after repeating what you did, as in letting the motor cool before checking again) it requires 1 full quart to bring it back to full then I just am out of ideas.
Excellent points. The problem is that I add 1 qt at ~700 miles and again after another ~700 miles. The mileage interval does vary, but it averages to somewhere near 700. So the hot/cold change and filter element factors go nil after successive quarts added between drains.
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