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Old 11-13-2001, 05:45 PM   #1
Saco1997
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Unhappy 9 quarts of oil in a 2002 WRX (big problems i think)

Here goes

A week before i crashed my WRX I was at a local gas station and my dumb A$$ let the guy check my oil FOR me. 2 days later I was smelling oil burning and my check engine light was on. Instantly I went ****te!!!!!!! I pulled into my friends driveway and check the oil. It read empty. I then shut off the car, let it sit for 15 minutes, started it up, let it sit for a half hour, then rechecked. Still empty.

Went to the local auto store to buy 4 quarts of mobil 1 synthetic. I then went back to his house, added 3 of the 4 quarts and rechecked the oil. It was at the full mark. I proceeded to start my car and drive away.

5 minutes after driveing I got HUGE CLOUDS OF SMOKE out of the tail pipes. I mean HUGE like fill a parking lot huge. went back to his house CHANGED the oil and then turned it on and let it sit. the smoke went away after a few minutes.

Drove it for another 2 days and got a check engine light and when i pulled the code it said misfire in cylinder 4. Question:

What in gods name did I do and how can i fix it? When i drained the oil, i got out around 9 quarts meaning the dipstick readings were wrong. this sucks and now I am getting my car back from the body shop this week and wanna know how to help it out. thanx,

-Jim
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Old 11-13-2001, 08:25 PM   #2
Alan
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Are you SURE you checked the oil level?? The dipstick in front - not the tranny oil dipstick in the back of the engine?? The other thing I've seen is that if the car is real new, the very clean oil is hard to spot - and you may not see the oil level on the dipstick and add oil that is not needed.

Either way, you had too much oil in the engine - obviously because you got 9 quarts out - unless you drained the transmission, which happens to take about 9 quarts - and that much of an overfill would result in oil foam being drawn into the engine, causing fouled plugs and misfires. You migth even have blown some seals if the oil was that overfilled. Better take it to Subaru, let them pull the codes and figure out what is wrong.
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Old 11-14-2001, 03:17 AM   #3
Bimmer
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Knock on wood in case I do something this bone-headed myself, but...

You ARE a dumb ass for letting this happen. Learning how to check oil is pretty basic maintenance, even my little sister can handle it...

Anyways, you might've gotten lucky... it could well be that overfilling the oil let the positive crankcase ventilation system suck oil out of the crankcase (instead of nasty fumes) and into the intake manifold. You then burned the oil, which fouled your plugs (at least #4). If you're REALLY lucky then maybe you didn't do any permanent damage (plugs should self-clean) and the car's fine... You didn't mention how it runs now with the proper oil level.
Otherwise, sky's the limit. Fluids don't compress like air does and you could've easily bent rods or blown seals, either way the motor'll be due for a tearing down...
You might get a compression check to check for bent rods or whatever, and you should keep an eye on the water and oil to make sure there's none of the one in the other or vice versa.
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Old 11-14-2001, 03:53 AM   #4
Saco1997
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Default thanks for the wonderful comment but. . .

I DEFINATLY checked the oil, i have been doing oil changes for a few years now and know what oil on a dipstick looks like, i also know what a dipstick looks like for that matter.So to say that im a dumb ass is just immature.

In any case, I immediatly changed the spark plugs after the incident and was data logging it the night of my accident (an no I wasn't during the accident.) I only recieved one more misfire in cylander 4 code and after the CE light went on, it immediately went out. I am not sure what this means, but it literally flashed for less than a second and went right out. I will DEFINATLY be taking it to a dealership when i get it back, and only ran it with it overfilled for maybe 10-20 minutes, so taking all this into account, can i possibly be ok? or will i definatly be in need of a major tear down? Thanks for the help and PLEASE, no flames, it really wasn't my fault.

-Jim
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Old 11-14-2001, 10:36 AM   #5
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Saco1997 wrote:
Quote:
... it really wasn't my fault.
So he's still blaming all this on the service station attendant who checked his engine oil level two days earlier? I, too, must question whether Saco1997 knows how to check the engine oil level, because he wrote:
Quote:
I pulled into my friends driveway and check the oil. It read empty. I then shut off the car, let it sit for 15 minutes, started it up, let it sit for a half hour [idling?], then rechecked [while the engine was running?].
It appears he mistakenly believes the engine should be running when he checks the engine oil level. He needs to read his Owner's Manual.
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Old 11-14-2001, 12:20 PM   #6
Saco1997
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Default You once again have to be kidding me

I really didn't think this was gonna be a kindergarden lesson in checking oil, but once again people have proven me wrong.

If you really think that i'm stupid enough to believe you have to check your engine oil when the car is running you're nuts. I figured I wouldn't have to say that I SHUT THE CAR OFF> but OF COURSE I DID. like i said if you wanna flame, then you aren't helping the situation and if you think I can't change/check oil, you are insane.

I will reapeat myself YET AGAIN. I have been DOING OIL CHANGES for a few years now. Are you processing this?? IS it SINKING in?? I hope so because another rude remark will just show me how not helpful some people on this site can be.

I haven't had a problem with a**hole's until this one post. All i want are a few questions answered and all i get is harassed. Thank you Jon for your wonderful input on my oil checking abilities, but you really have no idea who i am and know nothing of my background.

By saying that it wasn't my fault I am describing the whole incident itself. It started when the Gas guy left the dipstick sitting in my engine bay and ended when the oil read empty.

Now instead of wasting our time attacking me personally, you may help by answering some of the questions listed above.
Thanx,
-Jim
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Old 11-14-2001, 01:01 PM   #7
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Default

Saco1997:

Sarcastic unhelpful people aside, there's a few things you should think about:

1) The oil pump is a positive displacement pump: It will generate however much pressure is needed to move the oil around.

2) Given the smoking behavior, I'd guess that the crankcase ventilation system allowed oil to be aspirated into the intake manifold. Burning that oil is probably where the smoke came from. That would also lead to plug fouling and possibly poor ignition -- burning oil makes carbon deposits. That might explain some of the CEL's.

3) It's possible that some of the oil seals were damaged.

That situation is so far outside "normal" experiences that I think attempting to self-diagnose any further problems would just be speculation. I'd take the car the the best damn Subaru master tech you can find and have him check as much as possible -- OBDII codes, cylinder compression and leak-down, etc etc. Also, keep a close eye on your oil consumption for a while. If you have any damaged oil seals, you'll consume more oil than before your "incident".

My 1/50th of a buck worth.

-Joe
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Old 11-14-2001, 03:05 PM   #8
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Saco1997 wrote:
Quote:
... you may help by answering some of the questions listed above.
I thought that's what I was doing, since the first question from your first post was:
Quote:
What in gods name did I do ...
May I safely presume that, until this incident where you discovered the "dipstick readings were wrong," that the dispstick worked properly? It seems that, if you somehow got a defective dipstick from the factory, the service station attendent might have said something like "Sir, did you realize you have no oil in your engine?"

I'm very curious to hear your theories about why your "dipstick readings were wrong." After all, if you don't solve that problem, you'll probably end up over-filling the engine with oil again in the future.
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Old 11-14-2001, 07:05 PM   #9
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Default

i usually didn't check my oil, I would just change it every 1000 miles. I would do this because I know turbo cars like clean oil and also because I like to drive hard. That would mean that I have already changed my oil 17 times since i got this car and countless other times on my old car.

JDS thanx for your input that is really helpful. I am gonna have it trucked over to the subaru dealer as soon as I get it out of the body shop. I'm not even gonna bother with trying to self diagnose.

Jon I know you may mean well, but you caught me off guard and I wasn't expecting to be flamed due to the fact that I was simply asking a question. I did get a little agrivated and I can see how this thread would lead you to believe that I am a novie and don't pay attention to what I am doin. Thank you for your input as well, even though I might not be the best sport about things. I am just worried about my car, she is my baby. Peace fellas

-Jim
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Old 11-14-2001, 11:39 PM   #10
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All flames aside.

The big risk in over-filling the crankcase is oil cavitation. The oil level being high enough that the crankshaft moving through the oil like an egg-beater whips air into the oil and makes it froth. The resulting damage may not be realized for a long time as the primary path of the oil is to the crank bearings first. If any damage was done, you would not know without a tear-down or until pre-mature bearing failure, which may not occur until twenty or thirty thousand miles.

Sorry to rain on anyones parade.
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Old 11-15-2001, 02:54 AM   #11
Saco1997
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Default

Could this premature failure happen even if it was only run for like 10-15 minutes? If so, what are the signs and how can it be prevented??

Thanx,
Jim
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Old 11-15-2001, 02:58 AM   #12
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Default Re: 9 quarts of oil in a 2002 WRX (big problems i think)

Quote:
Originally posted by Saco1997
Here goes

A week before i crashed my WRX I was at a local gas station and my dumb A$$ let the guy check my oil FOR me.
-Jim
Hey,

You called YOURSELF a dumb ass, I was just being agreeable...

I'd like to point out that my armchair diagnosis was the same as jds's, though he was much more eloquent about it.

Ben
'74 2002tii
'98 CBR F3
'02 2.5 TS

Parting shot: If the dipstick reads empty, do NOT run the engine any more, dip****.
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Old 11-15-2001, 03:08 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally posted by Saco1997
Could this premature failure happen even if it was only run for like 10-15 minutes? If so, what are the signs and how can it be prevented??
Absolutely yes, none, and you can't.

Back to my initial point...
If you filled the crankcase with oil ("filled" as in you didn't leave any air in the crankcase) then the force of the starter motor alone could be enough to frag your motor. You wouldn't even have to start the engine to bend the connecting rods (Cycle World fragged a new Triumph with defective fi this way a couple years ago).

As for messing up the bearings, yes, running for 10-15 minutes is plenty of time to whip the oil into a rather non-lubricating froth... A good mechanic with a stethoscope can sometimes hear a bad bearing, or it'll come through to you as a ticking sound, maybe. You probably won't know about it until you (or the next owner) tears down the motor someday. "Premature failure" means the bearings might give out in 50,000 miles instead of 150,000 miles, or maybe after only 5,000... depends on how bad it is.

As for preventing this sort of damage... we really don't want to go back to "how to check the oil," do we?

Good luck, really,

Ben
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Old 11-15-2001, 03:17 AM   #14
Eric SS
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I'm surprised that no one has mentioned that Subaru dipsticks are notorious for not being accurate. Not sure about the WRX but every RS dipstick varies and it's hard to tell unless you know where on your dipstick to look.

However, when you put the dipstick in. make sure you puch it down untill you hear it click.

Eric
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Old 11-15-2001, 04:57 AM   #15
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eric this is VERy true...carmax put on the sticker for my car that 5.2 was oil capacity....well i put 4.5 in and my dipstick was at the bottom mark...but 4.8 in and it was getting there...well i put the whole 5.2 and wallah wouldn't you know it full...odd thing is that i changed the oil last time and put 4.5 in(our oil pump is a lil off now) and it was full....let it drain a LONGer time this time then the first. Both times it was hot drained. So much in accuracy...but yes with 9 qts in you are lucky you didn't lock up the motor first...bet that thing was a PIG though...talk about NO power at all. That oil musta been fighting that motor like nuts. I think between 4.2 and 5.0 you are okay...they build tolerances in for a reason.

Haha premature failure...try a bent rod when you get that int eh cylinder and try to compress it....and leaking valve seats they are meant to have an oil coat not be DROWNING in the stuff.

jeremy
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Old 11-15-2001, 09:44 AM   #16
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I did this on my moms 200sx first car I did an oil change on. put in 9qts went for a drive around the block then noticed in the rear view that my whole neighborhood was engulfed in a white cloud!

Drained some out and never really had a problem after that.

On the WRX you really have to wait a while after engine shutoff before the dipstick will be accurate.
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Old 11-16-2001, 04:11 AM   #17
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Re: inaccurate dipsticks.

Just about every car has to have it's oil checked when it's on flat ground, it's pretty rare that the dipstick runs down to the direct center of the oil pan, and tilting the car will change the level shown on the dipstick considerably.

It's possible that when his friend's driveway where he checked the oil was at such a slant that his dipstick didn't ready anything even when it was full...

Ben

PS Try this on a motorcycle...
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Old 11-16-2001, 03:43 PM   #18
Saco1997
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The driveway was flat, but what is this about inaccurate dipsticks? Could you possibly link a post or some sort of documentation of this? Thanx,

-Jim
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Old 11-16-2001, 08:07 PM   #19
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Quote:
By saying that it wasn't my fault I am describing the whole incident itself. It started when the Gas guy left the dipstick sitting in my engine bay and ended when the oil read empty.
You failed to mention this in your first post, that could've eliminated a lot of confusion.

Either way, I overfilled my Sunbird one day, as I had just had the oil changed, checked it at night when I got home, and wasn't able to see the oil level on the stick. Of course, I freaked out, walked to the nearest gas station, bought four quarts, and started pouring. I put in two quarts before I regained my senses, went to bed, checked it in the morning, and everything was fine. But I did overfill the crankcase a little, and the lesson was to take a few minutes to think calmly and not let your imagination lead you down the path of doing something stupid.

Good luck, I feel for ya.
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Old 11-17-2001, 12:58 AM   #20
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Quote:
i also know what a dipstick looks

Yeah from looking in the mirror all these years.

Why in the HELL would anyone keep putting oil in their car. 9 quarts!? Where did you think it was going. I hope your car is OK.
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Old 11-18-2001, 04:47 PM   #21
Vineet Singh
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Default Another OVERFILL story :(

We went out cruising with a couple friends and their WRX's. One of my friends was complaining about weird idle, and later on in the night, a check engine light lit up.

I figured I would take a look, I just thought his car was still new, and the idle was because the engine was not quite broken in yet.

We reset the CE light by pulling the negative cable off for a few seconds... but while I was doing that, I smelled "burning oil". Not a lot, but enough to make me check the oil LEVEL. Guess what, it had TOO much oil in it.

I don't know how much extra, but as far as the little "low/high" holes are in the dipstick, it was that much higher above the top hole (on DSM's, this means about a quart extra).

The kicker is, the car was drag raced twice, and about 150 miles have been put on it since the "jiffylubetype" place changed/overfilled his oil. The car just hit 2000 miles yesterday.

Don't flame him for taking it to such a place and not doing it himself, I just want to know if he should be worried about anything. I figure 5.5-6 quarts is not as bad as NINE, but still.

BTW, he had them install the Fumotovalve, so draining a quart or so last night was fairly simple (no jack needed either). The car runs "120%" better (his words ), and idles fine now, and the burning smell is gone.

Any recourse? any problems? Who should get the finger pointed to in case of a problem? (Jiffylubetypeplace, Subaru Warranty, or tell him to "SUCK IT" )
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Old 11-18-2001, 04:57 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally posted by Saco1997
...what is this about inaccurate dipsticks? Could you possibly link a post or some sort of documentation of this? Thanx,
Come on, guys, it's not rocket science. If the car is level, and has sat, turned off for a period of time, extract the dipstick. Wipe it clean, put it back in, all the way. Gently pull it out. The "High" and "Low" marks are clear (you may refer to your manual with any questions).

I've changed oil on many Subarus, never had any "inaccuracies" or problems.

Ed
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Old 11-18-2001, 11:56 PM   #23
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Default dipsticks

I also had a difficult time getting a consistent reading on the subie dipstick until I let the car sit a few minutes after normal driving. Now it is right on everytime. Nowhere in the manual does it say to let the engine sit a few minutes to get an accurate reading. Maybe that's common sense to some people here, but obviously not to all.
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Old 11-19-2001, 12:39 AM   #24
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Default Defective Dipsticks

I've been checking oil for many years and will throw in my comment that the Soob dipstick is twitchy. Flame on if you will. I think it tracks oil up the tube and smears the reading. Anyway, I like to check the oil before firing up in the morning. You should get a good read without the wipe and reinsert process. BTW my dealership put 5 qts in my H4. Not awful but I change it myself now. I like things right.
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Old 11-20-2001, 09:18 PM   #25
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Have a Nice Day?

I gotta say I can't believe I'm stepping up for this guy, but I too had some trouble with my wrx dipstick after I changed my oil at 3k. Oil in, no real oil "line" on the stick, in my level garage. Huh? Added more, still nothing. Wipe, insert, repeat. Weird. I drained a few quarts (messy), and tried again. No problem at that point. I'm guessing I overfilled it so much that it was off the stick.

Now, stupid mistake yes, but I fixed it. I've been changing my oil (along with swapping trannies, engines...) for over 13 years, so I have some idea how to change oil.

That said, this is not the service station guy's fault, it's yours. Tough to swallow, but it sounds like you're probably OK. I go along with the catastrophic failure theory, which you avoided. As kturner said, do it yourself, always.

Paul
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