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Engine's burning oil - how much longer will it last?



  • bottgersbottgers Posts: 2,028
    ......I decided to start with the easiest and least expensive things. I replaced the PCV valve. I noticed the old one was showing signs of passing a lot of oil. I could be wrong, but I don't think PCV valves are supposed to pass oil. I also ordered two bottles of Auto RX. I've heard nothing but good things about this stuff and it certainly couldn't hurt to try it. We'll see if this curbs consumption.
  • MrShift@EdmundsMrShift@Edmunds Posts: 43,643
    Well a bad PCV will certainly cause oil leaks and possibly a little bit of oil burning.

    Auto RX is IMO snake oil. Nothing in a bottle will ever cure engine wear. But you can be our own personal guinea pig on the matter and report back after extensive desert and arctic testing. We're counting on you.
  • lemkolemko Posts: 15,071
    ...that a lot of those additives are "snake oil." Fortunately, I've never had an oil burning problem, but what is the truth about STP, Motor Honey, etc.? There's a coworker with on older car who has been using straight 50-weight to reduce oil burning. Wouldn't this heavier oil make the car harder to start in the winter?
  • MrShift@EdmundsMrShift@Edmunds Posts: 43,643
    Well of course one doesn't use 50 weight oil in winter, but generally his decision is scientifically sound

    The reason snake oil isn't sound scientifically is pretty simple---IF the engine is burning oil because there is cylinder bore wear or piston ring wear, and that wear is so great as to allow oil to pass through or combustion gasses to pass through, well now really, what liquid goop in a can is going to cure that?

    All you end up doing is making the oil thick for a little while and gum things up until the engine reaches operating temperature and breaks it all down again.

    If someone is counting on some goo in a can is going to stop 120 psi compression driven by exploding gasoline, well good luck to them.

    If the problem is measurable engine wear, then all that stuff is a complete waste of money. But if the piston rings are just stuck or the engine is severly sludged up, then maybe maybe some strong addtives/cleaners and frequent oil changes can help, sure...

    But after 100K++ miles, it's not likely to be sticking rings---a rather uncommon occurrence on modern engines.

    Anything you can do with "engine magic" in a can I can do with 50 weight oil, because it is the same principle...the heavier and gooey-er it is, the slower it will work into the combustion chamber. But sooner or later it'll burn just the same.

    And I've busted down engines that were doped with STP---it's not a pretty sight.
  • geo9geo9 Posts: 739
    Any valve stem seal replacement requires removal of camshaft
    (if ohc), rocker arms (if not) to get access and remove the keepers
    and valve springs.

    Removal of spark plugs to put compressed air in the cylinders
    to hold the valves in place.

    Then ya gotta slip the valve spring compression tool in place to
    release the "keepers". Remove valve springs. Replace O ring.

    LOTS of work......Equals $$$$

    There were several posts in the GM threads about high oil
    consumption. GM issued a TSB to replace the PVC valve with
    one with a smaller orifice...............
    Must of worked..............No further complaints seen............

    Bott...........Hopefully you will get lucky and a PVC valve will do the
    If you have power brakes...Did you check the Vaccuum line to the
    booster for oil residue ?

    Lemko is also correct...........The old heavy straight weight oil will cut
    oil consumption down. With that many miles it prob. won't make a
    difference in the winter..............
  • MrShift@EdmundsMrShift@Edmunds Posts: 43,643
    PCV problems with brand news cars are a lot different than PCV problems with old beaters.

    Nah, popping off a camshaft on a Tercel isn't hard, especially considering the alternatives, which might be engine overhaul or the local government taking your car off the road. Couple hours shop time and that's it. Price it out let us know.

    50 weight oil in winter is like jello---not recommended unless you use an engine heater.
  • oldharryoldharry Posts: 413
    I know very little about STP or other "snake oils", but when I think of STP, I remember the seeing Andy Granatelli on TV with the failed bearing from the trans of his turbine car the first year he ran it at Indy: It looked like lubrication failure to me.

    The next year the rules were changed so a turbine car could not win.

  • bottgersbottgers Posts: 2,028
    The principle behind my use of Auto RX isn't to try to apply a band-aid to worn engine parts, but rather to clean the engine internally and recondition seals. What you said is true about worn engines and using addititves on them is nothing more than prolonging the inevitable. However, the way my engine has been using oil doesn't necessarily point to worn engine parts, but rather some type of a sealing problem. If that's the case, Auto RX could very well cure the problem. At any rate, it isn't like it's a huge investment which makes it well worth giving it a try. I will let you know how it works.
  • MrShift@EdmundsMrShift@Edmunds Posts: 43,643
    Well I hope it DOES work for you!

    My point which might have been muddy is that without a cylinder leakdown test we really don't know if your problem is engine wear or not, and so if I were in your shoes (I wear an 11) I would test first then try the remedy most likely to work.

    Also I'm pretty adamant on the idea that reconditioning seals never works--now THAT part is voodoo. The engine cleaning part as a benefit I could buy that in some cases, certainly, but once a seal has lost its vibrancy, swelling it up like a raisin through chemicals is a short-term solution at best. Once you soften it, it loses its ability to remain resilient under all conditions.
  • bottgersbottgers Posts: 2,028
    I can tell you it wasn't the PCV valve causing the problem. I just changed my oil today and added the Auto RX. Hopefully, this stuff will do something to help.
  • geo9geo9 Posts: 739
    What weight oil did ya use............. Straight 40 or 50?

    Just nurse it along or spend big $$ to repair...................
  • bottgersbottgers Posts: 2,028
    I use 10-30. I have noticed a substantial reduction in the puff of smoke the engine lets out during cold starts since adding the Auto RX. Maybe this stuff will help. There are quite a few people in the forum who said this stuff worked for them. I am still scepticle as I've never had any success using oil additives in the past.
  • bottgersbottgers Posts: 2,028 far it appears that either Auto RX is nothing but snake oil or my engine's suffering from some type of mechanical wear that this stuff can't cure because I'm about 300 miles from dumping my first ARX application and the engine's still using just as much oil as it was before I started the treatment. I'm sure if this stuff was going to make a difference, I would've seen a change by now.
  • geo9geo9 Posts: 739
    Snake oil......................

    Go with straight 40 weight and keep running it !
    I do it with my ancient "winter rats". My 87 Escort never complains...LOL!
  • iluvmysephia1iluvmysephia1 Posts: 5,663
    ran with the motor burning oil at about a quart to every 250-300 miles IIRC. As a goofy young lad of 18 I failed to keep it topped off constantly and one day running down the Mukilteo Speedway north of Seattle it just...ummm...sputtered and froze up.

    Yep, I kept it alive and had a rebuilt 6 cyl 200 c.i. engine thrown in the nice looking Stang. The next major failure was the transmission and the car was gone, making way for a 1970 Chevrolet Suburban. Ya wanna talk about beasts to drive. Probably achieved 8 miles to the gallon in that people mover!

    2008 Mitsubishi Lancer GTS

  • 210delray210delray Posts: 4,722
    How in the world could you go from a Mustang to a Suburban?

    Reminds me of the guy at work who seemed to be genuinely intrigued by the Ford Excursion when it first came out. Maybe he thought he could carry his Ford (Kia) Festiva inside it!
  • iluvmysephia1iluvmysephia1 Posts: 5,663
    and was willing to trade a '65 Mustang with a borken tranny for a good running rig. It was between a '73 AMC Gremlin and a 1970 Chevrolet Suburban and I chose the Suburban. The sub-10mpg forced another choice, though, within a few more months. Sometimes wish I would've chose the Gremlin but it seemed a little small for us. Ended up with a '66 Ford Fairlane I quickly dubbed old Smokey. :surprise:

    2008 Mitsubishi Lancer GTS

  • bottgersbottgers Posts: 2,028 where it belongs.
  • Hello out there. I've searched the forum to find just this problem. I have a 2001 BMW, 330i. I run this car hard (all highway miles) and have $117K. The car has been a dream to drive, but now is burning oil at what I believe to me an unacceptable rate. Every 1000 miles (sometimes less / sometimes more) I have to put a quart of oil.

    I have taken the car to the dealership on multiple occasion. There is no leaking, the underside is dry as a bone. There is no discernable smoke on start-up or in motion. Power and gas mileage is great. The compression is within norms.

    The dealer conducted some form of test and removed / replace valve in the crankcase - they said it was out of spec and sucking up to much oil. This did not solve the problem. The dealership now has me using 10-60 M3 High Performance Motor Oil. They are trying to go the cheap route and not teardown the Engine.

    I think I have a problem within the Engine -i.e. rings , valve guides, etc.

    If what i believe is right - what can be fixed first without too much fuss and money, Or should I just have them tear the Engine down and put in new valve guides, rings, etc.

    The car runs great otherwise - it's very annoying to put oil in the car every 1000 miles. If it was every 3000-5000 miles then I would have no problems, but this is a BMW - it's supposedly engineered to go 300K - having this happen at 117K is bothersome to say the least.

    Looking forward to your help.


    Manny Mateus :confuse:
  • Well GEESH, someone has to do a cylinder leakdown test and then you'll have good quantitative data and some data for making the right decision.
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