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Using Oil?

This is a discussion on Using Oil? within the General Help forums, part of the LSx Technical Help Section category; I've checked my oil twice in the last month and everything seemed to be okay. BUT... On Monday, when I ...

  1. #1
    Senior Member Naaman's Avatar
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    Using Oil?

    I've checked my oil twice in the last month and everything seemed to be okay. BUT... On Monday, when I pulled onto the street from my garage, my low oil light came on. When I checked the dipstick at that point, I pulled it out, wiped it off, dipped it back in and pulled it out again. The oil was all the way up into the operating range, but when I flipped it over, the other side of the dipstick was in the "add" section. I got under the car and there don't appear to be any leaks other than maybe some oil residue on the filter that seems to be dripping from the seal. It is a very light coat.

    In any case, if the car is burning oil, how do I know when and how much oil to put in? I use the car for a 110-mile commute a few times a week. Should I base it on mileage? After about 3000 miles, it was 1 to 1.5 quarts low (I added some Penzoil platinum that I had lying around and the oil light went off.

    People throw around the phrase "a quart low" all the time, but, if I'm using/burning oil, do I really want to wait that long before topping it off? Considering the problem I had with the last engine (oil sneaking out somehow without a single symptom), I'm quite paranoid about letting the oil be low in this engine.

    So what do you do when you have a car that burns oil? Just check it each week? Each day?

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    Do you have a catch can? If not, that is the first thing to do as the PCV system is notorious for sucking oil on these engines.

    I would also check the oil a few times over the next week or so to ensure that the level remains consistent. Make sure the engine is allowed to set a while so the oil can drain back to the pan before you check it.

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    Moderator Firebirdjones's Avatar
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    Sounds like you'll just have to get into the habit of checking the oil frequently.

    Back in the day when we had real gas stations (we called them service stations) it was normal to check it while filling up. Today I don't have anything that uses oil between changes, yet I still find myself checking them frequently, just force of habit.
    Last edited by Firebirdjones; 05-04-2016 at 05:37 AM.
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    I previously worked at one of those so called "service stations". When the bell rang I would run out to the pumps. Check the oil, wash the windshield and eyeball the tires as I pumped gas.

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    Moderator Firebirdjones's Avatar
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    That's awesome. Boy the sounds we used to hear that I miss. I remember the bells. Now it's a novelty item. There is at least one company I've seen recently that sells service bell kits for your garage. They were at BJ this past January. I had to walk over and stomp on the hose a couple times and smile.
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    Spaz is My Mentor SMWS6TA's Avatar
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    Does Jersey still require an attendant to pump your gas?

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    Moderator Firebirdjones's Avatar
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    I know Oregon does. Or maybe it's Washington state, I can't remember which one I drove through now that wouldn't let me pump gas.

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    Moderator 35th-ANV-SS's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SMWS6TA View Post
    Does Jersey still require an attendant to pump your gas?
    Yes.
    It's on jackstands.

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    Moderator 35th-ANV-SS's Avatar
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    Are you putting in the correct amount during the oil change?

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    Senior Member Naaman's Avatar
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    This will be my first oil change since the build... 3,000 miles over the last 12 months. Sean says 6 to 6.5 quarts.

    But if it is using oil, when should I add? Just wait for the dipstick to indicate a low level? Is it safe to run it down to a quart low before adding?
    Last edited by Naaman; 05-04-2016 at 06:10 PM.

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    Senior Member Naaman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pajeff02 View Post
    Do you have a catch can? If not, that is the first thing to do as the PCV system is notorious for sucking oil on these engines.

    I would also check the oil a few times over the next week or so to ensure that the level remains consistent. Make sure the engine is allowed to set a while so the oil can drain back to the pan before you check it.
    Oh, yeah, a catch can! I'll have to look for some tutorials on installation.
    Lid, Throttle Body, LS6 Intake, Heads, Cam, Magnaflow, LS7 Clutch, SFCs, STB, Panhard Bar, Strano Springs, Hollow Sway Bars, Poly/Roto LCAs, Konis, MGW Shifter

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    Moderator 35th-ANV-SS's Avatar
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    I think a better question is, why is a brand new motor burning oil. Sounds like an assembly issue by the builder.

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    Senior Member Naaman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 35th-ANV-SS View Post
    I think a better question is, why is a brand new motor burning oil. Sounds like an assembly issue by the builder.
    It's not "brand new," unless you just mean the build. It had 68k on it when it went into the car (and was 15 years old), though the heads and cam were swapped out prior to installation. It has some supporting mods, too (Melling oil pump, LS2 timing chain, etc.)

    I did contact the builder. He said he wants to look at it. So its just a matter of coordinating our schedules at this point.

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    Moderator Firebirdjones's Avatar
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    68,000 miles isn't a lot. However a lot of these LS engines have a history of some form of oil usage issues in stock form. Not all, but a lot. Piston slap, although considered normal if you asked GM, isn't something that is normal in my book. Even mild forms of it causes ring control issues, generally some oil usage is one result of that. Mild blow by for instance.

    They also have a horrible PCV design that sucks oil in through the intake manifold. All the catch can does is stop it from entering the intake, but it doesn't solve the real issue of the PCV sucking oil.

    Chances are you have one or both of these issues going on. I wouldn't see it as a cause for alarm but it certainly is a bit excessive in my opinion if I saw a quart missing after 3,000 miles. GM calls that normal too, lol. I don't see it that way. Personally I'd be looking for the cause and rectify it.

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    Spaz is My Mentor SMWS6TA's Avatar
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    LS6 Valley Cover Tray mod will help with the pcv oil consumption.

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    Senior Member Naaman's Avatar
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    Fresh oil and filter in. I bought 7 quarts, and put in 6 per Sean's instructions. I'll keep the 7th one in case I need to add.

    IMG_20160505_085216.jpg

    Here's what I saw on the old one (my finger smudged the "residue" in the middle).

    IMG_20160503_082321.jpg

    IMG_20160503_082831.jpg

    It was sure nice to do something to my car myself. It's been quite a while...

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    Senior Member Naaman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SMWS6TA View Post
    LS6 Valley Cover Tray mod will help with the pcv oil consumption.
    The engine in her now is out of a 2001 Trans Am... doesn't it already have the LS6 stuff? Or is that an aftermarket solution?

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    Senior Member Naaman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Firebirdjones View Post
    68,000 miles isn't a lot. However a lot of these LS engines have a history of some form of oil usage issues in stock form. Not all, but a lot. Piston slap, although considered normal if you asked GM, isn't something that is normal in my book. Even mild forms of it causes ring control issues, generally some oil usage is one result of that. Mild blow by for instance.

    They also have a horrible PCV design that sucks oil in through the intake manifold. All the catch can does is stop it from entering the intake, but it doesn't solve the real issue of the PCV sucking oil.

    Chances are you have one or both of these issues going on. I wouldn't see it as a cause for alarm but it certainly is a bit excessive in my opinion if I saw a quart missing after 3,000 miles. GM calls that normal too, lol. I don't see it that way. Personally I'd be looking for the cause and rectify it.
    Does the catch can not re-route the oil back to the pan? Or does it just hold onto it?

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    Catch can mounts between the vent hose and PCV valve that is located on the passenger side of the intake manifold. It simply collects whatever oil is sucked into the system and prevents it from entering your intake manifold. It also provides easy monitoring of the oil drawn into the system. After a day at the track running multiple WOT passes, I usually have an ounce or less of oil in our catch can. Street driving the car results in less and I generally only check it before and after track days.

  20. #20
    Moderator Firebirdjones's Avatar
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    Jeff described it perfectly. They simply catch the oil before it enters the intake. So technically speaking the engine would still be low on oil in relation to what ever the catch can grabs. Usually 2-3 ounces between 6,000 mile oil changes is what I've seen on most LS engines.

    The LS6 valley and PCV system is a much better design and solves most of this issue. They still pull some oil but not nearly as bad. I never had a catch can on my Z06 but others I've talked to explained to me the amount was minimal.

    The only LS based engine I never had a PCV oil issue with is the 2004 6.0 truck engine I used in my 72 blazer. It was all bone stock. I installed a catch can on it for about a year and it never had a drop of oil in it so I removed the catch can after that. That engine even with 100,000 miles on it never used a drop of oil between oil changes. I was pretty impressed with that engine.

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