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OIL Problem ..... ouch

This is a discussion on OIL Problem ..... ouch within the V6 forums, part of the Vehicle Specific category; Ok, my oil pressure sending unit got broken but was still hanging there. Now here's what happened. Today driving, I ...

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    Burgandy
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    Unhappy OIL Problem ..... ouch

    Ok, my oil pressure sending unit got broken but was still hanging there. Now here's what happened. Today driving, I pulled out from a stop sign, it felt like I spun the wheels. I went to the next stop and pulled out from the light, which I noticed smoke behind the car. At the next light I noticed the same thing. Now I had checked the oil yesterday and it was full. But when I left from work tonite my low oil psi light popped on and I pulled in at a store and checked the oil. It was out, none to be found. I bought 4 qrts and put 3 of them in, checked the dipstick and began driving the car home ( 11 miles from work to house ), when I almost got home ( 3 miles away ) I noticed a ticking sound coming from the motor. I babied the car the entire way home since I didn't know where the oil was coming from, all I knew was that as I was pouring it in it wasn't running out. But now I have a ticking sound at idle and ticks faster when giving the engine gas. Here's my question: knowing that no oil psi or oil being present is the worst nightmare you can have could I have possibly just ruined the lifters or could it be a bearing problem and the motor is now junk? I'm trying to decide on what I'm going to do, buy lifters, rods, and intake gasket kit and just do that portion or am I looking at either motor rebuild or engine swap?

    When I got home I did go and look to see if I could find where oil was coming from and I did notice that it looks like oil was shooting out the top of the oil pressure sending unit. I have oil everywhere in engine compartment across from where the sending unit is located. I know I've been debating on what to do and my wife says buy the parts see what happens. Any suggestions?

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    Moderator 35th-ANV-SS's Avatar
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    Is the sound coming from the top of the motor or the bottom? Probably a stuck lifter since you had no oil. Once you fixed the sending unit and put oil in, did the tick go away? Or have you not done that yet?

    I would not just buy parts without knowing what the problem is. You would be wasting money.

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    It was almost 8pm when I got home and dark, so I just used a flashlight to try and see where the oil was coming from. It did sound like it was coming from the top but I'm gonna listen to it again in the morning when I put oil in again so I can see where the leak is def at. No sending unit has not been replaced yet, thats on the list thats gonna get done. And I haven't added oil since I put some in on the way home from work. So the noise developed after I had added oil. It really sounds like a lifter tick rather than a bearing knock, it has that high ping sound.

    And wasting money is my point with it also. Rather not waste $150 on the parts or $500 on an engine if don't need be. But this is my daily driving so trying to figure out options or best route.

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    Moderator 35th-ANV-SS's Avatar
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    Understood. I would just start with the sending unit replacement first, then go from there. You added oil, but mentioned it was leaking out pretty bad which to me would mean it was low again when you listened to it.

    You could also drop the oil pan and have a look if you're concerned about it being a spun bearing. If it is that, be prepared to also look at replacing the crank.

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    I think what I'll try and do is shoot a video and post it so you can actually hear the sound. But yea I didn't recheck the oil once I got home. So not sure how much is actually in there. From the way the drivers side engine compartment looks I'd say not much and I think that can explain why I felt like I was spinning my tires when pulling out. But I'll stick my mechanical gauge on, have the fitting and tubing for it and add oil to see what happens.
    Last edited by cRacKy34610; 10-23-2012 at 09:24 PM.

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    Burgandy
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    Will the oil pan slide out with out lifing the motor or am I gonna have to raise the engine a couple inches?

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    Moderator 35th-ANV-SS's Avatar
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    I believe the motor mount will be in the way on your motor, so you'll have to raise the motor to pull it. I could be wrong though.

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    This is the 3.4L and the oil psi sending unit is located right by the oil filter, and yea I know the intake is a 2 piece since I just replaced the intake gaskets a couple months ago.

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    Quote Originally Posted by cRacKy34610 View Post
    This is the 3.4L and the oil psi sending unit is located right by the oil filter, and yea I know the intake is a 2 piece since I just replaced the intake gaskets a couple months ago.
    Okay,, it helps to state your engine type in the first post when asking about engine problems..

    Anyways. The 3.4 uses the old style bottom mounted (in pan) oil pump.

    Either way no oil = dead engine or soon to be dead.

    The whole engine needs pulled apart to determine the extent of damage.

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    In other words when the sending unit broke and allowed presurized oil to escape, the oil pump pumped the engine dry in about a minute.

    With no oil to curculate, the bearing surfaces started seeing immediate damage.

    It does'nt matter if you drove it 1 mile or 10 after the oil was gone.

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    Quote Originally Posted by cRacKy34610 View Post
    Will the oil pan slide out with out lifing the motor or am I gonna have to raise the engine a couple inches?
    No it will not slide out.

    The oil pump and pickup will hinder any sliding.

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    Sorry bout that, was 12 am and tired, thought I had that info in there. But yes I do agree with you with needing to check everything due to the lack of oil, just trying to determine where the sound is and not have to do everything since this is my daily driver.

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    That's okay we don't get questions about 3.4's as much as 3800's.

    Little my fault too for not looking @ your info on the left side there.

    Okay, well, if you want to start somewhere start with your top end still could be a crushed lifter.

    The thing is though, I know you could'nt help it but the engine ran dry for a bit which is usually fatal to other areas of your engines internals.

    If I had to put it to numbers I'd have to say you have a 25% chance there only damage to your top end.

    You may have been lucky in that your oil galley lay out feeds the crank separately from the top end gallies.

    Now with that said,, when you started losing oil from your sender you still had oil pressure @ the crank for a short while longer than the top end.

    However once the crank case ran dry, that was it as you can imagine.

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    A little more in depth explanation as to what happens inside your particular engine (and all early 60 degree v6's) when the oil stops flowing.

    Under your cam shaft and above your crank lies an oil galley within your block.

    This galley feeds the main journals of your crank and the cam bearings first since these areas are under constant presure even when the engine is not running.

    This is caused from some of the valve springs always pushing down on the cam shaft, and the mains from the sheer weight of your crank.

    When this galley runs dry your cam bearings lose oil first, but some will remain for a short time pooled above the main journal feeds.

    Unfortunately though, that does'nt do the connecting rod bearings, cam bearings, or lifters any good,

    even for a short while without oil pressure because they lose oil @ the same time as the pan runs dry.

    Meanwhile the top end is self destructing and very shortly so goes the bottm end.

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    well here's what a neighbor I did this morning, removed broken switch, installed my oil psi tester, poured in 1/2 bottle of lucas that I had and about 4 qrts of oil. Started the engine, and no noise. Ran the engine for awhile (fan came on 3 times) and didn't have anything other than normal 3.4L engine sounds. Took the car out for a ride around the block which comes to about 1.5 miles. Did not baby it but did not beat the crap outa it (ran rpms up to 4K), and still nothing but normal engine noise. Could I have gotten lucky or give it a couple days to see if anything develops? Oil psi was 80 at start-up (engine cold) when the engine fan came on oil psi was about 17 at idle.

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    Quote Originally Posted by cRacKy34610 View Post
    well here's what a neighbor I did this morning, removed broken switch, installed my oil psi tester, poured in 1/2 bottle of lucas that I had and about 4 qrts of oil. Started the engine, and no noise. Ran the engine for awhile (fan came on 3 times) and didn't have anything other than normal 3.4L engine sounds. Took the car out for a ride around the block which comes to about 1.5 miles. Did not baby it but did not beat the crap outa it (ran rpms up to 4K), and still nothing but normal engine noise. Could I have gotten lucky or give it a couple days to see if anything develops? Oil psi was 80 at start-up (engine cold) when the engine fan came on oil psi was about 17 at idle.
    You DID get lucky! Run the engine for the day (take it easy though) or a bit then change the oil and filter.

    Just to be sure everything is cleared and there's no metal floating around..

    Inspect your filter for any metal flakes or filing sludge.

    I'd say you got very lucky. Finding the problem early is what likely saved your engine here..

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    17 at idle sounds low

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    Quote Originally Posted by GTP231 View Post
    17 at idle sounds low
    It does but the guages in these cars suck.

    May have been hot too. At least that's what I'm thinking if his fans came on at idle.

    80 psi cold is about normal also.
    Last edited by Smittro; 11-05-2012 at 04:01 PM.

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    17 was a guesstamat .... it was just under 20 at idle after idling for about 40 or so minutes and 1 quart low. So the fans came on after the engine was warmed up. Currently nothing has been found in the oil (yet and knock on wood) and when it was cold at first start up after sitting all night the oil pressure on the guage was at 80, that's using a real gauge and not going by what is in the car. That guage (car) shows almost 80 (about 70-75) when the cold engine is started up and about 20 - 25 when sitting at idle with the engine warm. Driving down the road it fluctuates but stays up around 60 psi on the gauge in the car. So far there hasn't been any abnormal sounds coming from the engine. It actually doesn't make to much noise. I had replaced the intake gaskets not to long ago and sounds the same as when that was completed. So as for the fans coming on .... that's after sitting idling and having the engine reved by hand a bit for 40 mins or so. And from what I remember as a rule of thumb, its 10 psi for every 1k of rpm so in reality if that's correct, 17 -20 psi at idle would actually be ok. I could be wrong.

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    also for the most part I've taken it easy, I did spin the tires a couple days ago for the first time and there have been a couple times where I've reved it up to around 4 grand (recently), otherwise for the first couple days afterwards and for the most part of driving it any other time I only would take the rpms up to around 2500 - 3000. I drive the car daily, 11 miles to work and another 11 back. So since I first posted about what happened I've put over 100 miles on it and like I said knock on wood there hasn't been anything happening as far as noise or loss of power.

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