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Thread: Over-filled engine with Motor Oil

  1. #1
    *Flashaholic* Burgess's Avatar
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    Christo Pull Hair Over-filled engine with Motor Oil

    Hello fellow CPF'ers --


    Have a 1995 Ford Explorer, with 4.0 Litre V-6 gasoline engine. Low Mileage.


    Due to a mis-communication ( ),

    this crankcase was accidently over-filled with 1 Quart too much motor oil.


    Is this a Serious Problem ? ? ?


    Should i take it somewhere, and get it pumped out ?


    Or can i just " Live with it " ?


    Drove it 25 miles already, and i've detected " No Noticeable Problems ".



    Thank you to everyone, for any answers & assistance you can provide.


    _

  2. #2

    Default Re: Over-filled engine with Motor Oil

    Not a serious problem, but if it were me, I would pull the drain plug and drain approximately one quart out. Kind of hard to guess a how much a quart is, but keep checking the dipstick.

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    Flashaholic* gswitter's Avatar
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    Default Re: Over-filled engine with Motor Oil

    How many quarts does it normally take?

    My car has an engine that is spec'ed to consume up to a quart of oil every 1K miles. It takes 4.25 quarts but I generally add a half to three quarters of a quart extra at oil changes to account for the consumption. It's never caused any problems. The engine has 185K on it now.



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    Default Re: Over-filled engine with Motor Oil

    My understanding is the biggest hazard from overfilling oil is the crankshaft slapping against oil where there normally shouldn't be oil.

    With 25 miles down you may be okay, unless a hill shifts enough oil to one side to get that "slap" - then bye bye crankshaft.

    There could be other hazards I'm unaware of.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Over-filled engine with Motor Oil

    You could very easily take it to any service station where they should be able to just take off the drain plug and let it drain to the correct level.

    If you haven't noticed any problems, there's probably been no damage to the engine. Soaking the crankshaft a little bit won't make the engine happy, but it won't immediately damage anything either. If your oil pressure is looking too high, or you see any black smoke in the exhaust, then I would get it looked at immediately before driving again.

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    Flashaholic* lctorana's Avatar
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    Default Re: Over-filled engine with Motor Oil

    About 25 years ago, I overfilled the sump my sister's Ford Escort. I have never seen that much smoke in my life.

    Check the dipstick. It shouldn't read much more than the "full" mark, if it does, drain some out.

  7. #7
    Flashaholic* EngrPaul's Avatar
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    Default Re: Over-filled engine with Motor Oil

    It would be bad if you drove the car hard with this condition. The crankshaft could slap the top of the oil and create lots of bubbles, and then the oil pump woudn't be as effective as it should be because it's meant to pump liquid, not air. Chances are an extra quart didn't cause any damage.

    You should drain the excess oil through the drain plug... which can be tricky to stop without being messy. You can also drain it all and refil with the proper amount of oil. You would be filling with less oil than usual without the filter change, usually the owner's manual tells you both capacities (with and without an oil filter change).

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    Default Re: Over-filled engine with Motor Oil

    You could probably drain about a quart out through the drain plug without too much problem - just use rubber gloves and have an oil change drain pan or container. OR you could just change the oil filter which usually holds almost a quart of oil in it. Just put a new one on with out adding any oil and then run the engine for a minute and recheck your oil level. Should be close to right then.
    There is no important work, there are only a series of moments to demonstrate your mastery and impeccability. Almine

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    Flashaholic* QtrHorse's Avatar
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    Default Re: Over-filled engine with Motor Oil

    That motor should take 5 quarts of oil.

    Have you checked the dipstick level to be sure it is overfilled?

    If it were me and one extra quart of oil was actually added, I would get it drained. As already stated, the real problem is going to be possible aeriation of the oil which can cause problems.

    You could do as Matrixshaman advised and just remove the oil filter if it is on the side of the motor. They do normally hold .5-1 quart of oil.

    Just take it down to your local Walmart and have them do another oil change for $30. If you take it to a mechanic, they are going to charge you at least that much just to drain one quart.

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    Flashaholic* Search's Avatar
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    Default Re: Over-filled engine with Motor Oil

    1) Drain all oil.

    2) Buy more oil (The correct amount).

    3) Mulligan.

    4) Learn from mistake.



    I have a better one.

    Was getting ready to take my Mustang to the beach. I changed the oil and was going to weld a small exhaust leak on one of the manifolds. Well, I had it jacked up in the driveway and was fixing to go underneath to try and pinpoint the small hole.

    Well, it slid off of the frame and went into the oil pan, destroying the oil pan, and releasing all of my oil onto the driveway.

    A tow, a pulled engine, a new oil pan, new oil, and a new manifold later I learned to not trust a faulty transmission and a hill.


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    Default Re: Over-filled engine with Motor Oil

    Quote Originally Posted by Search View Post
    1) Drain all oil.

    2) Buy more oil (The correct amount).

    3) Mulligan.

    4) Learn from mistake.



    I have a better one.

    Was getting ready to take my Mustang to the beach. I changed the oil and was going to weld a small exhaust leak on one of the manifolds. Well, I had it jacked up in the driveway and was fixing to go underneath to try and pinpoint the small hole.

    Well, it slid off of the frame and went into the oil pan, destroying the oil pan, and releasing all of my oil onto the driveway.

    A tow, a pulled engine, a new oil pan, new oil, and a new manifold later I learned to not trust a faulty transmission and a hill.
    there is sooo much bad info in the thread its a wonder some even have cars that run. the above idea is the best idea.
    And Teeming With Souls Shall It Ever Be.
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    *Flashaholic* Burgess's Avatar
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    Default Re: Over-filled engine with Motor Oil

    Thank you, everyone !


    Yes, i get the picture.


    Ford probably had a Pretty Good Reason

    for putting those markings on the Oil Dipstick.


    I will get this issue resolved.




    _

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    Default Re: Over-filled engine with Motor Oil

    Everyone says a filter holds 1/2 to 1 qt oil. There's no way that's even close to true except on some of the really old filters that were HUGE.

    Look at the outside size... Most modern filters will wholly fit inside a 1 cup measuring cup.

    But, to specifically answer the initial post:

    Drain it back down to the proper level. Bubbles can be introduced into the oil, which will hamper pumping efficiency and oil pressure.

    Furthermore, more oil will be aerosolized (turned into an oil mist) and will have bad effects on your pcv system. To be safe, I'd change my pcv valve when this is fixed.

    Try not to rev too high till you get this fixed.

    rechanging oil = cheap
    shortened engine life = not cheap
    This is your life, and it's ending one minute at a time.
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    Default Re: Over-filled engine with Motor Oil

    Quote Originally Posted by turbodog View Post
    Everyone says a filter holds 1/2 to 1 qt oil. There's no way that's even close to true except on some of the really old filters that were HUGE.

    Look at the outside size... Most modern filters will wholly fit inside a 1 cup measuring cup.
    Not trying to start a arguement over how much a oil filter holds but take a walk down most any autoparts oil filter isle and look at the size of most oil filters.

    There are many that will hold less than .5 quarts but there are many that will hold closer to one quart.

    I don't believe I have ever seen a oil filter that fits inside a 1 cup measuring device. Maybe a Smart car or a three cylinder but a 1 cup measuing device is tiny.
    Last edited by QtrHorse; 09-14-2009 at 08:41 AM.

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    Default Re: Over-filled engine with Motor Oil

    Just a couple of comments

    Unless the engine is a dry sump system, ( it's not ) the crankshaft is already dipping into the oil in the oil pan.

    If it is grossly overfilled with oil, there is the possibility of getting oil into the combustion chamber resulting in a lot of smoke.

    One extra quart of oil will probably result in a oil level increase of maybe 1/4 to 1/2 inch

    Once an engine is running, there is a lot of oil running through the upper part of the engine, in the heads and in other areas.

    The PCV valve is designed to work with oil vapor, it is supposed to recycle the air in the engine and burn off any vapors by introducing it back into the fuel intake system.

    It's possible that the throttle body might have to be cleaned due to an excess of oil vapor.

    to be safe - consider this a rinse out, get an oil change and refill with the correct amount of oil.

    ANY time you work on a car in the drive way - put blocks by one of the wheels that is still on the ground.

    Don't rely on the emergency brake to prevent the car from rolling

    NEVER go under a car supported only by a jack. add a jack stand, or a cinder block ( not the best choice )
    Now I can see the darkness .

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    Default Re: Over-filled engine with Motor Oil

    Quote Originally Posted by will
    NEVER go under a car supported only by a jack. add a jack stand, or a cinder block ( not the best choice )
    Never. Not ever. Jacks are for lifting the car, not supporting it.

    We were notified of a fatality last year; a man was killed when under his car supported by jacks.

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    Flashaholic* Search's Avatar
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    Default Re: Over-filled engine with Motor Oil

    Quote Originally Posted by mossyoak View Post
    there is sooo much bad info in the thread its a wonder some even have cars that run. the above idea is the best idea.
    I hope that isn't sarcasm

    I've learned many times over that sometimes the best solution to a problem is to take everything back to square one and start over.


  18. #18
    Flashaholic* RA40's Avatar
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    Default Re: Over-filled engine with Motor Oil

    There are different ways to achieve the end result. For accuracy sake, I would completely drain and refill to the manufacturers spec. What oil is in the filter is of minor significance as it is usually a small amount. Even if they change the filter, a typical oil service outside the dealer is ~$25. Money well spent.
    Mike

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    Default Re: Over-filled engine with Motor Oil

    It's a Ford, it's probably burned up that extra quart in the first 10 miles.

    Seriously though, how do you know it's overfilled? Have you checked the dipstick? If it's not showing above full, i wouldn't worry about it. Even if it was one quart over, an SUV like that probably hold 6 quarts or so, one extra quart won't kill it. If it makes you feel better you can drain a quart, but personally I wouldn't lose much sleep over it.
    Last edited by InTheDark; 09-14-2009 at 12:04 AM.

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    Default Re: Over-filled engine with Motor Oil

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    Default Re: Over-filled engine with Motor Oil

    The biggest danger to overfilling the crankcase with oil (aside from crankshaft damage? never heard of that before) is that the crankshaft will whip the oil into a foam (like Cool Whip, only not white), which will then fill the crankcase, and get sucked into the vacuum hoses through the crankcase ventilation system which is supposed to just suck burned oil fumes. Filling the vacuum hoses with oil foam can turn one-way valves into no-way valves, which can cause all kinds of secondary problems including but not limited to sensor contamination, sparkplug fouling, and loss of vacuum-assisted power brakes. It sounds extreme and most of it is, but it's still possible. Better to drain the oil and not take any chances.

  22. #22
    Flashaholic* LukeA's Avatar
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    Default Re: Over-filled engine with Motor Oil

    Quote Originally Posted by Search View Post
    1) Drain all oil.

    2) Buy more oil (The correct amount).

    3) Mulligan.

    4) Learn from mistake.



    I have a better one.

    Was getting ready to take my Mustang to the beach. I changed the oil and was going to weld a small exhaust leak on one of the manifolds. Well, I had it jacked up in the driveway and was fixing to go underneath to try and pinpoint the small hole.

    Well, it slid off of the frame and went into the oil pan, destroying the oil pan, and releasing all of my oil onto the driveway.

    A tow, a pulled engine, a new oil pan, new oil, and a new manifold later I learned to not trust a faulty transmission and a hill.
    1. You were attempting this on a non-level surface.
    2. You were only using the jack to support the vehicle, not jack stands.
    3. You didn't chock the wheels.

    It also doesn't sound like you had anything wider than your head under the frame, like the wheels, which is typically a good idea.

  23. #23
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    Default Re: Over-filled engine with Motor Oil

    oil foaming is the only real problem, and it usually takes more than a quart to cause that. The oil pump can suck in the bubbles and lose prime, if it's a priority-main system you'll likely spin a rod bearing. Most modern engines have windage trays that prevent foaming, but with enough oil anything is possible.


    my ex's friend kept seeing the oil light on her mid 90's Intrepid so her husband kept adding a quart of oil at a time.. every couple days. Finally they called me when it wouldn't run anymore. I drained more than 2 gallons of oil out of it to get the level back to normal on the dipstick. All the plugs were fowled, compression test showed about 30 PSI in each cyl.

    i cleaned the plugs and with a can of starting fluid managed to get it running again.. it smoked like a train for a week after that. Once it stopped smoking they traded it in.. haha
    If it ain't bright, It ain't right!

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    Flashaholic* mossyoak's Avatar
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    Default Re: Over-filled engine with Motor Oil

    Quote Originally Posted by Search View Post
    I hope that isn't sarcasm

    I've learned many times over that sometimes the best solution to a problem is to take everything back to square one and start over.
    no im serious, because its not exactly easy to put a drainplug back on wheile oil is coming out at quart every 10 seconds. and an oil filter doesnt hold a quart and itll leak out oil faster than the drainplug
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    Default Re: Over-filled engine with Motor Oil

    I don't know about anyone else, but it is really hard to pull an oil drain plug and put it back on with oil flowing out - especially if you want a good seal. If you decide to go down this path, I would just drain it all, clean up the surfaces, close up the plug, and starting filling from the top again with the same oil. (not as much this time )

    Another path would be to just drop a line down the oil fill tube and suck some out. There are kits for doing this if you like that route, or a creative person can make a siphon with about 10 ft of 1/4 in plastic tubing. If too much oil comes out into the catch pan, you can always put some back in.

    Some oil change places just pump it out from the top of the tube as well, and you might convince one to take out "some" oil if they are not busy and you hand the right guy $ 10.
    Last edited by HarryN; 09-14-2009 at 03:36 PM.
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    Flashaholic* Search's Avatar
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    Default Re: Over-filled engine with Motor Oil

    Quote Originally Posted by LukeA View Post
    1. You were attempting this on a non-level surface.
    2. You were only using the jack to support the vehicle, not jack stands.
    3. You didn't chock the wheels.

    It also doesn't sound like you had anything wider than your head under the frame, like the wheels, which is typically a good idea.
    I was in the process of jacking it up. The transmission had gone out and I was on a VERY slight decline.

    It came out of gear (the second time in a few months) and even though the E-brake was pulled it shifted just enough (a very little) to cause the stand to slip.

    It was covered in oil from a previous adventure which I wasn't a part of which added to the slip.


    I'm not an idiot, my number was just called for one of those stupid moments that no one believes wasn't my fault


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    Default Re: Over-filled engine with Motor Oil

    Quote Originally Posted by mossyoak View Post
    no im serious, because its not exactly easy to put a drainplug back on wheile oil is coming out at quart every 10 seconds. and an oil filter doesnt hold a quart and itll leak out oil faster than the drainplug
    It is hard to drain a small amount of oil and then install the drain plug back without getting messy. It is honestly not worth the trouble.

    My oil filter holds just a tad more than a quart of oil after the motor has pumped it full of oil.

  28. #28
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    Default Re: Over-filled engine with Motor Oil

    Have you checked the dipstick yet? In my experience it always take more than the spec'ed amount to reach the full mark, so plus the trapped oil in filter you actually may or may not need redo the oil.

    Quote Originally Posted by QtrHorse View Post
    It is hard to drain a small amount of oil and then install the drain plug back without getting messy. It is honestly not worth the trouble.

    My oil filter holds just a tad more than a quart of oil after the motor has pumped it full of oil.
    Well in that situation you don't actually take the plug out. You unscrew it all the way but hold it there, then open it a bit like a hinged cap, position your hand so oil doesn't run down your arm.

  29. #29
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    Default Re: Over-filled engine with Motor Oil

    Quote Originally Posted by jzmtl
    ...position your hand so oil doesn't run down your arm.
    bet you learned that the hard way

  30. #30
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    Naughty Re: Over-filled engine with Motor Oil

    Quote Originally Posted by Search View Post
    I was in the process of jacking it up. The transmission had gone out and I was on a VERY slight decline.

    It came out of gear (the second time in a few months) and even though the E-brake was pulled it shifted just enough (a very little) to cause the stand to slip.

    It was covered in oil from a previous adventure which I wasn't a part of which added to the slip.


    I'm not an idiot, my number was just called for one of those stupid moments that no one believes wasn't my fault
    Just glad you weren't hurt or killed. Get ya some good wheel chocks too, very important. I'm so paranoid I leave the jack under even when its on stands. The only thing I completely trust is a good set of ramps.
    Reality is usually scoffed at and illusion is usually king. But in the battle for survival of western civilization it will be reality and not illusion or delusion that determines what the future will bring.

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