Mystery intermittent oil consumption

Discussion in '1st Gen - 1997 - 2002' started by and0r, Mar 12, 2018.

  1. and0r

    and0r Full Access Members

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    The front crossmember of the frame is always wet with shiny oil, suggesting oil is leaking somewhere, however there is never any oil dripping. I have my own concrete parking space with no stains. I never get around to lifting the front and inspecting underneath.

    But the oil consumption is real, very real.
    The worse I measured it was one quart per 1000 miles.
    Now the oil consumption is absolutely zero. Not a drop.

    What could it be?
    Yes I'm measuring the oil right. I've drained and changed it several times now.

    I'm thinking some pops out when I push the engine hard, or perhaps some gets past piston rings at higher RPM, but this doesn't explain why the consumption has totally halted.

    I also checked some of the forward spark plugs and damn, they are original and clean.
    The factory dialectric grease on the boots its crystaline from the 90s, and the blue printing on the OEM plugs looks like an older, larger font. Like something from the 80s/90s

    Totally clean. And the exaust smells like hot steam after she warms up, like immaculate catalytic converter would.
    I'm happy :)
     
  2. 1997SCEBFEX

    1997SCEBFEX Full Access Members

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    if you're finding "fresh" oil on the cross member perhaps it's being pushed from the air when driving, so in actuality a leak way up in front, i.e. oil pan or valve cover gaskets?

    Trust you didn't spill any during your last oil change and this is just residual making it's way down with gravity's help?

    suggest a very thorough wipe down and periodic checks. sometimes I like to look after dark with a high intensity light that reveals "surprises."

    let us know what you find.
     
  3. 1955moose

    1955moose Full Access Members

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    As far as your wet cross member, if your leak is like mine its one of the valve cover gaskets. Wind and time makes its way south. Some day when I want to mess up a perfectly running, no coolant leaking, slight oil leaking Suv, I'll throw on a new gasket. Piston and piston ring seal is a funny thing. In most cases all 8 should seal perfectly, and oil rings should hold back oil. Problem is, depending on how your motor was driven the first 200 miles is and was so critical. If rings can't seat properly into their respective bores, you'll have a oil burner the whole life of vehicle. If you have a rebuilt motor in your expy, its even worse. I've found that non Ford parts, especially rings and camshafts, are very tough to get right. Whenever I honed cylinders myself with a ball hone that was made to hone cylinders, sometimes I'd get a oil consumer. When I had a machine shop bore, and use their sunnen professional hone, never an issue. As far as the oil stopped consuming, my guess is your piston rings have rotated slightly as they do, and their ends are aligned better, for now, giving a better oil ring seal.

    Sent from my N9131 using Tapatalk
     
  4. and0r

    and0r Full Access Members

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    By all logical conclusion, it has to be spilling out on the road - but only as I drive.
     
  5. Brooks Moorhead

    Brooks Moorhead Member

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    There is a gasket located at the oil filter adapter that may form a leak. It may only leak when pressurized. Getting to it and changing can be tricky. A new gasket will cost about $20 but labor will run high if you take it to the shop.
     
  6. 1955moose

    1955moose Full Access Members

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    Well if you suspect a leaky seal or gasket. Definitely repair it. Problem is a gasket or seal has to be a huge leak to see oil consumption. A small consistent leak like a v/c gasket, or a seal leak, would have to be pretty consistent to use oil. If your undercarriage is a mess then its possible. But most oil burning is rings, or valve guides/seals. Occasionally a malfunctioning pcv system will cause consumption, but its rare.

    Sent from my N9131 using Tapatalk
     
  7. deweysmith

    deweysmith Full Access Members

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    My 2012 does exactly this and I haven't bothered to figure it out.

    You're losing a lot more oil than me, though. My dipstick barely changes.
     

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