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Thread: no oil, not muffler!

  1. #1
    DonTom
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    no oil, not muffler!

    This problem is repaired, but some might find it interesting.

    Our 1999 Mustang (90,000 miles) started to sound like it needed a new muffler. But when I started it this morning, I also noticed some new noise that sounded like it was coming from the hydraulic lifters. First, I checked the oil pressure gauge while running at idle, and it showed normal, perfect middle of scale, as usual.

    So then, I stopped the engine, waited a few minutes and checked the oil on the dipstick and it showed NONE! Not a drop on the dipstick! The last time the oil was checked was just last week and this car never eats any noticeable amount of oil. I then looked under the car with engine running and saw drips of oil dripping out of the MotorCraft FL400S oil filter near the top on the side of the "can". There was a small crack there! Perhaps hit by a rock--I have no idea.

    I went to the local Kragan AuotParts store and purchased a Fram TG-3600 (the TG's are not as junky as other Frams). I changed the filter to this Fram and had to add five full quarts (total oil capacity is only 5.5 quarts!). Engine is now nice and quiet, no longer sounds like a hole in the muffler. I hope no permanent damage has been done, but I am rather surprised that it only takes a half quart of oil to run this engine and even with a normal oil pressure gauge reading. I take it I found this problem in the last mile or so before being stuck with a frozen engine!

    Any comments?

    -Don-

  2. #2
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Re: no oil, not muffler!

    My comment is... you're very lucky not to have a seized engine or some major damage! The Motor Gods must like you!

  3. #3
    DonTom
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    Re: no oil, not muffler!

    you're very lucky not to have a seized engine or some major damage!

    Yes, but would the oil pressure gauge show anything before the engine seizes? Or would that only happen when it's too late?

    -Don -

  4. #4
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Re: no oil, not muffler!

    Quote Originally Posted by DonTom
    you're very lucky not to have a seized engine or some major damage!

    Yes, but would the oil pressure gauge show anything before the engine seizes? Or would that only happen when it's too late?

    -Don -
    Not necessarily as many modern "gauges" are really just idiot lights - and don't convey the actual state of things, until (as in your case) there is no oil pressure at all.



  5. #5
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    Re: no oil, not muffler!

    I think you were very lucky to not have major problems from this.

    A question about the gauge -- is it a dial-type, or just a "it's low" indicator?
    I'm thinking that the sensor is bad, or the line to the gauge from the block has become clogged.

    Chip H.

    Former owner: 2012 Honda Civic LX, 2006 Honda Ridgeline RTL, 2000 Honda CR-V EX, 2003 MINI Cooper S, 1992 Honda Accord LX, 1999 Mercedes ML-320, 1995 VW Jetta GLX, 1991 Mercury Capri XR2, 1981 Mercury Zephyr, 1975 Chevrolet Impala

  6. #6
    DonTom
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    Re: no oil, not muffler!

    A question about the gauge -- is it a dial-type, or just a "it's low" indicator?

    It's got the numbers on it, showing the PSI of oil pressure. So I have to assume the oil pressure was normal when five quarts low (half quart left in engine). But if it were really normal, why the engine noise? Perhaps it was only normal pressure where the sensor is located!

    -Don-

  7. #7
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    Re: no oil, not muffler!

    >>Perhaps it was only normal pressure where the sensor is located! <<

    Some of the gauges used are of the "ON/OFF type and are no better than a light. They register full pressure when the actual pressure is just enough to make a light stay off.


  8. #8
    DonTom
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    Re: no oil, not muffler!

    I was incorrect about my 1999 Mustang convertible 3.8L. The gauges do NOT have any numbers. I was mixed up with some of my other vehicles.

    However, I know that the Mustang temperature gauge is pure analog as it's slow to come up when the engine is warming up. But all the gauges show a reading at exactly mid scale when all warmed up.

    -Don-



  9. #9
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    Re: no oil, not muffler!

    >>However, I know that the Mustang temperature gauge is pure analog as it's slow to come up when the engine is warming up. But all the gauges show a reading at exactly mid scale when all warmed up.<<

    Even the gas gauge?


  10. #10
    DonTom
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    Re: no oil, not muffler!

    Even the gas gauge?


    Yes, because today, we had exactly a half tank!

    -Don-



  11. #11
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    Re: no oil, not muffler!

    >>Yes, because today, we had exactly a half tank! <<

    According to the gauge--Probably a little less by measure!

  12. #12
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Re: no oil, not muffler!

    Quote Originally Posted by DonTom
    [color=Red]I was incorrect about my 1999 Mustang convertible 3.8L. The gauges do NOT have any numbers. I was mixed up with some of my other vehicles.

    However, I know that the Mustang temperature gauge is pure analog as it's slow to come up when the engine is warming up. But all the gauges show a reading at exactly mid scale when all warmed up.

    Morning!

    Are you sure about this? Manynew cars have fully "digitized" gauges that seem to be mechanical but which in fact are just displaying values translated from electronic signals, etc.

  13. #13
    DonTom
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    Re: no oil, not muffler!

    Are you sure about this?

    No, I suppose it could be digital, but if so, it was done well enough to fool me. I don't really care if it's digital as long as it displays as analog and that's what the coolant temperature gauge seems to be doing.

    -Don-

  14. #14
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Re: no oil, not muffler!

    Well, in any case, you "got off lucky"!

    A testament to Fine Ford Products from the Ford Family of Fine Cars!

  15. #15
    mrblanche
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    Re: no oil, not muffler!

    The single most common cause of an oil filter cracking and leaking in the manner you describe is from someone putting it on with a filter wrench, instead of by hand as all manuals call for. Any crinkling on the filter from the wrench will form a weak spot that flexes and eventually breaks.

  16. #16
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Re: no oil, not muffler!

    Quote Originally Posted by mrblanche
    The single most common cause of an oil filter cracking and leaking in the manner you describe is from someone putting it on with a filter wrench, instead of by hand as all manuals call for. Any crinkling on the filter from the wrench will form a weak spot that flexes and eventually breaks.
    I "hope" no one here uses a wrench to install a filter!

  17. #17
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    Re: no oil, not muffler!

    >>>The single most common cause of an oil filter cracking and leaking in the manner you describe is from someone putting it on with a filter wrench, instead of by hand as all manuals call for. Any crinkling on the filter from the wrench will form a weak spot that flexes and eventually breaks.<<<

    Hand-tighten only? The fastest way to wiggle loose while driving down a bumpy road and lose much, much oil and a seizing engine components!! Makers of filters recommend hand tighten until the gasket makes contact with the corresponding surface, then, tighten a quarter-turn with an approved filter wrench. Good advise!

  18. #18
    DonTom
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    Re: no oil, not muffler!

    Makers of filters recommend hand tighten until the gasket makes contact with the corresponding surface, then, tighten a quarter-turn with an approved filter wrench. Good advise!

    You're both right and wrong!

    Five or more years ago, the instructions on the oil filters said "use no tools to install". In the last few years ONLY, AFAIK, they changed this to "a half turn after base makes contact."

    I think the problem is that some people are not strong enough to get in on tight enough without any tools being used and then some cars had the filter unscrew off, so they changed to better instructions.

    Perhaps the filter did get overtightened in the Ford. Sometimes it's hard to tell exactly what a half turn is, with all the junk in the way.

    -Don-

  19. #19
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Re: no oil, not muffler!

    I wonder...!

    If someone's too feeble to turn the filter by hand, they probably are too weak to be attempting to change their oil. I would bet most of the problem is the common tendency to overtighten things - everything from filters to bolts!

  20. #20
    DonTom
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    Re: no oil, not muffler!

    I would bet most of the problem is the common tendency to overtighten things

    The real problem is both can be a problem. Did you see my message a while back when I let an oil changer place change the oil & filter in my Saturn? The filter almost came off! Lucky I carry engine oil with me! At least a couple of quarts leaked out about 100 miles from home. That's when I decided to always do my own oil changes.

    -Don-


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