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Author Topic: oil pressure blues  (Read 1762 times)

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Offline dpage

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oil pressure blues
« on: September 26, 2018, 10:11:01 AM »
Sorry, I posted this question in the wrong place initially.

I bought a 2007 sky redline a few months ago. I have added new intake, charge pipes, exhaust down pipe, and a tune from RPM Motorsports. The car has 63K miles on it.
The car was a bit noisy on start up and then quieted down after running for a few seconds. A mechanic at the local garage where I got the car inspected suggested I add Lucas oil additive when I changed the oil. I did that, and after starting the engine it made its normal initial noise, then quieted down as usual. Then it got noticeably noisier, the oil light came on, and I shut the car off. Long story short, I have not seen oil pressure since. I drained the oil, removed the filter, and put in new oil without the additive.  I poured the oil through the filter housing. I saw no problem with the filter rand reinstalled it. I have disconnected the coils and rotated the engine with the starter for 10 seconds to attempt to build pressure. I have done this multiple times over a couple of days. I started the engine again and still no pressure. I don’t think I have caused any damage yet, but I am not sure. The engine has run without oil pressure for a total of about 15 seconds. The additive was Lucas, and was very viscous. After I put in the oil with the Lucas additive I didn’t start the car for several days. I theorize that the additive didn’t mix with the oil, sank to the bottom of the pan, and on initial starting was pulled into the pump. I think that perhaps I blew a seal somewhere.
 I would like to get any opinions on what the cure to this problem might be. I didn’t purchase this car as a project and I am mulling over whether to sell it as is and cut my losses or attempt to repair it.

Offline Sol Asylum

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Re: oil pressure blues
« Reply #1 on: September 26, 2018, 01:35:33 PM »
There should be a pressure relief valve that would open to prevent over pressure and doing damage.

How did the drained oil from the initial change look?

I think I would hook up a gauge to be able to see what the actual oil pressure is, you can pull the plugs and just crank the engine over.  Basically you want to make sure it's not a bad pressure switch first.

What kind of oil are you using?  The turbos are synthetic only and running conventional oil can result in damage.

These cars start and idle at a higher RPM for the first few minutes also there is a high pressure fuel pump that will make noise and it seems louder when the engine is cold.  It is possible the noisy start up is normal.

My personal opinion of oil additives is they are snake oil and don't really do shit.  Some can actually do damage and if your engine is bad enough to need an additive you probably have a bigger problem that needs to be taken care of.
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Offline Steelmesh

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Re: oil pressure blues
« Reply #2 on: September 26, 2018, 02:48:30 PM »
You should confirm oil pressure like Sol alluded.  I would look at renting or buying (HF) oil pressure gauge kit...not sure about adapting it to your block if the kit will have the proper fitting for the metric plugs or the pressure switch.

Pretending I am in your shoes, armchair planning here, I'd start looking at every angle until the root-cause is identified:
- Replace pressure switch if affordable, replace oil filter if not already but those have a built in bypass anyway if clogged but who knows
- With oil pressure switch removed, spin the engine over and hopefully make a mess, this would confirm "Flow" exists to eliminate a clogged pickup or exploded gerotor
- If there is flow and no pressure, then I'd suspect a bearing is gone but that is hard to confirm so keep going
- Maybe you spit out a lifter/lash adjuster, but since there is a orifice / oil restrictor going into your head I'd think it would make some pressure.  To confirm, pull the valve cover and visual everything.
- Unscrew the oil pressure regulator on the front cover, see if anything broke there

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Offline dpage

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Re: oil pressure blues
« Reply #3 on: September 26, 2018, 04:11:40 PM »
The noise this engine is making is not "normal". Maybe the noise it made before this happened was normal, but this is now much worse. I used Mobil 1 5W-30. If I could put a gauge on to read actual oil pressure, where would the port be? I feel certain this is just going to tell me that there is no pressure. When I cranked the engine with the starter and with the coils disconnected the check engine light was on but not the oil light. After starting the engine both lights are on. The oil I took out looked fairly fresh. The dealer I bought it from said it had a fresh oil change, but I didn't trust him. I replaced the filter.

Offline Steelmesh

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Re: oil pressure blues
« Reply #4 on: September 26, 2018, 04:42:37 PM »
The noise this engine is making is not "normal". Maybe the noise it made before this happened was normal, but this is now much worse. I used Mobil 1 5W-30. If I could put a gauge on to read actual oil pressure, where would the port be? I feel certain this is just going to tell me that there is no pressure. When I cranked the engine with the starter and with the coils disconnected the check engine light was on but not the oil light. After starting the engine both lights are on. The oil I took out looked fairly fresh. The dealer I bought it from said it had a fresh oil change, but I didn't trust him. I replaced the filter.

Be careful with relying on cranking it with a starter, understand the starter only spin the engine 100-150 rpm.  You idle at ~700 rpm.  Did you try to research on youtube the noise?  Is that noise rod knock?  The would be a telltale of no oil pressure.
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Offline Critterman

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Re: oil pressure blues
« Reply #5 on: September 26, 2018, 06:09:57 PM »
These cars have very low idle pressure somewhere around 5 lbs.
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Offline dpage

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Re: oil pressure blues
« Reply #6 on: September 26, 2018, 10:40:19 PM »
If the idle oil pressure is as low as 5 psi, then there is no point in plumbing in a gauge to check oil pressure while turning the engine with the starter. So I have come to the following conclusions:
I believe that starting the engine again can only cause damage. So at a minimum, the front timing cover and valve cover need to come off to look for the cause of the problem and possible damage. Of course this won't tell if there is damage to the main bearings.
I didn't buy this car for a project. I have other projects. I have worked on cars and motorcycles my whole life. Although I have no experience with the Ecotec engine or turbochargers, I have done complete engine rebuilds on other engines.  So while I believe I could tear into and fix this engine, I don't want to.
This leaves me with the following choice:
Sell it as is and accept the loss or pay someone else to work on it. Unfortunately, since I usually don't pay for this type of work, I don't know anyone I would trust to do it. Does anyone have a recommendation for someone who I could take this car to? I live near Roanoke, Virginia

Offline dpage

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Re: oil pressure blues
« Reply #7 on: September 26, 2018, 11:02:14 PM »
I should have said that the noise does not sound like rod knock. It sounds more like valve train noise. Interestingly, the original noise on startup which disturbed both me and the local mechanic when he heard it also sounded like valve train clatter to me. It lasted only 1-2 seconds after startup and then disappeared. Martin from RPM motorsports said it was normal and that it was the turbocharger being bypassed during catalytic converter warm up. I was never sure about that, but after replacing the converter with a straight through pipe, the noise increased to a duration of closer to 10 seconds after start up. This was before he downloaded the tune. When he modified the ECM program, he deleted this warm up delay. The noise then returned to its earlier shorter duration. I also noticed that I was getting smoke out of the exhaust after removing the converter. The amount of smoke increased after the ECM was reprogrammed. The smoke smelled like burning oil to me. I looked at the new spark plugs which I had installed, and determined that the oil was not coming from the combustion chambers. So I concluded that maybe the initial noise, and the smoke were from the turbo and that it needed to be rebuilt. Then I changed the oil.

Offline Steelmesh

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Re: oil pressure blues
« Reply #8 on: September 27, 2018, 12:13:48 PM »
My anecdote with a worn out 2.4 LE5 (I just replaced) showed 15 psi hot idle and maybe 40 psi at redline.  It developed a clattering noise at start up and idle before I pulled it.  I replaced all of the exhaust lash adjusters while in the car, but it didn't change anything.  It's possible the clatter on the top end is from lack of oil pressure.  Critter mentioned 5 psi is not unheard of,  but that seems too low for comfort. 

For the 2006 2.4 LE5 via Solstice service info (alldatadiy):
-Oil Pressure @ 90°C (194°F)
-Minimum @ 1,000 RPM   30 - 70 psi (206.84 - 482.63 kPa)
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Offline Sol Asylum

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Re: oil pressure blues
« Reply #9 on: September 27, 2018, 01:15:58 PM »
Before I tore into the engine I would remove the turbo and inspect for oil leakage and bearing wear.

I would still put a gauge on it and check what the pressure really was.  Idiot lights aren't idiot proof, a bad switch, connector, or wire can cause a false indication.
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Offline dpage

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Re: oil pressure blues
« Reply #10 on: October 07, 2018, 09:39:02 AM »
The engine will be removed from the car next week. Turbocharger will be sent to Tims Turbos in Annendale, Va for rebuild. Pan will be removed and main bearings and rod bearings checked for damage. The man who will be doing the work thinks that the oil pump shaft broke. I don't want to work on it, would rather throw money at it.

Offline Sly Bob

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Re: oil pressure blues
« Reply #11 on: October 07, 2018, 11:56:41 AM »
AFAIK a broken oil pump shaft would be a first. Be sure to let us know what he finds when pulling the engine down.
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Offline Steelmesh

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Re: oil pressure blues
« Reply #12 on: October 08, 2018, 10:13:08 AM »
The engine will be removed from the car next week. Turbocharger will be sent to Tims Turbos in Annendale, Va for rebuild. Pan will be removed and main bearings and rod bearings checked for damage. The man who will be doing the work thinks that the oil pump shaft broke. I don't want to work on it, would rather throw money at it.

The oil pump shaft would be your harmonic balancer which is doubtful, so maybe it's the oil pump gerotor that broke. 

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Offline dpage

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Re: oil pressure blues
« Reply #13 on: December 05, 2018, 12:24:59 PM »
Update: Death of the LNF
A very competent local mechanic was found and the engine removed and disassembled. Shrapnel was found in the oil pan. This appears to be from the turbocharger. The addition of the oil additive apparently helped distribute the metal throughout the entire engine. This destroyed every bearing. Cylinder head, front cover, and oil pump all damaged. Block could be reused, but why bother?
A LDK long block with LNF head was purchased from ZZ Performance. New clutch from Rock Auto. Car is running great. Very quick and much quieter. Total cost of around $5000.

Offline Steelmesh

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Re: oil pressure blues
« Reply #14 on: December 06, 2018, 02:39:43 PM »
Update: Death of the LNF
A very competent local mechanic was found and the engine removed and disassembled. Shrapnel was found in the oil pan. This appears to be from the turbocharger. The addition of the oil additive apparently helped distribute the metal throughout the entire engine. This destroyed every bearing. Cylinder head, front cover, and oil pump all damaged. Block could be reused, but why bother?
A LDK long block with LNF head was purchased from ZZ Performance. New clutch from Rock Auto. Car is running great. Very quick and much quieter. Total cost of around $5000.

Thanks for following up on the cause and also 'ouch'.  Come spring, with the top down and on a cruise, you will forget about that $5k  :D
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Turbo-only power 444whp/422wtrq

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Support Kappaperformance.com!!  Note: a couple huge corporations own and control several hundred of the top automotive enthusiast forums subsequently profiteering from these communities on the backs of volunteer moderators.

 

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