Drinking Problem (or, Where’s the Oil?)…

18 Oct

I’ve written a few times about the oil problems that Old Red has. I knew that I’d need to top up a little every journey, but after we reached our destination on our first proper outing I noticed that the level had dropped quite a bit. We’d clocked up just over 300 miles by the time I got home and once topped up again I’d used a whole litre of oil.

As far as I can tell, he’s not burning oil, and there isn’t more than a few drips on the driveway. The only thing I could conclude is that it’s coming out under pressure while I’m moving.

After a bit of advice from my friends at Club 80-90 I sat on the driveway revving the engine for about 30 minutes, watching the exhaust for smoke and waiting to see if the floor would be peppered with drips. Disappointingly, it wasn’t, but when I looked under the engine cover it was clear to see that oil is leaking from a few points on the engine…

Oily inlet pipe…it looks like it’s forcing its way up and out of the pipe.

Oily dipstick pipe…the oil is coming out of where the pipe goes into the engine.

Another example of the puddle near the dipstick pipe.


Moisture on the off-side CV joint.

Near-side CV joint is much drier.

Once the oil is warm the light starts flashing every time the revs have dropped, and the longer the journey, the more readily the light will flash. At first it’ll only flash when we’re idling, but after we’ve been driving for about half an hour it’ll flash even as I’m changing up gears. It NEVER comes on while the revs are up. I’m fairly sure that this is indicative of a bad connection somewhere in the wiring…

…on occasion, the horn will peep. It usually happens when I’m reversing. When we were disembarking the ferry home from France, one of the garage guys was helping me manoeuvre round a HGV and Red !HONKED! right in his face, which caused me no little embarrassment! I think it just goes to prove that there’s definitely something wrong with the wiring somewhere.

Anyway…back to the oil. From the advice I’ve had, it seems that the oil is coming out under pressure, so firstly, I need to get the pressure checked. I also need to find out if I still have the original oil pick-up pipe or if it’s been upgraded along with the engine. Apparently, if I still have the original then, as I brake and go round corners with hot oil, the engine will be starved of oil, causing the light to flicker on. This would also mean that the oil level on the dipstick won’t actually match the oil level in the sump, so I could also be overfilling it. That would make sense seeing as an excess of oil would be forced out of all the possible exit routes (like the inlet pipe, the filter case and the dipstick pipe…all the places it is leaking out of). To check the oil level in the sump I’m going to need to drain the system and take off the oil inlet pipe to look into the sump and check the levels visually.

I’m going to need help!

Luckily I know a guy who will come over and have a look over the engine on the drive. Hopefully he’ll not only be able to tell me what’s going wrong, but show me how to fix it so that I learn a little something about the engine as I go.

I’d also like him to give the CV joint a look over too. The helpful members at Club 80-90 think that the amount of leakage on the off-side joint is minimal and not much to worry about, but I think I should get it checked out all the same.

Oil has been SUCH a worry for me this summer. I’ve had to make sure I check the levels and top up every 100 miles or so, and the whole time I’ve been panicking that if I fill it back up I might be over-filling, and if I don’t fill it up I might be running the risk of it dropping too low. I’m certain I’d have had more use out of the old boy if I hadn’t been so worried about the damn engine. This is something I HAVE to get sorted for the new year.

Further updates to come…


Posted by on October 18, 2012 in Van Maintenance


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2 responses to “Drinking Problem (or, Where’s the Oil?)…

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