I see bubbles! Oil consumption too!

Discussion in '80-Series Tech' started by Altaf, Oct 22, 2005.

  1. Altaf

    Altaf

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    1996 LX 450 currently at 99,494 miles

    Guys, I'm feeling a little nervous right now. Got a couple of issues with LX; oil consumption and head gasket. Not sure if there is any relation but here's my story...

    Part 1
    About two weeks ago I was driving when the oil light came on the dash. I pulled into a gas station to check the oil and found the dipstick level was very low - just a little oil on the tip. It took two quarts to bring it back to full. I had gotten an oil change at the dealership about 5000 miles ago ("Lexus" 5w-30). The oil level is always full between oil changes - I've never had to add any since the rear main seal was replaced at 85k.

    I looked under the truck and could not locate an oil leak anywhere. I took it in to the dealership to have them look for a leak and do an oil change. No leaks found. I've driven about 250 miles since the oil change and the dipstick is still showing full. I'm keeping a close eye on the oil comsumption but am curious where it could have gone? :confused:

    Part 2
    With all the recent posts about head gaskets, I decided to do a "bubble test". I had the coolant changed to Toyota Red about 10k ago. I noticed coolant level in the overflow tank was just below "low", so I filled up the tank with distilled water. I then went out for a drive to warm up the engine.

    I drove around in first and second gears, running the engine 3-4k RPM between shifts. After a couple of miles doing this, I pulled into the garage. I had someone keep the engine turning at 3k RPM while I peeked inside the overflow tank. 30 seconds later I saw bubbles :frown:.

    There were about 5 bubbles that surfaced together every 30 seconds or so. I had them back off the excelerator and run the engine again - same results.

    Since changing the coolant 10k ago, I haven't added any coolent or water. Should the overflow tank be low after that many miles? The radiator has always been full to the top.

    I've got a sick feeling in my stomach. I was ready to lift and add sliders next month but everythings changed now. On the plus side, I've got a warranty from Lexus until 100k :cheers:. On the down side, that's only 500 miles from now :whoops: .

    I'm sending an oil sample to Blackstone Labs on Monday and will post the results. What do you guys think is the problem(s)? Help!
     
  2. skyshark186

    skyshark186

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    That depends on how much you trust who did your oil change last time. It could have been low the whole time, and used a very minor amount and tripped the light. In 5000 miles most trucks with that mileage will use/lose some amount of oil, even if it is minimal. If it was left low after the oil change, it might not be much between light off and light on.

    Coolant issue....dunno.
     
  3. e9999

    e9999 You want to do what...? Moderator

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    first thing I would do is either stop driving it to not exceed the warranty limitation or take it to the dealer right away to document the condition and maybe have them check the headgaskett. This warranty of yours may be worth its weight of gold right now....
    sorry to read this, does not sound good...
     
  4. LandCruiserPhil

    LandCruiserPhil Peter Pan Syndrome Supporting Vendor

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    FedEx 1 day your sample to Blackstone they are great about running your sample the same day and can email you the results. Then you will know for sure.
     
  5. MoJ

    MoJ Moderator

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    Doesn't sound too bad to me - if it's under warranty what are you worried about? In fact I'd be happy to have the chance to get the new and improved HG installed at no charge. After the job is done you won't have to sweat HG's for a long, long, time.
     
  6. Altaf

    Altaf

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    I'm pretty good at checking the oil level after it's been changed but now I'm doubting if I checked it. You'd think that a Lexus technician would know the correct oil amount, but we've all got stories from dealerships, so...

    What type of evidence will I need to present to the dealer to prove to them there is a HG failure waiting to happen? Would the Blackstone report be adequate? I'm not sure if they know/believe in the bubble test.
     
  7. Rich

    Rich

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    Oil in coolant, coolant in oil, exhaust gas in coolant is the evidence. Use oil analysis to find coolant in oil. Chemical test available to detect exhaust in coolant. Better test would be to have emission sniffer check out coolant overflow tank for exhaust gas. That would be proof positive.

    You will most likely need to prove head gasket has already failed to get warranty repair.

    You could pay them to pull the head, with an agreement that if the gasket looks good you pay, and if it looks bad, they pay. Do you feel lucky?
     
  8. IdahoDoug

    IdahoDoug

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    Do the oil analysis and Fed Ex it overnight. Use the smallest clear plastic water bottles they sell - this was recommended by Blackstone since the container is used to package a liquid and is very durable. Obviously, be sure it's dry inside. I used a blow dryer after drying it by hand.

    If you have coolant in your oil, you have documented proof. If not, you don't need to worry. I suspect the oil simply was underfilled, a routine thing and the downside of not changing your own oil. Trash an engine this way and the oil changer will rightly claim you didn't check your oil and walk away scot-free.

    DougM
     
  9. e9999

    e9999 You want to do what...? Moderator

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    I would hope that they would cover the job under warranty if there is evidence there is coolant in the oil. Heck, that means the HG has already failed, no? Either way, they would have a choice, pay now for HG or pay later for whole engine, that should be easy for them to figure, esp. Lexus. Then again, if the engine fails after the warranty has expired, who knows....
    Either way: document everything now, chem test is a great way, and make sure to bring it to the dealer before the warranty is over...
     
  10. Boston Mangler

    Boston Mangler

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    I am kind of dealing with the same problem.

    Do you SMELL oil when you shut the rig off?
     
  11. Altaf

    Altaf

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    No oil scent that I can smell.
     
  12. MTNRAT

    MTNRAT

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    I will bet the mech only put in 5 quarts and not the required 7+. Kepp an eye on it.
    Sean
     
  13. MH_Stevens

    MH_Stevens

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    Because you changed the oil and the coolant you may have left ullage on both counts. Recheck levels of both when cold and fill coolant to full line and check levels religiously when COLD after every run. IF you are under warranty no need to lay truck up - a head job under warranty would do you proud. DO get the Blackstone report and post it here pronto!

    Mike
     
  14. Altaf

    Altaf

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    Well the oil is off to Blackstone and should be there tomorrow. I called Blackstone and they said they should have the results to me by Tuesday evening - Wednesday latest. I'll post them up.

    I remember reading a couple of posts about the bubble test not being 100% accurate. I Googled "bubble" and "head gasket" and found that this test has been used on a bunch of different auto makes with pretty accurate results.

    Question about the oil sample I sent Blackstone. Since the oil was changed just last weekend, I only had 250 miles of driving before the sample was taken. Is this enough mileage to show any problems (like coolant in the oil)?
     
  15. MrZumma

    MrZumma

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    Absolutly. Any water or coolant, even trace amounts, will show up during the labs testing proceedure.
     
  16. Rich

    Rich

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    I would imagine that a head gasket can leak and not put coolant in the oil. That is why it is suggested to check coolant for evidence of exhaust gas intrusion.
     
  17. Altaf

    Altaf

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    Blackstone oil analysis

    I got my oil analysis, results are below. I just got an oil change, so the oil that was sampled had 244 miles on it. Notice that according to the report, there is NO ANTIFREEZE IN THE OIL! What do you guys interpret from this report?


    ----------
    BLACKSTONE ANALYSIS
    We are sure you must have a reason for submitting an oil sample from this engine with only 244-miles on it, though we have no idea what it may be. Our average oil sample from this type engine - which is a very nice wearing type - has 4,945 miles on it. Even full run oils from the 4.5L Toyotas hardly have any metal in the oil. We've seen the level of metals found in your sample in unused oils. We found no harmful contaminants in this oil, which had a normal viscosity for a 5W/30. We don't
    know if the oil has been changed, but it is still easily serviceable.


    [​IMG]
     
  18. e9999

    e9999 You want to do what...? Moderator

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    you didn't tell them you were looking for coolant intrusion?

    and yes 244m could be on the low side to see anything at all...
     
  19. IdahoDoug

    IdahoDoug

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    Not to rain on your parade, but you have 3 times the amount of potassium, which is one of the items they use to check for coolant. And you might phone them and ask how definitive test it was for coolant with only 244 miles. Things are likely fine, but from their comment it doesn't seem you specifically asked about coolant, and the low miles question should be addressed for sure.

    I hope all is fine.

    DougM
     
  20. Altaf

    Altaf

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    Called Blackstone about the results. They said that Potassium and Sodium levels are relevant for checking coolant in the oil. However in my case they don't see a problem, possibly because the oil sample only had 244 miles. I'm supposed to send another sample after 2k and compare, but my Cruiser will be out of warranty by then.

    My next step is to find someone to check for emissions in the coolant overflow tank. Anything else I should do?
     
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