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Discussion Starter #1
I recently changed my oil after a car accident and rebuilding the front end (new radiator, fan, hood, bumper, grille, lights...). Now I checked my oil and some steam came out of the dipstick hole and the dipstick had oil and some foamy looking white stuff...
Has the coolant breached into the oil passages in the block? Has anyone else had this problem? Is my engine toast? Im afraid to drive it now...please anyone who has information help me out...

Thanks,
Brian
 

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sounds like coolant and oil got mixed together. they usually make a nice white milky color when they mix. if enough coolant mixed with the oil it could overfill the oil resevoir, causing the foam you described... outlook doesent look too good, but hopefully im wrong.

good luck with it.
 

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do you notice it when you drain it into a pan, or is it just up in the opening by the filler cap? I've seen it build up on the caps on a lot of cars, seems normal. if thats the colour that the oil is coming out, however, something is seriously wrong.

I would suggest getting two oil changes worth of cheapie walmart oil, change it with that every 150 or so miles, then put good oil in for the third change.

also, if you get the chance, cut the filter open and check to se eif its plugged up with the same gunk.
 

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You didn't let Bob borrow your car did you?


That's probably a leaky headgasket. Are you losing power yet? You could use block sealer, stop leak, or some other snake oil to stop the problem long enough to sell the car. The right thing to do would be to do a compression test and see which cylinder(s) come up short. Then swap that head gasket.

Before you go to that extreme, you should check your PCV system. It could just be condensation in the crankcase.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
The engine seems to be running normally. I havent taken the oil fill cap off as i dont see how i could see the oil through there. Where i noticed the white foam was on the dipstick. The dipstick tube was also slightly steaming when i opened it. I suppose it could be the head gasket...but i hope not...can i still drive with it doing this?
 

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Locate the PCV valve (it's stuck into one of the valve covers with a rubber grommet), then trace the hoses back as far as you can. Look for cracked connectors or any place where air or water could be getting into the PCV system.

Based on the steam coming out of the dipstick, I would say it's likely to be a headgasket. It's not really an urgent problem (it won't blow your engine up or anything) but eventually you will lose enough compression that it won't idle right or have much pep to it.
 

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What brand of oil are you using and what viscosity? Sounds like there is too much detergent in your oil or the oil temps are running extremely high. Are you adding a lot of additives? If the oil color is black, you need to change it. If it smells burnt, then the oil is burnt and needs to be changed. If there was a coolant leak, the coolant will separate from the oil and you'd be able to see it once you drain your oil. You'll see green pour out of the drain along with the regular oil.

If you are in need of changing the oil, go to Napa and buy some Seafoam or Chem Tool. Pour half a can into the crankcase and drive it around for 5 minutes then immediately change the oil. It's almost like doing an engine flush without having to run it through an oil flush machine.
 

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Originally posted by mykej27@Jan 9 2004, 01:34 PM
If there was a coolant leak, the coolant will separate from the oil and you'd be able to see it once you drain your oil. You'll see green pour out of the drain along with the regular oil.
Not really. The coolant has a tendency to emulsify in the oil. That is what the light brown sludge on the dipstick is.
 

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Originally posted by SixFoFalcon@Jan 9 2004, 11:06 AM
Not really. The coolant has a tendency to emulsify in the oil. That is what the light brown sludge on the dipstick is.
Unless it's a really bad coolent leak, then it won't emulsfy, but you are right. It looks almost looks like chocolate milk when it mixes with hot oil.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I'm with you on that last post sixfo...the oil looks fine...other than the sludge...I dont mean to come off as a moron, but what exactly is the PCV system's function? Also if im gonna replace the head gaskets it seems like i might as well go ahead and do a rebuild (i like my car a lot), do any of you have any suggested literature i should read before i undertake something like that? BTW im glad its not such an urgent problem...this car is definitely a daily driver.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Also...could the engine block be cracked?
Would these problems be symptomatic of that?
 

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Don't know. You need a pressure test done.

Shouldn't you be using 5w30 and nothing else?
 

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Discussion Starter #16
I got the car used...no factory manual or anything of the sort...I believe i started out using 10w-40 and have been using it for the last fifty thousand miles or so (car has 170,000). Its a vulcan, should i be using 5w-30? what happens if you use the wrong type?
 

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The block will only crack if Bob Gervais drives and/or maintains your car.
It's possible, but very unlikely.

PCV=Positive Crankcase Ventilation
It sucks fumes out of the crankcase and spits them back into the intake so they get burned up and go out the tailpipe with the exhaust. The fumes can dilute the oil and form acidic compounds that are basically just bad news.

A rebuild is seriously unnecessary. The Vulcan goes 250K+ before it needs one. Taking the heads off and rebuilding the engine are two very different things.

5w30 is recommended... 10w30 is OK, and 10w40 won't kill you, but isn't necessarily a good thing. The Vulcan engine is so tough that you can probably pull one at random out of a junkyard and it will run fine for a long time.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
im probably on the wrong track, but does the EGR valve have anything to do with the PCV system? the only reason i ask is because it recycles exaughst into the conbustion chamber...and i bypassed it...probably unrelated but...
thanks, brian? btw, any advice on instructions for replacing the head gasket w/o messing up the timing chain etc.?
 

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The EGR and PCV both dump into the intake manifold. Other than that, they are independent. The EGR (or lack thereof) wouldn't cause the problems you have, as far as I know.
 
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