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#1649176 - 10/28/09 08:34 AM When is Overfilled Really Overfilled?
Mr_Incredible Offline

Registered: 01/02/07
Posts: 1368
Loc: Nebraska
Something I've wondered...

Even though the oil level at rest may be high from an overfill or just putting in all four quart bottles when the books says use 3.9 or 3.7 quarts, at startup the oil level will drop when the oil galleys in the engine refill. Wouldn't that negate much of the percieved problem?

Obviously, there comes a point of it doing damage...but when has anyone seen any real damage come from a little more oil than offically called for.
"Daaaaaayng." -Joe Dirt

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#1649185 - 10/28/09 08:41 AM Re: When is Overfilled Really Overfilled? [Re: Mr_Incredible]
heavyhitter Offline

Registered: 07/22/07
Posts: 674
Loc: Nebraska
I never seen damage but my wifes Honda takes 1.2 quarts more to reach full than stated in the owners manual.

I have a motorycle that takes .5 quarts more than stated in the owners manual to fill.

I am sure millions of cars are over filled as we speak. The quick lube places do it all the time.

As long as the oil is not so high it is aerrating you should be OK I would imagine.
09' Nissan Frontier CC 4x4
09' Porshe Boxter S
05' Honda Element
4 Motorycles 3 ATV's

#1649213 - 10/28/09 08:58 AM Re: When is Overfilled Really Overfilled? [Re: heavyhitter]
bepperb Offline

Registered: 01/10/08
Posts: 4648
Loc: Milwaukee, WI
As long as it's not so high as to be above the windage tray. I'm sure it's generally quite a bit. Adding a whole extra quart, the oil level is probably only 1/2" higher and probably not making a difference.

Then again, a friend worked at a shop in high school and double filled a chevy truck, and both crankshaft seals blew out. So, it seems too much can be too much and cause some more serious problems than windage/aeration.
2004 Highlander 2.4
2011 Toyota Sienna 3.5
Recently Gone:
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1993 Kawi EX 500

#1649214 - 10/28/09 08:59 AM Re: When is Overfilled Really Overfilled? [Re: Mr_Incredible]
IndyIan Offline

Registered: 09/23/08
Posts: 5423
Loc: Ontario, Canada
Define a "little more" than called for? I have to admit early in my oil change career that I put in an extra liter into my Neon. No problems for a couple weeks of normal driving and I forgot about it, but I got my scangauge in the mail and decided to see what rpms my car runs at.(Scangauge has a tach function, my neon doesn't have a tach)
So I was fooling around seeing what the shift points are at full throttle (6800rpm) and I see the oil light go off on the dash... All the high rpms had foamed the oil, I shut it down quite quickly and so far I haven't seen any effects from my error. That was 40000km ago and I run either full synthetic or 15W40 HDEO to help slow down any accelerated wear started from the lack of lube.
07 Focus ZXW, 5spd manual, 80km M1 5W20
03 Tracker, 5spd manual, 250km, Valvoline Syn 5W30
95 Neon, 3spd auto, 282km, RT6 5W40 "Cone Killer!"

#1649227 - 10/28/09 09:08 AM Re: When is Overfilled Really Overfilled? [Re: IndyIan]
demarpaint Offline

Registered: 07/03/05
Posts: 20931
Loc: NY
I've filled engines that call for 4.5 qts of oil with a filter, with 5 qts of oil for years. I would say depending on sump size being half a qt over in a small sump (say 4 qts) is not a problem. In say an 7-8 qt sump being overfilled by a qt shouldn't be a problem. My problem is being a qt over in anything might kick my OCD into high gear, and I might be inclined to drain some oil out.
GOD Bless our Troops!

#1649278 - 10/28/09 09:35 AM Re: When is Overfilled Really Overfilled? [Re: demarpaint]
Eddie Offline

Registered: 12/07/03
Posts: 6635
Loc: Florida, Cape Coral
I think an over fill would be ~ +10%. Manual says 5.0q then 5.5 ok, manual says 4 then 4.4 ok.

Edited by Eddie (10/28/09 09:36 AM)
CX5 Touring 2.5L :-)

#1649346 - 10/28/09 10:16 AM Re: When is Overfilled Really Overfilled? [Re: Eddie]
TallPaul Online   confused

Registered: 10/22/03
Posts: 12911
Loc: By Detroit
Your manual may indicate an acceptable overfill amount that may show on the stick after an oil change.

#1649685 - 10/28/09 03:09 PM Re: When is Overfilled Really Overfilled? [Re: bepperb]
Tosh Offline

Registered: 05/12/05
Posts: 2566
Loc: Silicon Valley
Originally Posted By: bepperb
... Adding a whole extra quart, the oil level is probably only 1/2" higher and probably not making a difference.

If a theoretical sump (ie, with vertical walls) has a surface area of 1 square foot (for sake of argument) at the oil level, each additional quart will add 0.40 inches of extra reading on the dipstick.

Edited by Tosh (10/28/09 03:10 PM)

#1649844 - 10/28/09 05:02 PM Re: When is Overfilled Really Overfilled? [Re: Tosh]
1993_VG30E_GXE Offline

Registered: 04/04/09
Posts: 355
Loc: Ontario, Canada
Something I noticed was that the dipstick tube will not push all the way down into the block, there is about a quarter inch of the tiny flange raised a bit, so my guess is the dip stick test is off. I tried smacking the flange with a chisel and hammer down more, but it's not working, i'ts killing the tiny flange. If the tube is raised a bit, would my ACTUAL oil level be LOWER or HIGHER than my reading. This confuses me.

Also, I've noticed the service manual says 3.9L refill capacity WITH oil filter. When I do a drain, and I pull off the filter too, how much oil is still trapped in the motor and where does it stay trapped?

Can I simply just do the 3.9L fill? In the past before my recent overhaul, each time I put in 3.9L like the service manual said, the dipstick read way higher than the max mark, I don't know why. Would this be because the dipstick tube may not go in all the way?

#1650124 - 10/28/09 09:24 PM Re: When is Overfilled Really Overfilled? [Re: 1993_VG30E_GXE]
Quest Offline

Registered: 12/19/04
Posts: 6304
Loc: beaver land EH?
The design of a proper oilpan holding capacity is reflective on the proper dipstick marking. Engineers factored in things like certain tilting/operating angle of the vehicle, etc. to minimise any possibility of frothing the oil due to excessive oil level where the crank counterweight may "beat" the oil.

Frothing caused by too much oil (way more than what the manual stated) will cause air bubble introduction into the oil, and that may lead to air blockages on the crank/rod bearings especially under extreme operational conditions, which lead to bearing failures.

Oh and BTW: adding way more oil than factory spec'ed may also cause early oxidation due to delibrate introduction of oxygen as the crank "beats" the oil, sort of like an egg-beater but more aggressive.

"Internet discussion boards act as echo chambers for conspiracy dittoheads" A.Allen

#1650188 - 10/28/09 10:47 PM Re: When is Overfilled Really Overfilled? [Re: Quest]
1993_VG30E_GXE Offline

Registered: 04/04/09
Posts: 355
Loc: Ontario, Canada
And I remember too the factory service manual said in bold writing DO NOT OVERFILL.

It's almost as if overfilling is worse than underfilling.

#1650569 - 10/29/09 10:44 AM Re: When is Overfilled Really Overfilled? [Re: 1993_VG30E_GXE]
TurboJim Offline

Registered: 10/30/04
Posts: 827
Loc: Oregon
I believe the factory's concern is overfilling could cause damage to the catalytic converter. It would be nice to know if there was a built in safety factor for going above the full mark on the dipstick. Such as 10%, etc.

#1650599 - 10/29/09 11:18 AM Re: When is Overfilled Really Overfilled? [Re: TurboJim]
KrisZ Offline

Registered: 12/23/06
Posts: 4234
Loc: Toronto, Canada
My owner's manual specifically states that the oil level should be between min. and max. markings and to not overfill. So, as long as the oil level is between min. and max. your car is not under filled.

I know, I like to keep the oil at max level, but just because the oil is below the maximum, doesn't mean it's under filled.

Also, the oil capacity listed in owner's manual usually represents a dry fill, where no oil is in the system, so it is only logical that anything you drain will be less than that.

The oil capacity in my car is listed as 4.5 QTs with oil filter, but I always drain a little over 4 QTs, and that's how much it takes to fill the oil to the max level on the dipstick, if I put full 4.5 the oil level will be a little over max. so either way I would not worry about it.

Edited by KrisZ (10/29/09 11:19 AM)
2006 Mazda3 2.0 - 186,000 Km
2003 Ford Focus ZX5 2.0 Zetec - 155,000Km
Both on good old dino juice smile

#1650961 - 10/29/09 04:37 PM Re: When is Overfilled Really Overfilled? [Re: Quest]
mechtech2 Offline

Registered: 09/05/06
Posts: 19479
Loc: Chicago Area
It is already taken into account that the sump level will drop a bit as oil fills passages and is splashed around.
This is why oil is checked at rest, after sitting a while.

In general, up to 1/2 qt. over should make no difference.

#1651380 - 10/29/09 10:25 PM Re: When is Overfilled Really Overfilled? [Re: mechtech2]
ksJoe Offline

Registered: 07/09/08
Posts: 712
Loc: Ks
Years ago Dad had a bobcat engine overhauled (4 cyl gas). When it came back from the overhaul, the dipstick & oil was so clean no one could see it. The employees thought it was low and added a quart - several times.

Eventually everyone caught on, and as I recall it had about double the amount of oil it was supposed to. There was no permanent damage. A bit of paint on the dipstick and it was easier to see the oil.

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