04 XC70 / M1 10w-30 / 3k miles / 8 mo / high iron!

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429
Location
California
My dad and I bought this car for my mom last year. It had an oil change receipt shortly before the dealer got it with bulk conventional 10w-30. Oil was clean golden and at proper level when we got it, but there was some sludge visible at the top end, and by the end of summer the oil had turned almost black like diesel oil. I drained it out and also found the filter had a pleat blown wide open too, so that couldn't have helped. Put in the M1 10w-30, basic filter, and decided to run it. But now the oil is dark again, much darker than my car at 4k and my dad's car at 5k. I know oil color may not mean much, so I pulled a sample to get it checked out before I threw away good oil. Where the heck is all that iron coming from? Everything else seems fine except for the insolubles starting to get high with a relatively short interval. This car does see some short trips, but is not getting thrashed on. It used zero oil in those 3k miles. Only thing I could think of for iron source is possible debris getting in the cylinders when I replaced spark plugs. I cleaned the wells before removing plugs, but I could see a bunch of crud inside when I used my inspection camera to check the piston crowns. I vacuumed the cylinders out until I couldn't see the crud in the camera anymore before replacing the plugs. It idled better than ever with fresh plugs and drove fine since. Will change this oil and filter soon then sample again in 3k or so. What are your thoughts?
 
Use an inexpensive conventional (PYB is good) for several short OCIs to flush out whatever it was that caused the iron to be high, and also so you're not throwing money away while seeing if there is a real mechanical issue. Conventional will have no problems whatsoever on such a short OCI, and make sure to change filters each oil change if you can actually see crud under the valvecover. I'd also buy a can of Kreen and use it as directed while you are using the PYB.
 

VeryNoisyPoet

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429
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California
Originally Posted By: SubieRubyRoo
Use an inexpensive conventional (PYB is good) for several short OCIs to flush out whatever it was that caused the iron to be high, and also so you're not throwing money away while seeing if there is a real mechanical issue. Conventional will have no problems whatsoever on such a short OCI, and make sure to change filters each oil change if you can actually see crud under the valvecover. I'd also buy a can of Kreen and use it as directed while you are using the PYB.
I was thinking of that sort of strategy. Bummer since we already bought some Full Synthetic Maxlife several months ago for the planned next oil change. Slightly troublesome since this car takes a little more than 6 quarts, so either needs a 5 quart jug and two singles, or two 5 quart jugs with lots left over. How short of an OCI would you suggest? 3k again, or shorter? It will probably take until late fall or early winter to rack up another 3k.
 
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2,131
Location
socal
I would go get some cheap ST 10w30 dino oil and run it for 1k miles, then change it w the Maxlife oil you have and do normal OCIs after that
 
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3,899
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Canada
How's the PCV system on this engine? Has it been rebuilt recently? Probably needs a good "once over" if it's blowing holes in oil filters.
 

VeryNoisyPoet

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429
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California
Originally Posted By: Lolvoguy
How's the PCV system on this engine? Has it been rebuilt recently? Probably needs a good "once over" if it's blowing holes in oil filters.
PCV passes the "glove test" where it pulls a vacuum at the filler cap. Original engine, just with some neglect by previous owner(s). No idea about the filter. Cartridge style so all bypassing happens inside the engine. Just had a tear about an inch long on the valley of one of the pleats. Filter and oil were both nasty after only 3k so maybe got plugged and couldn't handle the pressure differential? Maybe somebody changed oil but not filter?
 
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366
Location
Georgia
Just keep the oil changes short (3-4k) while the engine cleans up. It may take 10 or 20,000 miles, but you will eventually get it very clean inside.
 

4WD

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13,550
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Texas
Originally Posted By: Charlie2015
Just keep the oil changes short (3-4k) while the engine cleans up. It may take 10 or 20,000 miles, but you will eventually get it very clean inside.
This plus a Fram Ultra … leave the filter on for a couple OCI’s or so … you really don’t want another filter failure while trying to help this engine …
 
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43,000
Location
Ontario, Canada
Iron is likely coming out of the sludge if it is being dissolved. Iron tracks with mileage, so you have ??? miles worth of deposits which all contain debris from previous OCI's, as those come apart, that debris gets suspended and ends up in your sample.
 

VeryNoisyPoet

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California
Originally Posted By: 4WD
Originally Posted By: Charlie2015
Just keep the oil changes short (3-4k) while the engine cleans up. It may take 10 or 20,000 miles, but you will eventually get it very clean inside.
This plus a Fram Ultra … leave the filter on for a couple OCI’s or so … you really don’t want another filter failure while trying to help this engine …
Even if I do that, I'm inspecting the filter every time I drain oil because I don't trust this system yet. Running 3k with a torn filter is bad. Going 10k+ would be terrible.
 

VeryNoisyPoet

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429
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California
Originally Posted By: OVERKILL
Iron is likely coming out of the sludge if it is being dissolved. Iron tracks with mileage, so you have ??? miles worth of deposits which all contain debris from previous OCI's, as those come apart, that debris gets suspended and ends up in your sample.
I would hope this is the cause, and not some other problem eating the engine internals. The car is super clean and everything else seems to be in good shape so having it die early would be sad.
 
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On another site
Originally Posted By: barkingspider
I would go get some cheap ST 10w30 dino oil and run it for 3kmiles, then change it w the Maxlife oil you have and do normal OCIs after that
Fixed it for you -- I agree with 10w30, but 1k is a bit short. In MA, change out 10w30 before winter. OP IMO you are washing out the previous owner's neglect. And although M1 creates more iron in many engines I don't think it can account for all of it. Check your filtration and resample at 3k.
 

VeryNoisyPoet

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California
Just changed the oil, using SuperTech 10w-30 conventional and a Fram Ultra. Will sample again in maybe 2k miles. Engine purrs like nothing is wrong despite the crud inside. Fill hole has baffles so can't see top end, but there is far more and much thicker gunk on the baffles and fill neck compared with my car: Oil came out very dark: Filter is all wavy looking but isn't torn. Not sure if it would have made it to 5k or more... Filter housing has a layer of varnish inside. For comparison, the inside of the oil passages are spotless on my car with over twice as many miles (but regular oil changes).
 

irv

Messages
2,159
Location
Oshawa, Ont. Canada
Originally Posted By: SubieRubyRoo
Use an inexpensive conventional (PYB is good) for several short OCIs to flush out whatever it was that caused the iron to be high, and also so you're not throwing money away while seeing if there is a real mechanical issue. Conventional will have no problems whatsoever on such a short OCI, and make sure to change filters each oil change if you can actually see crud under the valvecover. I'd also buy a can of Kreen and use it as directed while you are using the PYB.
X2 on Pennzoil Yellow Bottle (PYB). Its cheap but does a great job at cleaning. A couple at around 1000 to 2000 miles should help do wonders. After, I'd switch to PP or PUP and call it a day provided the engine is running good?
 

JAG

Messages
5,320
Location
Fredericksburg, VA
Wow, that engine has a lot of deposits. Looks like a good candidate to try the Valvoline Premium Blue Restore oil in. If not that, then some Castrol 0W-40, M1 0W-40, or Amsoil Signature Series.
 
Messages
43,000
Location
Ontario, Canada
Originally Posted By: JAG
Wow, that engine has a lot of deposits. Looks like a good candidate to try the Valvoline Premium Blue Restore oil in. If not that, then some Castrol 0W-40, M1 0W-40, or Amsoil Signature Series.
I would agree with your lubricant recommendations for sure, based on your test results.
 

VeryNoisyPoet

Thread starter
Messages
429
Location
California
Originally Posted By: JAG
Wow, that engine has a lot of deposits. Looks like a good candidate to try the Valvoline Premium Blue Restore oil in. If not that, then some Castrol 0W-40, M1 0W-40, or Amsoil Signature Series.
Part of me wants to try a more aggressive cleaning oil. Part of me doesn't want to knock loose the crud too quickly and clog the oil pickup. There's also the concern about cost. If standard M1 10w-30 picked up enough crud to turn essentially black in 3k with insolubles starting to get high, what happens to an oil with even more cleaning action? Would running more expensive synthetic oil for longer intervals give similar cleaning to many short runs with cheap conventional as others have suggested? Run short intervals with expensive oil to try cleaning things out faster? My parents are willing to spend some money but I don't think I could sell them on running expensive oil only to drain it after a couple thousand miles because it got super dirty.
 

irv

Messages
2,159
Location
Oshawa, Ont. Canada
Originally Posted By: VeryNoisyPoet
Originally Posted By: JAG
Wow, that engine has a lot of deposits. Looks like a good candidate to try the Valvoline Premium Blue Restore oil in. If not that, then some Castrol 0W-40, M1 0W-40, or Amsoil Signature Series.
Part of me wants to try a more aggressive cleaning oil. Part of me doesn't want to knock loose the crud too quickly and clog the oil pickup. There's also the concern about cost. If standard M1 10w-30 picked up enough crud to turn essentially black in 3k with insolubles starting to get high, what happens to an oil with even more cleaning action? Would running more expensive synthetic oil for longer intervals give similar cleaning to many short runs with cheap conventional as others have suggested? Run short intervals with expensive oil to try cleaning things out faster? My parents are willing to spend some money but I don't think I could sell them on running expensive oil only to drain it after a couple thousand miles because it got super dirty.
PYB is a pretty inexpensive but quality oil that does a great job cleaning. That is the route I would take if it were my car we were talking about. https://www.pennzoil.com/en_us/products/blends-conventional-oils/conventional.html
 
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