how low is too low for a 6 quart engine oil capacity

Messages
189
Location
canada
Thread starter
so my vehicle has a rear main or oil pan area leak and the labor is just gonna be $1000 to fix it so i dont want to spend that much. its a truck with a 6.0l v8, i just drive in the city and highywa, nothing extreme.the oil capacity is 6 quarts for my engine. so ive had this slight rear main leak or oil pan leak for like 1-2 yhears so far and for the longest time it just drip when i parked the vehicle etc but it would never drip too much. like for example at my oil change i would be full and then 6000km later i would be in the middle or at the lower part of the hashmarks which is still fine but now its summer and maybe this accelerated the leak but i got a message on my dash saying check oil level and i did and it was low, so i added 1 quart and now its in the middle of the dipstick. i obvs want to keep it high as possible but i am wondering how low would i have to be to notice or experience effects of the low oil? would it have to be like more then 1+ quart? i will be switching to a hm oil soon to see if it helps thanks!
 
Messages
2,617
Location
High Tax Illinois
1st. Valvoline High Mileage 5W30. I would not knowingly go below 1qt. The lower the oil level the higher oil temp could be. As long as the oil pump pickup is covered you won't lose oil pressure.
 
Messages
10,413
Location
Cincinnati, OH, USA
Valvoline (synblend) Maxlife always helped with this situation for me, but I would get in the habit of checking it more often, maybe even every fill up-don't want to blow an engine completely! I don't like getting anything more than a quart low, even the high capacity diesels (that have 2 quarts between low & full).
 
Messages
3,950
Location
Decatur AL USA
It's vehicle dependent. I've had cars that required 1.5 at overfill to avoid starvation in continuous high g sweepers and I've had trucks that could handle 50% without loss of pressure with gentle driving. My suggestion is to try Valvoline Maxlife 10W-30 and/or a product called AT-205 Reseal. If neither of those slow or stop it just run 15W-40 HDEO like Shell Rotella, Mobil Delvac 1300 or Chevron Delo 400 as long as it has a gas rating to slow the leak. Of course that only applies if you don't have a AFM Engine.
 
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Messages
4,093
Location
Los Gatos, CA
I would also try on of those reseal mechanic-in-a-can additives. I believe they can help on high mile oil leakers, at least somewhat. The MaxLife HM oil is good stuff; just but a couple of jugs and check it once a week. Good luck.
 
Messages
346
Location
FL
Mobil 1 5w 30 or 10w 30 will be thicker than other hm oils unless you step up to 10w 40. Under the hash Mark's is too low in my opinion
 
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Messages
21,068
Location
Apple Valley, California
I have had cars come into the shop with hardly any oil in them. Did not seem to hurt them any. I myself keep mine on the safe zone of the dipstick. The min level is what they consider still ok. Older stuff like 454 chevies only had a 5 qt system so 4 was considered enough.
 
Messages
109
Location
NM
One of our 6.0 vortecs ran low on oil a couple of times and everytime it got checked it was 3 qts low, the thing that gave it away was the lifter tick. This truck suffered from a clogged valve cover, where the PCV valve was on the older 6.0's, cleaned it and no more oil consumption, there was a tsb on it iirc. This truck is now well over 450k on the OEM engine so this much low on oil didn't affect it one bit. As long as theres oil showing in the dip stick you should be fine, or if for some reason you don't check you have the low oil minder.
 
Messages
14,517
Location
Santa Barbara, CA
If your truck is a 2WD it is somewhat easy to replace the pan. I need to do the oil pan in my truck, the drain plug came out and went back in really rough on the one oil change I have done. If it is 4WD, then may God have mercy on your soul.
 
Messages
1,371
Location
Ruidoso, NM USA
How low is too low? Teen ager next door had two quarts in a 6 quart Jeep 3.8 liter V6 last time I changed it. Still doing OK. The "new" oil darkened up a bit quick.
 
Messages
4,615
Location
Fort Worth, Texas
Originally Posted by bdcardinal
If your truck is a 2WD it is somewhat easy to replace the pan. I need to do the oil pan in my truck, the drain plug came out and went back in really rough on the one oil change I have done. If it is 4WD, then may God have mercy on your soul.
It's really not that bad as the axles unbolt from the front diff flanges, You don't even have to remove the front wheels. The oil pan on your truck is likely okay as it has a steel thread insert, Run a 12x1.75mm tap in there to clean up the threads & buy a new drain plugs.
 
Messages
6,588
Location
Katy, Republic of Texas
I don't like being more than 1 qt low, but many vehicles will work just fine with no ill effects with "normal" driving at half their stated capacity. My daughters Scion uses about 1/2 qt in it's 5,000 mile interval, I don't worry about it. Wife's Santa Fe uses no oil. My F150 uses a qt every 1,200-1,500 miles. I check the oil every few fill ups, and if below 1/2 on the hash marks, I just add a qt. Gets me just above the F line on the dipstick. With my limited driving I do in the truck, I usually only have to add once in the annual oil change. I have debated next change putting on an Ultra and never do another oil change, just add oil as needed not worry about the filter for a decade or so. Sisters Santa Fe uses a qt every 5,000-7,500 miles. When I started taking care of it, it had about 10,000 miles on the oil and the dipstick did not read, only got 3 qts in my drain pan (when stick reads 1/2 up the hash, I drain 4 qts into the pan), so was probably 1.5 qts low. Brother in laws F150 uses a qt every 3,500-4,000 miles, I don't add oil, I usually change it at 4,000 miles or less.
 
Messages
39
Location
SW Missouri
The neighbors have a well used 2500 Yukon XL with the 6.0. They were getting the regular quick lube oil changes with bulk 5w30 as indicated by the sticker. It was going through oil when they towed with it. I started running T4 15w40 and all the issues went away. No more oil consumption and the typical 6.0 rattle/piston slap went away.
 
Messages
645
Location
montreal ,canada
Originally Posted by Gene K
It's vehicle dependent. I've had cars that required 1.5 at overfill to avoid starvation in continuous high g sweepers and I've had trucks that could handle 50% without loss of pressure with gentle driving. My suggestion is to try Valvoline Maxlife 10W-30 and/or a product called AT-205 Reseal. If neither of those slow or stop it just run 15W-40 HDEO like Shell Rotella, Mobil Delvac 1300 or Chevron Delo 400 as long as it has a gas rating to slow the leak. Of course that only applies if you don't have a AFM Engine.
15w40 you say? A little thick for the Canadian climate wouldn't you agree?
 
Messages
1,776
Location
Kingston
Originally Posted by clinebarger
The rear main seal on LSx engine is PTFE/Teflon, High Mileage oils will not help if the rear main is leaking.
Mine has a minor seepage from the rear main too. It also leaks from the valve seals a bit (occasional puff of smoke on start-up and build up on plugs over time), can hm oil help at all with the valve seals or the oil pump o ring that is known to go bad?
 
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