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Jeep 4.7 run with 45% oil capacity for months #4635173
01/14/18 09:18 PM
01/14/18 09:18 PM
Joined: Jan 2007
Posts: 810
El Oeste
HawkeyeScott Offline OP
HawkeyeScott  Offline OP
Joined: Jan 2007
Posts: 810
El Oeste
I do some occasional maintenance on an old coworker's 2000 Jeep Grand Cherokee with the 4.7L (141k miles). I planned to change the oil in it today. When I picked it up at his place, I noticed the oil pressure was steady at only 20 psi. I was a little alarmed but limped it the 1.5 miles to my house, maxing it out at 1400 RPM.

Before I pulled the plug, I wanted to see how much oil was in it. It didn't register on the dipstick. Only after I'd added 2.5 qts. did it finally register. I ended up adding about 3.25 qts. and still didn't quite get it to the ADD mark. (This was some used oil I'd drained after a 1000 mile run last year. Caught it in a clean pan and stuck it on the shelf for potential top-off oil.) I started it again and the oil pressure was then normal.

I went ahead and drained it and changed the filter. I didn't notice any obvious signs of major leaks and his driveway is clean, too. The last oil change was about 5500 miles ago, in May 2017, at a Jiffy Lube. When I filled it back up with just under 6 qts. of Chevron Supreme, the oil pressure stayed right where it should be.

As best as I can tell, the Jeep was running with 40-45% of the sump capacity. I opened up the filter and found some metal flakes, though not as many as I expected. The one I picked out and felt had a consistency similar to that of tin foil.

I also figured out his oil warning light on the dash is burned out. That doesn't help, but the oil pressure gauge was still an obvious tell that he and his wife completely missed.

Anyway, I've never been around an engine neglected like this. So I've had a few questions rolling around in my head:

1. My best guess is that the Jiffy Lube didn't get enough oil in there and this family drove the car for 8 months with a low oil level. If Jiffy Lube DID get it filled, what is going on in this engine to burn more than 3 qts. over 5550 miles?
2. Given how little oil there was in the engine, what was the effect on the oil that was in there?
3. Any guesses as to what the flakes in the filter used to be?
4. How much life did they take out of this engine? (I know this can't be answered in specifics.)
5. How close was this thing to seizing?

Re: Jeep 4.7 run with 45% oil capacity for months [Re: HawkeyeScott] #4635184
01/14/18 09:30 PM
01/14/18 09:30 PM
Joined: Apr 2016
Posts: 1,198
Campbellsville, KY
Alex_V Offline
Alex_V  Offline
Joined: Apr 2016
Posts: 1,198
Campbellsville, KY
I've seen a Dodge 3.9 (Dakota) and Buick LeSabre (3800) run with 1.5 qts. in them, and a Caravan 3.8L run continually, repeatedly with 2 qts. in it. All 3 engines have come out of it seemingly unscathed - not to say it didn't shorten their lifespan, but in all cases that was months or years ago and they only detectable negative effect is continued oil consumption. It may just be using that much - they need to check it periodically. If they're not inclined to do that, they can enjoy the fruits of their labor when it does run dry.


To quote a friend, "Synthetics, man."

'85 GMC C3500, 454, 132K
'82 Mercedes 300CD, OM617 turbo, 173K (totaled 2018, in rehab)
'85 Mercedes 300TD, OM617 turbo, 217K (wife's)
'67 Suburban, 350, 331K
Re: Jeep 4.7 run with 45% oil capacity for months [Re: HawkeyeScott] #4635216
01/14/18 10:27 PM
01/14/18 10:27 PM
Joined: Jun 2009
Posts: 3,785
Chicago, IL
tomcat27 Offline
tomcat27  Offline
Joined: Jun 2009
Posts: 3,785
Chicago, IL
our 4.7 used no discernable oil; but I certainly have owned many cars where a quart every 1500-2000 miles was not unusual. (american 4 cylinders)
after my experience last week with a neighbor ( 4 qts low ) it is clear that people do not check their oil level. if you don't know how, stop by once a month and have someone check. I'm pretty sure that Jiffy lube will check it and even top it off for free with the first 3k miles after a change. at least they used to...


2019 Cherokee, 2018 Jetta, 2014 Sentra, 1995 Escort, 1970 Cougar, 2013 XT250, 2010 Vstar, 2014 CTX1300
Re: Jeep 4.7 run with 45% oil capacity for months [Re: HawkeyeScott] #4635217
01/14/18 10:27 PM
01/14/18 10:27 PM
Joined: Feb 2012
Posts: 3,870
NEUS
Bandito440 Offline
Bandito440  Offline
Joined: Feb 2012
Posts: 3,870
NEUS
Thatís a high-mileage 18 year-old engine that wasnít especially great when it was new. It sounds like it hasnít been maintained well either. This is my cynical nature, but that thing is not long for this world. Donít put yourself in a position where youíll get blamed for its failure.


'14 Grand Cherokee EcoDiesel
Rotella T6 5w-40 & OEM filter
Re: Jeep 4.7 run with 45% oil capacity for months [Re: HawkeyeScott] #4635218
01/14/18 10:28 PM
01/14/18 10:28 PM
Joined: Dec 2016
Posts: 7,466
Waco, TX
Linctex Offline
Linctex  Offline
Joined: Dec 2016
Posts: 7,466
Waco, TX
It's impossible to say.

Even two exactly the same engine designs can fare differently when run low.

Tell him to check his oil or he'll have a very light wallet (or unexpected and unwelcome debt!)


"The evidence demands a verdict".
(Re:VOA)"it's nearly impossible to actually know the particular additives that are in there at what concentrations."
Re: Jeep 4.7 run with 45% oil capacity for months [Re: HawkeyeScott] #4635228
01/14/18 10:38 PM
01/14/18 10:38 PM
Joined: Jun 2012
Posts: 994
Bremerton, WA
DemoFly Offline
DemoFly  Offline
Joined: Jun 2012
Posts: 994
Bremerton, WA
Even a 4.7L SOHC V8 can be properly lubricated by ~2 quarts. The gauge on the dash is fake. It reads 20lbs when it has 12v. There's an electronic pressure sender that is an on-off switch (I'm serious). Oil pressure COULD have been only a few PSI lower than spec and that would be due to oil thinning.

Don't overthink it. If it runs good and you could not find any discernable damage in the filter, then there's no discernable damage.

Last edited by DemoFly; 01/14/18 10:40 PM.

Pushrods, please.
Re: Jeep 4.7 run with 45% oil capacity for months [Re: HawkeyeScott] #4635231
01/14/18 10:45 PM
01/14/18 10:45 PM
Joined: Nov 2016
Posts: 1,283
WI
HoosierJeeper Offline
HoosierJeeper  Offline
Joined: Nov 2016
Posts: 1,283
WI
With the 3.7 version, I know of a few people that ran about a quart (of a 5 qt capacity) and shortly ruined their engines. What's the capacity on the WJ? I want to say those were 6 or 7.

It might have just barely survived. I'm guessing it's a leaker, probably the valve cover gaskets, oil pressure sender, front main crank seal. These really aren't known for excessive oil consumption unless they've been abused (maybe this one). If they drive it a lot, it probably never collects enough in one spot to hit the ground. That's how my Liberty is, if it sits a few days I'll get a dime spot on the floor otherwise nothing.


15 Jeep KL Limited V6: Formula Shell 5W20
07 LR3 SE V8: Maxlife 5W30
05 Jeep KJ Limited: PHM 5W30
96 Jeep XJ Country: STP HM 5W30 (winter)
Re: Jeep 4.7 run with 45% oil capacity for months [Re: HawkeyeScott] #4635247
01/14/18 11:10 PM
01/14/18 11:10 PM
Joined: Aug 2011
Posts: 2,128
Lakeside, CA
Blkstanger Offline
Blkstanger  Offline
Joined: Aug 2011
Posts: 2,128
Lakeside, CA
My 4.7 will use about a quart over that many miles. But 4 qts low? I'd guess that they were shorted on the last oil change. Or that engine is already shot. One of the two. And BTW these do have a working pressure gauge. It's not like a Ford.

Last edited by Blkstanger; 01/14/18 11:13 PM.

99 Jeep WJ 4.7 195,000 Maxlife 10w30, Fram Ultra.
Re: Jeep 4.7 run with 45% oil capacity for months [Re: HawkeyeScott] #4635260
01/14/18 11:30 PM
01/14/18 11:30 PM
Joined: Mar 2011
Posts: 421
new jersey
hemitruck Offline
hemitruck  Offline
Joined: Mar 2011
Posts: 421
new jersey
The valve seals need replacing.

Re: Jeep 4.7 run with 45% oil capacity for months [Re: HawkeyeScott] #4635261
01/14/18 11:31 PM
01/14/18 11:31 PM
Joined: Aug 2004
Posts: 2,066
5600 feet elevation, Arizona
double vanos Offline
double vanos  Offline
Joined: Aug 2004
Posts: 2,066
5600 feet elevation, Arizona
My SILs 3.8 Jeep was about 4 qts low when I started taking care of it for her. Substituted 0w40 in place of the factory 5w20 recommendation - problem solved.

The guy who owns a lot across the street has an old Camry 5 speed that he parks there to keep people from parking on the lot. Battery went dead so after jumping I had him pull it into my driveway and charged the battery overnight. The next morning I disconnected the charger and just for the heck of it checked the oil. Nothing on the stick. Took 4 qts to get to the stick and a full 5 to full. At least it got Edge 5w30, had a full jug laying around. After adding the oil, he came by, fired her off and drove away. Amazing.


Sabine Schmitz is the Queen of the 'Ring; Svetlana Kapanina is the Queen of the SKIES...
Re: Jeep 4.7 run with 45% oil capacity for months [Re: HawkeyeScott] #4635267
01/14/18 11:46 PM
01/14/18 11:46 PM
Joined: Nov 2008
Posts: 9,406
Phoenix
dishdude Offline
dishdude  Offline
Joined: Nov 2008
Posts: 9,406
Phoenix
You can't drive an 18 year old car and not open the hood for 8 months/5,500 miles.


2018 Challenger SRT 392 PUP 0w-40 Wix 57899XP
2018 GTI
Re: Jeep 4.7 run with 45% oil capacity for months [Re: dishdude] #4635269
01/14/18 11:49 PM
01/14/18 11:49 PM
Joined: Mar 2015
Posts: 5,599
Virginia
bbhero Offline
bbhero  Offline
Joined: Mar 2015
Posts: 5,599
Virginia
^^^^^^^^^^^^

Very true indeed. Great point/post Dishdude.


Nissan Altima 3.5 Coupe
Mobil Super 5w30 Wix 57356
"Treat your family like your friends and treat your friends like your family."
Re: Jeep 4.7 run with 45% oil capacity for months [Re: HawkeyeScott] #4635304
01/15/18 01:14 AM
01/15/18 01:14 AM
Joined: Jun 2017
Posts: 220
NY
DdDd Offline
DdDd  Offline
Joined: Jun 2017
Posts: 220
NY
What's gonna happen on an 18year old vehicle worth 3k? Full rebuild?

The owner doesn't care. Top off the fluids and let them drive it into the ground. Somethings going to get it sooner or later

Re: Jeep 4.7 run with 45% oil capacity for months [Re: HawkeyeScott] #4635353
01/15/18 04:23 AM
01/15/18 04:23 AM
Joined: Jan 2011
Posts: 2,882
N.Ohio
Lubener Offline
Lubener  Offline
Joined: Jan 2011
Posts: 2,882
N.Ohio
The 20 lbs of oil pressure tells the story. Should be atleast twice that while cruising.


The "thinking" man's friend.
Re: Jeep 4.7 run with 45% oil capacity for months [Re: DdDd] #4635372
01/15/18 05:47 AM
01/15/18 05:47 AM
Joined: Nov 2008
Posts: 3,371
Oshawa, Ontario Canada
JC1 Offline
JC1  Offline
Joined: Nov 2008
Posts: 3,371
Oshawa, Ontario Canada
Originally Posted By: DdDd
What's gonna happen on an 18year old vehicle worth 3k? Full rebuild?

The owner doesn't care. Top off the fluids and let them drive it into the ground. Somethings going to get it sooner or later



I agree. You should have just topped it off and let him go on his way. He's too darn lazy to check the oil level in 5000 miles.


2015 Grand Caravan SXT Plus 5w-20 Valvoline SynPower/Fram Ultra Filter
1997 Honda Civic CX 5w-30 PPPP/Fram Ultra Filter
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