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#4690643 - 03/10/18 03:24 PM Catastrophic Engine Failure Related to Oil
Speak2Mountain Offline


Registered: 04/07/17
Posts: 351
Loc: Mississippi
Has anyone ever experience the (near) loss of an engine because of no oil or not enough?

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#4690644 - 03/10/18 03:26 PM Re: Catastrophic Engine Failure Related to Oil [Re: Speak2Mountain]
HondaBroMike Offline


Registered: 11/02/17
Posts: 312
You have to invest in good engines first and second, have to know if it is the oil or the engine itself, that is the culprit. But to answer your question, No, and this is all fringe outlier stuff. Having said that, I have learned to look out for new stuff like new oils, new formulations, new standards in oil so I can find the best match and sometimes, it is just knowing the average stuff is better than the top shelf stuff. For example, these new 0w-20s haven't burned a drop where as the oil yet still SN certified in higher viscosity like 5w-20, 5w-30 and 10w-30, would burn or let's just say, less effective or effective (can never figure out these two). Herein we have engine design aspects versus oil viscosity match. For ex, have newer engines curbed consumption versus an oil stopping or slowing it down. I never appreciated how being analytical in this outlier topic could be as I try an oil that has magic elixir, unicorn in the sky results and how that can benefit me in my oil decisions, just knowing that level of trivial stuff and how valuable trivial stuff can be when it comes to oil.


Edited by HondaBroMike (03/10/18 03:39 PM)
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#4690649 - 03/10/18 03:32 PM Re: Catastrophic Engine Failure Related to Oil [Re: Speak2Mountain]
zfasts03 Offline


Registered: 07/21/08
Posts: 259
Loc: Bucks, PA
Not really but these things happened w/lack of oil:

Not catastrophic but.

Person said "engine said it sounds like marbles in it when going up hills". Added 4 quarts to get oil to show in safe zone on the dipstick of an older Camry. Person kept driving it afterwards, I guess some damage was done.

Another 2nd gen Ram 1500 5.2 Magnum. Ran it out of oil. Put oil in it, just didn't sound as good as mine that has never been neglected.

Another 2003ish Nissan Murano, ran it out of oil. Dipstick is a pain to read. Again 4 quarts needed to get it in the safe zone. A couple days later the owner freed themselves of the problem by traded it in on a 3 series BMW lease.


Edited by zfasts03 (03/10/18 03:33 PM)
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#4690653 - 03/10/18 03:39 PM Re: Catastrophic Engine Failure Related to Oil [Re: Speak2Mountain]
bdcardinal Offline


Registered: 06/03/05
Posts: 11078
Loc: Santa Barbara, CA
I have seen more than a few due to low/no oil. People will do the 10K OCI without ever checking the level. Also rentals that have gone too long between changes.
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#4690656 - 03/10/18 03:48 PM Re: Catastrophic Engine Failure Related to Oil [Re: Speak2Mountain]
michaelluscher Offline


Registered: 10/07/12
Posts: 2439
Loc: Staten Island, NY
I've never had one flat out die in front of me with a lubrication related failure

I've had a few that sounded like they were going to, but survived and thrived with a top up and some badly needed attention

Like my friends 2AZ oil consumption Camry that needed 4 quarts to get to the low mark

Or a 2.4 Sonata that needed 3 quarts to get to the low mark (this one later seized during the dipstick campaign test at Hyundai)
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#4690668 - 03/10/18 04:01 PM Re: Catastrophic Engine Failure Related to Oil [Re: Speak2Mountain]
Patman Online   content



Registered: 05/27/02
Posts: 20487
Loc: Oakville, Ontario
Originally Posted By: Speak2Mountain
Has anyone ever experience the (near) loss of an engine because of no oil or not enough?


If that were the case the engine failure was not due to the quality of the oil itself but from the oil pump not working or the user not putting enough oil in the engine to begin with.
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2010 BMW 328i X-Drive (GC 0w40 & Mann)


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#4690672 - 03/10/18 04:07 PM Re: Catastrophic Engine Failure Related to Oil [Re: Speak2Mountain]
CR94 Offline


Registered: 03/20/16
Posts: 1180
Loc: Western S.C. since 1996
As my first car, I acquired the old Chevrolet listed below as a hand-me-down from my parents. Back when it was new, oil filters (bypass cartridge only) were an optional accessory, bolted on, and plumbed to the engine with two rubber hoses. By the time I got the car, the original hoses looked dubious, so I replaced them with new (non-GM) ones. A few weeks later, I used that car to move away from home to my first real job, hundreds of miles away.

During that trip, on a limited-access highway, suddenly oily smoke started blowing onto my feet, and smoke came from under the hood. Stopping and opening the hood revealed nothing but smoke, initially. A couple of guys pulling a boat stopped and came running with a fire extinguisher. Seeing smoke, but disappointed to see no flames, they pronounced "You blew the engine!" and drove off.

When the smoke cleared, it was apparent that the brass fitting at the end of one new hose had separated from the flexible portion. Luckily, being a packrat, I had the old hose, plenty oil, and tools in the car, so was soon on my way again.

IF the oil squirting from the failed hose had been directed to the road instead of in a direction that made the leak obvious, I surely would've experienced a catastrophic engine failure shortly.


Edited by CR94 (03/10/18 04:11 PM)
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#4690685 - 03/10/18 04:24 PM Re: Catastrophic Engine Failure Related to Oil [Re: Speak2Mountain]
pbm Online   content


Registered: 04/19/04
Posts: 7642
Loc: New York
When I was in high school I drove a 1972 Dodge Tradesman van on weekends in NYC for work....it had the 318 motor.
On several occasions I would check the oil (the regular delivery guys who worked Mon-Friday never did) and would need to add 4 quarts....that old Dodge was sold with over 100K (hard city) miles and the new owner (another store owner on the block) said it kept running great.
I don't know if todays high tech DOHC engines could take that same abuse.

PS: I remember going to an auto parts store named AID and buying quarts of 10w30 Wolf's Head to save my boss some money because it was much cheaper than buying oil at the gas station.
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#4690689 - 03/10/18 04:33 PM Re: Catastrophic Engine Failure Related to Oil [Re: Speak2Mountain]
RyanY Offline


Registered: 01/25/18
Posts: 97
Loc: South Carolina (SC)
Some engines are probably more susceptible than others. In a previous life I had an '84 Olds Cutlass Supreme 5.0 that would not die (even though I tried). The dipstick showed oil level was fine, but apparently all of the oil had leaked around the fuel pump gasket - but the sludge showed on the dipstick! I ran it for about 6 months like that, and then my father bought it as a beater. He noted the leak and replaced the gasket, filled with late 80s Pennzoil, and drove it for another 40k before selling it. Last I heard, the next owner drove another 60k before it rusted out.
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#4690730 - 03/10/18 05:21 PM Re: Catastrophic Engine Failure Related to Oil [Re: Speak2Mountain]
JLTD Offline


Registered: 12/15/17
Posts: 836
Loc: US
I once had an engine failure (bearings) when I purchased a used vehicle with poor or no maintenance and about 80k miles. Oil was solid chunks on the inside of the engine.

But in a properly maintained engine? Never.
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#4690758 - 03/10/18 06:01 PM Re: Catastrophic Engine Failure Related to Oil [Re: Speak2Mountain]
ammolab Offline


Registered: 01/16/06
Posts: 1003
Loc: Ruidoso, NM USA
A shady Houston booze distributor loaned my boss a 1950s Chevy pickup to haul beer kegs to his Ranch party in central Texas. I drove the rig to the party with my new Bride riding shotgun. At startup the oil pressure guage showed "0" but the owner said the it was broken and always showed "0". I could not check the oil as he started the truck with jumper cables and warned me it would take many miles to charge the battery.

Twenty miles down the road a knock started, and ten miles later a rod destroyed the block with much noise, steam and smoke.

It was a set up...the guy demanded a new engine from my boss.


Edited by ammolab (03/10/18 06:01 PM)
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#4690761 - 03/10/18 06:02 PM Re: Catastrophic Engine Failure Related to Oil [Re: Speak2Mountain]
jaj Offline


Registered: 08/21/03
Posts: 1060
Loc: Vancouver, Canada
I've had two near-misses:

Back in the late 80's I had a VW Rabbit diesel, and one of our family members drove it home on a 35 mile highway trip with no coolant in it after a rad hose let go. The second was our family mini-van, a 1997 Grand Caravan with the 3.0 Mitsubishi V6 engine. Again, a family member (different one) drove it all the way across town - 10 miles or so - with the oil light on after a valve cover gasket replacement that didn't seal up.

In both cases, the appropriate fluid was added and the car continued in service for many years. The mini-van went through FOUR transmissions while we had it, but the Mitsubishi engine was rock solid.

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#4690763 - 03/10/18 06:12 PM Re: Catastrophic Engine Failure Related to Oil [Re: Speak2Mountain]
nyumski Offline


Registered: 05/14/15
Posts: 229
Loc: Indonesia
in the end 2008 my dad's car Hyundai Trajet once his chaffeur check oil routinely from the dipstick once a week, he found that there is no oil there and there is no leak around the engine and seems the smoke came out different.

in that time, my dad called his usual mechanic from the dealer to check his car. and found out his piston ring worn out very badly also need to fully overhaul the engine and the damaged cost is very very expensive around $1000-2000 (i convert from our currencies Rp)

in short time, he decided to buy used car because buying new in that time is not a wise choice.
in Feb 2009 he bought used Toyota Innova petrol with mileage 60k km on it. and we used until 2016 with mileage 250k km on it then i overhauled all suspension parts with damaged cost only $300-400 then sold it
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#4690857 - 03/10/18 08:00 PM Re: Catastrophic Engine Failure Related to Oil [Re: Speak2Mountain]
40w8 Offline


Registered: 12/24/14
Posts: 77
Loc: Texas
My 18 year old brother had a 65 Ss396 Impala in 69. He went home for lunch, and I 17, was still playing cards with friends.

I misunderstood that I'd lock office, and friends bring me home.

I just get in his Impala with key in it and drive about a block.

Engine keep up that tic tic of lifters, so I turned off and left it in awkward position half in street.

Come to find out he drained oil to get oil pan crack fixed with humble weld.

We were both lucky that I figured it out quick, and didn't hurt it!

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#4690862 - 03/10/18 08:08 PM Re: Catastrophic Engine Failure Related to Oil [Re: Speak2Mountain]
walterjay Offline


Registered: 04/12/09
Posts: 248
Loc: Maryland
07 Camry of relative. Oil light came on and driven about 15 miles that way. Refilled with oil and ran great till sold a year later.

90 something chevy van. Engine knocking at idle. Checked oil and not a drop on the stick. Refilled and knocking stopped. Driven for a couple years before sold.

73 Volkswagen Beetle. Oil pump failed. Driven hone several miles with 0 oil pressure. Replaced pump and many happy years and miles were left.

Friends 70 something El Camino. Tore off oil pan on big bump or rut at 70 mph. Instantly shut off engine. Engine destroyed.

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