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Particles of sludge on dipstick? #5210633 09/12/19 03:59 AM
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FordCapriDriver Offline OP
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I've nearly owned my 1988 Escort XR3i for two years now.

The previous owner did not maintain the engine very well, the oil was not changed regularly and was run on cheap Dino oils.

I bought the car in January 2018 and have changed the oil 8 times already in 12k miles!

I last changed the oil, but not the filter last week and have begun seeing something i hadn't seen before...

Little chunks of black sludge about the size of a grain of sand on the dipstick, sometimes, not always when i pull the dipstick, not many, only one or two.
I know it is sludge because if i wipe it off on my finger it's soft and leaves a black streak on my fingers if i rub them together.

I have been using 15W-40 HDEO in it since i bought it and Motorcraft filters, mainly because of the higher Detergent and dispersant levels and higher ZDDP ( it is a flat tappet engine )

Should i worry? or is it just the HDEO doing it's thing, i have begun to see visible cleaning in the past months.

A picture just to give you an idea of what it looks like under the rocker cover

[Linked Image from live.staticflickr.com]Rocker cover gasket change 09-05-2018 by Argentum Enim in Sempiternum, en Flickr


1975 Ford Capri II Ghia 3000 V6 - Repsol Elite Super 20W-50
1988 Ford Escort XR3i Cabrio - Shell Rimula R4X 15W-40 HDEO

Re: Particles of sludge on dipstick? [Re: FordCapriDriver] #5210635 09/12/19 04:02 AM
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FordCapriDriver Offline OP
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Just to clarify, last week i changed the oil but not the filter because it smelled of fuel as a result of a problem i had with the Bosch K-Jetronic injection which was causing it to ovefuel, that problem is fixed now.
The old oil only had 600-ish miles on it.


1975 Ford Capri II Ghia 3000 V6 - Repsol Elite Super 20W-50
1988 Ford Escort XR3i Cabrio - Shell Rimula R4X 15W-40 HDEO

Re: Particles of sludge on dipstick? [Re: FordCapriDriver] #5210644 09/12/19 05:07 AM
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joekingcorvette Offline
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Just guessing but looking at the upper valve train it appears the oil is continuing to clean the engine. I would think that is probably why you are getting
little flakes of carbon and sludge on the dipstick. I would continue with the short OCI's for a while if you have time to do it. If the car is not using oil I would think it would be worth trying to continue cleaning the engine internally with regular short changes for a while.


2005 Chevrolet Corvette
2014 Ford F-150 4x4 supercrew
2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee Limited (wifes)
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Re: Particles of sludge on dipstick? [Re: FordCapriDriver] #5210647 09/12/19 05:08 AM
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demarpaint Offline
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What you're describing, and looking at the pictures is sludge breaking off and occasionally finding its way to become deposited on the dipstick, it happens in dirty engines. Aside from doing what you have been doing, shorter OCIs with HDEO, you could try your favorite engine cleaning product, or the only other option is to tear the engine down and manually clean it. I'd pass on that chore. Trav did a nice write up here [ Cleaning sludgy Nissan VQ ] on what he's doing with Rislone HM treatment. Read it from the beginning. It might be worth a shot if you can get some.


God Bless Our Troops

Re: Particles of sludge on dipstick? [Re: FordCapriDriver] #5210649 09/12/19 05:15 AM
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FordCapriDriver Offline OP
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The engine doesn't smoke nor does it use any oil, which is surprising considering the poor care the previous owner gave it, and the fact that it is a 31 year old engine with just over 100k miles on it.

I'm a little put off by engine flush type products, as i've read more than a few horror stories as a result of using them, large amounts of sludge being dislodged and blocking the screen on the oil pump's pickup tube for example.

Last edited by FordCapriDriver; 09/12/19 05:16 AM.

1975 Ford Capri II Ghia 3000 V6 - Repsol Elite Super 20W-50
1988 Ford Escort XR3i Cabrio - Shell Rimula R4X 15W-40 HDEO

Re: Particles of sludge on dipstick? [Re: FordCapriDriver] #5210650 09/12/19 05:15 AM
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Mad_Hatter Offline
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The detergents appear to be doing the trick. The danger is clogging the pick up, filter or a gallery but it sounds like what you're seeing is pretty small. You actually want sludge and deposits to break off in small bits. Just keep an eye on oil pressure and check the filter regularly...

Re: Particles of sludge on dipstick? [Re: FordCapriDriver] #5210653 09/12/19 05:33 AM
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demarpaint Offline
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Originally Posted by FordCapriDriver
The engine doesn't smoke nor does it use any oil, which is surprising considering the poor care the previous owner gave it, and the fact that it is a 31 year old engine with just over 100k miles on it.

I'm a little put off by engine flush type products, as i've read more than a few horror stories as a result of using them, large amounts of sludge being dislodged and blocking the screen on the oil pump's pickup tube for example.

You could half the dose of what Trav is doing, but the 100 mile OCI is very short. If you're afraid you could continue with the HDEO for short intervals, it appears to be working, very slowly. Then monitor the progress from time to time.

I've cleaned up projects like that over the years for friends, or in beaters. Some were worse. I preferred to tweak the oil with a slow and safe product designed for cleaning an engine. Opinions vary. Good luck.


God Bless Our Troops

Re: Particles of sludge on dipstick? [Re: FordCapriDriver] #5210678 09/12/19 06:34 AM
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WobblyElvis Online Content
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You are currently changing the oil every 1,500 miles. I suggest you save your time and money by extending the OCI to 3,000 miles. The engine will be fine.

Re: Particles of sludge on dipstick? [Re: FordCapriDriver] #5210720 09/12/19 07:46 AM
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Originally Posted by FordCapriDriver

I'm a little put off by engine flush type products, as i've read more than a few horror stories as a result of using them, large amounts of sludge being dislodged and blocking the screen on the oil pump's pickup tube for example.

Nothing wrong with taking it slow. This allows any seals that have become hardened due to lack of exposure to the plasticizers in oil (because they've been encased in sludge/varnish for the last umpteen years), the opportunity to soften back up and return to their normal size and hopefully not spring leaks.

Re: Particles of sludge on dipstick? [Re: FordCapriDriver] #5210743 09/12/19 08:20 AM
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I think you could try some cleaning product every other oil change. Maybe you can flush the engine with cheap oil after the product is drained.

If it's not a hard job, you can pull the oil pan to clean it and check the oil pick up. This way you can see how things are under there.

Nice car btw, and nice pictures on your Flickr !


Chevrolet Kadett EFI '94 (Neat ethanol) - Shell Rimula RT4X 15W40

Honda Fit '09 (FlexFuel) - Shell Helix HX8 5W30
Re: Particles of sludge on dipstick? [Re: FordCapriDriver] #5210747 09/12/19 08:25 AM
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CT8 Offline
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Sludge isn't really a problem until there is enough to clog something. Do a run with Redline or some other ester based oil , then remove the valve cover and inspect.


2015 F150 2.7
2018 F350 6.2
Re: Particles of sludge on dipstick? [Re: CT8] #5210770 09/12/19 08:48 AM
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Originally Posted by CT8
Sludge isn't really a problem until there is enough to clog something. Do a run with Redline or some other ester based oil , then remove the valve cover and inspect.

That's akin to saying eating a pound of bacon a day isn't a problem until you throw a blood clot!😂

Last edited by Mad_Hatter; 09/12/19 08:49 AM.
Re: Particles of sludge on dipstick? [Re: FordCapriDriver] #5210780 09/12/19 09:03 AM
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1978elcamino Offline
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Run a 5w40 diesel oil for the next two years @ 3k oci's, filter changes every other oil change. Then, remove the valve cover and see how things are progressing.


2018 F150 5.0
2016 Ford Fusion 2.5
Re: Particles of sludge on dipstick? [Re: FordCapriDriver] #5210938 09/12/19 12:50 PM
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If you have the room for a larger than stock oil filter, I would use one. I would go as large as I could in both diameter and length. Use a good filter like the Fram Ultra Guard or equivalent so as to trap all the garbage that the oil cleans off the engine. I would run the oil longer(6k to 7k miles) but change out the filter at half that miles, top off and go another 3k to 3.5k miles. You don't want that garbage to get past the oil filter so you want to do all you can to keep the oil from going into filter by-pass mode. The larger the filter the harder it is to get it to go into by-pass.

No way will you use up the detergents in the oil in 3k miles so run it longer, let it do its job which is to clean the engine and keep it clean. Let the oil filter do its job which is to take debris out of the oil and a larger oil filter will hold more before putting any stress on the by-pass.

Rod


'06 S2000
'00 SSEi sold at 252k miles
'08 Ford F53 V10
'13 Jeep Sahara 2 door
Re: Particles of sludge on dipstick? [Re: FordCapriDriver] #5211070 09/12/19 03:59 PM
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FordCapriDriver Offline OP
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I am already using an oversized oil filter.


1975 Ford Capri II Ghia 3000 V6 - Repsol Elite Super 20W-50
1988 Ford Escort XR3i Cabrio - Shell Rimula R4X 15W-40 HDEO

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