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Sludged engine help ( I know dead horse), but confused) #5317747 01/09/20 01:57 PM
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jssaab Offline OP
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Hi all new member long time lurker. Great story below and I am sorry for starting a new thread, i've read literally hundreds of posts over a bunch of threads to get what would seem as a good few options to answer for my position. I have narrowed down my thoughts and am looking for a bit more opinions, so sorry about killing this horse one more time.

I have a Saab (as my Screen name suggests, and have had 9 of them over the years) engines run forever if well taken care of (well except the 1999-2003 with faulty PCV using semi-syn and 10k oil change recommendation spun my bearings due to sludge but that is a different story).

The story here is I bought a mint (cosmetic) condition 2006 Saab Aero 9-3 convertible turbo V6 (2.8 chevy engine) 160K miles, owned by the proverbial "little old lady" LOL (lol). Used at her beach house only during summers, garaged kept, no rust (Florida then CT car for last 35 k miles, both at the beach). Top was never up (and it showed) and the car was never serviced (no records -and it showed as well) and I knew that going in. Lived in big money house (3 car garage huge with pool and whatnot on a hill, with a couple of beach houses. Her husband was an engineer so I was surprised to see such a badly maintained car since my experience was engineer are pretty anal about these types of things. My only thought was he had a HUGE insurance policy on his wife.

Car was on what had to be the original cabin filter, probably an old Air filter for at least 40k miles. Brake fluid looked like mud, bald tires, metal on metal on the brakes.They both looked at me with a blank stare when I asked bout the last oil change. I asked where they would have had it done so I could call and see when it was done, I got crickets. She only drove it around town ( and was well known there, banker knew her (and the car) so pretty legit I figured especially compared to a used car dealer. At least they did not lie about taking care of it....

He wanted 5k, I offered 1K told him what needed to be done, he said 2500, we settled at 2K. (car is worth about 5K in good mechanical shape to a Saab guy,I can sell the parts for that if I needed to, so I was good taking a chance, so no comments as to why I am an idiot for buying the car in the first place. I have no time for personal insults about me from a stranger, just think of me as a fool on the internet who does not car one flying f about negative comments and move along (sorry I need to put that disclaimer in here, I have seen quite a few here -those folks will remain namelss- but you all know who I am talking about. )

On to the sludge,

I Did an oil change right way with the recommended oil M1 0w-30 and M1 oil filter. Oil came out like syrup with quite a few wet globs. The filter was black and hard and brittle I will try to attach a pic) a few hard flecks in the oil, felt gritty but did not seem metallic (not magnetic so perhaps carbon.)

After the change drove it for about 500 Miles, changed the oil again, only looked a little black, oil filter black not clogged with sludge. Put the car to bed for winter in October. My son came home from grad school and needed to use the car, went fine for him (weather was 45-55) All is well so far. Feel like a dodged a bullet.

Then the weather turned 35 degrees and the oil light came on at start up went away after a few seconds, and did that until warm. Drove it 300 miles no issue without letting it cool, then it gets to 25 degrees and now at start, oil light come on and wont go off right away. I turn off the ignition and do intermittent starts a lot of times and then it goes off and flickers, stops when fully warm.

On to the recommended therapy.

Did another change M1 0w-30. Helped but did not cure it because at 25 degrees (even colder over night) only took a couple of cycles of starting/stopping in the morning for it to go way, did not see it again when completely warm. I want t clean it out slowly, not a fan of "flushes" and my mechanic agreed. So the M1 I was thinking will do that over time.

My question is based on what I've read not to do a flush. but rather a "cleaning" with a detergent additive slowly over time.

On here I've read lube control LC 20 does that. It will take a bit to get to me. I have used MMO before (took me a bit on here to know what everyone was talking about) on a sludge Saab engine before. Started knocking after a few oil changes. Also owned by a LOM (little old man) and only drive to church (for real) MMO stopped the knocking enough to trade trade the car (for another saab) for what I paid/

This one I want to save. I found an engine with 1/2 the miles for 500 bucks, but am not sure I want to swap the engine yet.

Any recommendation for slowly de-sludging the engine? I was thinking 2oz of MMO (not the full Qt at first, just the recommended mid-OCI amount - also had to figure that abbreviation out on here. ) 500 miles and see if its better in the cold. If not add the full qt. and do a change in another 500 miles.

Any thoughts about this approach. Just trying to save the engine for a few more miles of summer enjoyment.

Re: Sludged engine help ( I know dead horse), but confused) [Re: jssaab] #5317756 01/09/20 02:12 PM
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LeakySeals Offline
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The little white chunks that look and feel like sand are dried carbon deposits. A sign the oil is doing its job. Will go away eventually. You could switch to the Mobil 1 High Mileage version which has "boosted" amounts of cleaner and conditioners. If you want a cleaner additive my vote is Rislone. Happy with the results on several engines.
https://www.walmart.com/ip/Rislone-100-QR-32-Oz-Rislone-Engine-Treatment/22578974


06 Escalade 6.0L LQ9 AWD 170k M1 5w30
03 Maxima 3.5L 170k Maxlife HM 10w30
05 Malibu Classic 2.2 111k M1 5w30
06 Altima 2.5L 167k unk
Re: Sludged engine help ( I know dead horse), but confused) [Re: jssaab] #5317760 01/09/20 02:16 PM
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Le_bow_ski Offline
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Something to consider is that it’s possible that the oil pressure sender is clogged or otherwise compromised. It’s possible all you need is a replacement sender. It might be worth hooking up a diagnostic mechanical oil pressure gauge temporarily to se what’s up in more detail.

If you do indeed have low oil pressure, and the cause is a clogged oil pick-up, the only safe and reliable solution will be to drop the pan and physically clean the screen. Hoping a solvent will take care of the problem before the engine is severely damaged by inadequate oil pressure is extremely risky.

Last edited by Le_bow_ski; 01/09/20 02:18 PM.
Re: Sludged engine help ( I know dead horse), but confused) [Re: Le_bow_ski] #5317766 01/09/20 02:23 PM
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JC1 Offline
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Originally Posted by Le_bow_ski
Something to consider is that it’s possible that the oil pressure sender is clogged or otherwise compromised. It’s possible all you need is a replacement sender. It might be worth hooking up a diagnostic mechanical oil pressure gauge temporarily to se what’s up in more detail.

If you do indeed have low oil pressure, and the cause is a clogged oil pick-up, the only safe and reliable solution will be to drop the pan and physically clean the screen. Hoping a solvent will take care of the problem before the engine is severely damaged by inadequate oil pressure is extremely risky.


Welcome to the site!

+1 on a possible Oil pickup screen being clogged. Did you cut open any of the oil filters to see what was caught inside the filters? I would do that to get a better feeling about the condition.

Is the oil pan easy to remove to inspect the oil pan?

You can try the Rislone or MMO treatments. Is this car only driven in Summer time normally? I would be cutting open the filter after each oil change to see if the condition improves in regards to sludge.


2015 Grand Caravan SXT Plus 0w-20 Pennzoil Ultra/Fram Ultra Filter
1997 Honda Civic CX 5w-30 PPPP/Fram Ultra Filter
Re: Sludged engine help ( I know dead horse), but confused) [Re: jssaab] #5317770 01/09/20 02:27 PM
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I do believe fresh engine oil will clean stuff out gradually, but how gradually, who knows. This is my sludged up Nissan Sentra before an oil change with only Supertech 10w40 (well, half a quart of Formula Shell 10w40, too) conventional, ran about 1500 miles. Before and after pics.

Before:
[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]
[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]
[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]

After:
[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]
[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]
[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]

It's a little subtle, but definitely some improvement. I kinda just wanted somewhere to post these pictures. Also at 1500 miles, it's not used much at all (1/4 of a quart, probably all from a leaky valve cover gasket...) but the oil is almost black, so it's doing stuff. And this is Supertech, not fancy oil. My plan is to change it in 500 miles or so, depending on weather here.

I've used MMO/Seafoam/etc in one of my cars before, a high mileage Celica Supra with really nothing wrong, and I feel I made a wrong decision and it killed the car. I did use way too much, basically as a teenager hoping to make it feel faster, but I think my biggest issue was, I used it over 2500-3000 miles, without a filter change, but with 2-3 oil drains during that time, and I switched to a new style filter Toyota spec'd (Toyota spec'd a Ford big block filter for the car originally, then later spec'd a tiny 4 cylinder Camry filter) that was too small to hold all my sludge. It was also an orange Fram. A lot coincidences. So now I tend to steer away from "engine flushes" on otherwise healthy cars. On another Celica Supra I owned, I think I used a 3600 sized filter and a Motorcraft equiv, but still would randomly get oil pressure issues. I only stopped getting oil pressure issues when I switched to a Napa Gold 1068, since the filter is oversized.

I think in your situation, I'd use a cheaper Dino oil, and do 500-1000 mile drains with a new filter every drain. Maybe see depending on the thread and bypass pressures, if you can use an oversized filter, as my guess what's going on is the filter could be clogged with garbage and it only can flow through fully when the oil is hot.

Re: Sludged engine help ( I know dead horse), but confused) [Re: jssaab] #5317794 01/09/20 02:52 PM
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Clubber_Lang Offline
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15% +/- MMO in the crankcase with OCI of 2500 miles or so is my recommendation

Re: Sludged engine help ( I know dead horse), but confused) [Re: jssaab] #5317804 01/09/20 03:02 PM
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andyd Offline
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I wouldn't add anything to 0w20 I would use cheap oil/filter and a short OCIs The 80s era 2.8 GM V6 wasn't a robust engine . Knowing what the warm oil pressure help me decide how much effort I would put into saving it. grin2

Last edited by andyd; 01/09/20 03:12 PM.

'16 Camry LE STP synth 0w20 and STP filter. the Fridge

1994 Ranger ,the Rat, 5w30 dino, STP filter

'16 Camry SE, Valvoline HM 0w20 and OEM filter
Thick oil is better grin2
Re: Sludged engine help ( I know dead horse), but confused) [Re: jssaab] #5317810 01/09/20 03:06 PM
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bullwinkle Offline
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Stick with PYB and the biggest possible oversize filter you can run, start with fairly short OCIs, cutting open the filter every time, and gradually increasing OCIs as the buildup decreases.


06 Ram 3500 CTD 4X4(FG Venturi), 93 GMC C3500 6.2, 89 F-450 7.3, 98 XJ 4.0(XG8A), 05 xB(XG3600), 18 Transit 3.7, 03 Merc Grand Marquis 4.6 2V(XG2)
Re: Sludged engine help ( I know dead horse), but confused) [Re: jssaab] #5317821 01/09/20 03:14 PM
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Trav Offline
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Getting the sludge out of the pan and pickup screen is pretty easy. Put the car on a level surface, drain the oil and replace the plug, buy a gallon of this..

https://www.amazon.com/Berryman-Products-996-Chem-Dip-Carburetor/dp/B00DSMEL2A

Fill the gallon into the sump with a funnel down the dipstick tube. Do not turn the engine over or move the car, you don't want it coming into contact with the seals.
Let it sit for a couple of days then drain and refill with a gallon of kerosene and drain it. Fill with the cheapest oil you can find and start the engine, run for 10 min at idle then drain and refill with ESP 5w30 and a bottle of Rislone HM additive with a new filter. Run it for 3K

The rest of the deposits should take care of themselves unless they are really caked on thick, the pan and pickup will be spotless.


Last edited by Trav; 01/09/20 03:16 PM.

ASE L1, Master. Deutsch Meisterbrief.
Re: Sludged engine help ( I know dead horse), but confused) [Re: celicaxx] #5317872 01/09/20 03:55 PM
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jssaab Offline OP
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Originally Posted by Le_bow_ski
Something to consider is that it’s possible that the oil pressure sender is clogged or otherwise compromised. It’s possible all you need is a replacement sender. It might be worth hooking up a diagnostic mechanical oil pressure gauge temporarily to see what’s up in more detail.


Yeah My mechanic and I discussed this and will do that on Monday. We are thinking the change with new oil may have loosened something up a clogged the sender. My only thought is that it is not a random flicker. While warming after the light stops flickering I put it under load accelerating a bit or up an incline it will come one (again till completely warm so I baby it. This is generally a symptom of bad mains so I am worried it is already toast.

Sender is a bear to remove and not much room to put a pressure gauge on there.

Originally Posted by Le_bow_ski
If you do indeed have low oil pressure, and the cause is a clogged oil pick-up, the only safe and reliable solution will be to drop the pan and physically clean the screen. Hoping a solvent will take care of the problem before the engine is severely damaged by inadequate oil pressure is extremely risky.


The engine is SILENT, and smooth. No tapping no vibration no clunking or chain rattle. Was that way when I bought it and still is. If oil pressure is low I would have thought it would be a bit noisy. Nothing Nada. My mechanic says he's heard louder brand new ones. So I am hoping that's not it (and I like you sensor idea WAY better)


Originally Posted by JC1

Welcome to the site!

+1 on a possible Oil pickup screen being clogged. Did you cut open any of the oil filters to see what was caught inside the filters? I would do that to get a better feeling about the condition.



The oil filter is a cartridge type. This is the one I pulled after I bought the car (I think it will attach) It is brittle and caked. Says China on it so it is not the original from eh factory lol, but I would have guessed that based on how the car was maintained. The last change I did (after 300 miles) it was just black not clogged not noticeable sludge (like the originally removed one)


Originally Posted by JC1
Is the oil pan easy to remove to inspect the oil pan?


no, not at all. I will definitely do that though when I get a chance. WE did put a wire hanger in the drain hole (right near the screen, nothing noticalble there but I know tha tis not a substitue for dropping the pan.

Originally Posted by JC1
You can try the Rislone or MMO treatments. Is this car only driven in Summer time normally? I would be cutting open the filter after each oil change to see if the condition improves in regards to sludge.


I am looking for a detergent just to help the cleaning along. Like others have said I am worried about dislodging a bunch of sludge all at once and clogging the pick up for sure.

Originally Posted by celicaxx
I do believe fresh engine oil will clean stuff out gradually, but how gradually, who knows.


Yeah I am ok with that I just want to loosen stuff up at this time to keep the oil pressure up.

Originally Posted by celicaxx
I've used MMO/Seafoam/etc in one of my cars before, a high mileage Celica Supra with really nothing wrong, ...So now I tend to steer away from "engine flushes" on otherwise healthy cars. On another Celica Supra I owned, I think I used a 3600 sized filter and a Motorcraft equiv, but still would randomly get oil pressure issues. I only stopped getting oil pressure issues when I switched to a Napa Gold 1068, since the filter is oversized.


As it is the filter was not clogged at all at the last change, just dirty. Still had a light at very cold temps.

No chance for an oversize in the cartridge type, although if I can find a larger cap there maybe. Its a GM engine made Made by Saab so only available in Chevy and opel in Europe and Saab stateside but it uses a lot of GM parts. Based on how easily available the cartridges are there may be a way to do that. I used a Saturn filter on my 9-5 that fit right up and was much larger. I'll check around.

Originally Posted by celicaxx
I think in your situation, I'd use a cheaper Dino oil, and do 500-1000 mile drains with a new filter every drain. Maybe see depending on the thread and bypass pressures, if you can use an oversized filter, as my guess what's going on is the filter could be clogged with garbage and it only can flow through fully when the oil is hot.



Any reason to use cheaper oil ( better detergents??) Money is not really a big deal for me as long as its less that the 1000 to swap engines.


filter.jpg
Last edited by jssaab; 01/09/20 03:58 PM.
Re: Sludged engine help ( I know dead horse), but confused) [Re: jssaab] #5317874 01/09/20 03:57 PM
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Hello!

I wonder if this is a situation where pulling the valve covers and the pan is warranted. Can that be done easily while the engine is in place? Years ago, I did this to a sludged up company Ford van. There was no practical way oil changes and flushes were going to fix the problem it had, as oil would accumulate on the heads, and starve the pump.

Once the covers and pan were off, I took spray cleaner, brushes and scrapers to the heads and pan. Yes, I know the area under the intake manifold was untouched, as was the crankcase proper. I also cleaned the oil pickup. But the end result was a resounding success. The van pulled the race car trailer all over the country without any issues and lasted for years.

Maybe if one valve cover is easy to access, pull it and see what you've got.


People who count on their fingers should maintain a discreet silence.
Re: Sludged engine help ( I know dead horse), but confused) [Re: jssaab] #5317880 01/09/20 04:02 PM
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Yeah I will be able to get into it more in a few weeks, as it is I am using the car now because I put my Jag in the shop for a Crank pulley and tune so I am in the middle of all that now. Things always happen at the worst of times

Last edited by jssaab; 01/09/20 04:11 PM.
Re: Sludged engine help ( I know dead horse), but confused) [Re: Trav] #5317882 01/09/20 04:03 PM
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Originally Posted by Trav
Getting the sludge out of the pan and pickup screen is pretty easy. Put the car on a level surface, drain the oil and replace the plug, buy a gallon of this..

https://www.amazon.com/Berryman-Products-996-Chem-Dip-Carburetor/dp/B00DSMEL2A

Fill the gallon into the sump with a funnel down the dipstick tube. Do not turn the engine over or move the car, you don't want it coming into contact with the seals.
Let it sit for a couple of days then drain and refill with a gallon of kerosene and drain it. Fill with the cheapest oil you can find and start the engine, run for 10 min at idle then drain and refill with ESP 5w30 and a bottle of Rislone HM additive with a new filter. Run it for 3K

The rest of the deposits should take care of themselves unless they are really caked on thick, the pan and pickup will be spotless.



Excellent advice.

I would do one thing differently. Final oil change with M1 High Mileage 5w30, no additives.


It ain't what you don't know that gets you into trouble. It's what you know for sure that ain't so.

- mistakenly attributed to Mark Twain
Re: Sludged engine help ( I know dead horse), but confused) [Re: Trav] #5317890 01/09/20 04:10 PM
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Originally Posted by Clubber_Lang
15% +/- MMO in the crankcase with OCI of 2500 miles or so is my recommendation


I will change the oil this weekend again after 250 miles and see what's up. May try that..

Originally Posted by Trav
Getting the sludge out of the pan and pickup screen is pretty easy. Put the car on a level surface, drain the oil and replace the plug, buy a gallon of this..

https://www.amazon.com/Berryman-Products-996-Chem-Dip-Carburetor/dp/B00DSMEL2A

Fill the gallon into the sump with a funnel down the dipstick tube. Do not turn the engine over or move the car, you don't want it coming into contact with the seals.
Let it sit for a couple of days then drain and refill with a gallon of kerosene and drain it. Fill with the cheapest oil you can find and start the engine, run for 10 min at idle then drain and refill with ESP 5w30 and a bottle of Rislone HM additive with a new filter. Run it for 3K

The rest of the deposits should take care of themselves unless they are really caked on thick, the pan and pickup will be spotless.



This is interesting. I could do that if the next change does not work. In the meantime I will be doing the oil sender so that hopefully is the only issue at that point. I do want to have enough of the sludge out so that the sender does not get clogged again is that was the issue.

I'll keep that idea in mind before pulling the sump

Thanks all for your kind attention

Re: Sludged engine help ( I know dead horse), but confused) [Re: jssaab] #5317897 01/09/20 04:23 PM
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Stop driving it until you figure out if the oil pickup screen is clogged or not. A borescope/endoscope might help if you don't want to remove the oil pan.


1997 Maxima 210k, Castrol GTX Synblend 5W-30, PL14459
2004 Corolla 211k, Valvoline SynPower 5W-30, K&N HP-1003
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