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Is my Piazza using oil?

Posted: Sat Oct 02, 2010 7:01 pm
by sbs
Hi folks,
Heres the picture - I am not mechanically minded so I use a local mechanic to do the servicing on my '86 Piazza. A mere 1,200 kms. after a full service the Low Oil Level warning light comes on and , upon checking the dipstick, I discover that the engine oil level is just visible on the stick. There is no oil under the car, there is no smoke cloud out the back, but I have always felt that the car has been running slightly on the hot side even on a mild to warm day.
A mechanic friend has suggested that the serviceman has misread his information and simply failed to put enough oil in the engine. There is no evidence in or around the exhaust pipe either. Any thoughts anyone? If the oil level was correct could oil be lost or burned in another way without the tell tale signs of smokey exhaust or oil patches under the car?
Any ideas would be much appreciated. Thanks folks, regards, sbs.

Posted: Sun Oct 03, 2010 3:32 am
by IZU069
I like what your mechanical mate said.

The local mechanic might not have checked the oil level after running for a while (eg, new empty oil filter).

But if it's a manual and the clutch starts slipping, let us know.

Oil leakage?

Posted: Sun Oct 03, 2010 8:53 am
by sbs

Thanks for the advice, I figured my mate was right but I am always happy to get another opinion. I will keep in mind if the clutch starts to slip.
Regards, sbs.

Posted: Sun Oct 03, 2010 9:30 am
by Chris
The clutch wouldnt slip if your "engine oil" is low. Your engine would heat up quicker and you will be able to tell buy the rough sound.

Posted: Sun Oct 03, 2010 12:37 pm
by IZU069
Unless the rear main seal is leaking...

(The oil gets around the flywheel else out from the center and contaminates the clutch - it has been known to happen, though more commonly it is due to front gearbox seal failure and/or parking extreme nose down.)

Posted: Mon Oct 04, 2010 7:49 am
by Chris
A rear main seal out of experience will brake quite quickly and i will now it by the small and smoke from oil dripping along your excaust and drive away. Just check the dip stick, fill it up. Leave it running for 5 min. Switch off and give it 5 min and check again. Keep checking it for the next few days.

Posted: Mon Oct 04, 2010 7:14 pm
by wedgenut
Checking the oil on a piazza takes two "DIPS" The crank case is pretty well sealed, if you have a good seal on the dipstick collar here is what happens. The engine is running and oil goes all round the engine, this lowers the level in the sump and also the dipstick tube. (Many cars have the stick through a hole in the block dipping down into the oil. The piazza doesn't have this. The dipstick tube is fed from low on the sump) So when the engine is turrned off there is an air-lock in the dipstick tube. A good seal on the stick prevents the oil coming up the tube. So you come home, let the car sit for a few minutes and then check the oil. SHIT is too low! Dip it again and you may find it has come up to normal, or at least a bit higher, because you have released the air in the tube. So do a double dip each tme to be sure before bunging any more oil in.

Posted: Mon Oct 04, 2010 11:51 pm
by speedracerles
its funny you say that because I did the same thing out one night at a car meet here in town, so I took the car home ad checked it there and it was fine.. these cars are so funny acting sometimes.

Posted: Tue Oct 05, 2010 12:26 am
by IZU069
I thought the normal practice was to remove, wipe, insert, then remove and read.
Silly people wipe again before replacing.
Sillier people don't bother replacing.

AFIARecall, I always had to wipe the oil splattered dipstick.
However now - despite being a reco'd 1969 pushrod G161 that has since done 170,000km, I too generally do NOT have to wipe because the oil level is down. (It has an atmosphere vented oil filler cap, and oil-separator breather "to the road".)

But it has always been the second dip to read oil.
And if it seems empty, as above, allow time for oil to return to the sump - Wedgenut explained it well.

Also, after removing or changing the oil filter, ALWAYS re-check after a few minutes running - air can displace a lot of oil.

And FWIW....
On my G150 & G161 Belletts I often wouldn't refill until the oil was nearly or off the dipstick (way below the lower limit!).
I could tell when oil was low because of increased engine temperature (oil typically does 40% of the cooling in Isuzus; and 100% in old VWs.)
But G161 Florians used to do big ends because of (the same) heavy cornering. The different sump meant oil sloshed and the pump would miss the oil. Never enough to register oil lights or gauges, but enough to have feeler-gauge thick big-end bearings within 50k-80k miles (80k-130k kms). And having collapsed big ends on a G-series Isuzu? Never!

I then realised good engine temperature and oil pressure (on a gauge) was NOT enough to indicate adequate oil level.
Since then I keep it near the full mark, and rarely let it go below half way.

I also no longer try to skimp on oil changes per se, though the "book schedule" is every 3,000km and I'll do it every 5,000km, or maybe up to 10,000km depending on oil condition.
And I now change the filter at every oil change. (A $10 filter compared to over $20 GTX or GTX-2 of oil - change it. Though I use the common large Z9 filter which is typically $5-$7.)
What can I say? 170,000km on a 1969 G161 pushrod engine with Chinese pistons & rings, still with good compression and rare smoke blows.