View Full Version : Ran oil low. Did I damage anything?

08-21-2013, 11:55 PM
I started to get a low oil pressure alarm about a week ago. I checked and thought I had oil and thought the sending unit was going out. Oil pressure would only drop when dropping speed from 23 to zero. After about 8 hrs of running by clearing alarm, I found at I was 4 Qts low.

I am not noticing any noises or vibrations.

What are the chances that I am fine?

08-22-2013, 12:02 AM
Would the oil psi drop to zero and stay there? IMO your probably ok but I would keep an eagle eye on oil level and an ear for any unusual noises for quite a few hours. I see engines with low oil quite frequently and they usually eventually start to have oil consumption issues at higher mileage.

08-22-2013, 03:59 AM
4 quarts low? That means you only had 2 quarts in it. What engine do you have? If it's an 8.1 they use oil and need to be checked before every use.

I'd change the oil right away, even though you just added 4 quarts to it. Keep a close watch on it every time you take it our.
You must already have an oil consumption issue. How many hours since the last change?

08-22-2013, 07:32 AM
Definitely do an oil change and watch the consumption carefully. I would suggest not ignoring the alarm moving forward. If you get the alarm, shutdown and check straight away, much cheaper option.

Dino Don
08-22-2013, 08:34 AM
Definitely do an oil change and watch the consumption carefully. I would suggest not ignoring the alarm moving forward. If you get the alarm, shutdown and check straight away, much cheaper option.

What was that commercial on TV some years ago?? "Pay me now or pay me later"....much cheaper to check and add as needed than to replace/rebuild!! :D

08-22-2013, 09:15 AM
I'd start saving my pennies for what I'm sure will be a rebuild in your future. It doesn't take much time at zero oil pressure to score the journals on a crank.

Keep a close EYE on your oil pressure gauge. When it starts to drop below 10 lbs I'd probably pull the motor so you don't end up windowing the block.

08-22-2013, 09:39 AM
An engine must have good oil pressure to avoid metal-to-metal contact at the bearings. There is no question that you have damaged bearings and shortened engine life. I would change the oil and filter, run it for a while on the hose, and change oil and filter again to get as much metal out of it as possible, then keep a close eye on oil level and pressure. Wouldn't be a bad idea to cut the current oil filter open and see how much metal is in there, and also have an oil analisys done. You may get lucky and get some life out of it.

08-22-2013, 01:01 PM
Some engines will use oil more than others of the same make and model.

4 quarts is a lot... Budget for a rebuild in the next 100 hrs is my suggestion. May not happen, but chances are, it will (sorry). Monitor and change the oil as stated above... But if possible, keep the oil filter and a sample of oil.

if you can, take a sample to a friend that works in construction.... Big construction companies, that have lots of big equipment, may have the analysis machine to examine the contents in the oil. Dealer may have access to one of these. The machine can determine if the motor is:

1. Burning oil based on the state of the oil.

2. Leaking water (mix of both oil and water.)

3. Has metal filings in the oil (bad).

They should be able to produce a report on it. Giving you an idea of whether or not the motor is about to have bigger problems.

For changing the oil...

1. Run the motor for 3-4 minutes, let the oil get warm and helps drain all the good and bad oil.

2. Drain into a very clean container. Place a clean magnet in the container over night. That is a simple way of looking for big filings that will be attached to the magnet.

3. Inspect the water in the bilge area, look for signs of oil. Might help determine if it is leaking instead of burning. Hate to say it, but if leaking, it may also be burning it.

When you winterized, check compression and if you have time or an expert run a leak down test on the valve train.

I'd also look at the valve covers, look for signs of leakage.

Finally... If you have a fake a lake and can run the boat out of the water, run it and take a look at the color of smoke/scent coming out of the exhaust. Blue smoke is bad, you might smell the oil burning.

Oh, I think there are some products that help clean out burnt oil or engine cleaners... I don't know enough about them to tell you what to do... Take a look around or ask a mechanic if they recommend a product or if they work.