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Discussion Starter #1
Hi All,

I have had my G in for a free 1500km service and thought I would recheck the oil level at 4000km. It appears a fair way overfull by about a cm over the full mark. It may have been this way originally but with the oil darkened a little it is easier to see. Should I be concerned? I noticed with my old Range Rover Sport TDV6 they always seemed to run it a bit overfull. I guess it depends on the capacity of the sump and wether the difference on the dipstick compares to the amount of oil.

cheers,
Anthony
 

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they do not drain oil any more at many garages.They "vacuum" it up and sometimes there's perhaps still some left in the sump? I am sure there must be a margin of safety. Was the car on level ground?
 

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Discussion Starter #3
The oil hasn't been changed yet. The car was reasonably level. I have been driving Alfas for 30 years and rebuilt several engines and noticed in the past, depending on the capacity and shape of the sump, that the dipstick level, while important, has a reasonable level of latitude.
Depending on the design, 1 cm over the full level may be massive or incidental.
 

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I consider 1 cm over the max too much. A few mm over is OK without doubt, but 10 mm is too much to feel comfortable about.
I would just drive easy to the garage and have them vacuum suck the extra out.

But keep an eye on the level in case there's a leak.
 

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Park the car level overnight and dip the stick in there first thing in the morning, so it's as drained as it's going to be. That is your true oil level.

If it's way overfilled (and 1cm sounds too much to me) then drop some out.

You'll be okay for the time-being since I guess you're running in or using low revs... but if you rev it more, you will put more pressure through the system.

Some oil will end up being blown out of the crankcase breather (into the airbox, downwind of the filter) so if you have oil in the airbox (proper "pools" on the bottom, not just oily airbox sides) then that would reinforce that you have too much oil in the sump.

Drop a bit out.. maybe 250 ml / half a pint.. and the level should be back on the MAX.


Ralf S.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Park the car level overnight and dip the stick in there first thing in the morning, so it's as drained as it's going to be. That is your true oil level.

If it's way overfilled (and 1cm sounds too much to me) then drop some out.

You'll be okay for the time-being since I guess you're running in or using low revs... but if you rev it more, you will put more pressure through the system.

Some oil will end up being blown out of the crankcase breather (into the airbox, downwind of the filter) so if you have oil in the airbox (proper "pools" on the bottom, not just oily airbox sides) then that would reinforce that you have too much oil in the sump.

Drop a bit out.. maybe 250 ml / half a pint.. and the level should be back on the MAX.


Ralf S.
Thanks Ralf for the reply. I will get the dealer to sort it out as it is scheduled to go back in for a new door seal and mirror (under warranty) once the parts arrive. I am a bit disappointed as the point of the free service was to check the levels. I would do it myself but I have endured enough alfa oil on the hands over the years and I am guessing they can just suck it out anyway.
I am not sure why revving would put extra pressure. If ventilated properly and the extra oil isn't blocking anything it should be OK. If the extra level puts it into the path of thrashing components then I guess there could be some unwanted foaming which could be an issue.

It reminds me of many years ago when I picked up an Alfa Sud for my wife very cheap and proceeded to have problems with water in the fuel and subsequent running problems. I guess this is why they sold it cheap as they had a new fuel tank in the service history plus various carby repairs. I drained the tank several times and put in fuel filter traps but it continued to be a problem. One day out in the country it let out a loud bang and smoke came out from under the engine. Fearing the worst, I immediately switched it off and got towed back by a friendly local to where we were staying. The next day I had a closer look and it started fine. Too cut a long story short it turned out the oil breather copper mesh filter was completely clogged (too much running on old oil) so the crankcase was ventilating back through the fuel tank (thanks to 80's pollution control) and condensing vapours in the fuel tank. It got to the point that it blew a front cam shaft oil seal, hence all the smoke. Cleaned the mesh filter and 4 litres of oil got us back into town (oil everywhere). New oil seal and it ran like a charm from then on...
 

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If the crank dips into the oil the impact will cause damage on the bearings. And even if the oil level isn't high enough for that to happen..while cornering the shifting of the oil can cause it to go high enough for the dipping to take place.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I might "man up" and do it myself this weekend. Less bother than going to the dealers and time to get my hands dirty again...
 

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If the crank dips into the oil the impact will cause damage on the bearings. And even if the oil level isn't high enough for that to happen..while cornering the shifting of the oil can cause it to go high enough for the dipping to take place.
Interesting theory, however, unless you are the person who designed the engine or who have had it apart, then it is impossible to know the latitude in the dipstick levels. Common sense would dictate that the marks to be tolerant to about 10 to 20 percent to allow for human error. The high and low mark are certainly much closer together than my older alfas.
I once ran my Alfa Berlina 1750 way low on oil due to a pinched oil seal (my fault). I was driving on level freeway in the middle of the night and could smell the oil, which is a little bit normal in older cars. I kept an eye on the oil gauge and when I saw it suddenly dip i pulled right over to discover oil all over the engine. Fortunately I had 5 litres of oil and a spare filter seal in the boot and I was on the way for the rest of the 600km journey from Melbourne to Sydney. I think I poured about 4 litres of oil in! I stripped this engine quite a while later for a scheduled rebuild and it was perfectly fine.
Now the Giulietta engine might be considerably less tolerant but I wouldn't know for sure. The dealers certainly seem to be indifferent to a bit of overfilling.
For all those people worried about their alfas breaking down, this occasion (which I fixed on the side of the road) and one other when I ran out of petrol (saved by my dad) are the only two times i have been stranded on the side of the road after driving Alfas for 30 years! Mind you, back then, I virtually had a spare engine in the boot!
Touch wood...
 

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Discussion Starter #11
On second thoughts I can't even see where the sump plug may be! I checked it cold today and it is definitely way over. Also there is a slight oil leak at the top front of the engine (closer to passenger side) which could be coming from a breather pipe.
I am going to insist they look at it and correct the level first thing Monday. I swear they must have put some extra oil in as I only remember being slightly over when I first got it.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I took it in and they tightened something for the oil leak and double checked the oil level and say it is OK. I finally got to leave it on a completely level service for a couple of days and on the first day had the same issue where I was getting oil further up the dipstick. The second day it had finally settled and was just slightly above the full level. It would seem that being slightly over full that oil readily migrates up the fuel indicator shaft and takes a quite a while to drain out. Frustrating but at least it is all OK.
 

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I know this might sound a bit like teaching your grandmother to suck eggs, but I was told that when you check the oil level you should remove the dipstick, wipe it, insert it again and then read it, because of the oil running down the dipstick from it being thrown around when the engine is running and oil creeping up the dipstick. This can make a difference!
 

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Discussion Starter #14
I know this might sound a bit like teaching your grandmother to suck eggs, but I was told that when you check the oil level you should remove the dipstick, wipe it, insert it again and then read it, because of the oil running down the dipstick from it being thrown around when the engine is running and oil creeping up the dipstick. This can make a difference!
Yep, wiped it read it, wiped it read it many times but was still getting oil on the shaft above the full mark. It was gradually diminishing so that's why I left it a second night....
I have read dipsticks and changed oil hundreds of times in the past and this is first time I have come up against this issue to this extent.
 

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I am not sure if the QV has an oil cooler but almost sure it must have.
The oil level will therefore only read correct after some time
, so never check when warm, perhaps an extra pint was added at some time while filling up as the 'oil level will show low if there is oil in the cooler'
 

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Discussion Starter #16
I honestly think it is just a case of oil hanging around in the dipstick tube longer than normal. Being slightly over full probably makes it worse. You could see exactly the same thing when it was warm but the oil being thinner made it harder to observe. Poor dipstick design I guess and probably few people check it nowadays anyway..
 

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Yes AGT21 only check in the morning before you drive when the oil is cool is easy to check then. Chance on a new car that you have a problem is very low , break the sump on a rock maybe?
 
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