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Discussion Starter #1
Apologies for posting in here folks & not the other marquees thread, but its a bit of an
emergency & I need a quick response. I put 5w 30d (should have been a heavier grade) oil in the mum's '96 Micra today and almost immediately the car started to smoke heavily from the exhaust & we got the odd rattle from the engine on the way back to the house, which was only a mile or so. I then drove around the corner to the mechanic, he revved it hard and it blew even heavier smoke he told me the rings were shot, & he just happened to have a engine to fit for 600 euro! (the car cost 900e).
The only second opinion I could get this afternoon was on Yahoo answers, were a poster suggested that because it was a thinner oil it had seeped between the rings and into the engine & that the engine was directly burning the oil hence the smoke.

Does this spell the end for the micra or is it salvageable

My knowledge on engines is limited so I was hoping that draining the oil & refilling it with the correct grade will save us a costly repair, which we can't budget for a the moment, mum needs car for work on Monday etc etc..


Also, the car was running perfectly until I put the oil in today,

Any help appreciated.
 

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Pop down to Asda and buy some of their own brand 10w-40, then drain the oil and refil with that.

It costs £2 per litre, and it should give you an idea of whether the oil is causing your problem at a low cost to you.

It will be ok to keep the filter if it has just been fitted.


An oil thats too thin may cause more smoke, what is the grade that is supposed to be in there?

And are you 100% sure you haven't overfilled it? If you overfill it can make the engine smoke.
 
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A second oil change with the correct grade of oil is probably
worth a go.

Even if the piston rings are on the way out you might get
a bit more mileage out of the engine.






Edit: Ignore me, you were on about topping up not doing
an oil change.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Hi symon, the mechanic told me it should have been 10w-30, I am based in Ireland, we don't have Asda over here so I guess I would be walking around to Halfords to get the 10w-40m, if they stock it.

I'm not sure about the filter, its an old car '96 and was bought used so I have no idea when it was last changed if ever, is this something I could do myself?

While buying the oil in Halfords this morning the booklet described the engine as having a 3.1 litre capacity, so I put bought & put in 2litres.
I'm used to my Alfa's burning a lot of oil so I just threw it in, have I killed her?
 

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If it is meant to use a 10w-30 then a 5w-30 should be fine.

The oil filter should have been changed with the oil.


What oil level do you get on the dipstick? If you have just put 2 litres in you may have overfilled it by a large enough amount to make it smoke.

I take it you were topping up and not doing a full change?
 
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Nissans often take a relatively small amount of oil and they also tend not to use much unless they are knackered.

Bearing in mind that it only holds 3 litres anyway, 2 litres would make it way over-filled unless it was so low that the oil pressure light was on. Going from 10w30 to 5w30 shouldn't make it smoke so I'm going with Symon's diagnosis.
 
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I agree with Simon and Keithy. Topping up, even with a slightly wrong grade would not have caused any damage. Overfilling, on the other hand will cause a few problems. Check the dipstick and if it is over full, just drain a bit out. Let us know how it works out for you.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thanks guys,

So am I right in thinking that the by over filling it the oil is burning at all points around the engine & that it is only getting into the cylinders because the level is to high, or is it because the rings are wrapped/cracked?

Quote Rewe 'Overfilling, on the other hand will cause a few problems' - what would these be?

I'll drain a bit out in the morning, if I let the car run for a bit will it then burn off any oil still in the cylinders & once the smoke stops would that be an indication everything is hunky dorey?
 

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Quite often an engine that is overfilled will get oil in the breather system.


Normally this will take oil fumes and pipe them into the combustion chamber, but by overfilling the oil you can get liquid oil and not just fumes going into the combustion chamber.

Drain some oil out, until it is back down to the max mark on the dipstick. It may take a while to clear the excess oil, possibly a few miles of driving.

If it then stops smoking the engine is probably ok.
 
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No, I doubt that there is anything wrong with the rings or bores. If you overfill, the extra oil will be over-pressured and try to force itself out somewhere. I don't know anything about Nissans but I could imagine that it could be getting past valve stem seals and/or into the breather. If you leave it I'd have thought you would spring a leak.
 

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Best off draining the lot. Easier then to measure out 3.1 litres of new oil and fill it rather than drain a bit, check it then repeat over until it looks like its ok on the dipstick.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Called up the recovery guy through the insurance policy, he jacked her up & I drained the oil, refilled with new oil about 1.5 litres, let it reach the sump & stand for a bit until I got a true measurement, started her up & drove about a mile before all smoke cleared. Now running perfectly!

Thanks to fellow AO members for the help.

And the mods for letting this ride in the 'General Alfa Discussion Strictly Alfa Romeo talk only!' thread. Might be time I bought a membership then.


Lesson learnt: Always get a second opinion.
 

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Glad you got it sorted. I would check it again though before driving too far. 1.5 litres doesn't sound much at all.

Although the car isn't an Alfa, the same problem could happen on an Alfa, so maybe that's why it was allowed to stay here.
 

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I don't understand the obsession with putting in just a certain volume of oil.

After you put some oil in it and waited a few minutes for it to work its way to the sump, check the level with the dip-stick. Repeat the procedure until oil appears on the dip stick.

To get from the Min to Max marks usually requires 1 litre of oil.. so you can judge how much more oil you need to when the level starts to appear on the dip-stick.

As you near the Max mark, leave the oil to drain for longer so you don't go waaay over. A little bit over is okay.. the engine can cope.. but obviously, try to stay right on the Max mark.

If you overfill the oil, you get very high pressure which can work its way past the valve-stem seals and the rings. It also gets into the breather (and so into the airbox) so you get the Kuwaiti oilfield impersonnation you saw. If pressure is too high the next thing is that it blows the crankhaft seal into the clutch housing, so you get oil in your clutch. You can get oil foaming too.. where the crank whips the oil into a kind of meringue (ask your mum).. but that's not your biggest problem by the time that happens.. . :D


Ralf S.
 
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