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Massive oil burning after overfill and change

kkaugars Jul 1, 2014

  1. kkaugars

    kkaugars New Member

    Hi, new to this forum but hope to get some advice / help.

    We have a 2004 A6 3.0. Last week, the low oil indicator came on, and since this is a somewhat regular occurrence, my spouse added a quart - pulled the dipstick, nearly dry, added another and repeated three more times. Told me when we both got home (she drove around 60 miles total to work and back), I pulled the dipstick and it was way overfilled.

    I did a full oil and filter change, since the car was nearly due in any case and I figured I would get the right amount of oil in the car using this mechanism. In the past, I have under-filled to 5.5 quarts and then carefully topped it off. Followed the same procedure, but after the 5.5 the dipstick showed an overfill.

    Thinking that the oil filter had not filled yet, I started it and immediately got intense oily smoke pouring out of the tailpipe. Thicker than any fog I have ever seen, almost like the car was burning pure oil. Immediately stopped the car, let it sit for a day in frustration. I opened up the oil drain plug this morning and perhaps a 1/2 quart at most dribbled out.

    I am at a loss - it appears something is plugged, but where to start hunting, or if it is even worth it are open questions for me. If there is a common issue here that I may be able to resolve, no problem. If I am faced with another multi-thousand bill from the dealer, time to start looking for a new vehicle.

    For completeness, the car has 186,000 miles on it, and aside from the usual need for a water pump, exhaust rusting, and so on has had no major mechanical issues.

    Any help or advice gratefully accepted...
  2. nedge2k

    nedge2k Member

    Oil burning in a N/A engine can only usually come from two places; up the cylinders, past the piston rings (if they're badly worn enough) or down the valves, past the stem seals and valve guides (again, if badly worn enough).

    To produce that much smoke would indicate a massive overfill, the piston(s) approaching BDC are forcing the oil up the other cylinders, past the rings and into the combustion chamber.

    However, once it had burnt through the excess, you should have been left with the normal amount of oil the engine take - not run it dry.

    There is only one other (unlikely) explanation I can think of - head gasket failure. If the gasket has failed between the oil galleries and the cylinders, it could consume a fair bit of oil. Pull and check the spark plugs and see if any are oily.

    A compression test will tell you if it's rings or gasket. The only real way to check for stem seal/valve guide wear is a vacuum test on the inlet/exhaust ports.

    When you drained the oil, did you open the filler cap and pull the dipstick tube to prevent air locks?

    N.B. I know nothing of this particular engine, it may have a common issue, the above is just general info.

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