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Thread: Oil usage

  1. #1
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    Oil usage

    Yes, I know. Yet another oil burning thread.

    My first post and pics of my car are here:
    http://www.clubprotege.com/forum/sho...hp?65830-Hello

    I was just seeing if I could get some professional opinions on the following:

    Car in question is a 2001 Protege ES 5-spd, 2.0 liter engine. I've owned it for quite a long time. She suddenly started using/burning oil around the winter of 2012 (so roughly 5 years ago).

    It went from never using oil, to burning about a quart every 500 miles or so. It was quite a shock at the time and I was convinced the car was dying, but... I kept topping off the oil, and the Protege just kept driving fine.
    At the time I had no visible smoke at all, even though it was burning a quart every 500 miles.

    So I kept doing all the other regular maintenance. I try to do most everything myself, so in recent years she got new brakes (calipers included, as I was having trouble with brakes all over the place and just decided to do it all), new struts (front and back), and some other odds and ends. She's a well maintained vehicle, except for the oil burning problem.

    Well, fast forward 5 years, and right now she's burning a quart every 200 miles or so. I currently do get visible black smoke above 4500 RPM's. I don't get smoke on startup or during normal driving.

    I had the Mazda dealership in town perform a compression test (I don't have a tester and did not want to deal with it) and they said compression is low on cylinder 3. I have the print out somewhere, I can look it up if need be, but out of the top of my head 3 cylinders are at 180 psi, and the third is at 130 I believe.

    They then redid the test wet (by putting oil in the cylinders) and got the same results.
    What does that mean?

    She's my daily driver and runs incredibly smooth (not a single vibration, a joy to drive honestly), but now at 17 years of age the body is also starting to show signs of rust around the rear wheel wells and a bit on the rocker panels and I am somewhat torn on what to do.

    I feel like this is a sinking ship. I'm running 0w30 full synthetic, and am wondering if I should switch to a thicker oil to see what that will do. My concern is just that cold starts in winter will become even worse with thicker oil.

    What would you do? I've looked into replacement engines before, but a crate engine is still quite expensive, and I'm hesitant on a junk yard engine. We don't have many junk yards here in Alaska to begin with, and I feel that's a crap shoot too. While I really don't mind turning a wrench, I have never rebuild an engine before and don't know how complicated that will get. My guess is "very".
    Last edited by Ceristimo; 08-30-2017 at 08:22 PM.

  2. #2
    Registered User slwpro's Avatar
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    I if one of your cylinders is that low on compression it could very well be your piston rings. Especially if it's smoking while driving, another way you could get an idea of where it's coming from is too pull your dip stick or open your oil cap too see if any smoke comes out.

    Iv also had this same problem with my protege but it was a bit different and ended up being my valve seals.

    But You should also check your pcv valve to make sure it isn't getting stuck. This could cause some oil consumption and if that's the case that is a quick fix.

    And as for rebuilding the engine if it comes down to it. It isn't exactly hard it's just very involved and if you have a manual just follow the steps and lable every single bolt. easy to get intimidated the first time you do it though.


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    Hey, thanks for the reply

    I have tried Marvel Mystery oil and let the cylinders soak over night. I've also used it for a while every time I changed the oil, but have never noticed a change. I was thinking it might be piston rings too, but the wet compression test showed the same numbers so I think that rules out the piston rings, then?

    The smoking while driving is very faint, and only happens above 4500k. I can't see it while driving myself (to faint to show up in the rear view mirror), but when I had someone else drive my car while I drove behind it, I could definitely see (and smell) it burning a little oil at high RPM's.

    Weirdly though, when I replaced my spark plugs a year ago, they were not dirty.

    I replace the PCV valve every year, just because it's a 3 dollar part that is known to go bad, so I change it every other oil change. When the oil consumption first started 5 years ago, I was really hoping that replacing the PCV valve would fix it, but oh well.

    I have been ignoring the oil consumption for the past 5 years and just topped off the oil every time I went to get gas, but now it's gotten to the point where I am filling up oil more often than gas!

    Burned valve perhaps. Would that cause this? Or like you said, valve seals?
    Last edited by Ceristimo; 08-30-2017 at 08:27 PM.

  4. #4
    suspension mods intheworks FE3-323's Avatar
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    low compression could be cause of cly head valve sealing issues. you could examine the ports for signs of oil leakage past the guides & see if theres abnormal buildup that could be causing a sealing problem
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    1992- project FE3..... 313 WHP @ 9.3psi




    I pet my dash when I get into the car..."good car"
    he actually has a mazda tree, parts grow on it


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    Registered User vw.fe2o3's Avatar
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    Have you inspected closely all around the valve cover gasket? Mine seeps on to the exhaust manifold and cooks away, so there's no drips at all. I thought my engine was burning it up, but once I took that metal shield off the manifold, it was apparent where my oil is going. I've replaced that gasket twice and can't seem to find the magic that keeps it sealed up. I doubt that explains a qt/200 miles though. Mine uses probably a quart/1500.
    2002 Protege DX, 1974 VW Standard Beetle

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    Hey guys, sorry for the one month silence.

    @vw.fe2o3
    Yes, I did check around the valve cover. In fact, I replaced the valve cover gasket myself about a year and a half ago. I used sealer around the timing belt area as instructed too, so nothing should be leaking.

    Anyway, I walked up to my car the other day and noticed a little brown spot on the bottom of the rocker panel. Crawled down and pushed a hole straight through. Rocker panel has rotted around the middle rubber drain plug thingy.
    Went to inspect the passenger side, and it's crunchy at the same spot (middle of rocker panel).

    This is very unfortunate. you can't see any rust at all! From the outside everything appears good, but I obviously have a rust problem. I then went to check the car meticulously and noticed rust on the bottom of all doors (only visible on the inside of the door, so when the door is opened) and when I looked underneath the hood, I have a crunchy spot about half a foot forward from the strut tower.

    I have owned other rusty cars in the past, and I know this is a lost battle. I'm so sad, because my Protege is hiding its rust very well. Even when looking underneath at the rocker panels, they don't appear rusty at all, yet I poked a hole through there no problem.

    Combine this with the fact that she's using oil like it's going out of style (although that's been going on for 5 years now), I think this is the end of the road for her. I'm sad. I really really dig this car. Had it for a long time, many memories. The drivers seat is the most comfortable I've ever sat in on any car, and the position of the steering wheel and pedals and shifter is absolutely perfect for me. This thing fits me like a glove.

    She still rides great! Tracks 100% straight and not a single vibration felt when going down the highway at speed. Steers tight as ever, and with the 3 year old shocks handles as if she's new.
    But, the rust... I'm going to stop investing in this car and start slowly looking for a replacement. I had big plans to fix the light rust in the rear wheel wells this winter, but now that the rocker panels have some crunchy spots, I don't think there's any point in that anymore.

    I can't weld, and I don't know anyone else that can weld, and when I had other cars welded by other guys, the seams always started rusting within a year again. I don't think I want to deal with rust anymore, but I will really miss this lil' Protege when it's gone. Sad times.
    Last edited by Ceristimo; 09-29-2017 at 12:25 AM.

  7. #7
    suspension mods intheworks FE3-323's Avatar
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    all of the BJ's suffer from massive critical rust issues. the windshield cowl drains were extraordinarily insufficient & commonly clogged up leaving water to pool & rot. combine that with 90% of people not cleaning out extra debris behind the mudflaps & you have severe rot issues.
    ---Has ClubProtege helped you in someway? show your support by Contributing--- Click Here---

    1992- project FE3..... 313 WHP @ 9.3psi




    I pet my dash when I get into the car..."good car"
    he actually has a mazda tree, parts grow on it


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    Quote Originally Posted by FE3-323 View Post
    all of the BJ's suffer from massive critical rust issues. the windshield cowl drains were extraordinarily insufficient & commonly clogged up leaving water to pool & rot. combine that with 90% of people not cleaning out extra debris behind the mudflaps & you have severe rot issues.
    The thing is that I did always keep everything clean. I cleared out debris in the corners, wheel wells and mud flaps and I ran a pipe cleaner through the cowl drains, all the way down to the bottom about once a year. I would spray my garden hose over the windshield and confirm everything was draining properly out the bottom.

    I don't understand how the rocker panels have started rotting from the middle out. The only thing I can think of is that water must have gotten caught between that rubber plug and the rocker panel, causing it to rot this way.

    I'll post some pics shortly with how well it's been hiding the rust.

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    So this is what the crunchy spots look like at the rocker panel:

    Name:  IMG_1969 (1).jpg
Views: 28
Size:  273.2 KB

    Notice how there is no visible rust around the hole, yet the whole area is crunchy. If I were to grab a screw driver, I can make that hole considerably bigger. This hole is in the middle of the rocker panel, between the front and rear doors. This is the driver's side. The passenger side has a crunchy spot in the same area. No hole there (because I didn't push through it) but if I were to push with my finger I'd go straight through on that side as well.

    The doors are the same story. Viewed from the outside, the vehicle has no rust, but when you open the door and crawl down to look at the bottom on the inside, it's crunchy all over. This is on all four doors.

    I know that compared to other rusty Protege's that I've seen pictures from, the rust I have is nothing. But, rust in structural area's of the car is just not something I want to deal with anymore. I've had cars like that in the past where it was always a losing battle, and I'm just too old for this sh*t now.

  10. #10
    suspension mods intheworks FE3-323's Avatar
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    you have a couple more winters with it before its a serious issue, just pull up the carpet & inspect the front footwells & rear passenger foot wells for major holes/rotting. if your okay in those areas keep driving it for awhile
    ---Has ClubProtege helped you in someway? show your support by Contributing--- Click Here---

    1992- project FE3..... 313 WHP @ 9.3psi




    I pet my dash when I get into the car..."good car"
    he actually has a mazda tree, parts grow on it


  11. #11
    Registered User vw.fe2o3's Avatar
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    That's too bad about the rust. If you like the car enough, you can still find some low mileage clean ones out there. My brother picked up an '02 with 55,000 miles last year. Stunning how clean it is. I'm always keeping an eye out for another as mine flirts with 200k miles now.
    2002 Protege DX, 1974 VW Standard Beetle

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