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Major car problems this weekend


JBadger and I were headed down to New Jersey for Tony Ringtail's BarBQ.
We get to Canal Street, crossing NY City to the tunnel and a warning beep goes off.

The dash display lights up with



Not a good sign at all.  We have to at least get out of the tunnel.  We did and I stopped at the nearest gas station and bought four quarts of oil.
The oil level read normal after two quarts, but I could see oil on the side of the block just above the filter where the oil cooler hoses come in along with the oil pressure switch.
The source of the leak can't be seen though.  The good news is that the car runs normally and there's no sign of oil in the coolant overflow.

We keep going.  A little ways along, same thing.  So we put in the next two quarts.  At this point it's closer to Tony's than to my place, so I decide to finish the trip.
Two more quarts at a rest stop plus one extra for "later".  We get off the Turnpike and hit an auto store for 20 quarts.  These get me to Tony's and on Sunday to the fursuiting event we were doing. A stop at Costco for another 24 got me almost home and a last stop near home got me three to finish the trip and get the car to VW tomorrow morning.

Total 54 quarts of oil - most left on the road, or on the bottom and back of the car for $112.70.   Installed in 8 mile or ten minute intervals, whichever came first.

Monday 10:30AM Update #1

I just got the call from VW - it is the oil pressure switch - a $13 part that will cost $120 to install.  Plus 2 quarts of oil to top it off.
Since they already have the car for the day, I'm also having them check on a groaning noise in the steering.  Hopefully it'll also be minor.

Monday 3:OOPM Update #2

I was literally sitting in my folk's car at 12:30 about to start it when I got the call saying my car would be ready in "about an hour".  So I decided to wait instead of heading in to work just to leave early to pick up the car.  By the time I got back it was just about 2:00PM so I called in "sick".  I took about half an hour to wash the oil off the rear of the car (it was covered due to the aerodynamics pulling it up from underneath the car as it leaked).  Total cost was a bit higher than the above quote - 145.50 for labor, 12.41 for the part, $10 for two quarts of oil (ripoff!!) plus sales tax brought the total bill to $183.39. *sigh*

Now I need to go to an auto parts store to get some non-sieze thread compound for the bolts that hold the new aluminium skid plate.  Then I have to put the car up on the ramps to install it.
Should be an hour's job (he says very optimistically).

I also have to go to a Verizon Wireless store to see why the outside screen on my new Motorola Razr has gone dark.
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Talk about frequent oil changes...

Here's hoping it's something inexpensive.
Glad to hear you made it back home, somehow!

It was great seeing you again! Werewolf went over really well once folks got into it, too... I never saw everyone wanting to be the moderator, but hey, that works!
For a leak that serious, it's on the pressure side of the oil pump ... or you have a hole in the oil pan. A hole in the oil pan should be obvious by the puddle it makes after the car has been parked.

You've already identified the places that I would look for the leak on the pressure side. I'm probably restating the obvious, but here is what I would check:
  • oil filter. First check that it isn't loose. After that, check the o-ring seal. I have seen a couple of the rubber o-ring seals on the filters fail. Just fit a new oil filter and you'll have that answer.

  • the hoses to/from the oil cooler. Look closely at the hoses and the connections at both ends of the hoses.

  • spin on adapter. If the oil cooler hoses connect to the engine via a "spin on adapter" (sandwiched between the oil filter and the block), check the o-ring on the block side of the adapter.

  • oil cooler. If your engine oil cooler is in the lower radiator tank, and if it has a leak of that magnitude, then you'll definitely have oil in the coolant. If the oil cooler is of an air-cooled type, mounted in front of the radiator, then sometimes they can get punctured by road debris or crack due to fatigue. That kind of leak should be obvious.

  • pressure switch. I have seen a number of cars pump their oil out of the back of a damaged pressure switch, but that's usually obvious when the engine is running. Ensure the switch isn't loose.
Yeeesh. I'd ask my father if he was alive, was really good with motors. Used to build them for Ford at one point in the 70's but er, yeah, they don't exactly change much.

Should've seen all the car technical manuals he used to have and sort out the thing himself usually until it got to those electronic type things that engines are known for now.

Still sucks for leakage though. x.x
$300 for an oil change... well... it could have been worse.
I didn't know you were on LJ, but since I know now, I friended you. It was great to see you and I hope you fix your car. Hope you'll be at AC.

Thank you for the ride!

It was a scary ride home indeed.

I do not know if I showed it much but I was quite worried about the trip.

It did feel good to finely make it home.

I really must thank you for, even with all of the car trouble, taking the three of us to Point Pleasent. At one point I did think maybe we could have taken the train home also and maybe local service Monday but I did not want to have you drive home alone. It seemed your mind was set on driving home though so I did keep my trap shut.

Really good pictures of the event btw. Will post latter in the week to jbadgerconpics
I truly hope the engine didn't get damaged in all of that. Of course the old joke about 'how many miles to the quart do you get' comes to mind but I'll refrain from using that. Here's hoping the repair bill isn't too big.