Taking an oil reading

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PurpleCactus
Posts: 23
Joined: Tue Mar 26, 2019 6:58 pm

Taking an oil reading

Post by PurpleCactus » Fri Jul 24, 2020 8:06 pm

I had my (new) Cactus serviced by my local garage as the main dealer is 45 minutes from home and as it was just an oil change ... That was at the end of February and I hadn't driven it much since then, due to working from home.

Just before a recent trip away, I took the oil reading. It was "overfull" - up to the little yellow plug on the gauge. I cleaned the dipstick, retried, the same. I had meant to go back to my garage to ask, but didn't get round to it.

Whilst away, I started to panic as I rechecked and kept getting a high reading. The car was parked on the flat, left over night in a garage, so stone cold in the morning. The same, right up to the plug as before.

I took it to the local Citroën dealer and they refused to allow me to drive it away after they checked the dipstick, saying that there could be up to 500ml too much and driving the car with that much in it might cause permanent damage. So I arranged for them to drain and refill the engine to ensure the correct amount went in. They did this and charged me for an oil change (but reused the oil). Stupidly, I forgot to ask how much too much was in the engine, I was just relieved that no damage had been noticed.

Tonight, I checked the dipstick and it's still reading overfull! I'm starting to think that it was never overfull in the first place, but how do I know if I can't get a correct reading?

Any ideas? I've followed the instructions (just in case I was getting it wrong), but I'm not. I had a look in the forum but couldn't find anything.

Jonathan
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PurpleCactus
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Re: Taking an oil reading

Post by PurpleCactus » Sat Jul 25, 2020 10:26 am

Update. The sump screw is dripping oil...

I'll be back to see them on Monday! Plan of action, get them to fix leak, ask them how much extra oil was in the engine, ask them to show me how to take a reading - only then will I tell them what I think!
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PurpleCactus
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Re: Taking an oil reading

Post by PurpleCactus » Mon Jul 27, 2020 8:56 am

Monday morning...

The car is back in the garage for the day. They couldn't tell me how much oil had been taken out on Friday, but some was. The mechanic who did the work is now on holiday, of course.

The problem is still there; the dipstick indicates that there is too much oil still. So, if they drained all the oil and only put back what ought to be there, why is it still high? They suggested fuel getting into the sump (surely they ought to have noticed this before), but I think that they really don't know. Why can't they just say that? They admitted that the drip from the sump screw is not right, at least.

I am very hopeful that this will be a warranty job, since the car is only 18 months old. I shall be on to Citroën HQ if it isn't. In the meantime, all I can do is wait and hope that it is nothing serious.
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PurpleCactus
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Re: Taking an oil reading

Post by PurpleCactus » Mon Jul 27, 2020 5:02 pm

OK. Final update!

The oil leak was their fault. Hurrah! The oil level? That's more complex.

With some confidence, the maintenance manager opened the bonnet, cleaned the dipstick and took it out to show us the reading - and it showed the same as I get - the level is too high! He was totally surprised and couldn't understand why. At least he now understood. He drove the car into the garage, as there was a very slight incline, and after the engine had turned for a few seconds, the correct reading shows.

So it seems, for my car at least, to check the oil I have to ignore the "let the oil settle" rule and just take a reading after the engine has turned. I'm out of pocket, but at least I have the assurance that, as far as I can tell, there are no other faults or leaks.

Fingers crossed!
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stoian
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Re: Taking an oil reading

Post by stoian » Tue Jul 28, 2020 9:37 pm

I'd like to thank you, PurpleCactus, for the topic and the updates! I was following it with interest mostly because my Cactus also has the same engine and after an oil change done by the local dealer back in January, I too noticed dipstick showing oil level more than the max. My car was going back to another garage (same dealer but different city) in a few weeks anyway so I decided to drive it for a while and periodically check - but always in the same way you would normally check in other cars (cold engine, no incline, etc.). All readings were showing more oil than the max on the dipstick, but when I asked in the second garage to get it checked, they told me this is normal for that engine. Meanwhile no symptoms whatsoever of something wrong, no excessive vibration or noise or anything.

Despite all that, it's just weird to assume the correct reading will be shown after the engine is running for a few minutes, isn't it ? Oil that is supposed to lubricate all parts just won't settle that quickly after turning the engine off... so I'm not really sure what's the deal with this engine.

PurpleCactus
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Re: Taking an oil reading

Post by PurpleCactus » Wed Aug 12, 2020 12:46 pm

Stoian,

Thanks for the reply.

Well, the Citroën garage (dealership) I visited said that this was definitely an issue that they had never come across before, which contradicts what you have found. I too had no issues with noise or vibrations, but the receptionist and mechanic virtually impounded the vehicle, saying that there was a risk of damage. After 2000 miles of no problems? Unlikely.

I think that there must be a small amount of oil forced back up the tube when the dipstick is pushed in full.

I am going to follow this up with Citroën UK as I think that it is something that needs sorting. But perhaps we are in the minority of owners who check fluid levels! I'd like to know how many others have a similar issue.

I'll let you know if I get anywhere.

Jonathan
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routemaster1
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Re: Taking an oil reading

Post by routemaster1 » Wed Aug 12, 2020 1:37 pm

I suppose it may depend on how the oil is changed. The earlier 1.6HDis had a very specific regime for changing the oil. This entailed ensuring that the oil was drained hot (not unusual) and that all of the oil was removed from the sump. The theory was that contaminated old oil would cause problems with lubrication of the turbo. The il was then topped up with the required volume of oil. Presumably if the regime was not followed and the required quantity was used, it would in theory be possible to slightly overfill the sump, resulting in a high level.

I don't do my own servicing now, but when I did, I always put in ~1 litre less than the quoted capacity, lef it to settle for 10 minutes, then slowly topped up until the level after standing was at the max. I suppose most garages haven't the time to do this.

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