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Can good oil kill an old oil pump?

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Oct 8, 2019, 8:34 PM

Post #1 of 9 (598 views)
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Hey, I'm working on a 1992 tercel doing an engine rebuild and I believe oil pump was the culprit to a spun rod bearing. My theory is the car was abused and neglected when I got it and had cheap oil put in this came from it smoking all the time and the oil filter having a tarnish on the metal ring part. I started putting full synthetic valvoline in it and a filter for synthetic though I did not change the oil it was using about a quart a week at this point. This instantly quieted noisy valves. Towards the end the cars oil pressure light would flicker when idling in gear and just wondering if the oil cleaned the engine so well it loosened whatever was keeping the pump together or could all the grime have clogged the filter and killed the engine. I will try to remember and cut open the filter and show pictures of it.

Tom Greenleaf
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
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Oct 9, 2019, 2:19 AM

Post #2 of 9 (585 views)
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It's 28 years old +/- you probably don't have a very clear history now hard to tell if a first, second or beat third engine maybe?

Where are you in this "rebuild" and what it or did it involve? Is the "using" a qt. of oil per week a before or after issue?

Seems you want to blame a abused/old engine on "cheap" oil vs a synthetic? NO.

Start over here: When did this spin a bearing, before and you fixed it or after you fixed it I've lost the time line of what happened when.

Anything this old or LOTS older the owner/operator is/was supposed to change oil with correct viscosity oil is marked and rated for use in an engine with each upgrade to SAE specs for oils should say "meets or exceeds" the prior rating.

Lots unknown here. New oil with any credibility the new detergents are going to clean up sludge quickly and can disturb that too quickly conventional or synthetic.

Oil pump IMO would be part of a responsible "rebuild" AYOR if using much if thought to be this old and original. Spinning a bearing was and is almost always (who knows with this) from a mistake in installing new ones after working on it not some eventual thing.

Just this note and I'll end it: Oil lights that flicker at idle are just unable to keep up oil pressure if sensing properly for any reason not just wear, low oil level has nothing to pump and low RPM is leaking out pressure at worn bearings first so can keep the light out.

Sludge ends the game as oil can't get where it belongs. Oil staining - IDK things get hot normally or excessive is hard to say now.

Last: If you wish this to run and behave like again whole engine comes apart you would clean everything, measure all specs repair or replace a wild list of things.
None of that listed it's throwing this question off to say "rebuilding" and you may have meant just working on one that was a lost cause IMO.
If nothing else a good learning experience see what goes wrong but I wouldn't be redoing this engine with a spun bearing rather chose another without that problem to work with if this car could possibly be worth it other than leaning on??



Oct 12, 2019, 12:28 AM

Post #3 of 9 (536 views)
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I cant disagree about it being a lost cause though educational yes. I am looking to get in automotive work working on ase certifications as well. If I can get it running again good for me if not well no one can say i didnt try. The car sat in a field for 2 years and I got it running on a bet. Rebuilding was the cheapest option by about $800 though I have probably spent that much in tools. The time goes smoked like a frieght train used a quart a week oil pressure light blinking then knocking. Dropped the pan nothing looked broke and honestly seemed tight. Though after I wrote this I worked on it some more and I am beginning to think this engine has been opened up before because some bolts are extremely tight and others not so much on the externals plus a few broken clips tells me that someone rebuilt or did something to this engine and didnt know exactly what was going on with it. The seasons are changing and I figured this for a week and it's been a month now so I think I need to be practical about this and at least close it up and put my attention towards the vehicles that need less to get running. I was just curious if this was a case of full synthetic clogging a filter or cleaning out the sludge and plugging up the pump from the pressure relief valve I think that is a possibility but I won't know until I get to the pump.

Tom Greenleaf
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
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Oct 12, 2019, 1:28 AM

Post #4 of 9 (534 views)
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? Start over:
If you want to become ASE certified and started with this as a project car to learn on OK but think another type actually more basic could be better.
$800 bucks on tools? That would buy the first good tool box to put them in!
Engine overhaul! OMG - Now that's first diagnose what you have. If one turns, compression testing while intact. All apart or previously messed with (bolts torqued all differently??) this may not be the one already screwed up it an anchor.

Old phart here. Don't discount that. Folks think they are going to learn this and sure are videos showing things done one by one in clean environment, all tools available isn't reality yet.

I still can't see how without going to a school, or training place of choice with every aspect of it with the tools the do it. Now MILLIONS IN TOOLS!
Line boring for shafts, use of Plastagage measures the bearing gaps and what specs will be needed. Bearing caps are NOT interchangeable.

Cylinder boring is measured first and on and on and on.
Basically you can't really rebuild an engine from ground up and expect it to be close to one time original again, just run fine and will self destruct you'll never duplicate the original quite enough to really last just make it work again.
How and where oil matters. This is a 2 year just parked thing is fine learn what killed it IMO time of sitting, how, where and exposed to what see what happens to one.

Have two of the same on a stand never mind the car yet.

Car companies have enough trouble making two the same and still aren't! The fine cut is ONCE never so perfect that it's interchangeable as it's first made under torque each part of certain areas become DNA to that one spot.

Just know that you are unlikely to have a staff of 10,000 people and an airline hangar of the machines that do this ONCE just really Band-Aid work to fix one from a worn out mess.
Learn type of metals, which is strong and tolerates what. How heat changes size or risk to crack, warp thru temp changes.

Just know all that so you know what it died of for an old one by seeing one new being made.

I sure don't want to discourage YOU somebody has to learn how things are done and made from raw metal to finished anything that will last.

Do know most successful car/engine makers spend years, Cad/Cam, make a prototype that explodes or give on the go ahead and find most blow up in no time in real use but looked good on "paper" so called.

If you neve see what it took IDK how you'd really understand let alone re-create it as close to that as humanly possible.
It's later what oils and lubes would be needed and what happens if not the right ones you have one in front of you see what killed it.

The short has to be go to a place (Tech School) see it all done with some teachers and others really capture what it takes.

Now head out later to the real world and apply that knowledge fine out more than 1/2 isn't going to work out for too well for a while learn from the failures hopefully not all cash paid work and ticked off customers or employers first for a while.

I can't see this just hit or miss and end up ASE certified and ready to apply what you learned so easily. Takes YEARS of watching it done, helping do it, on to do it. By the time YOU can show another you finally understand it.

If this isn't a passion to go that far while having the time, space and means ($$) to not make a dime while costs go thru the roof this probably isn't going to end up your best choice of things to do.

This is and had been ever changing along the way how same stuff is controlled to then be the most efficient on energy, safe to use, cost effective then add clean when working.

If nobody likes it and buys it (the end customer) whole companies go bankrupt, most do! The work done wasn't a failure the info is there another will pick up and sort out what part of what works and what didn't and move on.

Start with basics and build up. Yes you can just not at a web site or 100s of them I really think you have to be there seeing it from all angles first.

Wish you luck, REALLY someone has to take over someday to do things better and faster for little cost is just a dog-eat-dog world out there!



Oct 12, 2019, 6:12 PM

Post #5 of 9 (521 views)
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Okay, the $800 was an exaggeration meant to be humorous. Diagnostic approach when the car was running a lot of white smoke on start up, after that cleared the continued to smoke while operating. Plugs where grainy and had a sandy color which to my understanding those three symptoms are of worn valve seals, worn rings, and a hefty supply of oil in the combustion process. These three details alone indicated to me the engine was ready for an over haul not to mention mysterious coolant loss. Literally no idea where it's going. No leaks, no indications on the plugs no milkshake and well the engine was covered in oil and grease so droplets would be seen with a flashlight and I did actively look for them. I know the cost of tools is outrageous but I also know about a few machine shops that have a very good reputation both as engine rebuilders and on the track. One car doesn't make you a mechanic 100 cars dont make you a mechanic. What I have learned in my 30 plus years on this earth is from necessity. No I'm not a mechanic but I know how to ask questions and I know how to read a manual still little iffy on gauges(joke). Yes, I am looking at going to a technical school that offers automotive training I'm not that arrogant, cars have humbled me more than a few times. Either way, yes I'm trying to rebuild this engine and no I am no where near prepared but I'll manage. The block and head will probably be checked for tolerance and cleaned up. The process of rebuilding broken down isnt hard but the overall process in total is. Though never really had a definitive answer of is it possible that the oil I was putting in my engine could have possibly dislodged enough sludge to cause a oil pump failure or filter blockage?

Hammer Time
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
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Oct 12, 2019, 6:25 PM

Post #6 of 9 (519 views)
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I thought your question was answered.

No, it will not damage a pump but it could cause oil pressure problems by loosening large chunks of sludge that get lodged in critical places.

I need to comment on something else you said.

You have a lot of white smoke and an unexplained loss of coolant. Those are typical symptoms of a blown head gasket, a bad one at that.


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Oct 12, 2019, 7:29 PM

Post #7 of 9 (514 views)
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Ya know, you're right. I always assumed it was oil considering how much it used and smoked on cold start. It wasn't until I was typing this reply that I realized it. Thanks and yeah I read over the previous comments it was answered thanks

Tom Greenleaf
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
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Oct 13, 2019, 12:08 AM

Post #8 of 9 (507 views)
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Begoing: Is this a "learning" car or do you need this ASAP to use?

Next is what's your objective? Learn how in general for a career or just this one?

Just that would change the approach I would suggest for what to do totally,



Oct 26, 2019, 7:48 PM

Post #9 of 9 (427 views)
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Sorry for being so long. Was a vehicle that I needed asap but reality set in that I'm mildly over my head so I'm getting another vehicle and this one is being a learning tool. I would like to keep the car itself because parts are cheap overall easy to diagnose and was amazing on gas, plus my current job I come home filthy and smell chemical lab exploded ( the officers opinion). Not exactly something I want around my children. I've worked on vehicles before but never a rebuild so I'm capitalizing on the opportunity and speaking to the local community college about their automotive program and may be donating a few things that way.

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