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Old 11-03-2007, 11:59 PM   #1
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Saturn burning oil

Because I am burning oil with my gas!

Wonder how much that actually affects MPG, I have been researching how much oil Saturn's drink and if you are pouring a quart in every 300 miles that seems pretty significant.

I was driving to work and noticed a slight ticking noise. I parked on level ground so that I could check my oil when I got off. Sure enough it was atleast a quart low as there was nothing showing on the dipstick. After running to the nearest Autozone and putting a full quart in I could barely see some on the tip.

I haven't changed the oil since I bought the car and have run it about 1500 miles. Can't remember where it was on the dipstick when I checked it during the test drive either. However I do know that it was there.

The seller didn't mention burning oil, and I have a tendency to think he didn't notice it as according to him he simply had it changed every 3k.

My question is, how much would my driving style affect oil consumption? Would driving at lowrpm/high load cause more blowby than moderate rpm at low load? I shift at or below 1500 rpm sometimes at the verge of it bucking.

I am going to take it in for an oil change and see how it does the next 3k miles or so. And keep a better eye on it this time around .

In comparison my 1963 bel-air was not using any oil the last couple of changes. It was using some before that but I suspect that was part of the engine breaking in and the valve cover gasket leak. Granted it only had 10k miles on it. But my engine is at a whopping 87k, it shouldn't be at the end of it's life yet!

I wonder if it being a flood vehicle would have affected the rings/valve stems at all. Probably not considering how many other people have this situation.

I have succesfully typed another long post that 98% of the people won't have the time to read ending up in only a couple responses. Hmm, funny how that seems to happen with me. Oh wait, it is self inflicted!

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Old 11-04-2007, 12:32 AM   #2
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Fourthbean -

Sorry about that. I should have warned/said you should "check your damn oil!" as SaturnFan Wolfman says :

The FINAL word about oil additives (I hope)

On average I seem to be adding about 1/2 quart around the 2000 mile point. Every 3000 miles I change to a 40 weight oil. I should use a thinner oil for MPG, but the "rule of thumb" seems to be that heavier oils don't burn as much (right?!?!?!?). If I was smart I would check the oil at least once a week or once every 500 miles.

In terms of MPG, I don't think it's an issue. I keep thinking that it hurts emissions.

I didn't notice oil burning until I started my long highway commutes.

All Saturn S-Series should have come with a built-in trunk cubbyhole for 1-quart bottles of engine oil and funnels, .


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Old 11-04-2007, 05:51 AM   #3
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I don't see how driving at low rpms would create more oil burning. If anything, I would think it would cause it to burn less.

Being a flood vehicle could have rusted the cylinder walls a bit, which would cause extreme wear on the piston rings, causing the motor to burn oil.

I would just check your oil at every gas fill-up, and once it needs oil added more than just at every fill-up, replace the motor.

I would try switching to a thicker oil that is not synthetic since that generally just burns/leaks more than conventional oils.

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Old 11-04-2007, 06:25 AM   #4
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Interesting, I didn't know that saturns were infamous for burning oil.

I would also advise you to switch to a thicker dino oil to help keep the burn down. You could always but new rings on, too!
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Old 11-04-2007, 07:32 AM   #5
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well first off way i see it u made 2 mistakes as i see it. first off A) you should change out all fluids and anything else that usually weares out once u buy the car (plugs and plug wires, tstat, etc) that way you know its been XXXX ammount of miles till next oil change and you know theres new plugs and wires in it and once all thats replaced then you know the engiesn running as best it can, not by what the seller says.

B) you bought a car that was in a flood. obviously it was bad enough to have an insurance claim. water does mysterious things to engines, if its got an opening(which engines have ALOT of) it got inside, in the oil, around the close clearance valve guides causing rust which is rough and sharp and prolly chewed up your valve guides. and yes obviously some valves were open so water was sittin in the cylynders and again, causign rust and chewed up the rings like others have said.

soo to determine where its commin from, do a compression test and a cilynder leakdown test. it will tell you if its got leaky valve guides or leaky rings. then its up to you on what route to go to fix it, have a machine shop fix the current engine(very possible) or have them swap in a new(or rebuilt) head and or block with matched pistons and crank, OR obviously replace the whole engine.
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Old 11-04-2007, 09:10 AM   #6
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My first Saturn burned oil but the one that was my "temporary ride" had 165K when I bought it for my grandpa and didn't use a drop. The kid we sold it to says it still isn't using oil and it's up around 180K now. The '99 SL2 that my son drives has ~110K and doesn't use any oil but I changed the valve seals when I first got it and had the Singh grooves put in. Most Saturn's do burn oil when the get in the neighborhood of 100K. Someone once claimed that it's because the piston rings are installed at the factory with all of the end-gaps being in the same place/lined up. I don't know if that's true or not. I have heard several people claim that re-ringing or even rotating the rings will stop oil burning in Saturn SL's.
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Old 11-04-2007, 09:18 AM   #7
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It's mostly speculation and my frustration at the moment. It probably isn't as bad as I am making it out to be. I am going to have an oil change done tomorrow (did the plugs/wires/'stat after getting the car). The car was in a flood, but that was 50k or so miles ago, so there shouldn't be any "new" problems arising. Just my speculation on why it would be burning.

Looks like I was about 2 quarts low, though I don't think I damaged anything in the engine. All sounds good after another 100 miles or so of having enough oil in.

I kept meaning to check the oil, but I park on hills at work and at home so I kept forgetting to move it somewhere flat to check.

That's an interesting story about the ring gaps all being in the same place. Surely with all the work put into a car to design it they wouldn't do something that simple to cause oil burnage...
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Old 11-04-2007, 02:12 PM   #8
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I forget who it was on this board, but they mentioned the fact that the OEM saturn rings tend to lend themselves to blow-by easily. He made a mention that using seafoam to de-carbonize the engine seemed to help out with that issue. I suppose the other option would be to re-ring the pistons.

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Old 11-05-2007, 04:45 AM   #9
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You can do an MMO soak. Marvel's mystery oil. Its real popular over at saturnfans. Some say it helps with oil burning. Mine has 83k on it and its not burning any yet. Unless you count 1 quart for a 9k interval. I'm running amsoil now so will see if it burns it.

I've never been one to change good parts out. When I buy car it better have nice clean fluids in it already. Now things like wheel bearings, rear axle oil, brake fluid, antifreeze. Those should be checked.
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Old 11-05-2007, 06:52 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by Fourthbean View Post
My question is, how much would my driving style affect oil consumption? Would driving at lowrpm/high load cause more blowby than moderate rpm at low load? I shift at or below 1500 rpm sometimes at the verge of it bucking.
Good question.

My '89 Accord with 400,000 km did not burn a drop of oil in "normal" driving (which for me at that time was: light load, low RPM). But it would burn oil if I pushed it on the freeway ("pushing it" was anything over 110 km/h / 68 mph = moderate RPM, moderate load)

If I had to guess, I'd say higher load will equal more consumption. But that's based on nothing.

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