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Old 01-23-2015, 01:53 PM   #181
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I had a 1984 Chevy Blazer that I junked in 2003 with over 451,000 miles on the odometer. I changed the engine oil approx. every 6000 miles myself , never changed transmission fluid or rear end oil. The speedometer cable broke in late 2002, and the miles aren't included in the above total. My local Chevy dealer offered me free oil changes for life, 3 months before I junked it.


In 1991, the only time I let anyone change my oil resulted in a blown head gasket on my 1983 Caddy, 1 week after the service. It was a "free" oil change that the realtor gave my wife and I when we moved after a job transfer. The Caddy is the only car that I owned that never made it to over 200,000 miles.
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I had a 82 Blazer that threw a rod after the oil pump failed, around the 200k mark. I replaced it with a 88 Jimmy that clocked 400k before I sold it, still running. I was laughing about the oil changes noted in this thread, because mostly I just added oil to both of those, and it magically "changed" itself (I did some filter changes, don't worry).
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Old 01-23-2015, 02:01 PM   #182
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I change my 315,000 BMW 528 wagon oil and filter twice/year. Works out to about 6-7000 miles between filters. The oil burns/leaks away and I keep adding fresh oil, so I view it as having incremental changes between filter and major changes.

EDIT: Hunh. Sarah in SC style.

Years ago a mason did a trip to Mexico and loaded his oversize van and heavy trailer with saltillos and other clay tiles and Mexican clay products. Massively heavy load, maybe 1400 miles one way. When I drained his oil I had to heat the pan with a propane torch to get most of the oil out - it had been pretty much converted to tar. He replaced to van shortly thereafter.
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Old 01-23-2015, 02:28 PM   #183
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Truth. I use semi-synths for the most part, and I check the level but also the quality before I get it changed. You can usually tell the difference between new oil and broken down oil to the point where you need to change it. I'd say I go around 5500 to 6000 miles driving mostly city stuff, but I eyeball the oil quality before taking it in at some arbitrary mileage. No issues yet.
Wow! So you can see the percentage of the additive package (called TBN for short) that is remaining in the oil? heck, I have to use Blackstone Labs to give me that number (which is the important one).

BTW, most good oils (non - synthetic) will go 7,500+ miles under normal driving conditions as long as they meet current API specs. Oil in my VW diesel is not recommended for changing until 10,000 miiles.
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Old 01-23-2015, 02:39 PM   #184
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I change my 315,000 BMW 528 wagon oil and filter twice/year. Works out to about 6-7000 miles between filters. The oil burns/leaks away and I keep adding fresh oil, so I view it as having incremental changes between filter and major changes.

EDIT: Hunh. Sarah in SC style.

Years ago a mason did a trip to Mexico and loaded his oversize van and heavy trailer with saltillos and other clay tiles and Mexican clay products. Massively heavy load, maybe 1400 miles one way. When I drained his oil I had to heat the pan with a propane torch to get most of the oil out - it had been pretty much converted to tar. He replaced to van shortly thereafter.
Yikes, that is some hot oil. We ran our diesel bus through the summer desert heat in Kazakhstan for sometimes 36 hours at a stretch, and watched the temp and oil like a hawk. Thankfully never had any overheating or breakdown of any kind. I would have sweated the whole trip home had I been with your mason!
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Old 01-23-2015, 02:52 PM   #185
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The Honda had a small oil leak in the the third valve of the pre-combustion chamber. And both had a small leak somewhere down below. In reality both got a de-facto oil change every 6000 miles whether I did one or not.
We had a '55 Dodge with a flathead six in it that was the same way. Between what it burned and what it leaked it needed a quart every two or three tanks of gas so Dad never bothered to change the oil on it.
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Old 01-23-2015, 02:59 PM   #186
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I think it's just a matter of how the engine was engineered and built.
Long ago, I knew a guy with a one year old Jaguar XKE. Most beautiful car I've ever seen, but he said he burned a quart of oil every 100 miles.

Q: why jaguar never made a refrigerator?
A: they could not figure out how to make it leak/burn oil.

NB: I own a Jaguar.
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Old 01-23-2015, 05:05 PM   #187
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I also doubt that a car can run for 100K miles without an oil change or added oil. It's most likely the latter. Else, because any car would burn some oil, the engine would run dry and seize up long before the 100K mile mark.

My brother bought an Isuzu Trooper brand new. He knew he was supposed to have oil changes, but he's not a DIY'er, and was busy working and kept forgetting. With low oil, the engine eventually worn out its bearings, and one could hear them knock while just idling. The nice 4WD vehicle was totaled due to neglect. It was sad. He would give it to me to fix up, but I was getting old and no longer wanted to tackle such a big job. The pistons and valves probably were all shot. He sold it to some Hispanic guys for a couple 100 bucks. The car was perhaps 7-8 year old.
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Old 01-23-2015, 05:37 PM   #188
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Originally Posted by aja8888 View Post
Wow! So you can see the percentage of the additive package (called TBN for short) that is remaining in the oil? heck, I have to use Blackstone Labs to give me that number (which is the important one).

BTW, most good oils (non - synthetic) will go 7,500+ miles under normal driving conditions as long as they meet current API specs. Oil in my VW diesel is not recommended for changing until 10,000 miiles.
Certainly not, but you can tell broken down oil from new oil pretty easily. Color, texture/viscosity, etc.
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Old 01-23-2015, 05:52 PM   #189
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Speaking of engine burning oil, when I bought my RV it had 25K miles on the odometer. It consistently burned about 1 quart every 1 to 1.5K miles, which did not worry me as it's a big engine. It also had to work hard dragging a car going up mountainous roads in the Western states.

Then, in my most recent trip to the Northeast, it burned less than 1 quart in that 9,000-mile trip. Is the engine finally broken in? It's close to 50K miles now.
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Old 01-23-2015, 06:12 PM   #190
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Old 01-23-2015, 06:25 PM   #191
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I love these threads that expand to cover just about everything and still stay (at least partially) on topic! Just wasted spent 15 minutes reading most of this thread when I should have started dinner. DH will be cranky.
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Old 01-24-2015, 10:07 AM   #192
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My brother bought an Isuzu Trooper brand new. He knew he was supposed to have oil changes, but he's not a DIY'er, and was busy working and kept forgetting. With low oil, the engine eventually worn out its bearings, and one could hear them knock while just idling. The nice 4WD vehicle was totaled due to neglect. It was sad. He would give it to me to fix up, but I was getting old and no longer wanted to tackle such a big job. The pistons and valves probably were all shot. He sold it to some Hispanic guys for a couple 100 bucks. The car was perhaps 7-8 year old.
Unless the body and interior are in bad shape, it usually is worthwhile to replace the engine. Even if you have to pay a mechanic to do it. Rebuilt short blocks are available thru many of the auto parts stores. If you are willing to take some risk, junkyards will pull an engine from a wreck for you to install. $2K-$3K if you know the rest of the vehicle is good is a lot cheaper than replacing the whole vehicle. If you DIY it is under $1K unless you get fancy.
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Old 01-24-2015, 10:11 AM   #193
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Speaking of engine burning oil, when I bought my RV it had 25K miles on the odometer. It consistently burned about 1 quart every 1 to 1.5K miles, which did not worry me as it's a big engine. It also had to work hard dragging a car going up mountainous roads in the Western states.

Then, in my most recent trip to the Northeast, it burned less than 1 quart in that 9,000-mile trip. Is the engine finally broken in? It's close to 50K miles now.
Entirely possible. Too late now but during the break in period you need to be swapping oil filters pretty often. On a fresh rebuild, I swap oil and filter at 100 miles and again at 1K. Most people don't realize your filter has a bypass so when the filter clogs it sends unfiltered oil back into the engine. This is less damaging than starving it for oil. "Break in" really means wearing off all the high spots in the metal. All the shavings clog your oil filter.
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Old 01-24-2015, 10:14 AM   #194
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Speaking of oil--anyone else here add oil coolers to their vehicles? Doesn't make sense in winter up north but if you pull a load down south or out west, especially in summer, it really helps your engine.
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Old 01-24-2015, 10:22 AM   #195
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Your data is now confirmed. I recently sold my SUV of 200,000 miles without incident of a timing chain issue. Or really an incident of anything. Outside of constant oil changes and a few brake pads installed I did nothing. The amount of preventive maintenance I should have done but didn't saved me enough money to get me another vehicle.


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I will give you another data point, an 83 celica I had went about 200k miles before I changed the timing chain. It didn't break, but had a lot of slop from chain stretch and worn guides/springs.

Someone else I knew had a Toyota truck with the same engine. His timing chain broke at 150k or so I believe, completely trashing the engine as valves hit pistons, etc.

In the late 70s/80s GM (and maybe others) used steel cam gears covered with nylon to reduce noise. The nylon got old and brittle and cracked off the gear often causing the chain to slip around the gear and making the engine either run horribly, not run at all, or cause engine damage.

OK, probably too much info and a bit off topic, but hey..
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Old 01-24-2015, 10:29 AM   #196
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Speaking of oil--anyone else here add oil coolers to their vehicles? Doesn't make sense in winter up north but if you pull a load down south or out west, especially in summer, it really helps your engine.
Plus, if you tow, a transmission oil temperature gauge is really useful to make sure the cooler is adequate.
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Old 01-24-2015, 10:38 AM   #197
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Transmissions usually have some coils in the radiator and many vehicles have, or can add, transmission oil coolers in front of the radiator. Yes these are a good idea for tow vehicles. But you can also install coolers for your engine oil. Mine is installed on a fender well in the engine compartment. For very hot climates they help. For cold weather they actually keep the oil colder than it should be for good engine performance. They are more common for off road vehicles out west. In my climate they are good for summer, especially towing, but need to be bypassed in winter.
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Old 01-24-2015, 10:40 AM   #198
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I will give you another data point, an 83 celica I had went about 200k miles before I changed the timing chain. It didn't break, but had a lot of slop from chain stretch and worn guides/springs.

Someone else I knew had a Toyota truck with the same engine. His timing chain broke at 150k or so I believe, completely trashing the engine as valves hit pistons, etc.

In the late 70s/80s GM (and maybe others) used steel cam gears covered with nylon to reduce noise. The nylon got old and brittle and cracked off the gear often causing the chain to slip around the gear and making the engine either run horribly, not run at all, or cause engine damage.

OK, probably too much info and a bit off topic, but hey..

Interesting. I have been aware of timing belts and the repercussions of them breaking so in the past when I hit the 60k mark or whenever it was recommended I always changed it. When my last vehicle was a chain, I was told (and it wasn't a mechanic mind you) that you do not have to worry about those. I saw no mention of it in manual either. Ignorance is bliss I guess!


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Old 01-24-2015, 10:47 AM   #199
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Interesting. I have been aware of timing belts and the repercussions of them breaking so in the past when I hit the 60k mark or whenever it was recommended I always changed it. When my last vehicle was a chain, I was told (and it wasn't a mechanic mind you) that you do not have to worry about those. I saw no mention of it in manual either. Ignorance is bliss I guess!
Some engines are interference engines meaning that the piston can hit the valve. I'm not sure but I think that is most modern engines. Some older engines will stop running if the timing chain or belt breaks but cause no major damage.

I have an old Ford Explorer nearing 250K miles. No way am I doing the timing chain on it. It has 3 timing chains and you have to pull the engine to do the work! I'll let it run 'til it breaks and probably scrap the vehicle. If I keep it, its still cheaper and better to swap the engine than change the timing chains on a 250K mile engine.
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Old 01-24-2015, 10:49 AM   #200
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About five years ago a fellow I knew replaced the engine in his Honda with a used one imported from Japan. According to him, people who drove in the big, polluted cities were required to replace their engines every 50,000 miles. These 'slightly' used engines were exported to other countries.
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