FML: Oil cooler blew the week after I finished my build - LotusTalk - The Lotus Cars Community
 
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Old 11-27-2012, 10:33 AM   #1 (permalink)
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FML: Oil cooler blew the week after I finished my build

After breaking the car in, getting it tuned to a reasonable 260hp 220lbs torque at only ~8psi, just so I could go easy on it before I put it away for the winter and then putting another hundred miles on the car with a nice canyon run, while driving my car the 60 miles from my parents house where I did the build to my house in the middle of nowhere so I could store it I hear a minor thump that felt like I hit something small.

I check all the new gauges and everything looks good, oil pressure at the sandwich plate is good, oil pressure light on the car isn't on, water temp is good, A/F is good. I figure must have hit a bit tire or something. I drive another 5-10 minutes.

Thump and an engine stumble. Oil light still not on, oil pressure at the sandwich plate is 40-80 PSI. I immediately turn the radio off and try to figure out what happened. Oil temp starts rising, so I take the car out of gear and coast off the highway and park in a parking lot, switching off the engine as turn in.

I stop and immediately check the oil level, the oil is so clean I can barely read it, but after a couple checks I can see there is still oil in there though not much. This matches the fact that I never completely lost oil pressure. To see if something is really wrong I start the engine.

Worst nightmare....knocking...bad. I immediately shut the car down and start looking around. There's oil all over the front passenger side tire, but I don't have a second cooler. There are huge amounts of it oil though, the suspension and tire are covered (yay for having a 6qt moroso pan). I look in the drivers side where the oil cooler is and there's oil spilled over there as well, though not really on the tire.

So I tow the car back to my parent's house. I haven't pulled the front clam yet but I was able to get a camera and my hand in to check out the oil lines. I had just replaced them with Sector111s one cooler lines. The video shows the lines are fine. I can't feel any oil on the lines either, they are also tight.

But the video also shows the front of the oil cooler is covered in oil. There is splatter above and to the sides of the cooler. A pool of oil has traveled along the front edge of the car over to the passenger side. I pull the valve covers and everything looks fine up top, which leaves only one likely scenario for the knocking.

From what I can tell either a weld let go on the oil cooler, which if that is the case it could be I tightened the line too tight and weakened it. Or a rock or something blew through the cooler. I won't know until I can get the front clam off. That first thump most likely was the cooler letting go. I would guess the reason I had oil pressure at the plate the whole time is I was feeding oil to the cooler and it was blowing out the front. I have no idea why the main oil light didn't come on. (Also the reason I am monitoring pressure at the sandwich plate is that my turbo's oil line t's off of the bleed valve, and I wanted to knock if I lost pressure to the turbo, since I'm on my fourth one.

So my best guess based on the noise and the lack of oil, I'm pretty sure I spun a bearing.....in my brand new engine.

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Old 11-27-2012, 10:57 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Man I am sorry you have a engine problem with new engine. What seems really strange is that the oil light never came on. I would have expected the light to come on from the pressure drop from the open line.

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Old 11-27-2012, 11:06 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Yeah that is what I don't get either. I'll have to figure a way to test the sensor when I get things all torn down.
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Old 11-27-2012, 01:19 PM   #4 (permalink)
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That OEM pressure sender is a joke, it effectivelly comes on at 0 PSI..., meaning too late.

I just spun a rod at 1200 miles on a brand new short block, I feel your pain.
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Old 11-27-2012, 01:24 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Well I guess now I've got a reason to move the oil line for the turbo and new pressure sensor from where it was on the sandwich plate up to the stock oil pressure sending unit location. I didn't do it before since that was were the oil line came from when I bought the car.

Really wishing I had realized that stock sending unit isn't that great and I had made that change before. Live and learn.

Sorry to hear about your engine Apex...really sucks.
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Old 11-27-2012, 01:46 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Apex_in_sno View Post
That OEM pressure sender is a joke, it effectivelly comes on at 0 PSI..., meaning too late.
Are you certain of that? Generally, these things come on ~ 7 psi.


OP:

When you tightened the fittings did you hold the nut attached (I presume) to the cooler? If not, that could tear the cooler.
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Old 11-27-2012, 01:52 PM   #7 (permalink)
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I *think* I did but can't remember for sure, which is why I think there is a chance I did something. I can say that it wasn't leaking at all the day after we dyno'd it cause I checked. But that doesn't mean I didn't weaken it, and it failed later.
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Old 11-27-2012, 04:46 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by glb View Post
Are you certain of that? Generally, these things come on ~ 7 psi.
As in have I measured the damn thing?, nope, but given the minimum acceptable idle pressure (per toyota) at 3K RPM hot is around 6 PSI, it would have to be lower than that, which is worthless...

Get an oil pressure gauge, or if you don't want to deal with that get an adjustable pressure switch and set it where you want it. Omega Engineering sells some decent ones for like $90 to your door.


Deja Vu, sorry to tell you this, but since you've likely lost a rod bearing, now you've got bearing bits scattered all through your oil coolers, so they're toast now, they can't be cleaned.
This is the route I took when that happened to me, but there's lots of other choices as well.
Yet another laminova, this with remote filter...
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Last edited by Apex_in_sno; 11-27-2012 at 04:53 PM.
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Old 11-27-2012, 05:00 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Yup, I'm aware that the oil cooler is toast. Luckily I was able to order a new one from sector111 during the black friday sale, so at least I was able to get 10% off. The rest will have to wait til spring. I'm out of cash to dump into this, and recently got laid off. I've got severance for the next 6 months, but if I haven't found a job by then someone might be picking up my Elise for a steal.
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Old 11-27-2012, 05:03 PM   #10 (permalink)
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I'm really liking your setup from that post. Thanks for pointing it out.
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Old 11-27-2012, 06:39 PM   #11 (permalink)
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When you find out exactly what it was please let us know, I hate it for you man I couldn't sleep if that happend to mine. Now you guys are making me wonder if I tightened my fitting up while holding the coolers right or not gaaaaaa!!
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