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Glutton For Punishment
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251 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My esprit is drinking oil at an alarming rate, and I am having a little confusion as to where it could be going. Motor has about 2000 miles on it since I rebuilt it, 60k miles on the car. Did new rings, re-lined the cylinders, and the head was rebuilt.

I took a couple hundred mile trip, didn't drink a drop.

I do a 70 mile round trip to work and sometimes it will drink half a liter of oil. Other times it won't drink nearly as much. I have poured 3-4 liters into it in the past 2000 miles.

Not dripping out the bottom, not burning it as 1/2 liter in 100 miles would be a mosquito fogger. I don't see any smoke at all. My only though would be that it is going out the turbo bearings into the exhaust, but I would think the turbo would be hot enough to burn the oil and smoke pretty good. Granted it is drinking it on the highway, between 70-80 mph, little to no boost, so maybe the exhaust is cool enough not to burn it. I have tried running it as hard as I can on the road to heat up the exhaust, still no smoke.

Only time I have ever seen smoke was taking a hard left turn, top of second gear, full throttle, hit the fuel cut, and it let out a huge, road fogging cloud of white smoke.

Turbo has never been rebuilt as far as I know, but builds boost just fine and works fine. It has just a very small amount of deflection in the shaft.

Any thoughts?
 

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Registered
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1,242 Posts
First thing I would do is pull the plugs and inspect them. There is a very specific sequence that the oil control rings need to be installed in. At that rate of consumption it can only be being burnt, if its not in the cylinder during the ignition cycle then its going past the turbo or via the crank breather back onto the turbo (pull the turbo intake? is it oily?) Had a similar issue with an Isuzu impulse and I couldn't see any smoke behind me, but when I had a buddy follow me for a spirited run he could see it very clearly.
Colin
 

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Wingless Wonder
1988 Esprit Turbo
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6,428 Posts
Yeah, I second Colin's suggestion to check the intake tract for oil. If so it might just be the turbo.

My car doesn't drink ANY oil around town, but if I'm doing highway miles (when I'm always developing a bit of boost) it uses about a quart per 1000 mi. So I'm sure it's the turbo...

If I let off the gas on the highway, followers report a puff of smoke, BTW. But I can't see it from within the car.

Time to get an observer to follow you on the highway...
 

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Glutton For Punishment
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251 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I have pulled the plugs, none have oil residue on them. I have installed many sets of rings, and did these to the exact method outlined in the paperwork that came with them. Usually an oil control ring issue is noticed on engine braking when there is a large amount of vacuum in the cylinders. It will smoke on decel and then puff hard once you get back on the throttle. I have been watching, and haven't noticed any.

My best guess is the turbo needs a rebuild, but I don't want to send it out for nothing...

I have been running Valvoline racing VR-1 20w-50.

I used to have a BMW M5 that would drink oil when running the recommended 5-40 oil, but when switching to the previous year recommended 10-60 it wouldn't drink a drop. I was thinking about switching this car to the castrol TWS 10-60 and see if that would help, as it seems that is one of the recommended oils.

I should also get a friend to drive my car, and follow, so I can really see if it is puffing smoke, or mount a go-pro back there and watch. Or I could go to a local dyno shop and run it, see what it does.

With this amount of consumption, I would really expect to see a lot of smoke though.
 

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320 Posts
Are you sure its not leaking oil from the oil cooler, oil thermostat or any of the oil lines?
Front /Rear crank oil seals?
Cam tower liquid joints?
If it's not the above, I would do a leak down check on the engine just to make 100% sure you haven't broken a ring before getting into a turbo rebuild you may not need.
You could also disconnect the oil breather line from the air filter casing and connect it temporarily to a container and run the car to see If its generating excessive crankcase pressure.
Only other thing that springs to mind is the valve guides, high vacuum will pull alot of oil down the guides If they and or the valve stems are worn.
 

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Glutton For Punishment
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251 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I know this will surprise all owners of British cars, but my garage floor is free of any drips. Engine has been completely re-sealed. Of course, this is temporary, and I expect the leaks to begin any day.

A leak down test will only confirm integrity of the compression rings, and will not identify a problem with the oil scraper ring.

These things don't run valve stem seals, is there much of a problem with oil traveling down the valve stems?
 

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Cal H
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982 Posts
On a turbo engine you can only install stem seals on the intake side and not on the exhaust. I think you also need the guides from some place like Kemp to use the seals anyway. A little bit of oil does run down the guides but that is a design of the guides to lube the guides. Unless you got way excessive play. If you replaced the guides themselves sometimes there is damage to the guide seats when pulling the guides out that are hard to spot. I have heard of seals that some use to prevent oil from being sucked down from the outside of the guides. Plus if they were pulling that much oil you surely would see a puff of smoke on accelerator lift off as that is when the guides would suck oil. You are either leaking it or burning it. If the turbo was leaking oil I would check the intake side too. Easy to check just have a look intake plenum or plumbing. That is curious as you should be smoking a lot if you were burning it. I would check all lines and the turbo oil return line But you say you are not leaking so that is a mystery. Keep us informed
 

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Glutton For Punishment
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251 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Didn't know that about stem seals on a turbo. Head was rebuilt at a reputable shop, so I assume the valves are not loose in the guides.

I have checked the intake between the turbo and the intake manifold already and it is clean. I need to pull the exhaust and see if it is leaking out of the exhaust side of the turbine. There should be some burned oil residue on the turbine wheel I would think if the bearing is leaking there. It has certainly been a mystery to me, especially when it goes for a few hundred miles without losing a drop, then right back to losing oil.
 

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Glutton For Punishment
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251 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Well I think it was a combination of issues. My red pcv valve was not valving, it was wide open. Not only this, but it was mounted below the crankcase vent level, so any oil that made its way up the pipe ran into it via gravity. Then the small hose off the valve going to the metered side of the intake was off the bottom of the valve, so any oil that ran into the valve would get sucked into the intake. This was also an air leak.

Finally the dipstick tube was not completely seated. Figured it was, obviously, as I put it there the first time, but after grabbing it and rotating and pushing in it seated about another liter into the engine. So I have been running the car a liter over filled.

God news is my air filter works as the intake track is clean, and evenly coated with a very thin and tacky layer of oil. If it was sucking dirt it would be stuck everywhere in the intake.

Hopefully I can make it through the week without needing to fill with oil. I just put 4 new tires in the car so it should be a fun week with my sticky new tires.
 

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913 Posts
My 88 loses oil thru the cam towers, I keep saying im going to remove and seal them but havent yet. It consistantly loses about a 1/2 quart between oil changes, but I see oil on my garage floor, just a few drops. I notice it when I start the car and leave my house as there are many stops and red lights near my house and when stopped the engine cover smokes a little bit, but if I didnt have to stop I probably wouldnt notice it. I would think if it was your cam towers as mine, you would see oil on the floor under the car though.
 
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