Ways for coolant to get in the oil - BMW M5 Forum and M6 Forums
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post #1 of 11 Old 17th June 2017, 07:07 PM Thread Starter
technician117
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Ways for coolant to get in the oil

I'm working hard to put together my father's project M5. It's almost all together, with several engine runs in the garage and one test drive (5 miles).

Problem: I thought I remembered draining and filling the engine after it was installed. I then didn't work on the car for 2 months. Now that I've returned to work on it and am to the point of running, I checked the oil. It was high on the dipstick. I thought maybe I didn't drain it and added fresh and overfilled it on accident. I dumped the oil when changing the lower pan. I refilled with 6 liters and it was pretty much to the full mark. During these first run in's I was topping the coolant as well. The system has been totally flushed when apart, so I'm sure it's needed some bleeding/topping. I think since the initial fill I topped it twice.

After the test drive I idled it for a minute and let it rest for a minute and then checked the oil. It is over full again. See pictures. It must be coolant. It doesn't smell or look like there is coolant in the system though. The coolant in the overflow bottle looks clean. It also was under pressure when I removed the cap a little while after shutting the engine off. Seemed like the typical pressure release sound but it wasn't measured. At the time the engine was hot, the coolant level was full in the bottle. Now it's where you see it in the pic.

What are the possible sources?
1. Head gasket
2. Oil heater in the valley
3.?

Tim

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post #2 of 11 Old 17th June 2017, 08:02 PM
mgdmb
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If there was coolant in the oil, it should look milky (milkshake is how it's commonly referred to). Looks like you pics didn't post though, try again?
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post #3 of 11 Old 17th June 2017, 08:34 PM Thread Starter
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The photos don't post themselves, Tim! :-)
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post #4 of 11 Old 17th June 2017, 08:39 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mgdmb View Post
If there was coolant in the oil, it should look milky (milkshake is how it's commonly referred to). Looks like you pics didn't post though, try again?
Yeah there is no moisture that I can see. I've seen coolant in oil before on small block chevy's running green coolant. It's easy to tell there is **** in the oil. This looks fine, but is the blue coolant blending in? I still have the "old" oil in the drain pans. I can't tell if anything has separated, but usually oil floats on water, correct? So if the engine has been sitting for more than 24 hours and I pull the drain plug, I should see coolant come out first. Back in the day when I was a mechanic we had a flood damaged Mustang come in the shop. We pulled the drain plug and a gallon of water came out before any oil...

Should I top the coolant and let sit over night and see if it goes down again? It might only leak under pressure of running so it might not tell me much.

Tim

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Last edited by technician117; 17th June 2017 at 08:41 PM.
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post #5 of 11 Old 17th June 2017, 09:03 PM
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This is an interesting phenomenon with the S62 that I have experienced on my personal engine as well. It does NOT necessarily mean you have coolant in your oil. If you want to confirm, you need to have the oil analyzed. There are some aftermarket test kits for this IIRC, if you want to do the test yourself.

My explanation is that the S62 has lots of nooks in which oil hides unless and until the engine sits for an extended period. Pull the dipstick at that point, and it almost always reads too high.

The decrease in coolant, however, is indeed indicative of an issue IMHO. Blown head gasket or cracked block are the two leading candidates. Sorry if either of those proves to be the case. I've seen both.

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post #6 of 11 Old 18th June 2017, 12:07 AM Thread Starter
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I may have overreacted. I went out and wiped the dipstick and checked the level and it's only slightly higher. The engine sat for 36 hours when I pulled it this morning and saw the level so high. I didn't wipe and reinsert. I guess the oil is so thick it wasn't dripping off.

I decided to top the coolant and let it sit overnight. If the level drops, I have an issue. If not, I at least have that data point. I'll check back tomorrow.

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post #7 of 11 Old 18th June 2017, 12:19 AM
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That's very little coolant too. If you added that volume of fluid to the oil you would not really notice an increase on the dipstick, maybe a mm or two?

I had that kind of fluid loss in the coolant before I replaced the radiator and hoses. It turned out the hoses and connections were all leaking just a little bit, but not enough to leave really obvious white coolant marks. You could see them on close examination but not with a cursory glance.
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post #8 of 11 Old 18th June 2017, 02:15 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by technician117 View Post
I may have overreacted.
Ya think maybe just a little. If coolant was raising your oil by even 1/4 liter you would know it quickly, the cap would have curds on it. At idle cold car oil pressure is higher than coolant pressure so oil would flow to the coolant if it was gasket failure. Oil floats so you would see it in your bottle. Even if the coolant was leaking through the head gasket and down the cylinder walls down to the pan most would turn to steam and you would have serious white smoke from the pipes.

My car is also one that can't be judged on the dipstick without using the exact same method each time. No idea why.

This happens when you just remembered it is fathers day tomorrow and you have not worked on his car in some time.
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post #9 of 11 Old 18th June 2017, 05:53 AM
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Can always pressurize the cooling system and check to see if coolant goes where it shouldn't. But it sounds like the change in coolant is not significant enough to warrant concern.

--Peter

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post #10 of 11 Old 20th June 2017, 01:40 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BrendanSC View Post
That's very little coolant too. If you added that volume of fluid to the oil you would not really notice an increase on the dipstick, maybe a mm or two?

I had that kind of fluid loss in the coolant before I replaced the radiator and hoses. It turned out the hoses and connections were all leaking just a little bit, but not enough to leave really obvious white coolant marks. You could see them on close examination but not with a cursory glance.
True, but that was at least the 2nd or 3rd time I topped it off from that level. Moot point now anyway. See below.

Tim

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