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Dealer did not tighten oil drain plug-total oil loss

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Old 06-03-2017, 10:31 PM
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Default Dealer did not tighten oil drain plug-total oil loss

Hi folks. As the title says I had the car in for service today for transmission, differential and oil change today. Wife and I were on a nice evening drive. All of a sudden when pulling away from an intersection heard a loud noise like I ran over something and it banged the undercarriage (was in a construction zone and thought maybe it was a large pebble or stone). Drove about 3/4 kilometer and noticed a burning oil smell and noticed in the mirror burning oil mist. For a minute I thought maybe they didn't put the oil cap on and I was losing and burning oil from that. Pulled over and stopped as fast as I could. Went to pop the hood and saw oil pouring out of the bottom of the engine. Got down to take a look and there was no drain plug. The noise I heard concerns me as I am worried there is major engine damage (maybe it was the drain bolt tossed up by the rear tire into the undercarriage). I had it towed to the dealer and will speaking with them Monday.

Anyhow, wondering if anyone here has had a similar experience and can comment. How can they properly assess damage? If they drop the oil pan they can see anything major like broken rod etc. But how do they assess for damage to main or con rod bearings or scoring to piston walls, rings and pistons, or damage to the cam bearings etc. What if they say "Oh we think it's probably all OK", fill it up and say sorry about that, "here's free oil changes for life". What is the dealers obligation to the customer to properly assess and verify objectively there is no damage? I can see this devaluing the car in the event I ever need to sell it after disclosing this to a buyer (Oh, but the dealer said it's OK). This car is a totally original 2002, 42000 mi, pristine body and interior, no accidents, never winter driven. Whenever it is at the dealer they say, "beautiful car", "we love your car". So did I.

If they say it's OK should the warranty it? If so, how long. If there is obvious major damage would they replace the engine (if one can be found). What about a total tear down and rebuild on their dime...probably wouldnt trust them if they can't torque an oil drain bolt. Would a dealer offer to put in a used engine (doesn't seem fair to me).

What would you ask for? Right now I'm going to have a few drinks and try to relax.
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Old 06-03-2017, 11:53 PM
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Originally Posted by VFR2S2K View Post
Hi folks. As the title says I had the car in for service today for transmission, differential and oil change today. Wife and I were on a nice evening drive. All of a sudden when pulling away from an intersection heard a loud noise like I ran over something and it banged the undercarriage (was in a construction zone and thought maybe it was a large pebble or stone). Drove about 3/4 kilometer and noticed a burning oil smell and noticed in the mirror burning oil mist. For a minute I thought maybe they didn't put the oil cap on and I was losing and burning oil from that. Pulled over and stopped as fast as I could. Went to pop the hood and saw oil pouring out of the bottom of the engine. Got down to take a look and there was no drain plug. The noise I heard concerns me as I am worried there is major engine damage (maybe it was the drain bolt tossed up by the rear tire into the undercarriage). I had it towed to the dealer and will speaking with them Monday.

Anyhow, wondering if anyone here has had a similar experience and can comment. How can they properly assess damage? If they drop the oil pan they can see anything major like broken rod etc. But how do they assess for damage to main or con rod bearings or scoring to piston walls, rings and pistons, or damage to the cam bearings etc. What if they say "Oh we think it's probably all OK", fill it up and say sorry about that, "here's free oil changes for life". What is the dealers obligation to the customer to properly assess and verify objectively there is no damage? I can see this devaluing the car in the event I ever need to sell it after disclosing this to a buyer (Oh, but the dealer said it's OK). This car is a totally original 2002, 42000 mi, pristine body and interior, no accidents, never winter driven. Whenever it is at the dealer they say, "beautiful car", "we love your car". So did I.

If they say it's OK should the warranty it? If so, how long. If there is obvious major damage would they replace the engine (if one can be found). What about a total tear down and rebuild on their dime...probably wouldnt trust them if they can't torque an oil drain bolt. Would a dealer offer to put in a used engine (doesn't seem fair to me).

What would you ask for? Right now I'm going to have a few drinks and try to relax.

i would inspect with pan off but very likely there will be no damage... fill it with oil and see how it goes, sounds like you were fast enough and at worst ran without pressure for few seconds at low rpm if oil was still pouring out while stopped.... and you are right not to trust them with engine rebuild of any kind. DO NOT let these clowns disassamble this engine in any way, it will never be the same again! (at most pan off and look inside then pan back on and fill with oil and drive it)

IF engine sounds like total loss after its been running again... i would demand new engine or at least used engine with very low milage (less than 40k) ..but maybe i would get someone else to install it for peace of mind.
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Old 06-04-2017, 12:13 AM
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Originally Posted by miloking View Post
i would inspect with pan off but very likely there will be no damage... fill it with oil and see how it goes, sounds like you were fast enough and at worst ran without pressure for few seconds at low rpm if oil was still pouring out while stopped.... and you are right not to trust them with engine rebuild of any kind.

IF engine is total loss i would demand new enginr or at least used engine with very low milage (less than 40k) ..but maybe i would get someone else to install it for peace of mind.


Chances are, it's fine. If you want to be extra safe, you could do a compression test & leak down test and maybe even look into the cylinders with a small camera. Keep an eye on your oil for metal shavings. If nothing is proven to be broken, they aren't obligated to rebuild or replace the engine. They also wouldn't be obligated to pay for expensive diagnostic work, like dismantling your engine to visually inspect the internals. You might be able to get reimbursed if there is damage, but I'd be surprised if there is.

I probably wouldn't want free oil changes after that. Maybe some free oil filters and crush washers so I could go change it myself.
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Old 06-04-2017, 06:15 AM
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Um, damage from loss of oil would show up first as bearing damage, not cylinder walls, and wouldn't show up in a compression or leakdown test. Checking the bearing clearances, such as with plastigauge, is the appropriate diagnostic if worried about oil loss damage.

Question for op, did the pil light ever come on? If not, I would agree you are probably ok. You weren't running high rpm or anything like that, and shut it down and had time to get out, pop hood, and still saw oil leaking out. That means there was still oil in the pan while it was running. If you stopped and didn't still see oil flowing out, but then realized plug was gone and no oil, that would be a different story.
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Old 06-04-2017, 06:23 AM
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too! (And whispered a little prayer.) Low oil pressure light remained off? Good sign it if didn't.

Happened to me years ago. MGB. Drain bolt fell out on the way home from a dealer service. Noticed a large puddle of oil in my garage and evidence of an oil spill the length of my driveway and down the street. Oil really didn't pour out until the engine was switched off. I'm guessing some sort of vacuum kept the oil in there and the pump was able to supply it to the engine. Oil pressure light didn't come on this car. Car ran for years longer (until I sold it).

Yet another story of incompetent dealer service for these cars. This is really surprising as not even the Jiffy Lube guys do this very often.

-- Chuck

Last edited by Chuck S; 06-04-2017 at 06:25 AM.
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Old 06-04-2017, 08:41 AM
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I do not recall seeing the oil pressure light come on. To be honest I was not looking for it, just checking the mirror and watching the road to pull over. Does crankcase pressure increase with throttle application? I'm thinking the relatively loud bang I heard could have been the plug being blown out and hitting the right front wheel. I was accelerating from a stop at a yield to get up to traffic speed at the time. If that is a scenario could the drain hole threads be damaged? I walked back to the intersection where I was waiting and could clearly see drops of oil leading up to the place I stopped. Then you could see the long trail of sprayed oil from that point down the road. I'm guessing a kilometre or slightly less.
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Old 06-04-2017, 08:48 AM
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How long before the incident was the oil changed?
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Old 06-04-2017, 08:52 AM
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Originally Posted by VFR2S2K View Post
I do not recall seeing the oil pressure light come on. If that is a scenario could the drain hole threads be damaged?
I think you would have noticed the oil pressure light on. I think you dodged the bullet as others have opined.

I also think the drain hole is fine; the bolt under pressure and vibration just worked out and popped. However, if the dealer clowns overtorqued it, perhaps did not use a torque wrench and just cranked it in there, it is possible the bolt backed out because it is stripped. Only way to find out is to install a replacement bolt and see if it torques properly. You might be able to see if it is stripped with a mirror and light.
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Old 06-04-2017, 12:49 PM
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Originally Posted by rpg51 View Post
How long before the incident was the oil changed?
4 to 5 hours.
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Old 06-04-2017, 05:12 PM
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Ehh damage happens when it heats up too much. Oils job is to cool and lubricate. If it cannot cool then therefore it cannot lubricate. Even if all the oil went out the pan, the film of oil on the moving parts would still do an adequate job for a little while. Did you ever go above 3 bars in the coolant temp?
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