Oil settles after oil change? - GM Forum - Buick, Cadillac, Chev, Olds, GMC & Pontiac chat


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Old 08-25-2009, 08:23 PM   #1
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Default Oil settles after oil change?

Last week I changed my oil and filter... added 4 quarts and the dipstick read that it was full. Checked it today and it was 2 circles below the full line on the dipstick. I initially added 4 quarts and have now added another half a quart, which has brought the level back up to the full line. Is it probably the case that the oil just took a bit of time to settle, as it is with adding coolant to a radiator?
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Old 08-25-2009, 08:27 PM   #2
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oil does not do that but all 3800 engines as far as I know will take 4.5 quarts of oil to be full
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Old 08-25-2009, 08:32 PM   #3
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did you add 4 qtrs then run it for a minute then checked it or did you just pour it in and then check it
the filter will hold the extra 1/2 qrt and if you don't run it the filter is empty when you first put it on. you have to run it to fill the filter
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Old 08-25-2009, 11:13 PM   #4
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I agree with TAGUY. That 1/2 quart went to the oil filter after you ran it. Remember when you changed the oil and 1/2 quart poured out of the filter when you unscrewed it? On my truck the filter sits straight up and you can fill it before you put it on. On your 3800 you have to put the new filter on, fill it to the full mark, run it and let the oil pump fill the filter and then top it off with 1/2 quart.
Hope that makes sense.
Mike
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Old 08-25-2009, 11:15 PM   #5
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Our engines take 4.5 quarts with a filter change. That'* why your low.
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Old 08-26-2009, 12:14 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by taguy94 View Post
did you add 4 qtrs then run it for a minute then checked it or did you just pour it in and then check it
the filter will hold the extra 1/2 qrt and if you don't run it the filter is empty when you first put it on. you have to run it to fill the filter
Yeah, it ran after I added the initial 4 quarts, and I checked it after having driven several miles. I guess what my question is, what seems more likely, is if there were maybe a 1/2 quart in the system, I added 4 qts, and lost 1/2 qt, or whether it took a few miles of driving to fully settle below the fill line. I guess I'll be finding out on my own soon enough though.

Probably getting a bit worried 'bout nothing.

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Old 08-26-2009, 11:01 AM   #7
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The theory of settling doesn't work in this scenario. If we review how the oil system in a motor works it should help to clear it up.

The oil is pulled to the pump via a screened tube in the oil pan, then it it pumped through the various parts of the motor, crank and camshaft. This causes pressure as the oil pushes out at the bearings. It also pushed into the lifters and into the pushrods to lubricate the rocker arms which are at the highest oiled point under the valve covers. As the oil rolls off these parts it falls back down through large openings that exist throughout the motor and back into the pan.

When you pour oil in..you pour it into the valve cover and it drains into the pan. The dipstick measures the level of the oil in the oil pan.

My conclusion through all the above babble is you may have had a false reading on the dipstick. When reading a dipstick you should look at both sides for a consistent level. It is possible that some oil is in the tube and the stick picked up that oil to give a false reading.
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Old 08-26-2009, 04:54 PM   #8
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It is possible that some oil is in the tube and the stick picked up that oil to give a false reading.
Actually, that makes the most sense.
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Old 08-26-2009, 04:57 PM   #9
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When ever checking the oil level, you want to pull out the dip stick, wipe off the oil, then put the stick back in all the way, then pull it out again. If you have a clean line on the stick, it should be a good reading. If it looks all messy, then wipe it off again and check the level.
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Old 08-26-2009, 09:44 PM   #10
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While we're on the subject of dipsticks, ever since my second-to-last oil change (Valvoline), my dipstick has never shown an exact line like it used to. Thinking they poured in way too much oil, I changed my own oil yesterday (it was time to anyway), and the problem still persists.

I poured in exactly 4.5 quarts (judging by the meter on the bottle). Any thoughts?
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