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Old 03-05-2006, 05:01 AM   #1
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Oil consumption problem?

I recently bought my 99 Boxster with 43,000 miles on it. I had a PPI done and while the RMS was fine, there was a leak on the cam cover, which was fixed. I have now driven the car 1,000 miles, and it looks like the car is down 1 quart of oil. I only drive the car on weekends, so during the week it sits unused. The car is always parked in my garage that has a light color floor, and there is not a single drop of oil on it. Also there is no smoke and the engine "purrs" when its running.

Is this amount of oil consumption OK? Do I need to do anything? I was so bummed out last night when I noticed the level had fallen yet again. Its fallen about 3 bars in those 1,000 miles. When I first filled up the car, the sensor showed the oil level right in the middle, then each fillup its gone down 1 bar (or so it seems).
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Old 03-05-2006, 05:20 AM   #2
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Are you measuring it under the same conditions everytime?
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Old 03-05-2006, 05:55 AM   #3
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Hi,

There's nothing accurate at all about either the Digital Oil Supply Readout or even the Dipstick - you'll get different readings every time. But, with a 9+ Quart System, accuracy isn't all that important.

How do you know you're down a Quart? The Instrument Gauge only has a range of 1.6 Quarts. The Dipstick isn't graduated beyond an extremely generous OK Range. Keep it in there and you'll be OK...

Happy Motoring!... Jim'99
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Old 03-05-2006, 06:15 AM   #4
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Agree with Jim here. If I had to choose, I would use the dipstick. Always measure in the same location and after the car has had plenty of time to drain down.

Perhaps in the morning before start up.

Good luck!
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Old 03-05-2006, 06:47 AM   #5
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Parked on a level surface too!
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Old 03-05-2006, 01:57 PM   #6
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Well I was going by the digital guage, but then I checked the dip stick and it was low too. Unless I have a different dip stick than you guys, I would hardly say it has a large OK range. More like a 1/4" between low and full. Not what I would considere "large". This morning after tha car had been sitting all night, I checked the dip stick and it was low, so I have added a quart and now the digital guage is at the top.

As far as the measurement goes, I actually had not been looking at it. I have only owned the car for a month and did not think I had to check it that closely. I relied instead on the digital guage after fuel ups. This would usually be after about 20 minutes of driving, and then the fill-up.

I guess my bigger concern is where is the oil going, as it definately seems to be going down over time.
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Old 03-05-2006, 02:20 PM   #7
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rteichman, what's your coolant level doing? Could the oil be going there??
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Old 03-05-2006, 09:26 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bmussatti
rteichman, what's your coolant level doing? Could the oil be going there??
Hi,

Yea, Head Gasket leak always possible. Pull the Coolant Cap and check the underside for a Mayonaise type Goo. Oil + Coolant will emulsify. Hope not...

BTW, the Dipstick is generous. The volume difference between the Top and Bottom OK Marks is 1.8 Quarts. No need to add if the level rests between these two, OK means OK...

Happy Motoring!... Jim'99
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Old 03-06-2006, 06:33 AM   #9
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Oh, please say no! I just saw this and now I will worry about it all week. I don't get back home till Friday and thus won't be able to check this till then. I sure hope its not a Head Gasket leak. Wouldn't something like that have been caught in the PPI?

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Originally Posted by MNBoxster
Head Gasket leak always possible. Pull the Coolant Cap and check the underside for a Mayonaise type Goo. Oil + Coolant will emulsify. Hope not...
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Old 03-06-2006, 12:08 PM   #10
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Don't freak out over "what if's". It take a loooooong time for all that oil to work its way back down to the car's oil pan, and that's probably why you're getting the low oil reading. You're reading the stick or the dash before it's time to take a reading.

Take a deep breath and try to not worry about catastrophic engine problems that aren't really happening! (Geez, you remind me of me!)

I have found the best time to check my oil is first thing in the morning. I turn the car's key to the "on" position and wait 5 seconds for the dash gauge to show something. This is the "cold oil amount. It will only get larger in volume from this point when the engine is hot (as heat expands the volume a bit), so this will give you a safe level from which to measure in the future when you check the engine oil cold.

I also check the engine hot by bringing the engine up to temp, parking the car for one hour and then turning the key to the on position and watching the dash measurement thing.

I no longer use my dipstick, and I see why Porsche doesn't even have a dipstick in the 987's. If you use the dash thingy properly, it's quite accurate. Each bar is about a cup of oil per what I read by our fearless Boxster Guru, Jeff (ToolPants).
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Old 03-06-2006, 01:22 PM   #11
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Hi,

Yea, I didn't want to Freak You Out, but you were so insistent that you checked the level properly (which I still am not sure of) that if that's eliminated, there has to be another cause. The Oil won't simply Vanish. Somewhere on the list of possibilities is a Head Gasket and I was merely adding to what bmussatti inferred.

Yes, a proper PPI should have caught that if they did a Leakdown Test, but I suspect there's a lot of variation in the PPIs done out there. It should take a minimum of 3-4 Hrs. to do a proper one and if paying $200-$300, that's sufficient time if the Shop Rate is $45-$60/hr., but if the Shop Rate is more, they're scrimping somewhere. I have done proper PPIs for people buying Lotus Cars in the area, while I don't charge them, I do invest at least 3.5 Hrs. and check it all out, never had a single complaint over several years.

Like Randall says, I suspect it's a measuring problem. But, each graduation on the Digital scale is worth more than a Cup. I believe it's best to keep the Oil level consistently in the middle of the Digital Readout because of the inaccuracy. Unless the Readout stays on constant (meaning you're low), anything in the OK range is OK. It's a quasi Dry Sump system with active scavenging rather than a gravity return, so there's plenty of Oil in there, even on the lower end of the OK scale. Too much Oil is a BIG problem because it can damage the Cat(s). Hope this eases your anxiety somewhat...

Happy Motoring!... Jim'99
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Old 03-06-2006, 03:44 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RandallNeighbour
If you use the dash thingy....
Randall, I'm struggling to follow you with all your technical lingo.
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Old 03-06-2006, 04:04 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rteichman
This morning after tha car had been sitting all night, I checked the dip stick and it was low, so I have added a quart and now the digital guage is at the top.
Be careful. If you look closely, the top of the digital guage is overfull. There are two lines on the digital guage, one toward the top and one at the bottom. Before you leave each morning, check and make sure it's between those lines before starting the engine. Never use the oil check when you stop for gas as a reason to add oil, it needs to sit for at least two hours before it is really checked to see if it needs oil added.

As far as losing oil, check your intake lines that go into/out of the oil separator and see if the separator is going bad.
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Old 03-07-2006, 05:28 AM   #14
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Oh great, now I have to worry that I overfilled the oil! Luckily I have not driven it since I put in that quart

To everyone else about my measuring it correctly. I guess I did not understand you, sorry. I used the digital guage while stoped for gas. I believe this is what the owner's manual says to do. The only time I checked the dip stick, it had sat overnight and it did "seem" low, although its sure hard to read with clean oil (it was changed about 1,200 miles ago). After I added the quart (the car had been driven for about 20 minutes), the digital guage did show "over full"

Well I guess I'll see on Friday. You know I usually don't bother with any of this kind of stuff and just "use the car". Its only from reading this forum that's got me paranoid about checking every little think to make sure its right.

Quote:
Originally Posted by deliriousga
Be careful. If you look closely, the top of the digital guage is overfull.
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Old 03-07-2006, 07:03 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rteichman
Oh great, now I have to worry that I overfilled the oil! Luckily I have not driven it since I put in that quart

To everyone else about my measuring it correctly. I guess I did not understand you, sorry. I used the digital guage while stoped for gas. I believe this is what the owner's manual says to do. The only time I checked the dip stick, it had sat overnight and it did "seem" low, although its sure hard to read with clean oil (it was changed about 1,200 miles ago). After I added the quart (the car had been driven for about 20 minutes), the digital guage did show "over full"

Well I guess I'll see on Friday. You know I usually don't bother with any of this kind of stuff and just "use the car". Its only from reading this forum that's got me paranoid about checking every little think to make sure its right.
Hi,

I once overfilled my Boxster, when it was new to me, just like you. Rather than open the Drain Plug (where controlling the amount of Oil drained would be impossible), I got some Poly Tubing thin enough to run down the Dipstick opening and, using a MityVac and Catch Cup, was able to extract it. The Catch Cup was a Brake Bleeding attachment, so it only held 1 cup, so I drained it into an Oil Bottle with graduations so I could measure the amount.

If you own these tools this is the way to go. If not, it's not worth the expense, so you will have to drain it from the bottom. Use a clean container and you'll be able to re-use the Oil, minus 1 Quart of course... Hope this helps...

Happy Motoring!... Jim'99
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Old 03-07-2006, 10:05 AM   #16
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I just had to chuckle. Worried about underfull - worried about overfull....

I know when I first got my Boxster I must have overanalized the oil consumption level constantly. I once got so worried that I left work to find a nice level place, read the manual, measure it, and buy oil.
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