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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
RE: turbo oil feed line - quite possibly the DUMBEST THING I have ever done

First off, it's midnight. And I have to go to work tomorrow.

No matter. I have to share this with you all while it's fresh. I invite you all to laugh at me. Not WITH me, at me.

Here's the story.

I recently decided to replace my oil line to my TD06 with a smaller, -3AN size in the hopes of reducing the amount of oil in my IC piping, etc.

I had a local shop make me a -3 line that was slightly shorter than my existing line, since it looked about 1" too long and the routing wasn't optimal.

Cool, easy enough. So I go to reinstall the line with the old adapter - not really the right part, I'd used a 3/8" NPT fitting instead of the correct M18 1.5 metric, but it worked for many thousands of miles with no leaks - and WTF? The line is like 2 1/2" too short now.

How is this possible? How did a line that used to be 1" too long get to be 2 1/2" too short after having less than an inch taken off it? I can't figure it out. Back to the shop, have another line made, 3" longer than the last.

I install the 2nd line. Everything looks good. I fire up the car, and watch the oil pressure gauge and the OEM oil pressure idiot light. Hmm, car has been idling for 2-3 seconds, no oil pressure on the Autometer, oil light is still glaring red. I shut it down.

Get out, look under the car - there's a HUGE pool of oil under the engine. Crap. And it's getting bigger as I stare in horror and disbelief. Double-crap.

I spend much time mopping up motor oil and being exceptionally pissed.

Since there's no oil anywhere up top near the turbo, I assume my old 3/8" NPT adapter must not be sealing so well this time, even though I used plenty of teflon tape and it felt fine threading/tightening it in.

I call up KO Racing, order their very nice brass M18 to -3 AN male-to-male adapter. I wait several days for it to arrive. I use the interim time to keep trying to soak up the oil stain with kitty litter. No dice - evidence of my latest ecological disaster is permanently etched into my garage floor.

Last night, I installed KO's adapter (took a long time - it didn't want to thread in; had to use a lot of elbow grease and it stopped about 3/4 of the way in), put the -3 line back on, topped off the engine oil (I'd lost at least 1 1/2 to 2 quarts) and got ready to fire it up again. I was confident everything was good now, but just in case, I stuck an oil pan under the car.

Fire it up. Car starts. No oil pressure. WTF??!

Look under car. Same torrent of oil (this time mostly hitting the oil pan). I am pissed to the Nth degree. I go to bed angry and oily.

I spent most of today at work, not actually working, but pondering how that much oil could be getting past some slightly boogered-up threads. I research teflon tape and pipe dope on Google. I type angry emails to car friends about how much I hate project cars, and that I'm taking up needlepoint instead.

I decide that my last hope is to try some pipe dope - maybe that will get it to seal correctly.

Tonight, just to make sure that the adapter connection is the source before I go to Home Depot for pipe dope and then tear into it again, I ask my wife to crank the car for me while I lay under it and confirm where the oil is coming from.

She cranks it. The geyser of oil commences a second after it catches. I scream, "shut it off!!!"

I'm dumbfounded.

The oil is not coming from anywhere NEAR the block to the oil line feed. It's gushing out of some very sizable opening in the block - ABOVE where the oil line is installed. I can't tell from where right away. Then it hits me.

Take a look at this picture of my engine after the rebuild . . .



See where the chrome Greddy oil line adapter is installed, just below the freeze plug?

And see that blind threaded hole in the block - about 2 1/2" lower?

Yup . . . when I re-installed the new line, I felt around on the block, found the lower, blind threaded hole, and figured "that must be it." Whodda thunk there would be TWO 18M/1.5 threaded openings on the block?

Gee. . . it's all making sense now. The new line that was mysteriously 2 1/2" too short. The fact that I couldn't thread in the KO adapter all the way (it was probably bottoming out in the blind hole).

I spent the last 4 hours tonight cleaning up oil spills (again), uninstalling the oil line and adapter from the wrong location, and reinstalling it into the right hole. The oil line is way too long now of course. Screw it.

I topped off the oil. Visually and mentally checked my work. Prayed to every god I could think of, slide the oil pan back under the engine, hopped in and started it.

Oil pressure builds 1/2 second after the engine starts - just like normal. I get out, look under engine, no waterfall of oil. Hallelujah!

It's just amazing how much easier it is to develop oil pressure without a 3/4" HOLE IN THE SIDE OF THE ENGINE BLOCK!!!

Now, hopefully I didn't do too much damage to my turbo bearings by firing up the car for 3-4 seconds at a time with zero oil lubrication. But if so, oh well.

It would almost be worth it, paying for another turbo rebuild - just for the opportunity to tell this true story of my incredible stupidity and inept wrenching. Once again, that old saying rings true - "when you assume, you make . . . "

Tonight, I learned "don't assume there's only one potential place a turbo feed line can screw into an engine block."

I'm going to bed now.
 

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that's really, really unfortunate. Extremely funny though. Could be worse, a friend of mine did a 3sgte engine conversion into another car and was having problems with a massive oil leak, and eventually ended up selling it because he couldn't work out the cause. New owner quickly found the problem - the banjo bolt on the oil feed hadn't been screwed all the way in, or tightened. :D
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Driftin_AW said:
that's really, really unfortunate. Extremely funny though. Could be worse, a friend of mine did a 3sgte engine conversion into another car and was having problems with a massive oil leak, and eventually ended up selling it because he couldn't work out the cause. New owner quickly found the problem - the banjo bolt on the oil feed hadn't been screwed all the way in, or tightened. :D
This was nothing compared to frustrating/confusing oil leak number one. Right after my engine rebuild, I found that I'd get a steady stream of oil leaking out from under the oil pan? clutch cover? after the first minute of running or so.

After many, many reapplications of Toyota FIPG on the oil pan, I finally traced the source to the rear main. Pulled the tranny, carefully replaced the rear main with a new OEM part (even though what was in there already was a brand-new Toyota seal).

Engine continues to leak oil like a champ. No idea what to do. Months pass as I try to figure out this one.

Finally, after paying a shop to fix it (they also tried the oil pan, then the rear main, with no luck), it's discovered that the crankshaft snout is undersize by about 1 mm. The machine shop that did my shortblock disassembly, reassembly, balancing and machine work disavows all knowledge or responsibility of how my crankshaft mysteriously is no longer the correct spec on this crucial area.

After much time, frustration, and money, the crankshaft snout is resized with a Speedy Sleeve and it finally stops leaking.

Now, THAT was a complete PITA oil leak (esp. since it was right after a complete engine rebuild, when everything logically should have been perfect, AND I was itching to get the requisite break-in miles on the car so I could actually see some boost again).

oldster said:
Wow, that's quite a story. I likewise hope there is no other damage than ego.....
No worries, you know me Lyle. I got lots of ego left. Like taking a few cups of water outta the ocean . . .
 

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I found myself forced to read just because of your writing ability. I enjoyed reading it. Hope there are no long-term negative effects. Thanks for being brave and secure enough to allow us to laugh at/with you.
 

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If it makes you feel any better, I once started up my car with no oil filter. Yeah, 3 quarts of oil on the floor of my garage in about 3 seconds.
 

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LOL glad its fixed now.. I have done something simmilar.. I bolted the TDO6 up to my engine and completed all the stuff needed done up top then went down below to tighten the bolts and whatever, completly forgetting the turbo oil drain line was just dangeling. start car and look to see 2 qts flowing out the hose.. dont feel bad you looked for any problems and fixed it.. some people just bolt things up and go for a drive and come back with a major problem.

last night I was die grinding on some steel. I had my safty glasses on. paused for a few mins to let the steel cool. then went looking for my glasses.. 5 mins later I found them.. I was still wearing them LOL
 

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Glad everything is ok. Your bearings should be fine, as long as it really wasn't ran for more than a few seconds. Worst case, if you wanted it wouldn't be to hard to pull the sub-frame and roll in some new bearings. I am sure everything is ok though. good luck!

Brian
 

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hahaha Glad to see if fixed. You should have checked were it was leaking out the first time it started to leak instead of buy all those other parts thinking it was the problem. Lesson to learn find the cause and then find a solution before just buying parts in hopes of fixing it. That is the difference between a wrencher, (anybody with some common sense can wrench) it takes knowledge and patients to diagnose things also expreience. But hay glad to see it fixed. Go put some power to the ground and enjoy your mr2.
 

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We can all easily solve his problem now. If he had posted his problem, how many of us would have known he put the adapter in the wrong hole? The only way for me to have known, would for me to have already been there and done that.

There is no need to bash someone who takes the time to share his mistake with us. Often, it is situations just like this that can save someone else, maybe me, maybe you, the same embarassment next time. We are all human and highly capable of making even the simplest of mistakes.

The next time you make one, please be generous enough to also share it with us.
 

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LOL that was a great write up man, you better start thinking about which hole your aiming for or you might dissappoint your girlfriend ;) lol

Graeme
 

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LMAO. Thanks for the heads up. I've got my engine on the block now and I'll definitely watch for that second hole. Reminds me of the time I was in the middle of changing out my brothers Clutch Master Cylinder and he walked up to me and asked if I'd checked the floor mat---turned out that his floor mat had the habit of riding up behind the clutch pedal and disabled the clutch :smile:
 

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hehe -- even pros make mistakes....... we had a brand new stroker engine install finished and fired her up.... tailpipe smoking like a bitch..... me start/idle the car and 2 other sets of eyes looking for anything leaking (one on top and one behind).... by the time the tailpipe smoke cleared the rear set of eyes noticed ALL of the engine oil on the floor :( ........ found the leak to be in the oil cooler area so we dug in and investigated.... it seems the aluminum adapter for the oil cooler split in the inside and caused the nice oil flood + damaged the entire engine since it had ran for approximatly 2-3 min.... over $2,000 later + another removal/reinstall the car finally ran again YAY
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
THANKS TO EVERYONE WHO READ THIS . . . I'M GLAD I WROTE IT!

Byron said:
I found myself forced to read just because of your writing ability. I enjoyed reading it. Hope there are no long-term negative effects.
Thanks very much for the compliment, Byron. I drove the car this morning, and it seems OK (for now!)

WyrmMaster said:
If it makes you feel any better, I once started up my car with no oil filter. Yeah, 3 quarts of oil on the floor of my garage in about 3 seconds.
I haven?t done that one yet. Gimme some time. But my first DIY oil change ever, ?82 Subaru hatch: I drained the tranny, put another 5 quarts in on top of the motor oil, and drove it like that for a couple weeks before I started wondering about the noises coming from the tranny . . .

Lmackattack said:
LOL glad its fixed now.. I have done something simmilar.. I bolted the TDO6 up to my engine and completed all the stuff needed done up top then went down below to tighten the bolts and whatever, completly forgetting the turbo oil drain line was just dangeling. start car and look to see 2 qts flowing out the hose.
That made me laugh . . . thanks.

black93hardtop said:
Your bearings should be fine, as long as it really wasn't ran for more than a few seconds. Worst case, if you wanted it wouldn't be to hard to pull the sub-frame and roll in some new bearings. I am sure everything is ok though. good luck!

Brian
Uhh, I actually didn?t even think about the main and rod bearings, I was just thinking about the turbo being lubricated by nothing at all! I?ve actually already had to ?roll in some new bearings? by pulling the pan, etc, but I wouldn?t say it ?wasn?t too hard,? but then again, you can see the level of my mechanical expertise . . .

Byron said:
We can all easily solve his problem now. If he had posted his problem, how many of us would have known he put the adapter in the wrong hole?

There is no need to bash someone who takes the time to share his mistake with us. Often, it is situations just like this that can save someone else, maybe me, maybe you, the same embarassment next time.
Hey, no worries ? I did say in the second paragraph ? ?I invite you all to laugh at me. Not WITH me, at me.? And yes, I hope that it will save at least ONE PERSON from making the same mistake.

^Trickster^ said:
LOL that was a great write up man, you better start thinking about which hole your aiming for or you might dissappoint your girlfriend lol

Graeme
Nah, I?m married, that phase of my life is over now. LOL Actually, I had my wife read this thread too, and she pointed out that I should have given her more credit for helping me fix the problem, instead of just subjecting her to me stomping around the house in an MR2-induced rage. She has a good point. Thanks dear ? you rock!

^mister3 said:
hehe -- even pros make mistakes....... we had a brand new stroker engine install finished and fired her up.... it seems the aluminum adapter for the oil cooler split in the inside and caused the nice oil flood + damaged the entire engine since it had ran for approximatly 2-3 min.... over $2,000 later + another removal/reinstall the car finally ran again YAY
Holy crap, you are way ahead so far for the ?This oil leak problem sucked more than yours? award . . .
 

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Haha, hilarious story.

Now, hopefully I didn't do too much damage to my turbo bearings by firing up the car for 3-4 seconds at a time with zero oil lubrication. But if so, oh well.
I wouldn't worry about it. I fired my car up when it was -15 out the other week, and it took about 4 seconds for the oil pressure gauge to even flinch! No more sub zero starts with 5w-30 for me...
 

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:smile: Man, that's a great story

Sorry that it happend, but it's good that you found your issue and that it's a quick fix.

I did something kind of similar when I built my external oil cooler kit. I forgot to attach one of my hoses all the way, and I couldn't figure out for the life of me why I was loosing so much oil when I was driving around, and why there was oil all over the underside of my car. Tightening the hose ends didn't even occur to me. Oops.

Thanks for sharing that, it certainly brightened my day a little :thumbup
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
m1st3r2 said:
Heh, if that's the dumbest thing you've ever done, you're way ahead of most of us. :)
Well, maybe I was exaggerating a bit with the thread title.

Here are some even dumber moves on my part - just off the top my head.

1. Spent four figures in about four hours in a Vegas strip club - while unemployed.

2. Got a metal shaving in my eye while tapping threads under the MR2 because I wasn't wearing eye protection, then waited a week before going to the eye doctor, even though my eye was in a fair amount of pain. Suffered permanent eye damage that probably could have been prevented.

3. After a night of drinking and being at a bar, I decided to drive through the university downtown "party and bar" area with only my parking lights and fog lights on in my MR2 (because I think the car looks way better with the headlights down). I immediately get pulled over by a cop for not having my headlights on, and who proceeds to give me a roadside DWI test - right in front of lots of drunk passerbys having a great old time, laughing and pointing at the [email protected] getting the roadside (I passed and got off scot free though).
 
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