1993 Chevrolet Other Engine trouble

  • 1993 CHEVROLET
  • 180,000 MILES
I'll start from the beginning. A few weeks ago, I was leaking oil, so I talked to a mechanic and he said that my valve cover gasket was bad, so I replaced it. A week later I start leaking oil again, but worst this time. Today, I was driving, had just filled my oil and all of a sudden, I hear this noise like if you stuck something into a fan and it was just hitting the blades. Then the car sputtered and died. White smoke came out of the engine. What happened? Is it fixable? Did I kill my engine permanently?
Do you
have the same problem?
Thursday, September 12th, 2013 AT 9:10 PM

1 Reply

Did you change the oil and filter or just add enough to fill it? If you replaced the filter there is a good chance you "double-gasketed" it. That's where the old o-ring gasket sticks to the engine and goes unnoticed, and the gasket on the new filter seats over the top of it. Usually the old gasket will blow out right away before you drive even a few feet, but it could hold for a little while. We've all done that at least once in our careers.

That kind of leak will cause all the oil to be lost in a matter of seconds, and it is possible for the engine to seize up and stall before more serious damage occurs. The pistons will stick to the cylinder walls from no oil spraying onto them. That will cause some wear but if that happens quickly enough, the bearings are what needs to be saved. If the bearings start to come apart there is nothing you can do to stop that from continuing. You'll have a loud knocking noise within a few minutes.

Once the engine cools down and you add oil, the engine should start again. Keep an eye on the oil pressure gauge or warning light. If no problem is indicated, the engine may be okay.

The noise you described is more typical of hydraulic lifters or lash adjusters that are out of oil. You didn't say which model or engine size you have so I don't know what type of valve train you have. If the lifters bleed down from lack of oil pressure, the valves won't fully open, and that alone could cause engine stalling. Lifters are the last thing to receive oil and are the first thing to make noise. If that's all that happened, it may take a while to get the engine restarted after you add oil. When you crank the engine, the oil pressure is going to have to build up first, the oil will have to start circulating, THEN the lifters need numerous strokes to pump up. This is often what we have to do when starting a freshly rebuilt engine. We pump the lifters up by hand, then install them, but by the time the engine is installed and ready to be started, they've bled down again. Some engines start in a few seconds. Some take up to a minute of intermittent cranking before the valves open enough.
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Thursday, September 12th, 2013 AT 11:42 PM

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