Coolant in oil

Tiny
GARBAGE MAN
  • MEMBER
  • 1996 FORD TRUCK
  • 8.3L
  • 6 CYL
  • RWD
  • AUTOMATIC
  • 220,000 MILES
I have a 1996 Cummins C 8.3L - 210 hp. Last week, doing my pre-check, I noticed my coolant level was almost 1 gallon low (never low). I then noticed the green tint to the oil. I did notice a coolant smell from the breather. I immediately changed the oil and filter. Still can smell coolant lightly from the breather, but an oil change doesn't get all of the oil out. What would cause this? Head gasket? The truck is running and sounds great. Exhaust looks good, no white. There are no leaks under the truck. There is NO oil in the coolant, so should rule out oil cooler. If not the head gasket, could the air compressor leak coolant into the oil? Please give me your thoughts and I will continue to monitor as I need to use the truck this week.
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Sunday, January 31st, 2016 AT 4:54 PM

8 Replies

Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
Oil cooler is still the best suspect. That is a common problem.
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Sunday, January 31st, 2016 AT 5:07 PM
Tiny
GARBAGE MAN
  • MEMBER
What is the best way to check it? Wouldn't oil get into the coolant?
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Sunday, January 31st, 2016 AT 5:24 PM
Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
Typically yes it would, but it depends on the size of the leak and when it occurs. Coolant is still under pressure for a while after the engine is stopped.

Remove the oil filter is watch to see if coolant drips from the cooler.
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Sunday, January 31st, 2016 AT 5:36 PM
Tiny
GARBAGE MAN
  • MEMBER
When I changed the oil, the oil filter wasn't full to the top like normal. Does the oil flow from the cooler to the filter?
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Sunday, January 31st, 2016 AT 6:44 PM
Tiny
GARBAGE MAN
  • MEMBER
Are you talking about the oil cooler element casted with the oil filter head? There is also and oil cooler combined with the radiator.
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+1
Sunday, January 31st, 2016 AT 7:01 PM
Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
The cooler in the radiator is for automatic transmission fluid.

Engine oil doesn't go through the cooler under the filter. Only engine coolant goes through that unit, presumably because the oil is hotter and will give up some of its heat to the coolant to be carried to the radiator.
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Monday, February 1st, 2016 AT 2:38 PM
Tiny
GARBAGE MAN
  • MEMBER
So if I pull the oil filter and empty the oil pan, leaving plug off. Then pressurize the cooling system to 10-15 psi. If coolant come out filter tube, it's the oil cooler. If coolant comes out of the pan, it's a head gasket allowing coolant to run down the push rod holes. Exhaust is clean. Is it possible for the air compressor to leak the coolant, pushing into the front cover/timing?
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Monday, February 1st, 2016 AT 7:13 PM
Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
All I've ever run into is the cooler under the filter. My guess is you're looking for an unlikely alternative to the most common cause.
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Wednesday, February 3rd, 2016 AT 5:28 PM

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