I have a 1999 Mercury Mystique with 125,000 miles on it. A couple of thousand miles ago, the 2.5L V-6 engine developed a clatter at idle (probably caused by stuck automatic cam chain adjuster) followed by the engine oil pressure light coming on at highway speed. I shut down the engine right away and had the car towed to a repair facility. After sitting over a weekend, immediately after the engine was started to pull it into the shop, the oil light went off and the clatter stopped. The oil pressure was subsequently checked and determined to be within normal limits. When the oil pressure sender was removed to install the oil pressure gauge, some very dirty/dark oil came out of the engine. It was decided to flush the engine with new oil and a new filter, running it until it reached nomral operating temperature, then changing the oil and filter again. During this operation the cam chain once clattered momentary and then quieted down. Afterwards, no other abnormal engine noise could be heard. A road test with speeds up to 80 mph was conducted with no problems noted. This was followed by a road trip of about 1,000 miles (mostly at freeway speeds) followed by a couple of hundred miles of local driving.
I had saved the oil filter (ACDelco) that was on the vehicle when the oil light had come on and opened it up for inspection. This revealed at least a tablespoon of brown shellac appearing particles in the remaining oil in the canister and the pleats of the filter were at least partially clogged with the same material. I did not find any metal material of any kind. I also did this on the last new filter (Napa Gold) that was installed after the flush and run for approximately 1200 miles before I changed it and the oil again. There was some of the same particles in the filter pleats and cannister, but not nearly so much as before. I replaced the Napa Gold oil filter with a Pennzoil oil filter and had driven the car approx. 500 mi. When the clatter started again at idle followed by the oil light coming on at hwy speed. I had the oil and filter changed again (Motorcraft oil filter) and after driving for less than 50 miles, same thing happened again, except the oil light went off and clatter stopped when not at idle. The Pennzoil filter that was last removed is partially clogged and there is a small amount of the same brown shellac materiial in the cannister. Any ideas where the material is coming from and what to do about this problem?
(Please note: the quality of the three brands of oil filters mentioned above are of varying quality of construction, the Napa Gold being by far the best of the three [akin to aviation quality ones] followed in order by the ACDelco and Pennzoil ones, both of poor quality, IMO. I have not yet removed and inspected the Motorcraft one.) [Code: 1: 3d4a0fa42b][/code: 1: 3d4a0fa42b]
These shellac particles, can you take a small amount of them and clean them in a glass jar with some brake kleen. Just shake it see if they clean up. I'm wondering about them, if they are small plastic pieces like from chain guides or what.
January, 7, 2007 AT 6:40 PM
These are tiny, soft particles and will dissolve between your fingers after placed in brake cleaner spray. After spraying the brake cleaner in a jar, it just turns an amber color after mixing up some of the material in it. It either sinks to the bottom or clings to the side of the jar. It is not water soluble. Maybe a better discription would be that it is like varnish deposits off of parts and smells about the same. A friend suggested that it may be from some type of engine treatment that the previous owner used. I did buy the car used from a Ford dealer at almost a 100,000 miles and the engine wasn't very clean looking inside the oil filler cap hole, but has run great and uses less than a quart of oil in 1,000 miles. I am the 2nd owner since new.
January, 7, 2007 AT 7:10 PM
Sounds like the prior owner wasn't as faithful with the oil changes. There are some spots that are more apt to get hot and will cause a sludging affect that gets progessively worse with lack of oil changes. Are you using 5w20 or 5w30?
I would probably change the oil filter at 1500 miles and change the oil using 5w20 at 3000 for the next year and see if any changes happen. If noise comes back, I would cross that bridge then.
January, 7, 2007 AT 10:46 PM
I have been using 5w30. I think I will try removing the oil pressure sender again and see if some of the sludge comes out of the oil galley that feeds it like before. Maybe even hook up a line and shut-off valve then try bleeding off the oil with the engine running to see if that cleans it out some. I have also thought about dropping the pan and checking the oil sump to see if it is clogged, but that is a bigger job, so will probably try the flush out first and use 5w20 oil for a while.