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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Yesterday, I take my 987 to my local Porsche dealership for an oil and filter change. Dealer charges me for nine quarts of oil and a new filter. I drive home.

Car is parked on level floor of garage overnight.

This a.m. before starting the engine, I turn the key on to check the oil level. Oops! Only the lowest three bars on the gauge light up.

I figure I can't have lost that much oil on my way home from the dealer, and there's no oil on the floor of the garage,so I drive to the store, where I park on a level parking lot. After 20-25 minutes, I'm ready to go home and turn on the key to check the oil level again. Oops!! Now only the very lowest bar on the gauge lights up.

After I go home I parked in the garage again and checked the oil level several times this afternoon. It pretty consistently lights up only the lowest three bars on the gauge.

I could not get in touch with my service adviser today, so if anyone can tell me what might be going on, I'd appreciate it. Thanks in advance.

jD
 

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Don't panic. The electronic dip stick is highly sensitive and sometimes fickle. You need to always measure on the same surface, i.e. your garage. Full is one empty bar, or the lowest three bars illuminated. Each bar represents about .4 Qt.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
Thanks, but I'm aware of how the gauge reads, but in all the years I've owned the car, it's never dropped below the second bar from the top. Also, when I measured on the same surface this afternoon, i.e., my garage, the top three bars were empty; however, when I checked 5 minutes ago, all the bars but the lowest bar were empty. If it's that low, I reckon I should get the "check engine oil level" warning light, but I don't.

I'm reluctant to believe the gauge or to add more oil to the nine quarts they charged me for yesterday, regardless of what the gauge says. My owner's manual says the oil change quantity with oil filter is approx. 2.05 gal., which translates to 8.2 qts., so it already be overfull.

My thought is that something is off with the gauge, but I'm clueless as to how to check the gauge (or the actual oil level) myself.

The manual says a failure of the oil level display is indicated by a warning message in the on-board computer, and there is no warning message. If there's nothing I can do myself, it's back to the dealer (ugh!) on Monday.
 

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I feel for you. The dependency on electronics, as opposed to a manual dipstick, can create these problems of 'do I believe the electronics'.

Is there any way for you to get under the car for a visual inspection for oil tracks?
 

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All for the lack of a dog gone dip stick! Anyway, I noticed exactly the same thing on my 981 CS. Got home and check the level the next day only three bars up. I personally didn't worry about it and would suggest the same. Just check it before each run and you'll be fine.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I feel for you. The dependency on electronics, as opposed to a manual dipstick, can create these problems of 'do I believe the electronics'.

Is there any way for you to get under the car for a visual inspection for oil tracks?
I'm too thick and the car is too low for me to get under it.

According to the parts fiche, the oil-level sender lives in the center of the oil filter, so my guess is that it something untoward happened when they installed the new oil filter on Friday.
 

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The simplest explanation is that they just didn't put in enough oil.

You don't need nine quarts for an oil change. I'm sure that's what they charged you for, but that doesn't mean that's what they put in your car.
 

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I find it hard to believe that any dealer would be stupid enough to try to cheat someone out of 6 quarts of oil when it would obviously be detected. The lack of idiot light, and the substantial variation in the gauge level suggest that the gauge is the problem, as you suspect. The nightmare no dipstick scenario. Good luck and let us know how it turns out.
 

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I find it hard to believe that any dealer would be stupid enough to try to cheat someone out of 6 quarts of oil when it would obviously be detected. The lack of idiot light, and the substantial variation in the gauge level suggest that the gauge is the problem, as you suspect. The nightmare no dipstick scenario. Good luck and let us know how it turns out.
My dealer consistently charged me for 10 qts. of oil for my 2.7 08 Cayman. I had enough of that BS and now do my own oil changes. Don't trust them...
 

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I find it hard to believe that any dealer would be stupid enough to try to cheat someone out of 6 quarts of oil when it would obviously be detected.
Dude, each bar is like half a quart. If the bottom three bars are lit it's about half a quart low. Maybe a tad lower if it's bouncing between 2-3 bars depending on how level the car is. So they probably added 7 quarts instead of 8 or something and didn't bother to check the gauge.

It's highly unlikely the sensor coincidentally went bad right when the oil was changed. If it were me I'd add half a quart and see if it fixes things, and if it does have a chat with the service manager about doing jobs properly and where exactly my extra two quarts of $20/qt gold plated virgin-pressed Porsche oil went.

And yes, this is why I change my own oil too: it's a lot cheaper and I know the job was done right.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
For the last two days, only the lowest bar has been lit, regardless of whether I drive it around the neighborhood and check it later on, or if I leave it parked in my garage all afternoon or overnight.

Also, I was wrong when in my original post, I referred to the lowest "three bars" being lit; I should have said the lowest "two bars," and blame my bad vision and anxiety for the mistake.

Earlier today, my service adviser finally responded to my telephone messages and emails and asked me to bring in my car when I can so that they can try to figure out what's going on.

FWIW, the Porsche dealer and two different independent shops each charged me for nine quarts of oil when they did the most recent oil and filter changes for me.
 

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For the last two days, only the lowest bar has been lit, regardless of whether I drive it around the neighborhood and check it later on, or if I leave it parked in my garage all afternoon or overnight.

Also, I was wrong when in my original post, I referred to the lowest "three bars" being lit; I should have said the lowest "two bars," and blame my bad vision and anxiety for the mistake.
If the e-gauge has stabilized, that's possibly a good sign. Simple explanation is that they put in one quart less than they thought and that your previous higher readings were random errors.
Chances are that they will look around for obvious leaks, check things for tightness, and then add oil until the gauge reads correctly and then give the car back to you.
I suggest you try and get some consideration for your time. Like half off your next oil change or something.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 · (Edited)
I took the car back to the dealer today. The service adviser told me that when they change the oil and filter, they intentionally put in only enough oil so that the gauge reads somewhere toward the center, rather than near the top. He said their concern is that putting too much oil into the car at rest might cause problems when the engine is up to operating temperature. He also said that the mechanic checked and everything was as it should be, and that he did add a little oil, but the SA didn’t say exactly how much.

A couple of hours after I got home and parked the car in my level garage, I checked again and only the two lowest bars were lit. Two bars is an improvement over the one bar, but I was still worried, so I added enough oil to get three of the five bars to light up, and will continue to monitor the oil level every time I drive the car.

Thanks for your interest and comments.
 
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