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Just an FYI, the last time I checked my oil was a couple of months ago. I haven't driven many miles since, 500, maybe 1000 tops, we had a harsh winter and my car didn't get out of the garage much at all.

Well today I went to the track for my first track day of the season, mostly to hang out, check out the CI car(s), and even help a fellow Cayman owner get the most out of his car on the track. On the way back at the gas station I decided to check the oil and it was below the bottom mark.

Ok no problem stop by the auto parts store and pick up a couple of quarts.

Fill in 1 quart, check the oil.

Hmmm still below the bottom bar.

Fill in 2nd quart, check the oil.

Hmmm still below the bottom bar.

Drive to another auto parts store because the first one only had 2 quarts of Mobil 1 in the right viscosity. Find 1 more quart at second store.

Fill in 3rd quart, check oil.

Hmmm still below the bottom bar. Black Hole theory starts to formulate.

Drive awhile until I can find another store with Mobil 1, buy 1 more quart, fill in the 4th quart, check oil.

Finally, gauge reads one mark down, just where I like it.

So 4 quarts and 3 stores later I'm back where I should be, and this was without running my car on the track (thank goodness). I knew my car has had a thirst for oil since the engine rebuild and motorsports VOS but I think I must have an IV line from the oil pan to the exhaust pipe or something. :)

No drips, no leaks (had it up on the lift inspecting just a couple of days ago), no huge plumes of oil smoke, just the occasionally puff at start up. Have not exceeded 150mph for extended periods of time.

I "Marvel" at where the "Mystery Oil" has gone to. Theories? :crazy:
 

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I think you need a proper dipstick ;). Had a similar, though not as severe, problem on M3. Inexplicably, a day after I added a quart and 30 mile into a trip the indicator finally registered that oil was full. I don't think the sender/sensor technology is completely reliable.
 

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I would probably have suspected a bad sensor, and would not have added more than a quart. Needing four quarts is pretty radical. If the sensor was bad and you added an extra, unneeded, gallon, well, I'm not sure what that would do to the engine.

If I saw no sign of leaks I probably would have added the first quart, and then driven home or to a dealer. I'm not sure if that's a better decision, driving around three quarts low, but that's probably what I would have done.
 

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Since you have a car lift you could just simply drain & refill. If the car has too much oil you will know real quick when you take off running to find a larger drain pan...;)
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Since you have a car lift you could just simply drain & refill. If the car has too much oil you will know real quick when you take off running to find a larger drain pan...;)
Quite true!


I was surprised that I was NOT getting any sort of "Oil Low" light or warning with the oil being that far down, I would have thought the system would have warned me before being a gallon down! :hilarious:
 

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You might want to check your coolant to see if you have any oil in it. You loose 3 quarts of oil and it's not on the outside then maybe you blew a head gasket and it's in your coolant system. This would be a good time to have a dip stick so you can look at your oil color.
 

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I was surprised that I was NOT getting any sort of "Oil Low" light or warning with the oil being that far down, I would have thought the system would have warned me before being a gallon down . . .
I'm surprised you didn't get a warning either; the last time my oil went below the bottom mark, I did get an "Oil Low" message on the instrument panel display (and it was only a little over 1 liter low).
 

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That's a little scary. My car gave me a warning to check the oil the other day so I did at my next stop. I checked it three times and each time stated that the level was fine. I wonder why the car said to check the oil when it was actually fine?
 

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The most I've had to add is 2 quarts after a 6 hour drive to Arkansas at mostly highway speeds. That was the longest I'd driven the car mostly non-stop. 4 quarts seems a bit extreme after a winter hibernation.
 

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Just an FYI, the last time I checked my oil was a couple of months ago. I haven't driven many miles since, 500, maybe 1000 tops, we had a harsh winter and my car didn't get out of the garage much at all.

Well today I went to the track for my first track day of the season, mostly to hang out, check out the CI car(s), and even help a fellow Cayman owner get the most out of his car on the track. On the way back at the gas station I decided to check the oil and it was below the bottom mark.

Ok no problem stop by the auto parts store and pick up a couple of quarts.

Fill in 1 quart, check the oil.

Hmmm still below the bottom bar.

Fill in 2nd quart, check the oil.

Hmmm still below the bottom bar.

Drive to another auto parts store because the first one only had 2 quarts of Mobil 1 in the right viscosity. Find 1 more quart at second store.

Fill in 3rd quart, check oil.

Hmmm still below the bottom bar. Black Hole theory starts to formulate.

Drive awhile until I can find another store with Mobil 1, buy 1 more quart, fill in the 4th quart, check oil.

Finally, gauge reads one mark down, just where I like it.

So 4 quarts and 3 stores later I'm back where I should be, and this was without running my car on the track (thank goodness). I knew my car has had a thirst for oil since the engine rebuild and motorsports VOS but I think I must have an IV line from the oil pan to the exhaust pipe or something. :)

No drips, no leaks (had it up on the lift inspecting just a couple of days ago), no huge plumes of oil smoke, just the occasionally puff at start up. Have not exceeded 150mph for extended periods of time.

I "Marvel" at where the "Mystery Oil" has gone to. Theories? :crazy:

Ken:

On my German motorcycle, the low fuel warning is a separate system from the float system that runs the fuel gage. I suspect the oil system on the cayman may use a similar scheme where the warning like is a completely different unit than the sensor for the indicator....So....

I'd suspect that the engine was never low on oil and the sender for the indicator got mucked up either when the new engine work was done or from lack of use of the car...probably the former, possibly the latter.

Or... The car WAS low on oil and the warning light sensor is faulty.

I would avoid driving the car until you find out. Don't drive at anything near high RPM if you drive at all until you know. Overfilling is a very bad thing to do on these engines so don't take any further chances.

Drain the oil and measure. You'll be much closer to knowing what's going on if you do that.

If the normal 9 quarts comes out, you have to have serious doubts about the oil separator install. Check the tailpipe for signs of the engine blowing oil.

If more comes out, well, you have your answer. Pray that no damage was done. It's possible to blow oil seals and worse with too much oil.

Then put in the right amount of oil by measurement. Don't trust the gage unless if verifies your measured result.

Then take the car to your shop and have it checked out.

Good luck.
 

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I would probably have suspected a bad sensor, and would not have added more than a quart. Needing four quarts is pretty radical. If the sensor was bad and you added an extra, unneeded, gallon, well, I'm not sure what that would do to the engine.

If I saw no sign of leaks I probably would have added the first quart, and then driven home or to a dealer. I'm not sure if that's a better decision, driving around three quarts low, but that's probably what I would have done.
I agree. Remember, the car needs to be on an almost absolutely flat surface to get a proper reading.
 

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Ken,

At my first oil change, I noticed in the service notes "Oil level reset". Apparently the oil level needs calibrating from time to time.

Larry
 

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Gallon low. No low oil light. Beautiful.

Maybe next they will do away with the pesky "fuel level needle that moves".
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Just an FYI, the car really was 4 quarts down and the warning system checks out OK as well, it just didn't sense that the oil or oil pressure was low enough to trigger any sort of warning indicator, all you will get is a message that says "check oil level" when you fill up the gas tank, and even then not every time you fill up either. I guess since my motor ran fine 4 quarts down we don't really need all that oil, just think of how much we can save in cost and weight! :)
 

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I did some looking into the reliability of the oil level detection systems a few years ago and came to the conclusion that they were VERY reliable. Not saying they won't go bad for some reason but I know I couldn't find anything conclusive not to trust them at the time.

I bought a BMW 135i a couple of months ago and it really surprised me as it checks oil level on the go, and not when sitting with the engine off like the Cayman.

Similar technology is used in processing plants and years ago I was doing an installation on a really tough service with salt water, crude oil, and heaven knows what else with the intent of determining the oil/water interface. Didn't work too well in testing once we started increasing the salt content in the water but that shouldn't be an issue in Ken's car!
 

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I thought all the new 9A1 engines needed to be checked running and hot.
 

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Just an FYI, the car really was 4 quarts down and the warning system checks out OK as well, it just didn't sense that the oil or oil pressure was low enough to trigger any sort of warning indicator, all you will get is a message that says "check oil level" when you fill up the gas tank, and even then not every time you fill up either. I guess since my motor ran fine 4 quarts down we don't really need all that oil, just think of how much we can save in cost and weight! :)
Sure, Ken. Just don't turn, or climb or go down a hill or accelerate or get the motor hot. You should be golden! :hilarious:
 
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