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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
The title of this thread really doesn't describe how I felt when I discovered the condition of the filter in my first oil change. I posted a few pictures of just how bad it was in the oil change thread. In keeping with the rules of the DIY forum, I realized after I posted it would be more appropriate to ask for advice here, rather than clog up that thread with questions and a discussion. Here are three pics that pretty much sum it up if you don't feel like perusing the whole thread;

Sludge at the bottom of the canister housing:


Base of filter: (yes, this is exactly how it came out of the housing...no, I did not drop it in mud.)


Sludge scooped from bottom of canister housing:



What on earth would cause such disgusting buildup at the bottom of the filter? I don't know how long it has been since the last oil change but the vehicle only has 39k miles. I'm honestly stunned that it was in this condition. The oil on the dipstick didn't look *that* bad...just dark. I made if a point to check the dipstick when I looked at the vehicle prior to purchasing. I figured it was just in need of a change. If I had seen the filter first without checking the oil, I would have guessed the oil was toast...possibly the engine too.

Thoughts? Suggestions for a lab or chemist to whom I can send a sample for analysis?
 

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That truly sucks, and is quite disturbing. My guess is that either synthetic oil wasn't being used, or they left it in there an extremely long time!

I'd try to get a sample to Blackstone Labs, but since your oil is already in the catch pan, it's likely contaminated by the other oils/fluid in the pan. Getting an accurate sample of that oil is likely impossible at this point, so I'd go forward with one for your next oil change. Honestly, I'd bite the bullet and do another oil change in 1000-2000 miles, and send a sample off of that oil for analysis. That being said, there's really nothing you can do about it at this point, so I'd maintain it properly (if not cautiously) from here on out, and hope for the best.

Good luck,
Matt
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
Considering the quantity of oil from this change, I think the trace amounts which were in the drain pan will have little impact on the analysis. If there is a serious problem with the motor it will show up in the analysis. The oil from previous changes was pretty clean and I know I didn't have any problems with the other cars.

There is also still some oil in the filter (which I saved) but I don't know how much they need for an analysis. I'm going to contact Blackstone to see if they can also analyze the sludge still in the filter element.

I'm also going to change the filter in about 1k miles or less just to see if it's showing any signs of similar buildup and to make sure all the crud is getting filtered out (if any remained after this service.)
 

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The title of this thread really doesn't describe how I felt when I discovered the condition of the filter in my first oil change. I posted a few pictures of just how bad it was in the oil change thread. In keeping with the rules of the DIY forum, I realized after I posted it would be more appropriate to ask for advice here, rather than clog up that thread with questions and a discussion. Here are three pics that pretty much sum it up if you don't feel like perusing the whole thread;

What on earth would cause such disgusting buildup at the bottom of the filter? I don't know how long it has been since the last oil change but the vehicle only has 39k miles. I'm honestly stunned that it was in this condition. The oil on the dipstick didn't look *that* bad...just dark. I made if a point to check the dipstick when I looked at the vehicle prior to purchasing. I figured it was just in need of a change. If I had seen the filter first without checking the oil, I would have guessed the oil was toast...possibly the engine too.

Thoughts? Suggestions for a lab or chemist to whom I can send a sample for analysis?
A few thoughts, but first, what exactly do you hope that a one time sample will reveal? Unless there's coolant mixed in, and single sample is actually worse than useless - it can lead to incorrect assumptions.

Now back to the vehicle...

Seems as if you bought a used car. No offense, but fluid changes are "job #1" after purchase - always. No exceptions. (I know, hindsight is 20/20 and all).

So, first, replace those parts, and fill w/the lightest oil that meets the spec. DO NOT BUY OR USE products that promise to "break up sludge" - sure, it'll break off a bit - which will promptly clog an oil line.
Second, change oil/filter within a short time frame - say, 1000 m or so & check for any changes.
In my experience, that'll settle most oil issues, but of course, as they say, YMMV.

Good luck,
J
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
A few thoughts, but first, what exactly do you hope that a one time sample will reveal? Unless there's coolant mixed in, and single sample is actually worse than useless - it can lead to incorrect assumptions.
This won't be a one-time sample. I intend to sample it again at the next change, in an attempt to see what's going on with the motor/ determine what is the level of damage (if any) to the bearings and rotating ass'y.
Seems as if you bought a used car. No offense, but fluid changes are "job #1" after purchase - always. No exceptions. (I know, hindsight is 20/20 and all).
It was a former lease vehicle; I just purchased it at the end of January. And yes, I'm well aware of the priorities relative to maintenance. I've just been quite busy the last couple of weeks and the weather here has not been conducive to oil changes. I've only driven the car ~500 miles since purchase.
So, first, replace those parts, and fill w/the lightest oil that meets the spec. DO NOT BUY OR USE products that promise to "break up sludge" - sure, it'll break off a bit - which will promptly clog an oil line.
Second, change oil/filter within a short time frame - say, 1000 m or so & check for any changes.
In my experience, that'll settle most oil issues, but of course, as they say, YMMV.
That is exactly my plan, and no, I would never use that crap they say 'breaks up sludge.' FWIW; I used carb cleaner to clear out all the sludge which had collected at the bottom of the filter canister (photo #1) so there was no possibility of it being re-introduced into the engine.

BTW: I assume from seeing the location of the sludge that oil flows into the filter through the center and out, back to the engine through the sides?
 

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On this engine, I think so - but I'll have to check (some designs pump "inside out", others "outside in").

Sounds like you're doing the right things.

FWIW, I'm not terribly surprised - off lease & "executive" vehicles usually (not always) are fairly clean & neat - no missing trim, interiors nice, etc., but badly (if ever) maintained (fluids? why bother - I won't have this at 35K).

J
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
FWIW, I'm not terribly surprised - off lease & "executive" vehicles usually (not always) are fairly clean & neat - no missing trim, interiors nice, etc., but badly (if ever) maintained (fluids? why bother - I won't have this at 35K).
I can see the logic, and it doesn't surprise me either now that I think about it. I made an assumption about the vehicle when I saw it because it was in very good shape in & out and had relatively low miles. It seemed logical to assume that if they took such good care with the interior and exterior, they would have performed the required maintenance. The undercarriage was also very clean, no leaks or blowby. In hindsight I think the dealer's detailer powerwashed the underside to hide any problems.

I've always been very thorough in examining a used vehicle, and it just pisses me off to discover something like this after purchase. -Definitely not a "certified, pre-owned" vehicle. I doubt this discovery would be grounds for invoking the dealer's 30 day warranty.
kaboom
 

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My dealership adds BG44k motor oil additive every time I take my 06 in for oil changes. I was actually there when the cartridge was pulled last time and didn't see/have any kind of buildup in there ----- especially like you had.

I've used BG44k products (fuel system cleaner) and they've been fantastic and I can only think it's doing a great job with the engine guts. Give it a try.
 

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I get the oil check kit from NAPA before every oil change. Best $20 bucks you can spend. The bottle holds about 4 oz. It costs about $2 to mail it to Atlanta. Return is less than two weeks. The report is very comprehensive it covers all metals and additives. It spotted fuel in my oil, the right bank was too rich. Computor adjustment fixed it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Where do you buy the NAPA oil check kit? I checked NAPA online and none of my keyword searches pulled up any kind of oil check kit.
 

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I would change the oil with VW approved oil,at about 1000 miles I would flush and change oil and filter,sample oil either with pump or mid stream on drain,use a Diesel grade oil,more detergents etc,Marty

Check with Bob the oil guy as to formation of sludge,which can come from oil break down + condensation from short start and stop driving where oil temp doesn't boil off the condensation.
 

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Where do you buy the NAPA oil check kit? I checked NAPA online and none of my keyword searches pulled up any kind of oil check kit.
If you have any fuel/oil jobbers/distributors in your area, they sell them. I would check there if you cannot find them at NAPA, or Pep Boys, etc.

I think that my company (in metro atlanta) sell them for about 4 bucks.
 

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It's a NAPA filter (wix) part number. Try 4072, I just sent in my last one. Call a local store, they will find it for you.
 

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Try doing a Google search for Blackstone labs. They will send you the sampling kit for free, you just need to submit payment when you send your sample in. You can also try Oil Analyzers.
 

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you can have the filter tested if you still have it... it will also contain some oil..

what does the inside of your rocker covers look like? same build up?

either no oil change or they were using the wrong oil is likely
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I located Blackstone online and ordered the test kit.

The rep at Blackstone told me there likely wasn't enough material on the filter for a complete analysis. He said they need 3 to 4 ounces to run all the tests.

I haven't pulled the rocker covers but that's more involved than I have time for right now. If the weather cooperates and I have time in the next week or so, I'll pull one for a look.
 

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chris the reason they say not enough oil in filter is because of the type of automated testing they are doing (that is why the test is relatively cheap too) a lab that carries out MPE use the filter with no issues. MPE will identify wear modes where the test you are getting will give you chemical analysis and particle count i suspect.

look on the rocker cover cap for oil and also simply looking through the filler cap with a torch will reveal if it (parts, tin deflectors etc which are visible) is stained or has the build up...

chris whole issue is probably a moot point, as what has happened has happened and not particulary uncommon in cars.. of course get a oil test to shed some light,

however you will need to thoroughly flush the motor with an flushing oil and refill and then get on with it, likely you have not done any long term damage. just a good flush required.
 

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Just a point about filters. If the filter wasn't blocked then oil would have been still flowing thought the filter, and would have been filtered better than a new filter, filters work better at filtering when they are dirty. The issue is that the maintenance may not have been that good overall , however that may not mean damage to engine from having gunk where it is meant to be, albeit in large amounts. So here's hoping that the only bad was a slack attitude to filter changes.
 
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