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03 High oil usage with blowby


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Well stay tuned folks, My best Bud has an 03 long box quad cab 4X4 4:10 gears with auto and 115K miles with edge EZ and no gauges, in the last couple months he was asking about an oil leak coming from the top of his valve cover, I told him to look at the breather and replace it, he did and it kept on and oil use was getting worse now and he thinks he has more blowby than usual, So with the lack of time for me to look and help him out his dad who has an 05 cummins just borrowed my trailer and hauled it to a diesel shop which prides themselves in Cummins, I know him personally and referred him up there versus a Dodge dealer which he took it to and they didn't even want to troubleshoot it, charged him 160 bucks and told him to just put a new engine in it. :duh:, It starts and runs perfect yet too and was not pushing oil out the blow by breather and making a mess yet other than around the top of the valve cover and he checked the turbo on both sides and it was dry and the blow by was not excessive but a lot more noticeable than normal according to him, he did the oil fill cap trick and it wasn't bad enough to flutter it either. So now we wait for the prognosis, The shop based on the description thinks a broken ring, we should know by Monday hopefully what the issue is. He is sick to his stomach at what it could wind up costing him.:broke: I told him many times that with a fueling box he needs gauges but this may be his wake up call and he now knows and is going to have gauges installed at this time now too, he pulls fairly heavy as he doubles up regularly in the summer with a 38 foot cougar 5er camper with a 24' triple tube pontoon behind that.

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Seems like similar symptoms to a friend of mine with a 2nd gen with a bad ring... He blew a HY35 turbo and unknowingly ran vane shards through the engine. After another summer he said it started running rough at idle and having bad blowby. After they pulled the head there were broken rings, marks on the pistons and head, but the cylinders and head was fine. So new pistons, new rings, and he was good to go. They didn't even have to bore the cylinders, just hone.What was odd though was how well the truck ran and pulled with broken rings, and also that the engine ate metal and didn't grenade.

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Was he using a pressure box like an edge? Does he idle it alot? White smoke? Most likely he has an injector sticking and is washing down the cylinder. I have never seen a broken ring but its possible. I would do a compression and leakdown test if possible.

Edge EZ, absolutely no smoke, runs perfect, starts right up perfect, good power but 4:10 gears make it hard to notice a little fall off, sounds good, just started using a lot of oil. No excessive idling, I chewed him out for that right after he bought it, it is at the diesel shop as of yesterday afternoon. :popcorn:
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Have you taken a look at the vacuum pump and/or vacuum lines for a major leak? A worn or malfunctioning vacuum pump and/or major vacuum leak could cause excessive crankcase pressure to build up especially during long trips. Not so much around town/short trips. Remember that the vacuum pump is vented into the crankcase if I recall correctly.

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Is he "losing" oil based upon this leak???

If not, I'd let it go until it becomes an issue........................like 1 quart oil for every 2500 miles or so.

If this were me; I'd get away, and stay away from that so-called "Cummins expert"!!!!:smart::duh:

Dorks Proverb........if it ain't broke, don't fix it until is!!!:smart::duh::cool:

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I know Mike and his crew and he is a straight shooter and is a good tech when it comes to the cummins, he knows his stuff.Just talked to my friend and he just had a quick conversation with the shop and they have not gotten into it yet but from initial observations they are thinking the engine has been dusted due to an AEM intake system and a filter I can say from my friends maintenace practices that follow Dorkweeds last comment of if it still works don't touch it and it probably hasn't been cleaned in years.It was using a couple of quarts every 150-200 miles and it wasn't dripping out of the breather it was burning it. he said his tail pipe even had a slight oily residue in it already.He should know more sometime tomorrow.

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What I would do is pull the downpipe off and see if you have oil out the exhaust side of the turbo, it only take 10 mins to do that. Also take the intercooler tube off of the turbo and see if there is oil coming out the charge side of the turbo. I don't believe he dusted the turbo, unless there is major play in the compressor wheel. You should be able to see where the vanes of the turbo are hitting the housing.

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Sounds like what I had going on with my GMC. Granted it is a 4 banger... However it ran perfect and still got 21mpg, didn't smoke but thought it was time to rebuild the engine after 453,743mi (had a slight knock) Turns out had a burnt piston... Thought I would mention it... I do know that Pasco Auto Salvage has a Cummins sitting waiting for a new home for about 1800.00

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Is it the valve cover gasket leaking oil? I agree with checking the turbo for leaks. With it starting normal I don't suspect a ring or injectors, thou the Edge EZ and intake are both bad ju-ju.

As I posted in the very first post , the turbo has already been checked and eliminated as a cause. The shop pulled the injectors and sent them in to get tested for the first step, I talked to my friend and he has not heard back from them yet. They are waiting on the injector test results before spending more time and labor to dig deeper. They rebuild and have engines on hand so for time reasons my friend is going to most likely go with a rebuilt engine instead of waiting for them to rebuild his own engine if it is in need of such work. He is going to put the stock intake back on, they would not warranty a rebuilt engine with the current filter he had on it, they wanted him to go with an oiled filter, I told him to stay away from any oiled filter and go back to the stocker. He is going to ditch the EZ and go with a Juice W/A now for the digital gauges.:ahhh:
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How was the turbo checked? When my dads was pulled a month ago it didn't appear to be leaking until it was torn down, his oil consumption appears to be gone now. The heat of the exhaust will keep the turbine clean/dry until you get it torn down to the seals. With how it starts/drives it really doesn't seem like injector or rings. An injector contribution test would give the shop an idea if compression was low. Injectors don't make oil burn, they can harm a cylinder but that wold be obvious, IMO. At 115K miles, with an EZ to boot, the injectors will more than likely come back as bad. That will happen on nearly every truck on the road, and does not mean that's his issue. If it were my truck I would have the leak on the valve cover fixed and drive it, if the oil is still being lost I would have the turbo re-checked. After that I would start looking internal. What about the rear main? If the valve cover is leaking it could mask oil coming from the rear main as well. They don't last as long as they should.

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  • 2 weeks later...
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Got the verdict, injectors tested almost perfect yet. pulled engine down and found all cylinders were dusted from an AEM cold air intake with oiled filter that was not serviced properly. Fully rebuilt engine, replaced leaky axle seal, added full 4" turbo back exhaust and edge JWA, $10K and picking it up tomorrow.:doh::spend:

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Damn. Expensive!

For sure, makes me glad I can do my own work, labor rates kill a guy now days. But his damage was self inflicted. He knows it too lol...and had the stock air box put back on, he is replacing the entire box as well due to surface rust he can't seem to get a handle on, repainted twice and both times paint blistered off the same spots within a year. Add 600 buck for a replacement box too. Count the paint jobs and box expense he has close to 13K into it in 2 years. Gets a 1 year 50K mile warranty on the rebuild, has to have an AFE oiled filter system or have the factory air filter set up for the warranty though. Anybody in the market for an edge EZ and an AEM cold air intake system?:lmao::whistle: Just got off the phone with him and a guy offered him 25 bucks for the EZ, he laughed and said it will lay on the shelf for that price.
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I agree, I ran a K&N for a few months about 11 years ago right after I got my 02 before I knew better, lucky for me I sampled my oil every 5k and caught it before it did any lasting damage. Will never run another oiled filter no matter how good they claim, I find them a PITA to deal with anyhow.

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