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Discussion Starter #1
My wife's car started running rough last week. We haven't been driving it all weekend because of the way it was sounding late last week. Well when I got back from the swap today (rode with some friends), I decided to check the oil. It was at least a quart too high, probably more!

A few weeks ago I had the oil changed at one of the quicky oil change places. And they must have overfilled it or not let it drain fully. I remember thinking that they didn't show me the dip stick, but didn't think too much of it. I also thought it seemed like the oil change was done faster than usual, again didn't think much of it.

I think there has been major engine damage at this point. Its a Nissan Maxima that used to purr like a kitten. Now there is a serious knock, almost like a grinding metal on metal. And, I smell oil burning.

I sure hope we can get the oil change place to step up to the plate on their F-up! Anyone have any tips on how to go about approaching them? I think I will take the car into our normal mechanic to get a diagnostic first thing tomorrow. Then if I am right, going over to the oil change shop. I probably should have the mechanic leave the oil where its at until the oil change shop can verify that the levels too high, right?
 

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I agree with Carl

Jim my family has been in the auto business most of my life I was trying to put closer on are auto past today. my dad had the 2nd largest ford dealership in the country, what happend is a long story. when my dad ran it it was a succes that is was I base my schooling on. I would take the car back asap talk to the manager report as much detail what happened that day and what you have observed see what the manager offers and take it one step at a time. don't resort to yelling or screaming not that you are that type but it will make him shut down fast. give him a chance to help you before anything else. let us know how it goes.
 

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first of all, sorry to hear of your troubles Jim.........

overfilling an engine 1 qt of oil, should not cause any damage internally to the engine.. Even though each engine and each manufacturer differs, there should be enough room in most engines for several qts of extra oil before any noticable change in performance. Worst case scenerio with 1 qt extra of oil would probably be a leaking gasket that wasn't there before.

check your oil for any signs of contaminants, mainly fuel. If you have a leaking fuel injector or something else leaking fuel internally, it would show up with poor performance (rough running) and if enough fuel got into the crankcase, then poor lubrication to the rest of the engine would occur. Fuel will wash the oil away from cylinder walls and other crucial components.
 

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I sure hope they step up if something they did or didn't do caused you problems.

Your experience with the quick change place is EXACTLY why I quit going to them about a couple years ago.

I had a 93 Grand Prix, not the best looking but ran real well. COuld drive it anywhere I wanted without fear of problems. Took it for an oil change to a quick lube place. Few days later, I had to go to Ohio. I convinced my daughter to use the Grand Prix for a couple days and let me take the new Mone Carlo. Luckiest thing I ever did.
When I returned, I started driving the Grand Prix again. Started to notice oil on the driveway after I parked it there. Checked the oil and it was a quart low, this was less than a week after having it changed. I went back and they checked and found the drain plug loose. But they made no apologies, gave no reasons or excuses for sloppy work. Didn't even volunteer to pay me back for the quart I had to put in before I drive it there to have them check it.

I just wonder why I was so lucky to decide no to take it on a 300 mile freeway trip.

I go to the dealership for oil changes now. About the same price, might take a little longer, but I feel a little better about them being responsible. At least I hope so.
 

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First, drain the oil down to the proper level (or have it drained) and see how the engine runs. I wouldn't worry about it if everything is fine after the oil gets drained down.
 

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If the oil were overfilled the excess just blows out the crankcase vent and makes a mess. It sounds like your car maybe "Growing Oil" which usually means a blown head gasket or other seal in which engine coolant can get into the crankcase. Either way your probably in for major repairs. It may not be the oil change place's fault if the head gasket is blown.
Good luck,
Dan
BTW what Acerhigh said could also apply.
 

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Take the oil and do a couple things:

-Smell it
-Run it between your fingers
-Hold a lighter to it

Not exactly a PHD chemistry course, but make sure it is ALL oil, not coolant, fuel, or washer fluid.

There's a good chance it isn't. If it isn't the oil change shop didn't mess up. For them to overfill a quart you should be fine with some issues that go away after a few days.

What color is the smoke coming out of the exhaust if it smokes?
 

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I agree with Novi Tony, it sounds like a blown head gasket. That is a $13 part, that costs $400 or more to put in.... Gotta love paper gaskets.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Took the car to the mechanic this morning. The preliminary diagnosis is a bearing in the air condition condenser. There was too much oil in in the car but apparently its coincidental to the problem. The bearing is what I am hearing making the noise and the smell is coming from extra wear on the belt as a result of the bad bearing.

The preliminary estimate is around a $1000. Can't even pin it on the oil change place. I hate cars.
 

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Can you take the compressor out? Maybe disconnect the AC for winter to save the cash? I can't see spending that much cash out of season...

OUCH, and I thought the head gasket was expensive...
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Apparently, the serpentine belt wraps around that and everything else. They say there is no way to avoid it. I agree...I can live without ac, especially in the winter.
 

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Usually you can pick up a compressor at the junkyard for a hundred bucks and change it in an hour or two. Replace the serpentine belt while you're at it, the heat from the bad bearings isn't good for it, and you can get them pretty cheap anyway.

What model car and year is it? EDIT: read first post slowly second time around

Did they tell you what was making the knocking sound?
 

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Discussion Starter #16
He listened with a stethascope and said he thought it was the bearing inside the compressor....apparently ones around the pully. The car makes less noise when the AC is on. I'm assuming there must be a clutching mechanism that engages the pully when the AC is on and that load is enough to mitigate the rattle. I still haven't received the offical quote from the shop, so it may end up being something different.

I believe its a 2001 model year.
 

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Jim, I had a very similar problem with my car (1995 Olds Achieva S) and the total cost to fix the problem was just over $300. $175 for a used compressor and $130 to have it put in. I paid to have it put in, because I could barely get my arm contorted to touch the compressor, let alone get any of the tools we had down there - if the compressor had been located where the alternator was however, I'd have done it myself (I did the alternator, that was easy). The original quote to fix it was ~$1100, which included a new compressor. That was when I was trying to fix the AC, and scrapped that idea because the car isnt worth that much, but later I started hearing the same noises you are hearing and got a quote of $865 ($745 for a new compressor). Found one used at a junk yard, has been working decently since and I have AC back to boot.

Barring all of that, when I had the problem, several members here recommended using an idler pulley. The shop wouldn't do it for me because they didnt have anything on hand (supposedly) to do it. I wasn't in a position to complain because I needed my car, so I just got a used one. But basically the idler pulley is just that, a pulley that takes the place of the clutch and pulley for the compressor. No more AC, but also no more grinding, rattling, etc.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
I'm not sure how easy it will be to get the right compressor. One bad thing about foreign cars, compared to an olds achieva, is they aren't as common and thus not found in junk yards as readily.
 

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Get the yellow pages out under AUTO PARTS , USED

Call them all, it'll take ya 20 minutes. Just make sure you can change it yourself. Make sure it isn't one of those junkyards that makes you pull the parts yourself, or you'll show up without tools. Ask what mileage the engine had on it too. Sometimes I'll get parts for more money, but off a car with way less miles.

Ask them about their warranty too, and put new O-Rings on everything you take off. Look into replacing the belt tensioner when you take it off too. Those go after a while too, and they're cheap and easy to replace. And replace the serpentine belt. You should be able to get everything for under 250
 

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jimsflies said:
He listened with a stethascope and said he thought it was the bearing inside the compressor....apparently ones around the pully. The car makes less noise when the AC is on. I'm assuming there must be a clutching mechanism that engages the pully when the AC is on and that load is enough to mitigate the rattle. I still haven't received the offical quote from the shop, so it may end up being something different.

I believe its a 2001 model year.
If the noise is there with the air conditioning off..... and goes away with the air conditioning turned on. it is more than likely the hub bearing or clutch that is bad. either or both parts can usually be replaced WITHOUT replacing the air conditioning compressor. I checked and the parts to do that are not available aftermarket, but should be available from the dealer. Depending on the price of those parts it may be less expensive to replace the compressor with an aftermarket rebuilt compressor. I checked prices (assuming it's a 3.0 liter) the compressor would be $625 the labor to install it is $85 and then to recharge the system would be another $120. by the time you figure a/c oil and tax and misc.. you would be around $875 If the problem is internal in the compressor then you need to figure in a receiver-drier, expansion valve, and flushing the system.
 
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