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My pickup tube is clogged with paper???


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29 replies to this topic

#1 dballs

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Posted 12 January 2013 - 09:36 PM

I had an intermittant oil light and pulled the pan only to find the pick up tube clogged with what looks like oil filter paper media. I cut the filter open and it looked normal.
What is that other tube that is welded into the pan that has an o-ring on it?? It leads to a hole in the block THAT IS ALSO FULL OF PAPER!! I am baffled and the only thing i can think of is the guy who did my head gaskets this summer left a paper towel in the engine somewhere....

Or is it possible a filter blew apart and all of the paper got in the engine. I will load some pics so you can see.

Any thoughts??

#2 dballs

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Posted 12 January 2013 - 09:37 PM

Posted Image

Posted Image


Where does this hole go to in the back passenger side of the block?? Thats the one with paper in it.
Posted Image

Edited by dballs, 12 January 2013 - 09:47 PM.


#3 presslab

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Posted 12 January 2013 - 11:33 PM

Ugh yes, looks like an errant paper towel was left in the engine. I bought a motorcycle for cheap that had the same thing done to it.

I'd say the filter media is more fiberous and tougher than a paper towel. I think it would be really unlikely that the filter would come apart in that manner.

The other tube mounted in the pan is a crankcase vent for the PCV system.

#4 johnceggleston

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Posted 13 January 2013 - 08:21 AM

good work finding the cause of your oil light.

i wonder where it was left?
was the oil pan removed when the head gaskets were done?

there is no real way to tell of the bearings were oil starved and maybe damaged. what's done is done. if there is bearing damage it will not heal. you might have a conversation with the shop. see if they own up to it.

i would run some MMO with fresh oil for several hundred miles and change the oil again. there is no way to tell if or when a rod bearing might fail.

good luck.

#5 grossgary

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Posted 13 January 2013 - 08:40 AM

wow that is crazy. can't imagine that being anything other than a towel left somewhere.

that pick up tube is where the oil pump pulls oil from the oil pan as i'm sure you know. i'm thinking pull the oil pump and run solvent and compressed air down through the passage between the oil pump and pan to back flush anything in that hole.

then you might consider running solvent/compressed air through the pump, disassemble the pump, or just get another one.

then consider running solvent/compressed air from the oil filter area to the oil pump.

not sure if the picture looks worse than what was happening but that sump screen looks terribly restricted. concern is oil starvation. which there's no way to measure or test, just have to clean up, reassemble and hope for the best.

if you still have the oil from the pan or filter you might be able to have it tested to see how much/if any bearing material is present. maybe the more experienced rebuilder/analysis folks will chime in on whether that's feasible or other options.

#6 dballs

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Posted 13 January 2013 - 10:18 AM

Thanks for the replies, I had the pump off first and disassembled it completely and put the feeler gauge to it. Everything was within spec and looked good. I also checked all the passages behind the oil pump and they looked good.

johnceggleston: Is this MMO you speak of marble mystery oil? I was definitely thinking about running something of that nature or some engine restore?? And changing it a few hundred miles later.

I also thought about sending the oil to Blackstone labs at the next change and see what they find, It might be an indicator of bearing wear.

Any Ideas on how to get all of the paper out of the hole in the back of the block? I am going to pull the PCV and blow compressed air down there and also thought about a kerosene flush. I am also going to tape a 1/2" hose on a shop vac and try sucking some out from the bottom as well. After I got the car back from the Headgasket job it didn't leak much oil but slowly got worse, A friend pointed out that it may be because the PCV system was clogged and building pressure and pushing oil out of places it shouldn't have.

#7 dballs

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Posted 13 January 2013 - 10:24 AM

One more question, Does anyone know what the direction of flow is for that PCV in the back of the pan. I assume it pushes downward from the block into the oil pan because if it was the opposite, I assume it would suck oil up. I am trying to narrow down where the paper towel could have been left and how it would have got chewed up, Valve train perhaps?? Also trying to figure out how many other passages are stuffed with paper.
THANKS!

#8 MilesFox

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Posted 13 January 2013 - 11:33 AM

I would imagine the rag was stuffed in the pcv breather port on the top of the block, moved its wat to thepan, and disintegrated from laying in the sludge.

If any had moved through the oil galleries it would probably have remnants behind the valve cover where it drains back to the pan.

I would think you got lucky and any that made it up the pickup tube didn't get beyond the filter.

#9 presslab

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Posted 13 January 2013 - 12:58 PM

Here's a photo I took of a junk block. It's upside down, looking at the flywheel side, and you can see the screwdriver poking through that hole. The plate removed is the oil separator plate, it tries to keep the oil out of the intake. If there was towel jammed in that hole it's likely there is towel in that area too. The only way to get to that is to remove the engine or transmission, unfortunately. Maybe you can get most of the towel out with a vacuum. If you can find someone with a borescope you could look up in there as well, looking from both the top and the bottom of the block.

I believe that hole will usually have a slight vacuum on it but under full throttle it can be under pressure.

Posted Image

#10 AdventureSubaru

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Posted 13 January 2013 - 01:18 PM

Wasn't there a series of Fram filters that had cardboard components that would break down and fail over time?

#11 grossgary

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Posted 13 January 2013 - 02:40 PM

PCV direction - not sure but oil often gets into the intake on some vehicles so i would assume it's engine crankcase venting back into the intake - since any positive engine crankcase pressure is already metered air anyway...just a guess.

how many miles since the headgaskets and what engine an EJ25D, 251....something else?
can you call the mechanic and ask him the most likely place a towel would have been? he might have a routine.
Have you pulled the valve covers yet, I would look there.

this would be my main concern:

I also thought about sending the oil to Blackstone labs at the next change and see what they find, It might be an indicator of bearing wear.

do you have any oil from this engine or the remnants of the oil filter? they might be able to test that.

100,000 reliability is going to be determined by engine wear that happened due to oil starvation, not the towel particles itself..which got stopped by the pick up tube and oil filter and if the towel is a concern then that damage is already done.

of course, it would be nice to know where the towel came from....

Edited by grossgary, 13 January 2013 - 02:44 PM.


#12 dballs

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Posted 13 January 2013 - 02:59 PM

Wasn't there a series of Fram filters that had cardboard components that would break down and fail over time?


I have been running Subaru filters since I had the car. I also pulled out some pretty good chunks of paper and I could see the pattern or texture of it.

#13 dballs

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Posted 13 January 2013 - 05:19 PM

PCV direction - not sure but oil often gets into the intake on some vehicles so i would assume it's engine crankcase venting back into the intake - since any positive engine crankcase pressure is already metered air anyway...just a guess.

how many miles since the headgaskets and what engine an EJ25D, 251....something else?

9000 miles since gaskets done. Its an 03 legacy gt 2.5, not sure exactly what model. Ill have to check the block.
can you call the mechanic and ask him the most likely place a towel would have been? he might have a routine.
I am going to call monday and ask some questions, I don't expect to get anywhere though
Have you pulled the valve covers yet, I would look there.
good idea, I will check there tonight

this would be my main concern:
do you have any oil from this engine or the remnants of the oil filter? they might be able to test that.
I cut the filter open that was on the car when it happened and it looked normal, The oil unfortunately got mixed in with other oil.

100,000 reliability is going to be determined by engine wear that happened due to oil starvation, not the towel particles itself..which got stopped by the pick up tube and oil filter and if the towel is a concern then that damage is already done.

of course, it would be nice to know where the towel came from....

.

#14 dballs

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Posted 13 January 2013 - 05:23 PM

Here's a photo I took of a junk block. It's upside down, looking at the flywheel side, and you can see the screwdriver poking through that hole. The plate removed is the oil separator plate, it tries to keep the oil out of the intake. If there was towel jammed in that hole it's likely there is towel in that area too. The only way to get to that is to remove the engine or transmission, unfortunately. Maybe you can get most of the towel out with a vacuum. If you can find someone with a borescope you could look up in there as well, looking from both the top and the bottom of the block.

I believe that hole will usually have a slight vacuum on it but under full throttle it can be under pressure.

Posted Image


That is good to know, I scoured the internet last night trying to find out if that hole led inside the oil separator plate. Thanks for the pic! I did take a shop vac and a small snap on pick with a hook on it and pulled a ton out of there today. When the vacuum is on the hole it sounds like it's free flowing now and I believe I have it all out.

#15 presslab

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Posted 13 January 2013 - 05:34 PM

That is good to know, I scoured the internet last night trying to find out if that hole led inside the oil separator plate. Thanks for the pic! I did take a shop vac and a small snap on pick with a hook on it and pulled a ton out of there today. When the vacuum is on the hole it sounds like it's free flowing now and I believe I have it all out.


Good to hear. It would be a good idea to get at the hole on the top side too, the one that connects to the PCV plumbing. If you look to the left of the throttle body you should see some hoses down there, with a pretty big (but short) one coming straight out of the block. Pop off the tee and give it a go with the vacuum.

#16 dballs

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Posted 13 January 2013 - 07:23 PM

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This is what I got out. 90% of it was in that hole in the back that goes behind the oil separator plate.

#17 Fairtax4me

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Posted 13 January 2013 - 09:38 PM

Has the separator plate ever been replaced? I think the only way to get a paper towel in there would be to remove the plate. Either that or roll it up and stuff it down into the breather port on top of the block. Possibly someone replaced the oil pan at some point in the past and stuffed a paper towel into there from below and forgot it?

#18 dballs

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Posted 13 January 2013 - 09:50 PM

Has the separator plate ever been replaced? I think the only way to get a paper towel in there would be to remove the plate. Either that or roll it up and stuff it down into the breather port on top of the block. Possibly someone replaced the oil pan at some point in the past and stuffed a paper towel into there from below and forgot it?


I replaced the separator plate a year and a half ago, I also had the oil pan off to reseal it.. and know for sure I didn't put one up there.
I had my head gaskets done this past June and he may have had the separator plate off then. I am going to try and call the guy tomorrow.

#19 dballs

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Posted 14 January 2013 - 09:13 AM

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Does anyone know where this hole leads to??

#20 dballs

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Posted 16 January 2013 - 09:32 PM

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Cold Start PSI! Got some pressure now. At cruising speed 2250 rpms the pressure is about 40psi.

#21 MilesFox

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Posted 16 January 2013 - 09:40 PM

I replaced the separator plate a year and a half ago, I also had the oil pan off to reseal it.. and know for sure I didn't put one up there.
I had my head gaskets done this past June and he may have had the separator plate off then. I am going to try and call the guy tomorrow.



Maybe the mechanic left the towel in the block cavity between the cylinders and the water jacket, and missed it when installing the gasket. This would explain how it got there, and it probably would have stayed in one place and slowly dissolved, and washed out wit the returning oil stream.

#22 dballs

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Posted 16 January 2013 - 10:11 PM

I would be willing to bet you are right. I was thinking the same or somewhere under the valve cover and got chewed up by the valve train and dumped into the pan.
I did a test run with it tonight and everything was good. No more oil pump whine, Oil pressure almost instantly instead of waiting 4-5 seconds. Also, so far there is no burning oil when I stop anymore. I assume because the crankcase has airflow and is not building pressure and pushing oil out everywhere.
Before, every time it was stopped and idling I would have to shut the blower motor off or open windows because it smoked so bad from leaking oil.
I'll just have to keep an eye on the metal content of the oil and hopefully this paper towel nonsense didn't shave too many miles off its life.

Tangent: This probably could have been caught 6 months ago if they would put Oil pressure gauges in the cluster as well. It drive me nuts that it's just a dummy light. How about both, most people can read a gauge. I guess I have to put my own in if I want one.

Edited by dballs, 16 January 2013 - 10:21 PM.


#23 jarl

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Posted 17 January 2013 - 07:09 PM

Interesting...
Is there any specific port to attach an oil pressure sender? I wouldn't mind having a pressure gauge somewhere...

#24 dballs

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Posted 17 January 2013 - 07:36 PM

I installed a brass T under the alternator, It's not the best pic but the stock sender is facing the drivers side headlight. and the pressure hose comes out of the top. I all fits under the alternator nice, I had to extend the stock sender wire a few inches.
Also, I believe the stock sender port is British Pipe Threads, The brass tee is National pipe threads, British pipe is 28 threads per inch and National is 27 threads per inch. Just put dope on the threads and tighten it up, It wont leak.

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#25 Fairtax4me

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Posted 17 January 2013 - 08:07 PM

There is another port toward the rear of the block that can be used as well. And I think the thread on the rear port is 1/2" NPT.




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