Oil level question.... - Alfa Romeo Bulletin Board & Forums

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post #1 of 18 (permalink) Old 05-21-2016, 07:54 AM Thread Starter
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Oil level question....

...I feel like a dufus admitting this, but for 27 years now, I thought like most cars, the amount of oil between the two holes on the dipstick was ONE quart, not two.

Yesterday, I refilled the sump and filter after letting it drain for about a month, it was about as dry as a proper martini or a 72 year old virgin, refilled with 7 qts. of the proper 20w/50, let it run, settle...and the mark on the dipstick is between the two holes.

What gives? Does it mean it's down a quart? That it's in the "Acceptable" range? That the stick isn't accurately reading the sump level?

'89 Spider Quad, "Rosa", original owner..still in love all these years...
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post #2 of 18 (permalink) Old 05-22-2016, 07:07 AM Thread Starter
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I guess no one changes their oil, thanks guys.

Bye.

'89 Spider Quad, "Rosa", original owner..still in love all these years...
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post #3 of 18 (permalink) Old 05-22-2016, 07:14 AM
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Can't speak for your Alfa, but my 67 the crosshatch area is 2 quarts.
Depending on the size filter it could be 71/2 to 8. If the dipstick is not seated that will give a low reading too.
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post #4 of 18 (permalink) Old 05-22-2016, 07:56 AM
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Don't feel like a dufus, I thought the same thing and for me it's been 36 years - lol

Basically if the level is between the two marks you're good and there's really no reason to keep it "topped off" you don't want it below the lower mark or above the upper mark.

Paul - 1972 Spider - (2)1991 164S's - 1983 308 - 2001 Discovery - 1997 F350
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post #5 of 18 (permalink) Old 05-22-2016, 11:12 AM
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Definitely two quarts between the low mark and the full marks on the dipstick (7.5 to 8 quarts)...I've been told there may be a tendency to 'use' a little more oil if you fill the sump all the way to the full mark but there may be less chance of oil pump cavitation (sucking air into the pump) during competition racing with a lot of sharp turns -like on a track. Cavitation may be more of an issue with the older Alfa engines though.

Mark
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post #6 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-16-2017, 08:28 PM
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Definitely two quarts between the low mark and the full marks on the dipstick (7.5 to 8 quarts)...
Mark
I just checked (again) the reprint of my 1974 Owner's Manual and can find no explanation of the marks on the dipstick other than Min and Max.

FYI Per Owner's Manual a full oil change including filter requires approximately 7.8 US quarts.

Did everyone determine this two quart span between the min and max marks by observation? Or is there some Alfa publication that states this quantity?

Thanks

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Last edited by BobG; 03-16-2017 at 08:32 PM.
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post #7 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-16-2017, 10:19 PM
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Observation. I measured the oil level when I added qts of oil during oil/filter changes, and observed that, yes, 2 qts between marks. I sure don't remember anything else in any of my Alfas through the years.

Del

Seattle

89 Milano (wife's daily driver since 1989, Shankle Sport)
91 164S (my daily driver since 1994)
94 164LS (~Q) (trip Alfa since 2000)
72 Morgan 27 (water time since 1976)

previously owned since 1964:

62 Morris MiniMinor 850, 67 Austin 1275 Cooper S (Downton 3/4 race), 64 Giulia Sprint GT (1st red one made), 72 Fiat 128 Sedan, 75 Alfetta Sedan, 78 Alfetta Sedan, 78 GTV, 81 GTV6, 86 GTV6

Last edited by Del; 03-16-2017 at 10:23 PM.
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post #8 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-17-2017, 08:39 AM
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Alfa engines carry a lot of oil capacity. The capacity or dipstick shouldn't be compared to a Chivvy V8, or other everyday hauler.
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post #9 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-17-2017, 09:03 AM
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Observation. I measured the oil level when I added qts of oil during oil/filter changes, and observed that, yes, 2 qts between marks. I sure don't remember anything else in any of my Alfas through the years.
Thanks

Here's the full set of information from the oil specification on page 24 of my 1974 Owner's Manual for USA cars:

Quote:
Engine * when full abt 7.1 qts
Engine danger level abt 4.75 qts

* This quantity is that needed for regular changing. The total amount of oil in the circuit (pan, filter, and passages) is about 7.8 qts.
Alfa thus claimed that the stock oil filter contained about 0.7 quarts.

If one takes those full and danger level quantities as corresponding to the MAX and MIN marks on the dipstick, the difference is 2.35 quarts. Rounding yields 2, but 0.35 is a nontrivial fudge factor.

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post #10 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-17-2017, 10:02 AM
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post #11 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-17-2017, 12:45 PM
Del
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"but 0.35 is a nontrivial fudge factor"

Not terribly important to watch the level that closely. For two decades, since my 91S uses oil, I usually just kept it somewhere between the full and low marks, and it doesn't make any difference, except that it seems to consume oil at a slower rate if starting out at the mid level, ie, one qt low, than if I fill it to full, the problem evidently bad oil rings from new, and the oil level being higher if full.

The enormous oil capacity of the typical Alfa engine as compared to many other marques has always been an Alfa/Italian thing, supposedly for cooling IMO.
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Del

Seattle

89 Milano (wife's daily driver since 1989, Shankle Sport)
91 164S (my daily driver since 1994)
94 164LS (~Q) (trip Alfa since 2000)
72 Morgan 27 (water time since 1976)

previously owned since 1964:

62 Morris MiniMinor 850, 67 Austin 1275 Cooper S (Downton 3/4 race), 64 Giulia Sprint GT (1st red one made), 72 Fiat 128 Sedan, 75 Alfetta Sedan, 78 Alfetta Sedan, 78 GTV, 81 GTV6, 86 GTV6
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post #12 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-17-2017, 01:28 PM
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Grazie,
Since we are making confessions and admitting to being dufus'; this should make you feel better.

My 164-S since new has burned about 1 quart of oil per thousand miles and I just accept that as a fact. A friend once told me that their 164 would burn oil till it reached the half way point between full and low marks on the dipstick. Then supposedly, it stopped burning oil or slowed down significantly.

I was in the process of "testing their theory" and not topping the engine oil up every other fill up or so when one day I went to Chik-fil A, for lunch. When I got ready to leave I put key in ignition and turned it like usual but the engine did not budge! It seemed like it was locked up and it was. My first thoughts were not pleasant but then I added a couple of quarts of oil and it started right up and ran just like normal. Apparently the low oil level sensor on the engine is still working! I didn't even know there was one...

Mark
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post #13 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-17-2017, 03:16 PM
Del
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There is a sensor and light for low oil level, but I think that is all it is (haven't bothered to check the wiring diagrams) as the car does run when it doesn't work or the red light comes on. Both the one in the 164S and the Milano crapped out years ago. I tricked the one in the 91S with a resister to put the light out, but that didn't work for the Milano, so I just put tape over the always on light, the car running fine with the sensor unplugged or not. The 91S ran fine with the light on due to a failed sensor.

I wish my 91S got ONLY 1k miles to a quart, lol. Try less than half that, for fun. It's been the same for all the 23 years I've owned it, and I assume it was that way from new. Has never changed, and the car leaks no oil, either sitting or running.

"Then supposedly, it stopped burning oil or slowed down significantly"

Kind seems to be the pattern, oil consumption slowing a little (but certainly not stopping), the oil level not as close to the bad oil rings?

Del

Seattle

89 Milano (wife's daily driver since 1989, Shankle Sport)
91 164S (my daily driver since 1994)
94 164LS (~Q) (trip Alfa since 2000)
72 Morgan 27 (water time since 1976)

previously owned since 1964:

62 Morris MiniMinor 850, 67 Austin 1275 Cooper S (Downton 3/4 race), 64 Giulia Sprint GT (1st red one made), 72 Fiat 128 Sedan, 75 Alfetta Sedan, 78 Alfetta Sedan, 78 GTV, 81 GTV6, 86 GTV6

Last edited by Del; 03-17-2017 at 03:19 PM.
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post #14 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-17-2017, 03:24 PM
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After draining my oil and changing the filter I added 5 quarts, started the motor and let it idle long enough to fill the new filter. I then pulled the dip stick and marked that level by making a light file cut on the dipstick. Added another quart and marked that level, added the seventh quart and marked that level. Now I know if the oil is low and exactly how much. By the way, mine uses the first quart within about 200 miles and then stays a quart low forever. It just doesn't seem to like all seven.
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post #15 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-17-2017, 05:39 PM
Del
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Just leave it one qt low then. No sense wasting oil.

Did you let the oil drain back down for a while before measuring and marking? I found it takes a while.

Del

Seattle

89 Milano (wife's daily driver since 1989, Shankle Sport)
91 164S (my daily driver since 1994)
94 164LS (~Q) (trip Alfa since 2000)
72 Morgan 27 (water time since 1976)

previously owned since 1964:

62 Morris MiniMinor 850, 67 Austin 1275 Cooper S (Downton 3/4 race), 64 Giulia Sprint GT (1st red one made), 72 Fiat 128 Sedan, 75 Alfetta Sedan, 78 Alfetta Sedan, 78 GTV, 81 GTV6, 86 GTV6
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