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Discussion Starter #1
I was always told that you check oil level on a warm engine, but I need a little help to make sure I am getting an accurate reading, and that checking a warm engine is necessarily the best move.

After switching to full synth I noticed a bit of an oil leak, which I suspect is coming from the rear main seal. Sometimes it leaks to the point of dripping a bit on the exhaust, and sometimes it does not. Needless to say I have been keeping a close eye on oil level.

Up until last weekend I never noticed anything that I would describe as a change in level. Last week when I checked the oil it appeared that the level was getting toward the 1/4 mark in the "acceptable level". I added approximately an 1/8 of a quart, and then ran the car a little bit, shut it off, and it appeared that the thing was now at the full mark.

Reading around a bit, I realized I should have waited a few minutes before checking, and probably found oil that was all over the crankcase, so I had a false reading...duh

So today I came home, and left the car for about 20 minutes, and then checked the oil. The oil showed up onto the round part of the top of the dipstick, but not past the part that curves in toward the metal. I figured that the oil must still be all over the place, and figured I would give it a try later.

It was then sitting for around 3 hours, and I checked it again. The oil still is showing at that level, but the engine should be totally "cool". Of course the engine is still warm, as the 93's seem to retain the heat for any period except overnight. So now I am wondering, am I damaging the engine? Do I have way too much oil in?

Also, how should I be checking to get the best results. Should I just check it cold? Should I check it 15 minutes after it's shut off? What?

From what it looks like now, I guess I am about a 1/4 of a qt overfull. But I am still not convinced... as the one time I had a reading it was showing on the low end of the dipstick, and if that line indicates 1 qt, I cannot see how the amount I added would have made the reading go up that much.

So at the very worst, exluding any oil loss is that I have about 4.5qt in there. According to the manual the engine takes 4.0l or 4.2qt. So I am .3 over at the worst. Further what I do not get is if I put 4.2qt into the engine, shouldnt it read at midway between min and max, or is 4.2 right at max? There is no way I have put more that 4.5qt in, that I know for sure.

The manual says that excess oil can cause abdormal oil consumption, whatever that means. I would assume it to mean excessive pressure and leaks :)

Thanks,
Doug
 

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It's definitely true that overfilling the engine can cause excess pressure and/or leaks, but I don't think being just a touch over will do any real harm.

Really, anywhere on the plastic part is "safe", although I guess officially you're supposed to be on the flat/square part.

The important thing for you in terms of trying to figure out whether you're losing a significant amount of oil is to be consistent. I always check mine after filling up the gas tank. That way it's level and the oil has had a few minutes to drip down. I don't think hot or cold matters too much in an engine. Maybe the easiest way for you to be consistent is just to check it in the morning when it's cold? This assumes that you can park on a level place, since even a little hill will influence the reading.

Anyway, I don't think you need to worry that you're just a touch over.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I think I will just be checking in the morning, as it is on a level spot and I know the oil is settled. It seems like otherwise I am never getting a consistant reading. Thanks for the reply.
 

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The true oil level should of course, be checked with the engine cold and the car on the level..

However, consistency is more important than absolute accuracy - for the purpose of monitoring any consumption or loss.
JM has a good method, check it at the gas station as you fill-up. I can remember the days when a filling station attendant would do this - and also check the tire pressures..
 

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earthworm said:
I can remember the days when a filling station attendant would do this - and also check the tire pressures..
Once upon a long time ago in Georgia [state in the US] I cannot recall the town, we stopped for gas and yes fuel went in oil and tyre pressures checked - totally freaked me out :lol:
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Checked it again, it is definitely just a slight bit on the top of the knob above the max line. I would imagine saab built in a slight margin for error here, and will take care of it on my next oil change, which will most likely be this weekend since I drove the car pretty hard last weekend, and the oil seems dirtied up.
 
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