Sludge in valve covers , where else ? - Team Camaro Tech
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post #1 of 14 (permalink) Old Jan 24th, 10, 08:46 PM Thread Starter
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Sludge in valve covers , where else ?

I have been doing a search and reading up on sludge because I'm wondering where else this sludge is in the motor. Could be in places I cant see.
Can it hurt my motor ?
Should I look for an oil additive ?
Does just getting my motor good and hot prevent it ?
Do I have to physically clean it out of there ?

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post #2 of 14 (permalink) Old Jan 24th, 10, 08:57 PM
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Re: Sludge in valve covers , where else ?

It could hurt the engine by clogging up the oil return to the crankcase and starve the oil pump. Probably holds a lot of heat too. I would be concerned that a clog of it could get hung up in the oil pump screen.

Make sure you use a high detergent oil and change it frequently. Getting the engine up to temperature as you mentioned will help prevent it.

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post #3 of 14 (permalink) Old Jan 24th, 10, 09:55 PM
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Re: Sludge in valve covers , where else ?

I know little about oil but my grandfather ran Penzoil in all his engines and the two my father rebuilt for him had a waxy sludge over an inch thick in the valve covers. The timing chain cover also had a little as well as the lifter valley but not bad like the valve covers.

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Last edited by Jeremiah; Jan 24th, 10 at 10:11 PM.
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post #4 of 14 (permalink) Old Jan 24th, 10, 10:15 PM
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Re: Sludge in valve covers , where else ?

It's probably just oil pooling in the castings around the places where it is hard for oil to be returned. I've tore down some motors and seen oil sludge in and around the pan rails where the crank throws it. Adding a heavier oil like lucas will probably only make things worse.
I've seen some LS motors that get a lot of condensation under the valve covers, especially right under the oil fill cap.
Are you running a reliable PCV system?

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post #5 of 14 (permalink) Old Jan 24th, 10, 10:44 PM
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Re: Sludge in valve covers , where else ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by jr68 View Post
I have been doing a search and reading up on sludge because I'm wondering where else this sludge is in the motor. Could be in places I cant see.
Can it hurt my motor ? Eventually.
Should I look for an oil additive ? Not necessarily.
Does just getting my motor good and hot prevent it ? No.
Do I have to physically clean it out of there ? Well, not physically.
If you have a family car such as a 2000 Dodge intrepid with a 2.7L motor, sludge will harm your motor for sure. Ask me how I know.
Might I suggest before you change your oil, pour about 1/3 to 1/2 can of Sea foam in a warmed up engine crank case and drive it for about 10miles. Then drain the oil and use a good detergent oil or full synthetic oil, and a good oil filter.
Then do the same every 3,000 miles.

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post #6 of 14 (permalink) Old Jan 25th, 10, 07:52 AM
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Re: Sludge in valve covers , where else ?

I think the real heavy wax buildup was attributed to oils that used a lot of parifin to adjust the viscosity.You cant really just wash sludge away once it gets that bad,detergent oils would break this stuff up and create all sorts of problems with clogged oil pump pickups back in the day.Most of this sludge is in the valve cover and lifter valley area.If you pulled the intake and valve covers,scraped out all the sludge and used a vacum cleaner to get it all out as you scraped,and got it really clean,then it might be safe to use some kind of internal engine cleaner in the oil to clean the rest out.If you dont clean the sludge out first,you will just keep turning new oil into sludge soup in a matter of minutes.

To keep this from happening,when you start out with a new or cleaned engine,use detergent oil,and change it when the engine is scalding hot,letting every last drop drain out.
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post #7 of 14 (permalink) Old Jan 25th, 10, 08:02 AM
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Re: Sludge in valve covers , where else ?

There are some very good engine flushes today that can help with sludge removal but nothing will be 100% without an engine tear down. Id drain the oil, put on a cheap Fram, Hastings filter and then 4 quarts of your favorite oil and a good engine flush and run it for an hour at high idle (1500) to get the engine good and hot. Then drain that oil, replace the filter with good high quality filter and your favorite oil again and check for leaks, tighten up pan bolts, valve cover bolts etc.. then run it for awhile. Make sure your PCV valve is clean or replace it anyway, they are cheap.
Short trips over the years with dino oils that never get hot enough to burn off hydrocarbons and lower quality oils will leave that sludge and varnish behind.
When converting to Synthetic they highly recommend the flushing method to help clean out the crud thats been accumulating inside.

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post #8 of 14 (permalink) Old Jan 25th, 10, 08:33 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Sludge in valve covers , where else ?

More info on the motor,
it's a 95 LT1 with a good pcv system
has 198,000 miles on it
always used minreal oil in it
most of it's driving is a 10 mile run to town

thanks for all the tips so far, she does need a good flushing

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post #9 of 14 (permalink) Old Jan 25th, 10, 08:35 AM
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Re: Sludge in valve covers , where else ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by jr68 View Post
I have been doing a search and reading up on sludge because I'm wondering where else this sludge is in the motor. Could be in places I cant see.
Can it hurt my motor ?
Should I look for an oil additive ?
Does just getting my motor good and hot prevent it ?
Do I have to physically clean it out of there ?
Do you have sluge in your valve covers or on the valve springs and rockers on the top of the heads? If not you probably won't have it any place else in the engine.

I haven't seen an engine with sluge build up in years, it use to be you would buy a used car with high mileage or got an engine from the junk yard and if there was sludge under the valve covers you figured the oil was not changed very often and it was driven hard and run hot...

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post #10 of 14 (permalink) Old Jan 25th, 10, 08:41 AM
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Re: Sludge in valve covers , where else ?

like dennis said..sludge is usually just on top of the head area only.(you might see it in the oil pan too,just have to pull and see)..i see it day in and day out.
flush is not recomended unless you plan to pull the pan and clean the screen for the oil pump.
more harm than good to oil flush a block.
another reason for sludge build up is people using detergent oils..

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post #11 of 14 (permalink) Old Jan 25th, 10, 12:51 PM
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Re: Sludge in valve covers , where else ?

Sludge is a lack of maintance, regular oil changes
One of the most effective ways to clean flush other than a full strip down is use deseil oil for a couple days...then do normal oil/filter maintance

There was a car in the workshop late last yr was so bad the sump was almost solid...so bad the oil light was on...The owner " I checked the oil and the level was ok so thought it must be a issue with the warning light"
When the dip stick was pulled one could see the solid crap on the bottom and a thin layer of oil at the top...he spent yrs just topping up.
Took a bit dig /drain the crap out of the sump...filled with desil oil. oil light went out basically left running as described above...drained change filter, another does of deseil oil
Sump top end came up clean as.

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post #12 of 14 (permalink) Old Jan 25th, 10, 04:28 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Sludge in valve covers , where else ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by DjD View Post
Do you have sluge in your valve covers or on the valve springs and rockers on the top of the heads?
I haven't had the valve covers off in a few years but see it on the oil cap and in the fill tube, also at the very top of the dip stick. It's a brown sludge kind of thin and easy to wipe off.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steptoe View Post
Sludge is a lack of maintenance, regular oil changes . . .
I change it every 3000 mi.
but what is this diesel oil you speak of ?

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post #13 of 14 (permalink) Old Jan 25th, 10, 06:53 PM
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Re: Sludge in valve covers , where else ?

Based on what you're seeing and where you say you're seeing it, I don't think you have a sludge problem. It's most likely condensation due to your short drives. It will rise to the highest parts of the engine and collect leaving the same type film you're describing. I can go out and take a picture of my 4.3L Vortec oil cap on a motor that is in perfect condition and probably show you the same thing you're seeing.

You're most likely fine if you've been doing 3000 mile oil changes like you say. I would not do a flush as you may wind up causing a problem when everything is actually OK.

Don't let those commercials scare you. They're meant to sell more oil. Keep up with regular maintenance and use a good oil and your motor will be happy for a long time. Now, there are some that are predisposed to having issues like the 2.7L Chrysler motor but that is mostly due to poorly designed oil systems (tiny pickup tube in that case).

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post #14 of 14 (permalink) Old Jan 25th, 10, 10:15 PM
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Re: Sludge in valve covers , where else ?

Quote:
Based on what you're seeing and where you say you're seeing it, I don't think you have a sludge problem. It's most likely condensation due to your short drives.
Yep I agree

Quote:
but what is this diesel oil you speak of ?
Desiel engines use a different oil to petrol engines.

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