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I Dang Near Blew Our Van Up

I just about destroyed the engine of our van today. I was changing the oil as usual (which I've done about 100 times on dozens of cars), tested it on idle in driveway, no obvious leaks (on quick glance, unfortunately), we were good to go.

Drove the car about half mile from the house, and the oil light came flying on, dinging quite loudly. Drove it back home (so maybe a mile, tops of driving), crawled back under with a flashlight this time (in the lovely rain and snow today, mind you), and oil was just pouring out from where the oil filter was mounted. I know I mounted it tight enough, so I opening the thing back up, drained out what little oil was left in the car, and noticed that there was another gasket on the car's filter mount. The only thing I can think of was it was the o-ring from the old filter that had stuck when I removed it (one of them Oil Can Henry's generic things), and it was OK on idle, but slipped out when it got some pressure.

So I let the car cool off, got the filter back on the correct way, and ran a bunch more oil into it (unfortuately, just some generic Cheveron oil that I could get at the local store as the auto parts stores around here were closed and I had no car to get to anything that might have other oil). Starts and runs fine now (thankfully), however, there's a knocking noise that wasn't there before. It's not an unfamiliar noise, as it sounds like the same kind of knocking we hear when the car is low on oil, which we're familiar with as the car has a minor crank-case gasket leak, according to the mechanic, so we keep a quart in the trunk with us (as it'd be expensive to drop the engine to fix that gasket). I'm really hoping this knocking isn't anything more serious, but since I'm not remotely a mechanic (I'm a computer guy, but a quick learner, and can't afford a mechanic), I have no clue.

I posted a thread on DodgeTalk (that's basically a duplicate of this entry) to see if any of the Caravan gurus there can help me out, let me know if I should take the thing out to the desert and blow it up or not worry about the noise. If there are car geeks here, you're welcome to comment here if you have any ideas (or if anybody local knows a local mechanic who needs some computer help and wouldn't mind trading, I'd like to talk to him or her).

Update on 11/5: Drove the van around the block a few times, eventually the knocking went away, and hasn't made a noise since. I'm just going to chalk this up to the car being cold and not lubricated, and call it good. Now I just need to get the snow tires on our cars (especially mine), as it looks like there's quite a bit of snow at my office:

Posted by Jake on 11/04/05 @ 10:56 PM
Posted in Jake | Permalink

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