An objective opinion please

I have a 2003 Mazda Protege. I had the check engine light come on and took it to my local repair shop. They diagnosed it as a bad oxygen sensor. They replaced it, but a week later, the light came back on. So, I decided to take it to the dreaded dealership and pay for their “expertise”. They informed me that the light was a result of a intake hose with a hole in it. They also told me that the vehicle’s oil pan was rusty and needed to be replaced. The vehicle did not leak oil. After a week of driving, I noticed spots of oil on my driveway. I checked the oil and it was low, so I decided to have it towed back to the dealership to have it checked out. I assumed it was the oil pan that had not been installed properly. Today, the service tech informed me that my engine was blown and needed to be replaced. He told me that this cam warped and didn’t leak before because the pressure was being release through the rusty oil pan. This sounds absurd to me. It seems to me that what has happened is their responsibility. Can I get someone else’s opinion? What could have caused this? A co-worker suggested that more than likely the mechanic could have made a mistake and started the engine without motor oil either after the oil pan was replaced or after the vehicle sat overnight and the oil drained out. Does this seem more logical? If the dealership is at fault, but will not fix it, what can I do?

“After a week of driving, I noticed spots of oil on my driveway.I checked the oil and it was low”

How low was it?

This whole thing sounds completely bonkers to me. First of all, I’d lay odds that your oil pan is probably aluminum in which case rust isn’t an issue. But even if it was steel & rusty & somehow porous enough to be bleeding off some mysterious pressure that - warped the cam!? - you’d have been leaving a trail of oil behind you all over. What pressure was this that was supposedly being bled off by an oil pan and later warped a cam!?

Yes - the whole thing is absurd. The only think I can say is that people do show up here and report odd stories, but only because they have a hard time following what a mechanic is saying. Sometimes when more of the info comes out clearly it can become clear as to what went on. But this one is outlandish.

If I were you I’d be thinking about finding a way to get someone else not affiliated with this dealer to look at it & try to figure out what is going on.

My GOD Cigroller makes some good sense here. I am curious to know…WHat material your Oil pan is made from? Also them telling you that the old pan was “releasing pressure” IS TOTAL BS. If it was leaking crankcase pressure that means you had a GAPING hole in it…ONe thru which oil would undoubtedly leak like MAD! Thats total BS. WHen you checked your oil and it was low and then towed it back to the Stealership…How was the car running? Did you notice and strange noises or smells? Did the engine run normally? In what manner did they say that the engine was BLOWN? Thats a pretty serious statement. If you blew your engine you would very likely KNOW IT… Engine failure is almost always accompanied by SERIOUS…noises…BAD NOISES…Not Friendly noises…trust me you would know something was wrong. AND if were an OIL RELATED failure of your Cam or engine you would have seen your Oil Light illuminate in the vehicle prior to engine failure…YOu can run an engine ALL DAY LONG being one full Quart of oil low… You have to be at least 2 quarts low in a 4qt system to starve the engine of lubrication.

I do admit that I actually like your co-workers guess. After they replaced your Oil pan they would of course have to refill the crankcase with oil…At LEAST 4Qts of oil. I think its very possible that they didnt do this and could have driven the vehicle FAR with no oil…but again the oil light would be on. Maybe they started and idled it not looking at the dash… I’m obviously guessing…HOWEVER…if this were the case then THEY would have certainly heard the engine grinding itself to pieces and would have shut it down hopefully… This is a tough one… Please tell us how it was running prior to your tow to the dealer… What can you tell us about how it ran and sounded…because you could easily be up to 1 to 1.5qts of oil low and its highly likely that no engine damage would occur at all because the oil pump would still be able to pump the remaining oil thru the engine… Again…whats up with that Oil light? Did it even work? Does it illuminate at start up of the vehicle? Usually all the dash lights illuminate for your prior to you starting the car to show you that they work. What a total mess you are in. I am blaming the dealership in my mind… The whole business about your oil pan is what started and possibly finished this engine. I’d like to know what exact failure occurred also for them to declare the engine dead. My finger is leaning heavily twd the dealer mechanics Im sorry to say. REALLY need to know about the running of the vehicle when you still had it

I’ve always said the best cure for a CEL is a piece of black tape and drive on…If something is really wrong with your car, you will know about it soon enough and it won’t take any guesswork to fix it…How many MILES on this car?

I think service managers have a bet going amongst themselves. They each put $10 into the pot. Then they have a contest to see who can make up the craziest, most unbelievable stories to tell customers about what’s wrong with their cars and why it’s never the dealership’s fault. The service manager that gets away with the biggest whopper wins the pot of money.

Your service manager is probably in the top 10.

Wow. That’s a really interesting story they have come up with. The only problem is that it makes no sense at all. If you care about this car, get it as far away from this dealership as possible and in the hands of a real mechanic who can figure out what these bozos did to your car. I seriously doubt your engine is “blown” unless you are leaving out key details, like that the engine was smoking and making a lot of hideous noises, then died and was towed to the dealership. From the sound of things, they may well have improperly installed this oil pan you probably didn’t need, causing a leak and for whatever reason are trying to cover up this goof with this outrageous story, and make a few thousand bucks (or a new car sale) in the process. Has a salesman contacted you yet with a “great deal” on a new car and a “fantastic trade-in deal” on your car with the “blown engine”?

The story is pretty convoluted and I would hope that the story as repeated here is the same one as given to the OP by the “service tech”. Service tech meaning what; mechanic, service advisor, service manager?

O2 sensors are often misdiagnosed and a hole in the intake boot could cause this.

The oil pan story, if accurate, is baffling to put it mildly. Goofy would be a better word and personally, I can’t really sort out this warped cam and oil pressure through the pan thing. That makes no sense.

I would also ask what mleich asked of you; how low was the oil and was there any ratting, knocking, or red oil pressure light involved before you noticed these spots on the driveway?

How did he diagnose a warped cam shaft? Did he actually take the top of the engine off and measure it?

I don’t think there is a dealer involved here at all, I think this guy is just a troll.

Your oil pan is cast aluminum. Attached is a picture of its OEM replacement.

The oil pan story they gave you was bogus, pure & simple.

With the greatest respect to OK4450, while a hole in an intake manifold part if it were past the MAF sensor could cause an improper mix due to allowing excess air to be drawn in after the MAF reading is taken, I can’t see how it could cause a false O2 sensor indication. A hole in the exhaust manifold or header pipe definietly could.

I’d like more detail on what thet meant by “blown”. Blown is a generalization tha covers a lot of possibilities, and having the details could easily affect my own opinions.

The “cam warped and didn’t leak before because the pressure was being released through the rusty oil pan” thing just makes no sense at all. Your camshafts are held firmly in place on the cast engine head by perhaps five sleeve bearings. They don’t warp. And of they did there’s no way any hole in the oil pna could affect that. I was unable to find a picture of yours, but I link a drawing of my own, which is typical. Hopefully it’ll give you a good visualization of how the whole thing is typically put together.

If a cam were warped, it would manifest itself by binding and seizing. It would require disassembly of the engine’s “top end” and measurement by setting it up in a machine, turning it, and measuring the “lateral runout” at the bearing syrfaces using a special “dial indicator”. In short, the whole story is just bogus.

Honestly, I think you need a good assessment by an indpendent shop.

Thank you for the comments. I can assure you that I am not a troll. By service tech I do not mean a mechanic. I guess that it is an advisor? I dont know his credentials, but when I got his explanation, it sounded obsurd to me. The vehicle has 106000 miles on it. I am going to take the advice above and have it towed to my neighborhood mechanic for an evaluation. I am going to pick up the car and confront them on the rusty oil pan that is made out of aluminium as well as speak to the mechanic to find out in detail what is really going on. The engine ran good even with the check engine light on. Some of the time it felt like it wanted to stall starting from a dead stop in first gear, but when I got it back from them this stopped and ran great. No smoking, no wierd noises, just oil in my driveway. I am really devistated from this. I love this car. It is, or was, a good little car and I guess that I should not have dealt with the service department from a dealership?

The oil pan may not be aluminium, many of these parts pictures have a disclaimer “Picture is for illustration purposes only” or “not actual part”.

Here is one from Ebay;|Model:Protege|Year:2003&hash=item2eb7bbfa8c&item=200651045516&pt=Motors_Car_Truck_Parts_Accessories&vxp=mtr

My apologies for calling you a troll. Normally the trolls start something like this but NEVER post back with additional information. The story is bogus, I agree with all the above.

I honestly thought that the OP was a troll myself and just passed it by on the first pass. But, FWIW, after reading the OP’s reply, I will jump in to agree with the consensus. The story is bogus.

Hey wait guys…you mean that the original poster…made all of this up? Does this happen on here? I’m totally serious…I dont know the answer to this. I would be pissed if someone would do such a thing and watch us try TO HELP… This is making me mad. Do people make up phony baloney stories on here? Baffling

Everyone is suggesting that the Service Advisor’s story to the OP is bogus. Some here suspected the original post might have been made up, but reconsidered after the OP responded to their queries.

I agree both that the OP is someone honestly seeking help AND that the Service advisor’s story to the OP was totally bogus.

Occasionally someone will “test” us with a bogus story. But I think we can sometimes be overly suspicious. I don’t think it happens nearly as often as some suspect. But, let’s face it, NOBODY can weave a story as well as a “Service Advisor”!

It amazes me just how starved for attention and entertainment a great many people are. But then, look at those of us who keep returning here to read complaints, struggle to get some worthwhile information regarding the problem and then try to translate good advice into street language and then rarely get any thanks… I think I’ll have a beer and try another post.

Well I have the Beer covered at the moment Shock Top Belgian White…Nice Beer if you can find it. My first try…Mmmm… ANYWHO…I understand now, thank you for the quick replies guys. I also agree with you about the “ADVISER” Those guys should be called “Service Deceivers” for the tangled web of crap they weave for the customers…the WORST kind of stories they tell people Mix fact with fiction…Just like the most crafty of Lies. Its strange how that tactic will almost work…Not on those in the know, but the general public…I honestly feel sorry for people with this type of crap going on.

I’m working on a Fat Tire - after a nice nip of Glenfiddich. As such I don’t care so much about oil pans and warped cam shafts anymore.