Didn't check the oil...new engine?


#1

2000 Lincoln Town Car with 160,000 miles. My daughter was given it; changed the oil when she got it and drove it for about 3000 miles. After hearing what I think is a rod rattling around, she checked the dip stick and it didn’t register any oil. Would you guess she needs a new engine? Any guess on how long she can run the car before the engine locks up? She got one quote over the phone to replace the engine for $2700; the car was probably worth $2500 too $3000 before the engine problem. Should she just sell it for scrap or is there another sale option. Thanks.


#2

What happened after she added oil to the full mark? How much did she have to add?


#3

My condolences to your daughter. You may want to use this as a learning experience for her.
How long it’ll keep going now is anybody’s guess. The only certainty is that damage has been done. But it’s a safe bet that it’ll need the fluids checked very regularly, no less than weekly, from now on. A case of oil might be a welcome gift for her next birthday.


#4

My daughter did this to a Corolla. She got multiple years out of it, but had to check it at every fill up.


#5

Did the oil light come on?


#6

Are you sure that it was worth that much? That seems optimistic to me.

Other than the engine issue, what’s the condition of the rest of the car?


#7

If it needs an engine…scrap it for parts.


#8

Running an engine low on oil does contribute to some degree of engine damage.
Knock on wood, maybe that rattle is a lash adjuster rattle instead of a bearing or cam chain knock.

Fill it up with oil (and check it regularly after that) and if the noise goes away drive it until it does die.
It’s a little premature to be pricing an engine at this point unless it was topped off with oil and is still making noise.


#9

How enamored was your daughter at the prospect of driving a Town Car, @waterfall? BTW, what color is it? But then how old is the daughter?

Often there’s more to consider than the dipstick.


#10

Keep calling around for used engine replacements. $2700 is likely a middle to upper range quote. If the car besides the engine is in decent shape I’d keep calling around.

That being said did you top off the oil and it continues making noises?


#11

Thanks for everyone’s response. I just got to drive the car tonight. The rattling sound comes when the car is idling or decelerating; I didn’t hear it when I had my foot on the gas. My daughter put in three quarts of oil and said it was in the middle of the dipstick range. I will check on this tomorrow when it’s not storming. I will top off the oil and listen to see if it’s still rattling. Responding to some of your comments/questions…yes this is an learning experience, an expensive one for both of us; I like the oil birthday present…I wonder if that would be a good anniversary present for the wife; my daughter said the oil light did not come on but the check engine light has be on for a while; she’s got to be one of the youngest Town Car owners in the state; the interior of the car is in good shape, her grandfather banged up the bumpers a bit and it shows, it’s color is silver. Once again, thanks for all the responses.


#12

Not sure if there are oil additives which might reduce the rattling sound. No harm asking someone with experience in repairing that engine if that would work at a temporary fix. You’d always wonder if the engine is about to seize though. Pretty much an good shop can provide an assessment. If it turns out it requires a new engine, I’d probably try to sell the car to a mechanic or a teenager who wanted it for parts or to fix it up, and use the money towards another car.


#13

@waterfall
"…my daughter said the oil light did not come on but the check engine light has be on for a while…"

Most “chain” auto parts stores (Advance, etcetera) will have an employee step out into the parking lot and check why the “check engine light” is on, free of charge.

If you write down the DTCs (diagnostic fault codes) that they discover and post them here, we’ll offer some advice about them, free of charge.

Write the code(s) down in a format such as P0455, P0123 or P0xxx, etcetera.
CSA


#14

I would first have the engine oil light checked to make sure it’s working right. If it were low oil pressure, the light should be glaring at you. If oil pressure is fine, my guess is the the engine has skirt damage from worn wrist pins. If the vehicle is in fine condition, I’d just look for a good used engine instead. Just make sure you have it checked out and run before installation.


#15

“If oil pressure is fine, my guess is the the engine has skirt damage from worn wrist pins. If the vehicle is in fine condition, I’d just look for a good used engine instead.”

An engine replacement recommendation based on a guess?
OUCH!

I’d check from a little closer location, perhaps under-hood.
CSA