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Girlfriend drove van without oil

I pulled the oil pan and did get some metal shavings, i can shake the connecting rod caps on three cyl. Can i replace the bearings with the crankshaft on the car? It has about 200k so i really dont want to do a overhaul, i plan on replacing the engine when i can afford it. HELP!!!

Oh Sure, Blame The Girfriend.

This should read “Boyfriend Lets Girlfriend Run Van Without Maintaining Proper Oil Level”.

I’d say that since the van has 200K on it, must have been consuming lots of oil, and you failed to help out by checking it and the engine is now toast, this would be the time to get that “new engine” or a different vehicle.


I think it would be a waste of time but if you can do the work, all you have invested is time and some money for the parts. It might survive a bit longer but if the crank ends are that bad, you can bet there’s other damage too.

Whatever rate of oil consumption this engine had before this incident, you can be sure that the rate of oil consumption will be GREATLY increased as a consequence of driving with no oil.

Replacing the bearings and the crankshaft is a good start, but unless you are going to take care of all of the components that suffered from oil starvation–such as the cylinder walls that are now heavily scarred and more worn than previously–replacing “just” the main bearings and the crankshaft will be like bailing out the ocean with a dixie cup.

Don’t waste your time “patching” it.

Find a used(junkyard) motor and put it in.

Just got back from Iraq. Thanks

I know i was just hoping for a little more time, thanks

Just use thick oil and run it till it dies. Its not worth fixing.
Use 15W-40 as long as it doesn’t get too cold in your area. (below freezing)
Yes…I know 15-40 is diesel oil…

Is this a 3.3 or 3.8 ? What year is this van ?

You can buy a serviceable van MUCH cheaper than repairing yours…In todays market, $1500 will buy a decent Dodge van…

Drop a couple of rod caps and look at the journals. If the journals are scored and rough the crank is done for.

If by some freak of nature the journals appear to be smooth you might do this. Lay a strip of Plasti-Gage on a bearing (lengthwise) after cleaning ALL oil, etc. from the journal and old bearing. Reinstall the cap with bearing.
Carefully drop the cap back off and compare the width of the Plasti-Gage to the marks on the PG package.

If the oil clearance is in the .005 or so range it’s possible to install a set of bearings and get a bit more life out of this thing. Run heavier oil too.
If the oil clearance if far more than .005 (off the chart) then it’s probably a lost cause.
Hope that helps.

Thanks for your service. Yeah, it wasn’t your fault if you were gone.

Thank you sincerely for your service to our country. Welcome home.

I’d be tempted to run it on a thick oil until you can afford to replace it. Thick oil may just keep enough of a barrier between the wear surfaces to keep it running. You have absolutely nothing to lose. The motor is no longer servicable without a total rebuild, and that may even include oversizing the bores. It’s history.

The lower end may not be your only problem—the cam bearings could be toast and the cam lobes may be worn down too. Usually the top half suffers pretty bad too with no oil pressure.

I’d go the junkyard engine route.