No oil on dipstick

Ok, down to business. I have a 1981 Ford F-100 with a 351w, offenhauser racing intake, 4bbl holley, c6 stall converter, 540 lunati lift cam and a nice MSD ignition.

Last night I was starting my truck to run to the gas station and started to hear a “knocking/clicking” sounds. Immediately shut the truck down. Upon investigating the noise I pulled out my dipstick and noticed that it was tough to pull out as if it was caught up on something and also that there was no oil except for a little trail of it up one side of dipstick. At this point I assumed that I had blown a head gasket and looked in my radiator. Nice and green with no trace of oil. Looking closer at the engine this afternoon, I notice a pretty decent amount of oil had stained the valve cover on the side with the valve cover breather. Also noticed some junk inside the breather that was a whitish/brownish color with the consistency of yogurt inside.

My question is, in that I’m not overly advanced with this sorta thing, what is the general opinion of the problem and what should be done to rectify it?

I’d Install A Roller Version High Lift Oil Stager, New Carburetor Pins, And Some Decent Looking Valve Covers.

By the way, did you try it (I wouldn’t if I were you) ? You know what yogurt tastes like, right ?


The junk in the breather is most likely condensation, very common with short trip driving. As for your lack of oil, how often do you check the oil level? Do you know how much it normally consumes? All engines will use some oil, varying from a quart every 500 miles or less to no measurable amount between oil changes. Anything more than a quart every thousand miles or so indicates a mechanical problem. If you don’t check your oil on a regular basis, you need to get into the habit of doing so and hope this episode did no appreciable damage to the engine.

Put The Correct Oil In It, Adding It A Half Quart At A Time. Let It Stand Several Minutes Before Checking And Adding More. Keep Track Of How Much You Add To Bring It To Full.
Post The Results Here.

If that old truck has a PCV valve then you should install a new one, ASAP.


PCV Valve was replaced right before winter. October.

I did not, but I talked my girlfriend into giving it a taste.

I check my oil once a month, as this truck is a daily driver I will increase the frequency of checks. I do not officially know the amount it consumes. I’m a bad parent.

Valve covers are the black and red “Ford Racing” covers.

Will have to wait till I can find a ride.

Does This Vehicle Get Run At Operating Temperature For Some Duration, Frequently ? It Needs To Be.

With moisture accumulating in the oil cap and the oil it’s possible to get enough into the PCV valve to freeze it on a very cold day. That can cause some oil consumption.

Put oil in it and
"Get your motor runnin’, get out on the highway,
looking for my dentures or whatever comes my way.


No, wait. It’s “looking for adventure or whatever comes my way.

I don’t know enough about it to know what kind of compression a .540 cam with a nice big 4bbl and a low restriction intake will allow in an otherwise stock 351, but it sounds like you’re blowing too much pressure into the crankcase via blowby. That’d blow oil up into the cavity under the valvecoveres, where it could if the breather is plugged be forced past the valve stem seals and burned.

Lots of excess crankcase pressure can also force oil past old crank seals.

Was there any other aork done to this motor, like boring, stroking, or at least boring and honing the cylinders, to withstand the added bang?

Did you buy this already souped up or did you just start bolting high-bang parts onto a 30 year old motor?

No idea of any other work as it was bought like this.

Yeah, yeah, yeah. I know. But mid life crisis happen at any time.

Check the compressioin readings and post them here.

Added two quarts. Oil level on the dipstick is now present and comes to the “add” level indicator. I will venture to the store sometime this week and get 3 or 4 more quarts. Along with plugs, wires, fuel and air filters.

Thanks for all the help, problem solved.

What was the problem?

yeah I’m dying to know!!

As its an older truck with an older engine, I put 2 quarts of oil in and it showed up on the dipstick. I just need to be more vigilant of my levels.

It’s A Ritual (And I Have Several Cars).
I Check My Cars’ Fluids Every Week-End. Takes Just Minutes To Pull The Dipsticks Up On Cold Engines (I Don’t Even Remove Them, Just Raise Them), Eye-Ball Coolant, P/S Fluid, And Coolant.

I have one old car (The Wife’s “Old car”) that did go 700 - 750 miles each week and I just planned on adding a 1/2 quart of oil in it (I divide a quart using one full and one empty bottle). I don’t let an engine get low a quart.

Thankfully, this vehicle is going ( out to pasture ) on my 16 year-old daughter’s High School commute circuit and it will only go a short 200 - 250 miles / week. Now the Wife’s “New” car will take the long route and it’s not a consumer.

I have a paved driveway / parking area and I don’t check transmission fluid weekly, but I do check the ground for any evidence of leaks instead.

Do this every week and the chances of your vehicle running low on critical fluids is greatly reduced. Also, you will get to know what is “normal” for a vehicle and what is not normal.


“Ok, down to business. I have a 1981 Ford F-100 with a 351w, offenhauser racing intake, 4bbl holley, c6 stall converter, 540 lunati lift cam and a nice MSD ignition.”

Instead of wasting your money on this stuff, maybe you should check your oil more often…1981…30 year old beater…save your money for a 20 year step-up…Make a bird-bath out of the Holly and Offy parts…