Blogs Car Info Our Show Deals Mechanics Files Vehicle Donation

Way too much oil!

I have a 1995 Volvo 960 turbo. I acquired the car from a friend who buys, fixes and sells cars. It overheated one day and got smoking hot. It was overheating every time I drove it. However, no evidence of water in the oil. I thought it blew a head gasket. So,I used a “guaranteed” head gasket sealer and had a mechanic friend help me administer it. He followed the directions exactly. It seemed to work. I decided to sell the car. A friend of my boyfriends wife had crashed their car, and they needed a car asap so she could get to work, but were waiting for the insurance check. I wrote a contract and agreed to wait a couple weeks for payment while letting them have the car. A couple days later I heard the car had overheated on her way to work, and was towed to the nearby brother-in-laws house. I was told it overheated approx. 20 miles from their home. Not sure how lo hot it got or how long it was driven in that condition. We talked and agreed to first, determine the cars problem, cost to repair, then discuss further. Couple of days later, find out the guy got arrested for hosting cock-fights and was in jail. I finally found it and got it home. 8 mile drive home running very badly. Now, there was no question about water in the oil. Oil was tan in color. So I decided to try using “liquid glass” to fix it. My boyfriend started the procedure. Drained and flushed the radiator but then stopped. We got in a fight. I got frustrated and decided to do it myself. I went under the car and drained what I thought was the oil. It was dark in color, not tan at all. I wondered about it. My boyfriend came over and decided to take over. I told what I had done. Changed the oil filter and drained the oil. Had new oil for it and had added 2 quarts, but was having trouble reading the dipstick. It had tan oil running half way up the stick. He put deisel down the dipstick and added another 3 quarts of oil. I asked him why the oil I drained wasn’t tan like the other. He didn’t respond and was annoyed I tried to do it myself. He added the liquid glass and we started it and ran it for about 10 minutes. It idled good at first but then started sounding really rough, then sounding really bad. I turned it off. Then he looked at the “oil” I drained and told me I drained the transmission. He then realized there was a bit to much oil in the car so went to drain some out. When he removed the plug it was like opening the flood gates. Tan oil everywhere. The oil catch pan overflowed, it was a horrible mess. Not to mention, this was a dark, pouring down rainy night. Cleaned up the mess and decided to call it a night. I was upset because I didn’t understand why he didn’t catch the big red flags (different color fluid, tan oil half way up the dipstick). The next morning I was woke up being told the motor was toast. I screwed it up trying to fix it myself. He said he put some oil in it and started it and oil was gushing out the side of the motor. That the motor was shot and what was I thinking trying to do it myself. I thought he should have caught my mistake when I questioned the difference in color of fluids. Anyway, bottom line is that there was 12 to 13 quarts of oil in the car and it was ran for about ten minutes. Not driven, but motor running and revved. I think it could be a seal or gasket or something that blew. But I haven’t been able to find on the internet about people putting in twice the oil a car needs and problems resulting from that. I know this is a book, but that’s what happened. The cars been parked for 9 months and my father wants me to junk it. It’s a nice car and I don’t think its a junker. I’m hoping it’s something somewhat simple to fix and not a blown motor from way to much oil. Please help and give me some advice I trust.

I admire your skill at posting a long question, I get lost after the first few lines. Can you in one short sentence tell me what it does and does not do?

“A friend of my boyfriends wife had crashed their car, and they needed a car asap so she could get to work,”

We try to avoid soap-operas here…You never know what you are going to get into…I suspect the CAR is the LEAST of your problems…

I also would be nice if you added a space after each period before the new sentence, and give us a brake between sentences. All those letters just merge into a single mix and is very hard to read. Take a look at a news paper and see what they do with formatting.


The OP is not likely to get as many valuable responses as she would if her post was formatted in a way that encourages reading.

Truthfully, I will not even bother reading a long, unformatted post like the OP’s saga, and I suspect that many others feel the same way.

You need the help of a professional mechanic. Not to be flip, but the evidence in your post suggests that doing it yourself has made things far worse than they were originally. You should have it towed to a mechanic who can give you a diagnosis that is not possible from those of us who haven’t seen the car. Too many things could be wrong for us to give an intelligent reply at this time. If you post back with the mechanic’s recommendations it might be possible to make some suggestions.

Alright, so I read through that, and if I have this right, you drained the transmission, then put oil in the already full oil reservoir, then for some reason I can’t quite figure out put some diesel fuel in there as well. You also used two weird products instead of replacing the head gasket like you should.

If I have that right, then I can’t say for certain, but I’m guessing your car needs a new engine and transmission. What you didn’t damage in the engine with your gasket sealing snake oil, you hurt by having too much oil in the pan, which means it probably got nice and frothy and failed to lubricate as it was pumping through the engine. That’s why your engine kept running worse, and you exacerbated the problem by not shutting it down as soon as you detected a new problem. Then since your tranny was spinning around with no fluid in it, it probably bought the farm as well.

What you most likely have now is a very nice rolling chassis. Your best bet is to sell it to someone who wants a very nice rolling chassis to put a big motor in, if you can find a person who wants to do that. You should probably start posting for sale ads on Volvo performance forums (Try if it still exists) selling a rolling chassis, specifying that the buyer must haul it away himself. Don’t expect to get very much money for it, but it’s better than the $0 you’ll get from the junkyard, which is your other option.


If one takes into consideration the lengthy history of overheating, the continued reliance on halfaxx methods of generally ineffective sealing products, and the coolant diluted engine oil which will wash out many internal engine parts, the engine is scrap metal in my opinion.

Your father is correct. If you want to keep this car make the decision to either spend a fair amount of money on a good engine or send the car to the Recycle Bin, where it will be deleted permanently.

You’re blaming him because he “should have caught your mistake” when you worked on the car on a dark, rainy night, probably while angry, and only half sure what you were doing?

You didn’t do anything right from the beginning! When the car started to overheat, you should have shut it off then, not gotten it “smoking hot” It also sounds like you overheated it several times since then, used a quick, questionable fix on it, not knowing what was wrong in the first place, then loaned it to someone just as clueless. THEN, decided to use another questionable fix on it, implemented poorly.

I think it’s likely that the engine is now pretty well shot, but you will need someone with some know how to truly assess that. If you had 12 quarts of oil in the engine, nearly 4X what should be in there, it is possible you got lucky and just blew a seal. If you drained the transmission fluid, did you refill that? If it’s an automatic, they need to be filled the correct amount, not over or under or you risk damaging that as well. And it’s a turbo engine–also very sensitive to the right oil. Running a turbo in a situation where it may have been starved for oil or with water in the oil, the turbo may have problems now too–not cheap!

If it’s a nice car and everything else is OK, it MIGHT be worth fixing at this point, but it is a 95 and Volvos aren’t cheap to keep running. So you may be better off getting something else.

With all due respect, do you live the rest of your life like this? If so, you should consider stopping and thinking once in a while. I have too many friends like you and used to be the same way myself when I was younger. (always a struggle to not be that person anymore)

Best wishes and good luck!

Using chemical additives to fix a motor with real problems isn’t going to work. The additives gunk up the inside of the radiator and don’t fix anything. You are trying to band aids on a sick motor.

The motor might not be “toast” but it is very sick. Being a Volvo it will expensive to diagnose and fix it properly. Given that you are trying cheap fixes I sense you don’t have the $2,000 to 3,000 dollars it will likely take to fix the motor properly.

Sell, or donate the car as is to some charity organization and start looking for another car. Don’t get another old Volvo, they are money pits just like the one you have now.

Before you put your car in drive be sure to refill the transmission with fluid. If you don’t you’ll have a toasted motor and a similarly toasted transmission.

You Should Have Listened To Dad More Carefully While Growing UP (Aging) And You Should Definitely Listen To Him, Now.

The lesssons you should have learned from this whole experience are priceless. Read what you wrote and reflect on some of your decisions and choices and don’t overlook those involved in acquaintences and relationships.


Shadow, I suspect the tranny, if it was never engaged, survived, and might even have if engaged. Since it had low, not no, fluid. But the engine? Yeah, toasty goodness. Or badness in this case

I’m sorry, but you dad’s right. Junk it. It’ll cost you far more to repair it than the value of the car.

You have far more engine damage than a simple blown seal. You’ve repeatedly overheated the engine, clearly causing a least a blown headgasket and very likely a badly warped head.

You’ve also run it with the oil filled to a level where it sounds like the crankshaft has whipped it onto a froth, making it impossible for the oil pump to supply the bearings with a good pressurized barrier to ride on. That was the part where you drained the tranny fluid rather than the oil, and then added apparently a huge amount of oil to the crankcase…leaving it with 12 to 13 quarts? Damage would include damage to the bearings, the crank, the connecting rods, and the cylinder walls.

The turbocharger is probably history also, as they too need lubrication and cooling. When the engine lost its ability to provide pressurized oil due to frothing, the turbo lost its oil as well.

If the oil was truely gushing out the side of the engine, it may have been because when the rod bearings lost their lubricant one seized, a rod broke, and it punched a hole in the engine wall. Normally horrible noises accompany this manifestation.

You’ve probably damaged the tranny, whereas you’v run it dry. You may have lucked uot since you never put it in “drive”, but the pumps were still running without lube or cooling.

The entire cooling system including the heating system is now filled, coated, and variously clogged with a cloagulation of various additives all designed to plug things up.

IMHO this 1996 is history.

I would suggest taking three lessons away from this experience:

  1. do not continue to run an engine once it overheats until it’s properly repaired.
  2. Additives are not a proper repair. A proper repair corrects the CAUSE and not just the manifestations.
  3. don’t try to repair complex machinery yourself unless you know what you’re doing.

Sincere best. Time to call a junkman to pick up the ol’ Volvo.

Well, it was hard to tell whether or not she/he/whoever drained all the fluid or not. And since it’s been parked for 9 months, I made the (likely wrong) assumption that they drove it to the parking spot, which could have destroyed it.