: ShortStar 3.5L oil usage
12-15-04, 01:31 AM
Hello all. I am new to the forum, but have already found through reading that this is one of few places on the internet to recieve knowledgable input and experience oriented facts about the Northstar. More difficult yet to find is feedback and answers about the "Shortstar" aka LX5 engine. To my knowledge, the Oldsmobile Intrigue is the only GM to use this engine. It is 3.5L in displacement, for those who are not familiar, and shares many of the traits of the Northstars. Most importantly are the all aluminum block and heads and DOHC design.
I have read on this site already about oil consumption traits and characteristics of the Northstar. I have recently been noticing heavy oil consumption in my 2000 Oldsmobile Intrigue. I have had the vehicle since February 2004 and have tacked about 12000 miles onto it to total just under 113000 currently. I don't see any signs of leakage underneath and have seen NO oil spots on the driveway. Two weeks ago, 3/4 a qt was added to top off the oil (cold engine). This past friday, I added an additional quart to the engine (cold) to top it off. I am a bit concerned about this as there was just over 300 miles in between adding. I did the obvious thing and changed the PCV valve a few months back as it has been using SOME oil since I have owned it. It seems recently, however, that the consumption has increased. My last oil cange, I put in 5w30 QuakerState HighMilage (non-synthetic) to see if the oil brand used previously had been effecting the consumption. This, however, proved not to be the case as the consumption seemed to increase further with the different oil. I am slightly less worried after finding that it is NOT an uncommon thing to add oil to this engine, but I AM still concerned because I feel as if I am having to add too much. Any input on this would be appreciated! Thanks!
Where are you "topping it off" to? If you are keeping the level at the MAX mark, that may be part of your problem. Keep the level no higher than half way between ADD and MAX. My consumption seemed to drop after I stopped that. Now I add one qt. when it gets to the bottom off the dipstick or when the check oil level light comes on. Apparently keeping the level at MAX will allow the crankshaft counter weights to mist the oil and suck it into the PCV and burn it til the level gets down again.
12-15-04, 12:44 PM
The Shortstar uses much the same piston and ring package as the Northstar so it also benefits from "exercising" to keep the rings free in the piston grooves and free of carbon. Flog it regularly. That engine is extremely robust and enjoys one of the lowest warranty claims and problems/100 engines in the industry, period. You practically can't hurt it.
Keep the oil level at the mid to low end of the operating range, CHECK IT HOT and stop topping off like that. You're probably causing most of the problem by continually topping off and topping off cold. ALWAYS CHECK IT HOT AND NEVER OVERFILL. If you top off to the full mark cold you're overfilling.
That engine was used in the Olds Intrigue (which is a very nice package also and tremendously underrated) and also the Olds Aurora for 2000-2002, If I'm not mistaken. Use 5W30 conventional oil in the engine. Any brand with the GF-3/GF-4 starburst symbol is fine. These engines and cars are their own worst enemy. The engine has almost 120,000 miles on it and you are worried about a little potential oil consumption...
12-15-04, 02:45 PM
5W30 is all I ever use in this car. I generally do take her out for regular exercise as I go to school about 40 miles from my girlfriend and work. Most of that driving is done at a hair over 80 (give or take). I have only owned pushrod engines previously, so I naturally sweat oil usage (my last car did that just before we noticed the head was cracked and it was ingesting coolant...).
In regards to checking it hot, it generally shows a lower reading if i don't give the oil time to drain down to the pan. That is the rationale for checking it cold I guess.
12-15-04, 11:51 PM
Check it hot. You should see the level a little higher due to the oil expansion. The oil drains down FAST in that engine. As much oil as it pumps it has to drain down fast to prevent starving the pump. It has drained down 99% by the time you get the drivers door open to open the hood. Checking it cold is okay, too. Just stay away from the full mark. Keep it a 1/2 quart low if checking cold and monitor the oil consumption like that.
12-18-04, 08:10 PM
I agree with what everybody else has said. There is no miracle in a bottle, but on some of the other boards I'm on people have reported less oil consumption with Valvoline Max Life and German Castrol Syntec. The Castrol comes only in 0w-30 (fear not) in a black bottle and it will say "Made In Germany" on the back. It is found primarily at AutoZones but you might have to dig through some other stuff to find the good Castrol or even wait and check it once a week or so. The counter people are unlikely to know the difference, if you ask they'll just look at you like you have a third eye.
01-16-08, 05:42 PM
I HAVE A 99 INTRIGUE WITH A 115k ON IT. MY OIL USAGE HAS INCREASED GRADUALY FROM ABOUT 80K. PRESENT LEVEL ABOUT A QT / 700-800 MI. LOOKING AT SOME NORTHSTAR DATA I DISCOVERED A OIL CONSUMTION BULLETIN 01-06-01-011 TO PUT SOLVENT THRU THE PLUG HOLES , LET IT SIT 2 HRS AND EXTRACT IT. DOES THIS WORK? HOW EXSENSIVE? IS THERE A BULLETIN FOR THE LX5. THIS THING HAS LOOSENED AND REALLY GOES. WOULD LIKE TO RUN IT A WHILE YET BUT IF THIS BUGGY IS GOING TO START SMOKING MAYBE ITS TIME TO MOVE ON.
Go to the TECHNICAL ARCHIVES at the top left of this page and read up on oil consumption. Though it was written for the Northstar, maybe it will help your car.
01-21-08, 02:33 PM
I had a 99 intrigue that had the same oil consumption, about a quart every 300-500 miles. The good news is if you're forgetful, there's a sensor on the oil pan that lets you know you're low.
And I really drove that car hard, I mean like a nut, and it ran like a champ always. Never any issues except a TPS.
Crown Vic Owner
01-21-08, 07:19 PM
honestly, throw it in first, drive around the neighborhood a bit (get it to just about redline / the shift point at WOT) and let it rev down BY ITSELF (engine brake), repeat 5 times, you should be good. After this, find the closest busy road and put the pedal to the floor.