Hemi Oil Usage - Jeep Commander Forums: Jeep Commander Forum
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post #1 of 19 (permalink) Old 05-23-2015, 06:06 PM Thread Starter
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Hemi Oil Usage

My girlfriend's 07 limited with the hemi is a few miles over for an oil change. I checked the oil today after it had sat all night. The oil was about halfway between the tip of the dipsticks and the add line. We've only owned the jeep for a year. Shortly after we first got it, we had it serviced and used synthetic oil. They told us that it should be good for 5k miles. As I mentioned, it is just now a few miles over due. She works only 10 minutes from home, so all week it is driven short distances, mostly 35 mph. Is this oil usage normal? I can't tell that it is leaking anywhere.
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post #2 of 19 (permalink) Old 05-23-2015, 07:17 PM
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As long as it is in the safe level it should be ok. Mine is usually down about 1/2 a quart when I do an oil change. Did you read the dipstick the same way after the oil change? Car on level ground etc. As long as you do not see leaks, drips or smoke in the exhaust you should not worry.

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post #3 of 19 (permalink) Old 05-23-2015, 10:34 PM Thread Starter
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Oil is below the add line on the dipstick. Halfway between the tip and add line. A little over 5k miles since last oil change. As I mentioned, we've only had the jeep a year now and had it serviced once. I don't think I've ever even checked the oil in it before until today.
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post #4 of 19 (permalink) Old 05-24-2015, 12:38 PM
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Have you looked for leaks?

Consuming more than 1qt of oil per 1000 miles is the cut off between acceptable and unacceptable.

Most engines only hold 5qts of oil, so if you're going 5k miles between oil changes you can suck the engine dry before the next oil change. That is why you need to check the engine oil level periodically, at least every 1000 miles.

Before you run out of oil, as you drive the oil will slosh, if there is barely anything left in the pan, then it will uncover the pick up and you'll suck in air, which will drop the oil pressure and you'll get the low oil pressure light coming on. Usually most people first response when that happens is to check the oil level and will discover the extreme low oil level.

So it sounds like your Hemi has consumed more than half its oil since the last oil change. You don't know if its done this at a steady rate or if its suddenly started consuming oil at an unacceptable rate, because you haven't been checking. If its been doing it steady, it sounds like you're under the acceptable rate of oil consumption.

But, it sound like the oil consumption is enough to concern you and should be looked into. Oil is consumed two ways, wear and/or malfunctions, even a new engine oil gets pasts seals, piston rings and valve stems and gets inside the cylinder and burned, as the engine wears this gets worse to the point where the engine is so worn out that oil gets past everything is burning and going out the exhaust, this usually produces grey-bluish smoke coming from the exhaust. About the only wear item that is practically repairable without an engine rebuild, is the valve stem seals, and sometimes they do go bad and replacing them cures high oil consumption. The malfunctions that cause high oil consumption? Keep in mind, the oil is splashing around, pumped all over the motor and even misting all over in the air inside the motor, so any minor seals/gasket on the motor develops a leak, a lot of oil can leak out of it. The crankcase has to have pressures equalized and fresh air circulated through it, there are valves and breathers to do this, they have valves and baffles to move the air without taking to much misted oil with it. Just the PCV valve getting dirty or clogged could cause a lot of oil to flow out of the crankcase and into the intake to be burned by the motor. So you have to look all these things over.

A couple miles over the 5k makes no difference at all, you have to change the oil before it degrades so bad it is NOT protecting the engine like it should. Most change intervals are earlier than needed, and the oil degrades slowly, so its NOT like at 5001 miles the engine just eats itself, you can go a while longer, several hundred miles at least without much worry.

BTW, short trips only, where the engine doesn't reach full operating temp during the trip, is about the most severe usage on the oil, you really need to follow the severe duty schedule for the vehicle. Yes, synthetic oil will last longer under the same conditions as conventional oil, so every 5k miles is probably a good change interval for all short trips using synthetic oil. Check your Owners Manual and take that over my opinion.
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post #5 of 19 (permalink) Old 05-24-2015, 12:50 PM Thread Starter
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So you're saying I should just keep an eye on it to see of this is normal or not? Should I change the oil change interval to 3k miles, since it is mostly short trips in town? And does anyone else with hemi's experience this kind of oil usage? It's been almost a year since the last oil change.
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Last edited by music_man185; 05-24-2015 at 01:11 PM.
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post #6 of 19 (permalink) Old 05-24-2015, 01:10 PM Thread Starter
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Forget to mention, the jeep is about to turn 100k miles
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post #7 of 19 (permalink) Old 05-24-2015, 01:26 PM
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What does your Owner's Manual say for oil change interval, the guys that designed and tested your Commander know better than anyone else and they wrote it down for you and put it in a book you got with the Vehicle, called the Owner's Manual.

Ok, Ok, since no one reads the owner's manuals anymore, the manufacturers actually stopped putting them in the glove boxes, you might NOT have one, just the quick start user guide (which probably has the oil change schedule), but you can go to the Jeep website and download an electronic one.

Like I said, since you're driving all short trips, you should be using the sever duty maintenance schedule. If you use synthetic oil, IMO and most people's as well, you can extend the oil change interval out 50% or more safely.

What to do about it?
  • 1st look the motor for leaking oil. If you can't figure out the exact spot for the source of the leak, i.e. oil all over, then clean the motor well and keep checking it each day to spot the oil leak as it starts. Fix the Leak.
  • Check the PCV valve, if its only a couple of bucks, why NOT just a new one to make sure its working right. I "think" the Hemi has a different kind of PCV valve that requires periodic disassemble and cleaning, its in the maintenance schedule in O.M. that if is overdue, it will cause high oil consumption.
  • Check the exhaust for the gray-bluish smoke that is burning oil, if the exhaust blows out a lot of smoke of this color after sitting at a stop light for a minute two, as you drive away you can see that smoke in the rear view mirror, that is a good sign its valve stem seals.
  • Keep checking the oil level, make a habit of it every week, and track how much oil is consumed per miles, like I said more than 1qt per 1000 miles is unacceptable and you really should look into correcting it. It may indicate a worn out motor.
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post #8 of 19 (permalink) Old 05-24-2015, 01:30 PM Thread Starter
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I don't have a owners manual, so I will look for one online. I also read that it is better to start the engine for a couple minutes before checking the oil. Is this
correct? I checked it after it had sat all night and half the day.
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post #9 of 19 (permalink) Old 05-24-2015, 03:10 PM
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post #10 of 19 (permalink) Old 05-24-2015, 03:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by music_man185 View Post
I don't have a owners manual, so I will look for one online. I also read that it is better to start the engine for a couple minutes before checking the oil. Is this
correct? I checked it after it had sat all night and half the day.
No it is NOT correct. The owner's manual will describe how to check the oil, in almost cases you want to check the oil with the motor off and a minute or two after it has been shut off or longer, how much longer makes no difference.

While the motor is running, it is pumping oil all through the motor, so the oil level will be lower than when it is off. Once you turn it off it takes a few seconds for the oil pumped up to the top of the motor to drain back down to the pan. The oil filter has an anti-drainback valve in it to prevent oil from draining out from the pump and internal oil journals of the motor, that is a good thing so every time you start there is oil, NOT air, in the oil system to get it pumping right away. The oil level already corrects for that trapped oil.

The difference in oil level between one minute after shutoff and hours or more, is minuscule, probably can't even tell on the dip stick.

The only way to get a false oil level reading is too check while the motor is running or only seconds after the motor is shut off, and it will be lower than the actual oil level, because oil that should be in the pan is all over the motor draining back toward the pan. Again, after the motor is off, it doesn't take but a minute for just about every drop of oil (that is suppose to) to drain back to the pan.
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