Ran the car with no oil - Rattling sound - Nissan Murano Forum
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#1 Old 07-14-2011, 06:13 PM
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Ran the car with no oil - Rattling sound

I have a:
2006
SL AWD
97K Miles

About 3 days ago someone emptied the motor oil in my car and I didn't realize it until the engine started making a rattling noise shortly before the oil light came on. I drove two miles total before shutting the car off. After shutting the car off, the remaining oil (about a half cup) leaked out because the oil plug was gone. I replaced the oil, filter, and oil plug myself with 4.25 quarts of synthetic 5w-30 mobil1 oil and an oil plug and filter from a nissan dealership. I don't know if the oil that was in it before was synthetic or not because I bought this car 2 weeks ago.

My problem is right now the car makes a rattling sound at low RPM's and sometimes when idling when I just started the car and especially when I am on a hill. It's not the same rattling sound as before when the car had no oil. It is much quieter and can only be heard with the windows down. Could this be a result of damage from starving the engine of oil for two miles? Could it be because of the new oil or filter?

One of my friends is recommending seafoam/gumout and says the sound is from the lifters, but I don't know if I should trust him because he was the one who emptied my oil in the first place.
All help and advice is appreciated
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#2 Old 07-14-2011, 07:40 PM
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Don't trust him. Not because he emptied your oil, but because the noise is not from lifters...!

You need to describe the noise a bit more. If it happens on the hill, it is probably more due to spark knock than anything else. Try pinpointing the noise from the engine compartment. Then before doing anything else, try the simple stuff. Try couple of tankful of high octane or premium gas and see if the noise goes away.

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#3 Old 07-14-2011, 08:33 PM
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juju-

The oil light is triggered by a lack of pressure. The fact that it did not immediately come on and remain on during start-up indicates there was sufficient oil in the pipeline, so to speak, to maintain adequate pressure in the circuit. Any knocking sound you heard prior to the oil light coming on would not be attributed to oil starvation.

However, driving for two miles with inadequate pressure may have damaged the crank bearings which could be the noise you are hearing.

Out of curiosity, how did someone drain your oil without you knowing about it?

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#4 Old 07-14-2011, 10:47 PM
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I found that a little curious myself...."someone emptied the oil"?? That's a good bit on anonymity for someone who did something as serious as this.

I can't imagine any engine that had all the oil drained out and the oil drain plug removed ....that wouldnt' have immediately triggered a CEL in the oil warning system.....after all, with the drain plug out and no oil, there can't be any pressure in the system for two miles....no way. Is two miles a best guess or could it have been further? The oil pickup pump would have run for ten seconds and gone dry...no oil to the lifters, cylinders, bearings, bushings....and it ran for two miles with no CEL? Did the engine heat light come on too? I'm surprised it didn't sieze up, although I have seen some ads where they used synthetic oils and ran the engine without oil and there was enough lubrication in there for it to run for a while....but hardly a good practice. If this "someone" isn't a close friend or relative, I'd be looking for some sort of recourse and have it totally checked over by a qualified mechanic...check compression and as much as can be checked without pulling the heads. If they can drop the pan without pulling the engine, I'd do that to take a look at the lower end. I don't know the Murano well enough to know if that can be done.

At the very least, change the oil and the oil filter immediately after running it for a short while....if there are any metal filings in there, you want them out of there and an oil change will wash out some of the contaminants. It's a stop gap measure, but the best I can suggest. You can also send a sample of the oil in to companies that do an analysis to see if filings are present. If they are, your main bearings are probably at risk. Sorry to sound like the harbinger of doom, but this is a potentially serious issue. I sincerely hope you get thru it ok...mabye you'll be lucky. It is possible, but not probable, that the plug "might" have been in there but not tightened and dropped out as you were driving...which would mean that it wouldn't throw a CEL until the oil ran out...that would be a better scenario than the first one....but I imagine you went back to that "someone" and should have found the drain plug sitting there....

2009 Murano LE, white/tan, 48K miles; with all the amenities you can pack into this thing. Whoever had it first was obviously a doo-dad guy. Can't watch DVD movies because the headrest screens are facing backwards!!
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#5 Old 07-15-2011, 12:57 AM
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Zebelkhan-
Sorry if I sound like an idiot but could spark knock be fixed by...replacing the spark plugs?
The noise I heard was when I was backing out of a parking space on an incline and I haven't noticed the same noise when on my flat driveway. It is a high pitched rattle sort of like an old fashioned alarm clock ringing. I am using regular fuel right now and I got a half tank left but would gladly switch to premium as long as it is safe to keep using the car while it is making this noise.
On a side note- are you Persian? I noticed your username and couldn't help but notice. I think it's awesome that you're giving out all this great advice and I can't thank you enough

Njjoe-
I parked at my friends house and he apparently emptied my oil as a prank and figured I would find out before starting to drive. Also I checked the dash for warning lights about 20 seconds after I heard the knocking noise and the oil light was on. Although I dont know how long it had been on for, I think I would have noticed it earlier if it had been on when I started the car

Chuck jones-
I will definitely get the car checked out after hearing that even though I am not savvy with this at all, replacing bearings sounds expensive. Do you think I should be running the car at all like this? Or just try to keep driving to a minimum until I can get it figured out? All I am sure of is that the car did not throw a CEL or a heat light. (I didnt even know a heat light existed) Only an oil light. And the plug was definitely missing. Only thing I regret is not pulling over Immediately and not checking the heat gauge. The distance I drove was 1.8 miles exactly. And the knocking sound/ oil light came on at approx. 0.2 miles into the trip. As I traced my path the next day I saw drips of oil where I had made turns or slowed down and there was also a puddle of oil in my garage where I stopped.
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#6 Old 07-15-2011, 01:29 AM
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You wrote: "I parked at my friends house and he apparently emptied my oil as a prank and figured I would find out before starting to drive"....WTF??? A JOKE? That's not like any joke I've ever heard...and this is a FRIEND? What's next, sugar in the gas tank? Remember, friends don't let friends drive without oil in their cars. He needs a serious A$$ kicking.

I said heat light....but the Murano has a heat GAUGE...sorry for the misnomer. You may be ok if you pulled over and shut down as soon as you heard the knocking. Oil starvation usually results in your valves tapping first as they run out of lubricant....your bearings are at the bottom and would benefit from any dripping oil that might be in the lines or coming down from the valves etc....so you may be ok. You're right...if it's bearings, you've pretty much $hit canned an engine...because with the main bearings comes the rods connected to the pistons, etc. But the engine didn't heat up...friction causes heat and is a major killer of engines. If it stayed cool, then you may be lucky.

At the very least, change your oil and filter and use the oil you put in not too long ago to flush out any metal filings that might have come from metal scraping on metal without lubricants.

One of my daughters ran out of oil....ignored the oil warning light (my girls think a red light on the dash means Xmas is coming ) and the engine heated and actually BURNED HOLES thru the valves and valve guides. It was ugly...so I said screw it...bought her a used engine with over 120K miles on it out of another Probe and put it in for $600 and made her pay for it....boo-hoo time....

Good luck on your situation....you may be ok....and dodged a bullet.

BTW...how did you get the car back home or wherever it came from with no oil in it? How did you think to look for the drain plug? Had you just come from an oil change from this "someone"? Did he look anything like you? Heh-heh.....jes hadda' throw that in. I usually say something like..."You wouldn't believe what my brother did..." It helps to remain anonymous.

2009 Murano LE, white/tan, 48K miles; with all the amenities you can pack into this thing. Whoever had it first was obviously a doo-dad guy. Can't watch DVD movies because the headrest screens are facing backwards!!
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#7 Old 07-15-2011, 07:20 AM
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Some friend! Do a complete flush and put the good stuff (synthetic oil and premium gas). Keep in mind that some members, including me, have occasional rattles at low RPM so don't become to paranoid. Although with a ''friend'' like that, I'd be committed!

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#8 Old 07-15-2011, 07:39 AM
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This is not a prank, this is vandalism. File a police report against him.

Send the car to a reputable dealer for a complete inspection and repair and have the person be responsible for the complete billing.

If he refuse to pay then you go after him through the legal system.

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#9 Old 07-15-2011, 08:23 AM
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These vehicles dont have an oil pressure sensor? Usually there is a sensor that cuts off the fuel pump if oil pressure is to low.
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#10 Old 07-15-2011, 08:25 AM
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Oh and if this friend of yours did drain your oil. You need to kick him in the nutz.
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#11 Old 07-15-2011, 11:10 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by benhui86 View Post
This is not a prank, this is vandalism. File a police report against him.

Send the car to a reputable dealer for a complete inspection and repair and have the person be responsible for the complete billing.

If he refuse to pay then you go after him through the legal system.
I agree 100%!

A prank is putting a whistler in the exhaust pipe. A prank is wrapping a car in shrink wrap. A prank is hanging a goofy sign on the rear bumper.

Removing the oil drain plug and draining the engine oil from a car without the owner's knowledge is a criminal act. I would definitely file a police report today and then alert your insurance company.

Your car could have suffered major damage that a simple filter and oil change will not fix.

-njjoe

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#12 Old 07-15-2011, 12:47 PM
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I second the notion to kick your "friend's" A$$! Not only should he pay for a new engine in your car but should also pay for a rental for you while you're down a vehicle.

There is no telling what damage was done to your MO's engine while there was no oil. You could have scored your cylinder walls, wore out the piston rod bearings, damaged the timing chain, heads, rings, crank shaft, cam shafts, etc, etc, etc. I would ask for a brand new engine or a very good use one! You should not have to pay a single penny on the repair.

After 142K miles, my MO is history. Now sporting a loaded silver 2012 Ford Edge Limited with 20" wheels.
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#13 Old 07-15-2011, 04:02 PM
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Originally Posted by chuck jones View Post
You wrote: "I parked at my friends house and he apparently emptied my oil as a prank and figured I would find out before starting to drive"....WTF??? A JOKE? That's not like any joke I've ever heard...and this is a FRIEND? What's next, sugar in the gas tank? Remember, friends don't let friends drive without oil in their cars. He needs a serious A$$ kicking.

I said heat light....but the Murano has a heat GAUGE...sorry for the misnomer. You may be ok if you pulled over and shut down as soon as you heard the knocking. Oil starvation usually results in your valves tapping first as they run out of lubricant....your bearings are at the bottom and would benefit from any dripping oil that might be in the lines or coming down from the valves etc....so you may be ok. You're right...if it's bearings, you've pretty much $hit canned an engine...because with the main bearings comes the rods connected to the pistons, etc. But the engine didn't heat up...friction causes heat and is a major killer of engines. If it stayed cool, then you may be lucky.

At the very least, change your oil and filter and use the oil you put in not too long ago to flush out any metal filings that might have come from metal scraping on metal without lubricants.

One of my daughters ran out of oil....ignored the oil warning light (my girls think a red light on the dash means Xmas is coming ) and the engine heated and actually BURNED HOLES thru the valves and valve guides. It was ugly...so I said screw it...bought her a used engine with over 120K miles on it out of another Probe and put it in for $600 and made her pay for it....boo-hoo time....

Good luck on your situation....you may be ok....and dodged a bullet.

BTW...how did you get the car back home or wherever it came from with no oil in it? How did you think to look for the drain plug? Had you just come from an oil change from this "someone"? Did he look anything like you? Heh-heh.....jes hadda' throw that in. I usually say something like..."You wouldn't believe what my brother did..." It helps to remain anonymous.

I don't think I messed up the bearings, especially since I am not hearing the rattling any more. I just took it for a drive and everything sounds ok. Although I still don't know if I should be driving it at all, I will be taking it to a dealer this weekend to have it looked at. Also I got my car back home because my home was 2 miles away. Maybe I should have mentioned that, but I never stopped. If the trip was 10 miles instead of two I probably wouldn't have stopped either! I had no idea how serious the problem was and I realize I got very lucky. And all I saw when I got back home was a hole in the bottom of my car with oil slowly dripping out of it. I had my dad come look at it and he told me the oil plug is missing, and we went and bought a new one from the dealership. If it was me who made the mistake I would be straight about it I have no problem letting you know that I wouldn't know how to remove an oil plug anyway, let alone change the oil, and that before this I had no idea I had to pull over if the oil light came on.
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#14 Old 07-15-2011, 05:47 PM
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If there is damage, HE should pay for it. This is one of the most destructive, idiotic, thoughtless stunts I have ever heard of.

I agree with others that if all the oil had been drained, the warning light would have come on immediately. Remember the light is not to indicate low oil level, but low oil pressure. If there was no oil, you would have had no pressure - hence the light stayed off until enough oil had drained out that you lost pressure. At that point, there is only one thing you can do - turn the key off and stop. Any driving after that point risks terminal damage to rings, cylinders, bearings and camshaft.

This kind of idiocy is one reason I run synthetic lubricants. If anything saved the motor in this situation, it is running synthetic, which keeps a better film on metal parts and stands up better under punishment. I have heard of motors running for some time at steady speeds (not speeding up and slowing down, which changes the load on the oil film) without damage when running synthetic - but you cannot safely assume this was the case.

What would I do? I would absolutely take the car into a dealer for a thorough check-up, and tell the "friend" that he is getting the bill. And by thorough, I mean I would ask them to do every diagnostic test they have in the book, and not be afraid to spend a few hundred dollars in the process. Specifically - you will want the oil pressure tested, a complete oil and filter change, and you'll want the guy doing the oil change to drop the oil in a separate container from that he usually dumps into, and examine the oil for metal particles.

I would also inform the idiot "friend" that he is getting the bill for any repairs that are needed, up to and including an engine rebuild.

If he disagrees, I'd go straight to small claims court and get a judgment for the cost of the diagnostics...and establish a legal record that he is responsible.

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#15 Old 07-15-2011, 06:01 PM
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Originally Posted by jujuface View Post
Zebelkhan-
Sorry if I sound like an idiot but could spark knock be fixed by...replacing the spark plugs?
The noise I heard was when I was backing out of a parking space on an incline and I haven't noticed the same noise when on my flat driveway. It is a high pitched rattle sort of like an old fashioned alarm clock ringing. I am using regular fuel right now and I got a half tank left but would gladly switch to premium as long as it is safe to keep using the car while it is making this noise.
On a side note- are you Persian? I noticed your username and couldn't help but notice. I think it's awesome that you're giving out all this great advice and I can't thank you enough
jujuface

Yes, I am Persian, and with a user name like yours, you must be too...

Other members have given you great advice here and I can't really add more. I would also recommend having the mechanic listen to the bottom of the engine and look for any unusual knocking noises. If report comes back clear you may have dodged the bullet.

I mentioned spark knock because I thought you said you heard the knock when your engine was under load, i.e. going up hill.

Spark knock, also known as detonation, is an erratic form of combustion that occurs when multiple flame fronts occur simultaneously inside the cylinders. It usually happens during acceleration, particularly when engine is heavily loaded and cylinder pressures are at their highest.

Most common causes of spark knock are accumulation of carbon deposits in the cylinders which can increase compression to the point where it exceeds fuel octane rating, as well as engine timing being too far advanced. Murano can adjust its timing automatically but sometimes it can use a little help. A higher Octane rating gas can help in both fronts. So switch to premium gas and see if that makes a difference. Good luck.

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