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Suspected disaster - but it went well. Oil pressure restored.


Senior Member
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Just thought I should share my recent experience after the first trip for the season.

As part of the spring service I adjusted the valves. The valve cover gasket broke when I took the cover off, so I glued a new one in place. After driving for around 5 km/3 miles I suddenly saw smoke from under the hood so I stopped on the roadside and switched the engine off. Turned out that there was a massive oil leak at the back end of the valve cover and oil leaked onto the exhaust manifold (I should of course have checked for leaks when starting the engine - lesson learned). Back in the garage it turned out that the rear part (about 4-5 cm) of the gasket was askew and partly inside the cover. Apparently the glue had not fully cured and I must have slid the cover backwards under the vacuum line to the distributor when I put it back which caused the gasket to come partly loose.

I filled oil in the engine, some 5 liters went in so it was not completely empty but more than dangerously low. The problem was that when I started it there was no oil pressure whatsoever. I took the spark plugs out and cranked the engine for some 40-50 seconds, but still no pressure. I was quite certain that I was facing a complete rebuild. As a last attempt I took the filter off and noted that it was empty, which I assume that it would not be even if the motor was worn as long as the pump was working. I filled the filter with oil and put some oil into the pump through the filter connection using a large syringe to prime it, and put the filter back. More cranking without plugs, and all of a sudden the pressure gauge comes to life! Put plugs back in, started engine and pressure was up to 50 psi. I ran it on idle until it reached 140-150F and the idle pressure stayed at around 40 psi, so all looks promising and I hope that I will be able to enjoy the summer in my BT7. I have never had to prime the pump or fill the filter after oil changes, but it may be worth trying if someone faces a similar problem.


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Scary! Glad it all worked out. Enjoy the drive.
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