LT4 sludge problem

I own a 96 Collector Edition LT4/6 speed. I bought it new and have only 16,000 miles on it.It is kept in a locked garage when not in use. I have religiously
had this car serviced by Chevrolet and have used only Mobil 1 synthetic oil. About one month ago, I started hearing noise from the left valve conver. I brought the car in for service and the mechanic replaced 3 rocker arms and three pushrods. The oil had been freshly changed.
Within 100 miles I experienced an engine failure.The same noise started from the valve train and within a few miles the motor stopped. The engine temp at the time it stopped was 198F and the oil temp was 210F but the oil pressure had dropped to nearly 0 psi The failure was due to the fact that the engine oil had turned to a thick sludge and the mechanic says that the engine is ruined. Unfortunately, up to now, the dealership insists that they have no responsibility for fixing (or replacing) the engine. I have taken a sample of the sludge and sent it to a lab for analysis to try to find out why it turned to sludge.
I have several questions for the group:
1. Has anyone ever heard of such a thing happening?
2. Since the LT4 engine was a limited edition motor and seems not to be available anymore, if Ido have to make an engine swap, can anyone recommend an aftermarket or crate engine that will fit this car without modifications?
Any advice from the group on how to proceed? Please reply off list to me at snipped-for-privacy@bellsouth.net.
Thanks, Steve Reichlyn
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garage" bit. A number of things come to mind like, "If you rest you rust" or, "Use it or lose it". This car has been available to use for 10 years and has 19,000 wonderful miles of use. That's about 37 miles a week. In other words it has been driven such short times that the engine has never been up to running temperature enough. Never hot enough to move any "sludge" that may accumulate. Probably never warmed up to change the oil because it would put on to many miles.
My guess would be that the rockers going out on an un-used engine should have told you and your "mechanic" something. Like why did they fail, maybe sludge build up? When you disturbed the sludge buildup in the valley it moved on to more important destruction, your bearings and the oil pump. It should be rebuildable, but if you don't use it any more than that, just push it around.
--
Dad
05 C6 Silver/Red 6spd Z51- with 16,000 miles
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This is a multi-part message in MIME format. --------------050208010701070200020000 Content-Type: text/plain; charset=us-ascii; format=flowed Content-Transfer-Encoding: 7bit
Very true, if you don't drive it each time long enough to evaporate or boil off the condensation that is in all engines you will end up with sludge after 10 years.....
Many people think that just starting up the engine for a few minutes, every month or so while it's being stored is the thing to do... Which is actually very very bad for it.
Dad wrote:

--
Ric Seyler
Online Racing: RicSeyler
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I have a 1970 Dodge Challenger with the original engine and 32,000 miles on it. No sludge problem, and its also a garage queen for most of the time. Nice to blame the user when its probably something else. The challenger runs great!
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uh?? Dad was dead on with his reply. there ARE other factors that come into play. look where Jay Leno stores his collection.
my2˘
--
"Key"



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Snip>>>

understand now. Did you assume that he took it out for a 100 mile drive when it's possible that it was 20, 5 mile trips after the sludge was broken lose during the repair 2 years ago? Good to see you're able to diagnose that it wasn't the "users" fault on a nearly bullet proof engine, I'm not. I have seen cars with less miles than that with the entire valley full of ash for 5 or 6 block trips every day for 2 or 3 years. I've also had a rocker fail in less than a year with no further damage to the engine in the next 90,000 miles. Based on my experience and not seeing the engine I offered an opinion, your opinion was based on what?
Great impute on how your challenger is treated, like maybe warmed up a bit more before the oil is dumped. I have a '50 Chevy with 123,000 miles on it and it runs fine with the original babbited rod bearings. What does that mean, that it's 5 times better than your challenger?
Give us a hint of what "something else" might be. Keep in mind that this post was to be answered off line so he can keep the help to himself like he may be doing with other reasons his machine failed.
--
Dad
05 C6 Silver/Red 6spd Z51
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Hi, Dad... Pretty low opinion of me, eh? Well, the car was repaired one month ago and the oil was changed. The old oil was 6 month old and came out of the bottom looking nearly new. The sludge formed in the 100 miles since the repair (1 month). I drove the car 3 times during that period...two trips of 50 miles each...plenty of time for it to warm up properly).
On line answers are perfectly fine....I just didn't want to take up too much bandwidth hence the comment about answering off line. What could have happened to make the oil sludge up? Certainly neglect except I have the service record to prove that it wasn't neglected. Fuel in the oil from an improperly repaired rocker/pushrod? Coolant in the oil from a blown head gasket or other gasket installed during the repair. I did tell the mechanic that the low coolant light had come on during the 100 miles of driving since the repair.
My note to the group was an honest effort to try to figure out what went wrong. I should have know that it would bring the trolls out.
SR Steve
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Oh quit your whining, I never said I had a low opinion of you, and you never said how long ago the repair was made. I do have an opinon of how you treat your Corvette or lack of it's use, but that's your business.

You watched it being changed but you can't check your cars oil?

trips? What about the other 723 times you drove it before that at 3 miles a pop? Plenty of time to warm up? One or two times not getting to running temperature don't make ash form.

Yeah, right, you would be the first.

I thought you sent it off to be tested but you want us to guess?

That only proves it was serviced, not how it was maintained or driven which can be where it was neglected if it was neglect. My statement had nothing to do with that kind of neglect, get over it.

None of these relate to changing a rocker arm or push rod.

happened or what you're trying to accomplish and the troll will go away.

Did you check the oil at anytime after it was fixed? Was that new oil dark? Did they pull the lifters when they changed the rockers and push rods? Did they pull the manifold and clean the valley? Was it their, Chevrolet's, mechanic that did the work? Did you get a look at the parts that were replaced? If so, were they dirty with ash or just stained? What was the reason they were replaced? What did the roller look like? Was the end of the push rod broken? If so, did it damage the rocker socket? If so why didn't they change the lifter? Did you keep the parts? When you started hearing the "noise again", did you check the oil? Was it the same" It shouldn't have been. Where in the 100 miles did the oil pressure start to drop? Did you check the oil when it did drop?
I would never rule out the job may have been screwed up but with what you've told me you are the suspect. You seem to know very little about your car and want to share less, just blame someone else for its failure.
Now the group troll, Dad
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Jeez,
The man's out 10 grand and we dog pile on him?
Sounds like the lab analysis will be the key. Don't see that you have any recourse no matter what they find unless the Mobil 1 is at fault. Hopefully, you can have the motor rebuilt. Maybe a slight bore job and maybe a new crank. And a new..................................
Good luck, Ed
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it than was given. I raised two sons, when they were young they told how things went bad in the same manner. Just enough so they wouldn't get their ass kicked, this story reminds me of that same tactic. The answer will be simple when all of the truth is told. Even the paragraph you left has no true statements in it, or maybe you understand how you drive it 3 times 100 miles, 2 trips, 50 mile each??????? It's a lot easier to make sense when you're telling the truth.
The old troll-Dad
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Remember Quaker State from the late 60's early 70's full of paraffin? I'd pull off valve covers off engines and they would be packed with sludge.
Dad wrote:
--
Ric Seyler
Online Racing: RicSeyler
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First, don't let the barbs get under your skin (you seem to be shrugging off the hostility well). I offered some free wallpaper of Ferrari pix, because I know quite a few Vette lovers who appreciate Ferraris, and the only response I got was an extremely rude one. That's usenet for ya.
Second, I can relate to the comments about the bad things which happen to collector cars. I was shopping for a real-low-miles C4 (and finally found one). i had the help of an all-Corvette mechanic and he sniffed and poked around a long parade of prospects. I could tell you horror stories...bottom line is, aside from bad gas and dried-out rubber parts, many bad things do indeed happen to cars that are "just started up" on a regular basis. I looked at a few high-compression cars which hadn't been driven enough for the simple reason that it was a hassle to prepare cars that didn't like pump gas--in order to really drive them, I mean. And then there's the horse thing. You know: "rode hard and put away wet"? It's funny how many people will gladly detail the body and interior before replacing the car cover, but don't prepare the mechanical part of the beast for a long sleep.
I once did photography for a guy who restored Ferraris. ***Those who can't stand this OT stuff can move on to the next paragraph.*** He gave me some very good advice about sports cars: never even start the engine if you're not going to warm it up to operating temperature, and never work it hard until it reaches operating temperature. Operating temperature he defined as normal operating range on the OIL temp gauge, not the water temp.
As to your sludge thing, I'm not familiar with fuel in the oil, but coolant in the oil looks light brown and opaque; pretty distinctive, like chocolate milk almost. If yours is nearly black, and some parts are coated with a lacquer-like substance, I'd have to go along with the theory of too many short trips or running it too much without "blowing out the carbon," as mold man used to say...
--
Angelo

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I didn't see anyone troll you.
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"Key"




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Check the PCV valve and hoses. With out crankcase ventilation you get a lot of sludge.
Al
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do you also have a vette Al ?
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"Key"



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ya didn't drive it enough..
my2˘
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'Key wrote:

the car being drained rather than extracted.
Whole thing doesn't make much sense but 16K miles in 10 years would give a proper change interval of about 500 miles.
Would like to find out what the oil analysis shows.
--
…PJ
’89 HookerCar, ’02 E-blu 6-spd Coupe
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like dad said. "The answer will be simple when all of the truth is told".
--
"Key"



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I have heard that even if you don't drive a car very often you should change the oil periodically, especially synthetic, don't know why or how often. Have you asked mobil one folks? I think, Two Guys had a show on this very problem.
personally i would rebuild your engine, how bad could it be?
DR (sleek '96 vette bonb)

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