2001 Prelude has always burned oil--dealer says new engine needed!!??

Hi, I've had my 2001 Prelude since new. Manual, special edition. It has burned oil since about a year or two into ownership. I brought it in to the dealer a few times and was always told it was 'normal' for
preludes to burn a bit of oil. Last fall, the car had trouble starting. This spring it just wouldn't. Brought it in and dealer said spark plugs were fowled badly due to oil and engine codes showed a number of misfires, etc. Dealer said I need a new lower half to the engine!! WTF? Is this typical? Is there any way around this? I told the guy to change the spark plugs and left. Engine light came on a day later. *sigh* Do I have any options? Is this car only going to last me another month? Thanks,
-Rob
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snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

What weight oil are you using? I found that my Civic would burn oil after 60k miles on 5W-30, but not with 10W-30. If you are using 0W- or 5W-, try going up to 10W-. It shouldn't make a difference, yet it does.
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Then you have some kind of serious problem. No modern engine should get anything less than 8,000 miles per quart even at 100,000K.

After extensive testing of my own, I have found that there is zero difference in oil consumption between 5W-30, 10W-30 and 10W-40.

I'd like to know your methodology.
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Tegger

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Tegger wrote:

I would think that a compression test is in order. If the car has always used oil, methinks ring problem or ventilation right from the factory that never got corrected.
JT
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Tegger wrote:

The Civic was run on Mobil One 15W-50 and 5W-30 full synthetic after the break-in period. It used virtually no oil between changes. The valves were always adjusted on schedule. After it hit about 70k miles I noticed rough running; it was diagnosed as oil-fouled plugs and O2 sensor. It was also down most of a quart of oil for the first time ever. They replaced the plugs, I replaced the sensor, and I stopped using the 5W- synthetic, using either the 15W-50 or a different brand of 10W-30 full synthetic. The car stopped burning oil and ten years later just suffered only a little leakdown if it sat for more than a few days. It was still fine when I sold it after 23 years and 146k miles. When I tried the same thing with an AMC six that was using oil, the oil consumption also stopped.
To sum up, we've had opposite experiences with changing viscosities. I suspect that yours was due to the engines not using excessive oil in the first place - correct me if I'm wrong on that. It certainly won't hurt for this guy to switch to 10W-30, and it may help. I hope he tries it and reports back.
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15W-50 was not good choice. You surely suffered at least oil pump damage and bearing damage if not ring damage as well using that stuff.

Why on earth would you use that viscosity? Your Honda's oil pump was not designed for it, and your Owner's Manual certainly does not call for it.
No wonder you're burning oil; you broke your engine.

That was an older design of engine. Older-design engines often benefited from oil of higher viscosities once the miles piled up.

10W-30 won't hurt. Won't help either.

He won't.
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Tegger wrote:

Did you even read what I wrote? The engine that I "broke" stopped burning oil and was still running strong on the original internals over a decade after this incident. I hope that you do a better job of reading work-related documents.
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Of course.

I wasn't there of course, so I have to accept your reporting as accurate, but I stand by my guess as to internal engine damage.
Nobody should EVER do what you did with your car. 15W-50 is a /very/ bad choice for any modern engine.
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Tegger wrote:

Why on earth do you say that? What supposed mechanism will cause oil pump damage? I can almost believe the rings suffering due to decreased oil flow, but have a hard time believing that a 50wt oil (a comparatively wimpy 50wt at that.) will cause such severe starvation as to 'break' the them. M1's 15w-50 has tons of zinc, moly, and boron based anti-wear additives. Even IF oil delivery to the rings was reduced (by how much, 20~30%?) I don't think it could kill the engine in such a short time. I can't see any mechanism by which the plain crank bearings would be damaged.
Europeans and those crazy Aussies routinely run xW-40 and xW-50wt oils in the very same engines that are spec'd for 10W30 in North America.
Consider what happens every time you start your car on a cold morning. Until the engine is up to operating temp, the cold oil circulating and lubricating is vastly thicker than any hot 50wt. If thick-ish oil caused bearing damage, we'd all destroy our cars in short order.
IMO.
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Greg Campbell wrote:

Tegger is normally a pretty reliable source of info, but apparently I pushed some sort of "button" with this. He snipped the parts of my post that directly contradict what he concluded, and since he hasn't said otherwise, I'm going to assume that his "research" on the effects of viscosity changes was done on cars that weren't burning oil to start with. The final irony is that after saying that viscosity doesn't have any effect on oil consumption, he accused me of "breaking" my engine just by using 15W-50! I guess he thinks that Castrol GTX 20W-50 was sent by Satan to prepare the earth for the Apocalypse. ;-)
Just to be clear, it's been my experience that older engines that are using oil will often use less or even none if you switch them from 0W or 5W lower weight oil to 10W-30. I make no other claim.
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Au contraire. I snipped everything BUT the apparently contradictory part. And I even /joined together/ two parts of the contradictory information that were originally spaced apart by other text, just so people could see what I was replying to. Go read my last reply again.

True. I've had absolutely no success getting oil-burning cars to quit burning oil. Oil going /elsewhere/ is another story, but oil getting sucked /past the rings/ (which is what "burning" usually is) is pretty much a done deal and time for a ring job.
It's highly unlikely and hard to believe that your rings somehow got "fixed" because you fed the engine different oil. It's easier to believe that a leak of some kind got fixed as a byproduct of some other servicing. You did imply later on that the car did have a "leakdown" of oil that persisted until you sold the car.

No, I said *I* was unable to find any difference at all in consumption between the grades I tried. Not the same thing.

To address Greg Campbell, I made an (unsuccessful) attempt at finding any European Honda Owner's Manuals online in order to determine exactly what Europeans are supposed to use in their engines. I did, however, locate such information at www.castrol.co.uk .
Prior to model-year 2000, 15W-50 is the highest "alternate" viscosity grade Castrol specifies (meant for /very/ hot climates, ~100F), but their "recommended" viscosity for all pre-'00 cars is 10W-40.
AFTER 2000, Castrol no longer specifies any alternate viscosity higher than 10W-40, and their "recommended" viscosity goes down to 0W-30.
A higher viscosity is harder for the oil pump to pick up, and harder to squeeze through the filter. This is especially true when cold. This means it takes "just a bit longer" for pressure to build in the bearings, and "just a bit longer" for the rings and camshafts to receive fresh oil. All that "just a bit longer" means just that much more wear on each cold start, and just that much shorter life for your engine's internals. No "apocalypse", just shortened life.

And I make no other claim than that it is a bad idea to do other than what Honda says to do for your engine.
You trusted them with +$20K of your money, evidently because you trusted them to give you a finely-designed and built machine, but you won't trust them to know what's best for that fine machine.
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Tegger wrote:

As near as I can tell, the Australian tendency toward heavy oils is more cultural than technical. Pick a lube manufacturer and then compare their Au product lines vs. those sold in the US.
Compare Castrol's lineup. Au http://www.castrol.com/castrol/subsection.do?categoryId 00003&contentId`08505 Only one Xw-30, everything else is 40+, up to 10W-60(!)
vs. US http://www.castrol.com/castrol/subsection.do?categoryId 915463&contentId`05246 With several Xw-20 offerings and only one (may have missed more?) 50w.
Mobil's Au oils are also biased at least 10w higher. Haven't checked any other companies.
Did you ever find any actual factory oil recommendations for US vs. Au and elsewhere? Please post! I do know that several/most auto manufacturers have retroactively re-specified many of their recent models for Xw-20 use in the US (but not elsewhere.) That's going in the opposite direction, but does imply that a wide range of viscosities will work in most engines.

No argument there! Without looking at it's pour point, I suspect running that 15w-50 during a North Dakota winter might not be the smartest.

This, I'm curious about. At operating temp, there is not necessarily any difference between a 0w-30 and a 10w-30. The 10W-X oils are, on average, a hair thicker, but that's not guaranteed. If operating visc. is similar, oil blow-by, etc. should also be similar. (?)

Not to take great issue, but IMO a number of factory specs are influenced by marketing and perceived customer demands. I know for a fact that Momma Honda's tire pressure suggestion for my car is out to lunch by about 5 PSI. Customers of high end Accords want ride quality, so give them what they want and lower the suggested PSI a few clicks. I suspect oil specs are similar. If the average Aussie or German is used to Xw-40 oils (and doesn't flinch at 25w-50!), spec something a little higher.
Any Europeans or Australians out there? Please post your owner's manual recommendations! FWIW, my 92 Accord, built in Ohio, presumably for a North American market, specifies 5w or 10W-30 for ALL temperatures.
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Found a recent BITOG thread regarding the Mazda 3. US Spec is 5W-20, but a fellow from Kuwait says his manual calls for 15W-40, also listing 20w-50 as an acceptable substitute.
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Greg Campbell wrote: (...)
I wrote:

I suspect that it's just that marginal extra viscosity - a bit more than marginal as the engine warms up from cold - that makes the difference. I seem to recall that most normal (not related to actual damage) oil burning occurs at or near startup, so maybe it's just a case of cutting the oil consumption for the few minutes when it's highest. I don't know.
BTW, I didn't use the 15W-50 in Winter.
(...)
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Tegger wrote:

I did, and it doesn't make sense. I noted that the engine stopped burning oil, and was still fine ten years later, and this made you conclude that I had "broke" it ten years earlier.

You aren't familiar with Honda engines leaking oil past the valve seals when they get old and sit unused for a few days? Seriously? The fact remains - and it is a fact - the car stopped burning oil with no repairs just new plugs and O2 sensor, and 10W-30 weight synthetic.

You are telling me that I'm wrong about the viscosity making a difference, so yes you *are* saying that the viscosity didn't matter.

I think you're losing track of what I wrote. I was using Mobil One synthetic 15W-50 in the Honda engine. I simply *made a joke* about Castrol 20W-50. Your response suggests, however, that my using 15W-50 for Summer use (which is when I used it) was not a problem.

So I should feel robbed because I only got 23 years and 146k miles from my original engine? The one that was still running strong months after I sold it? Really?

You've apparently confused my 1986 Civic Si with a new one. I paid about $12k, with A/C. Get a grip, man. BTW, the dealer usually used my oil for oil changes - the Mobil One 15W-50. They didn't make any silly claims about it "breaking my engine."
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snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

Have you checked the PCV valve and associated plumbing?
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snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

Hi, Ever tried a different dealership or independent garage who has a good reputation? My OLD('98) CRV has ~279K Km so far on the clock, I change oil every 8K Km with 5W-30 Castrol brand always. Between oil change I don't need to top up oil. This cas still drives like new. I must say something is definitely wrong with your car.
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I had a 2001 myself and it used oil too -- which I was assured was normal for a Prelude, particularly if you ran it hard into the VTEC. I used routinely a quart every 2500-3000 miles and used Mobil 1 synthetic. I traded the car at 67k miles for an 06 Accord coupe I4 --- and it does not use oil. My dealer and other Lude owners told me that the design of the Prelude engine was such that it was an oil user. I think you will find out more about Preludes on an enthusiasts site. There used to be one I referred to all of the time since most of the group here are not familiar with Preludes.
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