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  1. #1
    Active Member One Ring
    Join Date
    Jan 06 2009
    AZ Member #
    37120
    Location
    San Francisco

    I fixed my oil pressure light problem with seafoam

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    Hi,

    SUMMARY: dreaded red light came on after an oil change, fixed with a can of seafoam added to oil for a few hundred miles followed by oil change with oem audi filter and Auto-RX.

    DETAIL:
    About 6 months ago I got my tires rotated, and the guy at Big O tires offered to change my oil for $70. Like a fool I went for it, it seemed so convenient, and then on the way home the oil pressure light (the big red oil can) came on. We had a lot of back and forth, but eventually I looked up the oil filter they used and discovered that it was a lousy $3 model, so I got an OEM Audi filter and they redid the job for free. Only problem was the light still came on, generally when I got off the freeway and slowed down to 1800 rpm, but the light would go off if I got it up to 2500 rpm, so I did a lot of manual mode driving to keep the light off.

    I read that seafoam might help, so when the oil went low I put in a can of seafoam, intending to drive for 100 miles or so and then get a change. I got distracted, though, and I drove for 500 miles with the seafoam (another thread had warned against leaving it in too long, I guess I'm lucky the car still works). Also I got a bottle of Auto-Rx (a guy from the printing industry invented it to remove sludge from printing presses, and formulated an oil additive to dissolve sludge).

    So, I got another oem Audi filter and had the seafoam+oil changed for clean oil with the Auto-Rx, and so far the darned light has not come on! I've done a couple of highway trips, and the problem appears to be solved. This fix probably won't work for everyone, but if your light comes on after an oil change, then maybe it will work for you.

    (I wouldn't recommend leaving the seafoam in for 500 miles, but 250 might be enough to clean the sludge without screwing up interior engine surfaces).

    Bruce

  2. #2
    Senior Member Four Rings Kevin C's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 28 2015
    AZ Member #
    323385
    My Garage
    1987 Dodge Raider G54B Turbo
    Location
    Portland OR, United States

    Important to note that this was on a 3.0 that does not typically have a problem with a clogging pump pickup or engine sludging in general.

    Short take:

    1: The cheap filter was not the root cause and was a bit of a red herring.

    2: Seafoam is a low viscosity additive. If you were having an oil pressure problem from a bad pump or loose bearings it would have gotten worse.

    3: The now thinner oil would pump easier and reduce oil pressure, but flow easier through the pickup ( might help if you have a partially clogged pickup).

    If I had an oil pressure light coming on I would be a bit more proactive on the diagnosis and not try and fix it with an additive. Good news is it worked.

    I would check under the valve covers for any sludging. How well maintained has the car been?
    03 A4 Quattro, 1.8T, 02X six speed conversion/ GJW (4.11 final drive). RS4 RSB, H&R FSB.

  3. #3
    Established Member Two Rings
    Join Date
    Nov 03 2010
    AZ Member #
    66528
    Location
    Fallbrook, CA

    In my opinion, the Big-O oil change left the crankcase under-filled, and the basic oil filter they used probably had nothing to do with the oil light. My daughter bought the 3.0 which I drive now, used from a Nissan dealership. They had serviced the car, but on the way home the oil light came on, and she had to have a quart added. It was still too low when she got home. That dipstick is harder to read than the flat kind, which might explain both situations.

    Also, SeaFoam is more or less Kerosene, or so I've read. As Kevin C mentioned, that will lower the viscosity of the oil, though perhaps not enough to cause any harm. Car problems are not usually fixed with an additive.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Three Rings
    Join Date
    Jan 09 2012
    AZ Member #
    86404
    Location
    MA

    I believe for the 3.0 that the original owners manuals understated the capacity so that may explain the underfilling.

  5. #5
    Veteran Member Four Rings imnuts's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 12 2009
    AZ Member #
    46297
    My Garage
    Dolphin Grey Audi A4 3.0 Q 6MT
    Location
    Dirty Jerz

    There is a TSB for the issue on the 3.0. I can't find it now, but you need to basically fill the reservoir to the top of the text on the dipstick versus to the lines molded on it. The exact level depends on if it's hot or cold.

    EDIT: That is for power steering, not engine oil. Should have read the rest of the thread.

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  6. #6
    Active Member One Ring
    Join Date
    Jan 06 2009
    AZ Member #
    37120
    Location
    San Francisco

    Thanks for the replies, i should have noted it is a 2004 3.0l quattro.

    Also, I never had even a hint of a problem before they changed the oil, and the first thing they tried when the light came on was to add some oil, but that didn't help. Over the years there have been a bunch of times it's been a quart low, and the little oil level light has come on, but I had never seen the big oil pressure light come on till I was driving home from the cheap filter oil change, so I'm pretty sure it was the filter (I had gotten the filter idea from another post on this forum).

    Moral: I, at least, will always bring my own oil filter if I don't get it changed at an Audi specialist.

  7. #7
    Veteran Member Four Rings walky_talky20's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 30 2008
    AZ Member #
    30427
    Location
    Erie, Pennsylvania

    - The lack of an emergency low oil pressure warning does not, itself, indicate a healthy engine.
    - The oil pressure warning system is not even active all the time.
    - Oil Pressure can still be *dangerously* below spec and the light can remain off. This is a real thing and it really happens.
    - Moral: Once your engine shows an emergency low oil pressure warning, you should probably (1) panic, and (2) check the pressure with a gauge before deciding everything is fine again.
    - The output data from a factory oil pressure switch is extremely low resolution data with which to make an accurate assessment. It is, in fact, 1-bit of resolution.
    - Comparing against specified values from the Factory Service Manual and known good numbers from other owners would be my suggestion.

    ^IMHO. Not a mechanic. Best of luck with your Audi.
    ^Don't listen to this guy, he's not even a mechanic.
    2001 Laser Red A4 1.8TQM, 5-Speed Swapped, 4.11 Final Drive, APR 93, R8 coil packs, Labree HFC & DP, 2.5" Exhaust, ST Coilovers, 034 RSB, A8 Brakes Front & Rear, 18" RS4 Reps
    2006 Passion Red Volvo V50 T5 AWD 6MT
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  8. #8
    Established Member Two Rings
    Join Date
    Nov 03 2010
    AZ Member #
    66528
    Location
    Fallbrook, CA

    Then there's the possibility that the 15-year old oil pressure switch is wearing out, just coincidentally with your Big-O oil change. As said above, using a pressure gauge would settle that question, but I don't know any easy way to do that on the 3.0.

  9. #9
    Senior Member Three Rings
    Join Date
    Jan 09 2012
    AZ Member #
    86404
    Location
    MA

    Easiest way on the 3.0 is to remove the oil pressure switch (located behind the oil cooler) and hook up the harbor freight oil pressure gauge that comes with the correct M10 adapter.
    or you can get one of these and run both https://www.summitracing.com/search/...ze-3/m10-x-1-0

  10. #10
    Veteran Member Four Rings SJorge3442's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 27 2013
    AZ Member #
    121842
    Location
    Philly

    I think i've only ever seen 1, maybe 2 3.0's in my 5+ years in the b6 world which had legit oil pressure issues. Almost always the wrong oil, filter, a combo of the both or a bad sensor. Moral of the story, change your own oil if you can. The 3.0 is one of the simplest motors to change oil on too. A simple rectangular drain pain, some ramps, and you can do it spill free in about 15 minutes if you're good.
    2003 3.0 6 Speed - Quattro. 157k.



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