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Sludge milky brown oil on dipstick - 1994 Buick Century

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bbbman78
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SOURCE: sludge milky brown oil on dipstick

That's usually an indication of coolant (antifreeze) getting into the oil. It can mean quite a number of things. A bad head gasket, a bad head, a crack in the block, etc... Sometimes a product made by "Lucas" called head gasket sealer works. It's a pretty good product and cost around $30 a bottle. I'm not quite sure of what information you're seeking as the comment was somewhat vague. It's not a good idea to drive the vehicle with the coolant in the motor oil as it reduces it's viscosity and is sure to cause further damage. Change the oil and filter asap and give the Lucas a try. I hope that's what you were looking for as I would have difficulty going any further unless you comment back and clarify exactly what you are seeking.

Posted on Mar 18, 2010

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Oil sludge found in Air Cleaner, replaced PCV and filter and cleaned and had to replace filter in 6 months due to yellow oil sludge


Oil sludge can be caused by a few different things. I don't think you have head gasket/head problems as you say you've been using the vehicle for 6 months.

However, do check your oil dipstick and see if the same sludge (also known as 'mayonnaise') is on it. Mayonnaise on a dipstick is a symptom of a defective head gasket that is allowing coolant into the oil system.

If your vehicle looses/uses coolant this may be a sign of a faulty head gasket/head.

Very short- repeated - journeys can allow sludge to form, simply because on short journeys the engine does not reach its normal operating temperature. The engine is 'cool'.

It can also be caused by a faulty thermostat. If the thermostat is jammed in the open position it can take a long time for the engine to reach normal operating temperature. Other than changing the thermostat (maybe for one that opens at a higher temperature - a 'winter' thermostat) there's no practical way of checking it. Replacement is the easiest and cheapest option. It's not a difficult job.

It's not unknown for a thermostat to have been removed by a previous owner (for various reasons..). If you're going to check if there's a thermostat there - replace it anyway.

If you're not losing/using coolant and there's no mayonnaise on the dipstick it may well be due to repeated short journeys where the engine doesn't reach normal operating temperature - or the thermostat.

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If the oil level (checked with the dipstick) is VERY high, and the oi on the dipstick looks like chocolate milk (or just after running, foamy chocolate milk), this usually means either the head gasket is blown, or the cylinder head or the engine block is cracked, allowing the engine coolant to mix with the engine oil.

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It depends on what is causing the brown sludge. More information is needed to make an asessment and prescribe a solution. Brown sludge can be caused by engine oil or transmission fluid mixing with the engine coolant, or it can be caused by severe corrosion in the cooling system due to lack of proper cooling system maintenance.
The engine oil cause will most likely require head gasket replacement.
The transmission fluid cause will require radiator replacement.
The severe corrosion cause will most likely require a complete cooling system overhaul to properly correct it.

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In my 2004 gm sierra there is no oil pressure. when i took the oil filter off it was filled with a sludge. the valve covers are also coated with an oil sludge. i have been loosing antifreeze but it could...


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1 Answer

Sludge milky brown oil on dipstick


That's usually an indication of coolant (antifreeze) getting into the oil. It can mean quite a number of things. A bad head gasket, a bad head, a crack in the block, etc... Sometimes a product made by "Lucas" called head gasket sealer works. It's a pretty good product and cost around $30 a bottle. I'm not quite sure of what information you're seeking as the comment was somewhat vague. It's not a good idea to drive the vehicle with the coolant in the motor oil as it reduces it's viscosity and is sure to cause further damage. Change the oil and filter asap and give the Lucas a try. I hope that's what you were looking for as I would have difficulty going any further unless you comment back and clarify exactly what you are seeking.

Mar 18, 2010 | 1994 Buick Century

2 Answers

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are you sure its oil in the antifreeze? oil is brown. your van should have dexcool wich is orange, not green.(looks red sometimes)check the coolant again and check the oil. if it looks milky or foamy, there is coolant in it. sounds like it may be a blown head gasket. not good. stop driving it if you want to save your engine. you need to replace the head gasket/s, and flush the cooling system.

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I have a 1997 saturn 1.9sohc and I noticed a brown sludge seeping out of the water res , but no water on oil dipstick. Washed out the resivior with a hose running for 10 min and it got alot of the sludge out, but the next day I checked the fluid and there is a quarter inch of oil on top of the water. it is creamy brownish white . its not overheating or causeing any problems yet but I am worried and broke what shold I do?

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Car experiencing a sputtering when excellerating. Noticed it was getting hotter when I would excellerate and the needle would drop back down when my foot was off the excellerater. Also the oil light...


This really sounds like you have a leaky head gasket or worse, a cracked water jacket. You may be getting coolant into your crankcase, which would "water down", so to speak, your oil and cause you to lose oil pressure. I do not know what you mean by your "oil registering fine". I presume you mean the level on the dipstick. Do you keep losing coolant? Is there any brown/white milky sludge under your oil cap or on your dipstick? If so, you most likey would have a head gasket leak.

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