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From: John De Armond
Subject: Re: Ford and their Service
Date: Wed, 04 Apr 2001 23:31:58 -0400

Traveler wrote:
> Got back from "FORD" an unusual reply about my inquiry about my "Oil Leak"
> thought I would share it with fellow RVrs and Ford owners who may be
> interested.  I thought it still was basically a Ford product but I guess I
> was wrong adding a MH to it changed their viewpoint.  Or was I expecting too
> much?

Why do you find that unusual?  Stripping all the corporate
doublespeak bullshit, Ford gave it to you straight.  Ford can not
possibly have any idea what the chassis builder did to the engine
and specifically to the dipstick.  It is very common for the coach
builder to extend the dipstick tube and dipstick so that you can
actually reach it without having to remove covers.  My Itasca, for
example, has an oil dipstick that is so long that I can just barely
withdraw it with one hand while wiping it with the other.

The correct answer to your question is a) minor oil leaks are not
uncommon, b) gross overfilling could cause an oil leak but not
likely until after other problems show up and c) the correct way to
determine the accuracy of your dipstick is to completely drain the
oil and then add exactly the amount specified in your coach's
owner's manual.  Said amount may be different than that of Ford's
van because the coach builder may have used a different oil pan for
clearances or what not.  Once the correct amount of oil is in your
engine, whatever level registers on the dipstick is by definition
the correct reading.  If it differs from the OEM reading, you can
either inscribe a new mark at the correct level or you can futz with
the stick (cut, reweld, add spacers, etc) until either it reads
correctly or you lose it in the oil pan :-)

The reason Ford didn't tell you this is because they won't risk
having what they say being used against them by some "consumer"
trying to cheat them out of a new engine and/or some idiot jury from
Alabama agreeing.  That's what consumerism gets you.  Read this
group enough and you'll understand why - people claiming that
relatively minor problems with their new rig is cause for the dealer
or mfr to take the rig back and eat the cost.  Ford passes the
liability for answering your question down to the dealer whose
pockets aren't nearly so deep.


From: John De Armond
Subject: Re: Ford and their Service
Date: Fri, 06 Apr 2001 04:23:54 -0400

Traveler wrote:

> Well Neon, I liked your reply, heck I did not know that the MH manufacturers
> did any major changes to the Ford setup, guess I just never thought about it
> much.  Call me naive or inexperienced, cause both would be true as I am not
> a mechanic and I am a new RVr.  I did think my question was rather simple
> and should have been "somewhat" easy to reply to.

Try to see things from Ford's side.  Think of all the absolutely
crazy auto-related jury awards that have made the news recently.
Then think of vastly larger number of vehicles that any car mfr has
to eat because some "wants something for nothing" "consumerist"
demands (and the government sometimes forces) that any minor defect
be cause to get a new vehicle.  Think "lemon laws."  Think "consumer
advocates".  Think "Clark Howard."  Now think who pays for all that
stuff.  Not Ford.  They pass the cost on to Us.  We pay in higher
prices AND in consumer help lines whose responses are so tofu-ish
bland that not a single word could ever possibly be construed by
even the most greedy lawyer as an obligation for a remedy.

I'm not defending Ford, just explaining why they took several
paragraphs to say precisely nothing.

> I just got it back and
> they are now telling me it is leaking from around the filler tube where it
> connects to the case, which is where I told them I thought it was leaking
> from the first time I took it in.  Gee maybe I should have been a mechanic
> cause I did it without any tracing dye.  Also told they "think" they can fix
> it for about $300 or replace the pan and tube for about $600.  Now these
> were not written estimates so they probably could be lower or higher (wanna
> bet which?)

Pournelli's law:  If you don't know how to fix something, pay
someone who does.
De Armond's Corollary: If you won't or can't learn how things work,
be prepared to take the hits in the wallet.

Being one of those guys on the receiving end of Pournelli's Law :-),
I know that the dipstick housing is almost always press-fitted to
the block with an interference fit.  I also know that after a bit of
wiggling and vibration from normal use, frequently the thin soft
metal the tube is made of loses its tension and becomes loose in the

Since I have better uses for $600 than to help the Ford dealer's kid
get an Ivy League education, here's what I'd do.  I'd crawl under
the rig so I could access where the tube enters the block.  I'd
gently grasp the tube with some pliers and then gently tap the
pliers with a hammer to withdraw the tube from the hole.  I'd then
degrease both the hole and the swaged end of the tube with the best
residue-free degreaser I could get my hands on. (toluene or acetone
will work, as will aerosol brake cleaner)  I'd then spray both the
hole and the tube with Loctite accelerator/primer.  Next is a couple
of drops of Locktite Green sleeve and bearing mount, smeared evenly
around the tube where it mates to the block.  Finally, using the
same pliers, tap the tube back down in the block until it stops.

Hop in the car, drive to the C-store, get a 6-pack of your favorite
brew, return home and drink a couple or do whatever else it takes to
kill an hour while the Loctite cures. Your problem is fixed, you
feel much better and you saved about $580 bux, a little more if you
drink cheap brewski.  The Loctite cures in the absence of air so
whatever green stuff is left outside the joint can be wiped off.
Stuff inside will mix with the oil and be harmless.

Many car parts stores carry the Loctite products (do NOT accept the
inferior alternate brands!).  If the car parts places don't have it
in your area, an industrial bearings or drives place will. Motion
Industries is a national company with outlets in most cities with a
manufacturing base.  Let your fingers do the walking.  You can also
go to Loctite's web page to find a dealer near you.

The strength of the stuff is denoted by its color.  Green is the
strongest.  It is designed to lock bearings and sleeves into bearing
housings even when the housing is worn and oversize.  It will do a
fine job of holding your dipstick tube in.  It requires heat to
remove so plan on having a propane torch in addition to the pliers
and hammer if you ever need to get the tube out again.

>But they had not even lowered the level of the oil either.  Had
> to tell them to do it.  Even so it is just slightly above full.  I do thank
> all of you who replied to my "Oil Leak" post.  You helped me think and make
> a rational decision.  Right now the leak is so small that in 2 months it was
> "according to the dealer ship" 1 quart over filled by them (remember it was
> 6 inches over the full mark) and that makes me think it is really just a
> small leak more like seepage, the only thing that would worry me is if it
> got bigger as fast as it began to leak then I would have a problem.
> Remember it did not leak before I took it in.  After servicing it did.  My
> neighbor said he would look at it, he is a mechanic and he would give me his
> opinion.

The oil leak is the least of your problems if it really is
over-filled that much.  When the oil level is high enough that the
rotating crankshaft can contact it, several bad things happen.
First, the crank whips the oil into a foam which raises the oil
level even more, causing more whipping, etc.  Second, the entrained
air thins the oil and makes it a less effective lube in the
bearings.  Third, it induces a LOT of heat into the oil which causes
the oil temperature to run much hotter than it otherwise would.
Throw in a good long uphill pull on a hot day and you burn the oil
when otherwise it would be OK.  Forth, churning the oil saps power
so the engine performs poorly and uses more fuel.  Fifth, some of
that oil being violently thrown around will end up on the cylinder
walls, causing increased oil consumption which will make you think
you have ring problems.  Sixth, if the jets of churned oil happen to
go in the wrong direction, it may very well end up pushing a
crankshaft seal out.  Then you have "oil leak" redefined for you!!

This ain't rocket science and oil isn't gold.  Just take it
somewhere (a Jiffy lube with bays high enough for your rig will do),
have your perfectly good oil dumped and the proper amount put back
in.  Then you can check the stick and see where the correct amount
of oil reads.  You're going to actually spend a few dollars out of
your pocket and your dealer will get out of having to fix a problem
they should have but the problem WILL be fixed.


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