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      02-02-2013, 06:54 AM   #1
f1madman
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I just poured engine oil into the coolan tank!

WTF is wrong with me?

I was in a rush and poured probably less than a 500ml of Castrol into the coolant tank, and then when the oil wouldn't go in and started spilling out... I had realised I unscrewed the wrong frigging cap!



I'm such a dumbass, will this ruin my cooling system should I got to a garage asap? What damage have I done?

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      02-02-2013, 07:19 AM   #2
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It's bad but not the end of the world.. Don't put the key in the ignition. I'm not familiar with the connections for the electric water pump but you should look into it and disconnect it for good measure. Then I would get a vacuum pump from a local parts store and suck out as much fluid from the coolant tank as possible.. If you're not able to get a whole lot I would work on pulling the tank out. Oil is lighter than coolsnt but hopefully not much oil had gotten into the system through gravity. But a complete coolant system flush might be in order.

Or get the car towed a reputed shop and explain what you did.. Whatever you do, please ensure the engine water pump doesn't run..
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      02-02-2013, 07:20 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by f1madman
WTF is wrong with me?

I was in a rush and poured probably less than a 500ml of Castrol into the coolant tank, and then when the oil wouldn't go in and started spilling out... I had realised I unscrewed the wrong frigging cap!



I'm such a dumbass, will this ruin my cooling system should I got to a garage asap? What damage have I done?

you can go and flush it.depending how old or miles ur car has ur prob due.
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      02-02-2013, 07:36 AM   #4
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Okay, take it easy, you haven't done any real damage here (even if you did start the car). From what you've written, it sounds like you have not started the engine and circulated the coolant; that is a good thing. The good news is that oil is lighter than water so it has probably just remained in the coolant tank and will not be pulled down into the system by gravity. So don't start the car.

DO NOT DRAIN THE SYSTEM FIRST! I suggest you get a shop vac (a vacuum that sucks up water) and suck the water/oil mix out of the tank. Then remove the tank. Then drain the coolant out of the rest of the system (i.e. radiator) using the DIY posted in the DIY section. Check the coolant and see if there is oil in it. Stir up the coolant in the catch pan you drained it into and see if it "milks up" (looks like white grease). If there is oil in the coolant that came from the radiator, then you'll need to remove the radiator and wash it out with dish detergent. There are instructions on how to remove the radiator in the N52 water pump replacement DIY. You need to use detergent to clean up the oil residue from the parts because regular soap will not work as well. You'd probaly want to wash the coolant hoses going to the radiator also just for good measure.

Clean the coolant tank out with brake clean or engine degreaser, then follow up with dish detergent (that will remove all the oil residue). Let it dry and make sure all oil residue is gone.

Reassemble everything and refill the system in accordance with the coolant DIY.

And finally don’t tell anyone else that you did this or you’ll lose all your “car-guy” creds. (Sorry, a little friendly flame here is appropriate...)

Last edited by Efthreeoh; 02-02-2013 at 07:44 AM.
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      02-02-2013, 07:39 AM   #5
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Make sure that you put some oil in the engine !
Don't forget that !
Now that you have put oil in the tank, ( oil being lighter than the coolant ) it will be locked at the top of the tank.
I would remove the rad with the tank, use a water hose, with some dish soap clean it up. reinstall, fill it up, and go.
If you have started the car already, well.... the coolant will actually mix with oil
and make nice brown looking slurry, it is still cleanable just need a lot and lot of flushing ( usually with special detergent )
Good luck
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      02-02-2013, 07:40 AM   #6
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I did this to my boxster I know how you feel. In the boxster one is blue the other is black and at 6am they looked the same. I poured a pint of water into the engine oil wondering why the water level was not moving

Anyway I digress. Don't start the engine. I called the AA and they came round laughter at me and then set about fixing it at my house. They literally siphoned it all out and then put in new oil. Took about an hour.

I ordered myself up a dunce hat and I suggest you do the same. Bad luck buddy.
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      02-02-2013, 07:46 AM   #7
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500mL of oil? That is nothing. Just flush the coolant very thoroughly and get on with life. You realize how many cars out there on the road have coolant mixed with oil and oil mixed with coolant due to some maintenance issue or another? The car is not going to break.
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      02-02-2013, 08:02 AM   #8
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Don't feel too bad, everyone makes mistakes. At least this is a relatively easy one to fix. I had a guy come into a parts store I was working in and bought head gasket repair and poured it into his gas tank. We tried to reason with him that it went in the oil, but he refused to listen and drove off. He came back in about 30 minutes later saying his car wouldn't start; go figure...
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      02-02-2013, 09:31 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by marine24
Don't feel too bad, everyone makes mistakes. At least this is a relatively easy one to fix. I had a guy come into a parts store I was working in and bought head gasket repair and poured it into his gas tank. We tried to reason with him that it went in the oil, but he refused to listen and drove off. He came back in about 30 minutes later saying his car wouldn't start; go figure...
I know someone who put radiator Stop-Leak in their gas tank. And another person who put red Loc-Tight on their spark plugs. Sigh.

OP, not the end of the world. Get a wet-dry vac or a turkey baster and suck everything out of the reservoir. Don't drain/flush the coolant or start the motor until you've done this.
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      02-02-2013, 09:46 AM   #10
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Either he is working on it or he started the car and doesn't want to post that on here lol.
Shit happens. I always wondered too if the oil filter housing gasket blows internally, the oil and coolant will be mixing altogether in there...So it can't be super bad, just a big pita cleaning it up
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      02-02-2013, 09:52 AM   #11
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imho the best thing to do is to vacuum out the reservoir, which theoretically would remove all the oil. But then I'd take it to the dealer to have the coolant replaced since they have an evacuation machine. Or, maybe not the dealer, because who knows if down the line there is a comment that causes a warranty denial. Anyone who has the machine can get it out.

Like others have said, not the end of the world, and we're all dumba**es in some way, shape, or form, at some time! Just don't drive it to prevent the oil from circulating.

Wonder which is denser, oil or coolant? If oil is less dense, even better! good luck.
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      02-02-2013, 10:06 AM   #12
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As the others have said, the oil will float on top of the water. Do not start the car. Suck the oil out from the top. Keep filling the coolant tank up with water, remove oil, then some water, and then repeat the process (about 10 times). Once the water/coolant comes out clean, you're probably good to go.
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      02-02-2013, 10:17 AM   #13
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Thanks guys, I ended up calling the AA, and will take it to a garage to flush out on Monday.

And I haven't been fully truthful with you guys either, due to embarrassment, so I do apologise seeing as how helpful the advice on here has been.

I actually poured the frigging oil in last weekend and have been happily driving around with no snow to worry about anymore! Since the oil warning light came back on I decided to check under the bonnet properly today... and noticed it said "cold" next to the cap and then noticed the engine cap, was ideally placed above the engine saying "Castrol is the recommended oil" (Ironically I bought Castrol oil due to seeing this message in the past, so why I didn't think to actually unscrew that cap, god knows). Been stressing about it all day after I realised what I had done!

So yeah I've got a nice oily mix cooling my car atm, due to driving some 100 miles in total (bursts of 10 miles), but fortunately haven't overheated.

Its a stupid mistake but seems like all it needs is a couple or so cleaning cycles, no permanent damage done. I'm sure it'll be cheaper to DIY, but there's no way this numpty is going to risk that! I don't think I can kick myself hard enough but as said I could've been a whole lot stupider.

Anyway thanks guys.
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      02-02-2013, 11:07 AM   #14
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This is a non-issue...... Flush and refill.

-Kevin
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      02-02-2013, 11:10 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sohlman View Post
I did this to my boxster I know how you feel. In the boxster one is blue the other is black and at 6am they looked the same. I poured a pint of water into the engine oil wondering why the water level was not moving

Anyway I digress. Don't start the engine. I called the AA and they came round laughter at me and then set about fixing it at my house. They literally siphoned it all out and then put in new oil. Took about an hour.

I ordered myself up a dunce hat and I suggest you do the same. Bad luck buddy.
As long as you don't start the engine, coolant mixed in oil is much better news than oil mixed in coolant.. 1/2 L of coolant in the oil oil sump will sink to the bottom of the oil pan and a full drain will take care of it. Any little residual coolant/ethanol in the engine drain passageways will simply evaporate or burn off, without any real effect on the engine oil..

Our friend here on the other hand... Was actually lucky in a way.. Since he ran the engine for 100 miles with oil in the coolant and not the other way around. Coolant mixed in oil guaranteed would have fried the engine in 100 miles.. Maybe not fried the engine at 1/2 L, but definitely some damage to the bearings.

Quote:
Originally Posted by f1madman View Post
Thanks guys, I ended up calling the AA, and will take it to a garage to flush out on Monday.

And I haven't been fully truthful with you guys either, due to embarrassment, so I do apologise seeing as how helpful the advice on here has been.

I actually poured the frigging oil in last weekend and have been happily driving around with no snow to worry about anymore! Since the oil warning light came back on I decided to check under the bonnet properly today... and noticed it said "cold" next to the cap and then noticed the engine cap, was ideally placed above the engine saying "Castrol is the recommended oil" (Ironically I bought Castrol oil due to seeing this message in the past, so why I didn't think to actually unscrew that cap, god knows). Been stressing about it all day after I realised what I had done!

So yeah I've got a nice oily mix cooling my car atm, due to driving some 100 miles in total (bursts of 10 miles), but fortunately haven't overheated.

Its a stupid mistake but seems like all it needs is a couple or so cleaning cycles, no permanent damage done. I'm sure it'll be cheaper to DIY, but there's no way this numpty is going to risk that! I don't think I can kick myself hard enough but as said I could've been a whole lot stupider.

Anyway thanks guys.
Same tips apply, but you want to make sure they flush the block a few times and use the appropriate detergent to work off all the oil from the different surfaces like the water pump impellers, various sealed joints, hoses, radiator etc. etc. etc...

It would be best to remove anything they can remove (like the expansion tank, hoses etc.), and clean them out on a bench.

Hopefully no permanent damage is done and you're back to normal life after the car gets back!
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      02-02-2013, 11:17 AM   #16
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No biggie here. I use oil instead of coolant exclusively
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      02-02-2013, 12:39 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by f1madman View Post
So yeah I've got a nice oily mix cooling my car atm, due to driving some 100 miles in total (bursts of 10 miles), but fortunately haven't overheated.
You may have stumbled upon a fix for premature electric water pump failures!
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      02-02-2013, 03:14 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by Efthreeoh View Post
Okay, take it easy, you haven't done any real damage here (even if you did start the car). From what you've written, it sounds like you have not started the engine and circulated the coolant; that is a good thing. The good news is that oil is lighter than water so it has probably just remained in the coolant tank and will not be pulled down into the system by gravity. So don't start the car.

DO NOT DRAIN THE SYSTEM FIRST! I suggest you get a shop vac (a vacuum that sucks up water) and suck the water/oil mix out of the tank. Then remove the tank. Then drain the coolant out of the rest of the system (i.e. radiator) using the DIY posted in the DIY section. Check the coolant and see if there is oil in it. Stir up the coolant in the catch pan you drained it into and see if it "milks up" (looks like white grease). If there is oil in the coolant that came from the radiator, then you'll need to remove the radiator and wash it out with dish detergent. There are instructions on how to remove the radiator in the N52 water pump replacement DIY. You need to use detergent to clean up the oil residue from the parts because regular soap will not work as well. You'd probaly want to wash the coolant hoses going to the radiator also just for good measure.

Clean the coolant tank out with brake clean or engine degreaser, then follow up with dish detergent (that will remove all the oil residue). Let it dry and make sure all oil residue is gone.

Reassemble everything and refill the system in accordance with the coolant DIY.

And finally don’t tell anyone else that you did this or you’ll lose all your “car-guy” creds. (Sorry, a little friendly flame here is appropriate...)
The guy put oil in his coolant tank, no offence OP, but do you really think it's a good idea he does all that?
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      02-02-2013, 05:36 PM   #19
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The guy put oil in his coolant tank, no offence OP, but do you really think it's a good idea he does all that?
Yes. But now that he confessed that he drove the car for a week, the entire cooling system needs to be flushed with detergent.
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      02-02-2013, 06:31 PM   #20
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Yes. But now that he confessed that he drove the car for a week, the entire cooling system needs to be flushed with detergent.
Yes I understand. My point was that it wasn't wise for him to do it himself considering he put oil in the coolant tank, and rather let a garage do it...
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      02-02-2013, 08:22 PM   #21
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People like you should not own expensive german cars. Not only did you screw up the cooling system, but you drove the car for A WEEK!!! You sir are an idiot. Go buy a honda. Enjoy the replacing the whole cooling system as those seals and gaskets are not designed for oil contamination, it will be a nice expensive lesson. I don't even know how you can mix those up. Are you mentally challenged, retarded??
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      02-02-2013, 09:10 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cmyk
Quote:
Originally Posted by marine24
Don't feel too bad, everyone makes mistakes. At least this is a relatively easy one to fix. I had a guy come into a parts store I was working in and bought head gasket repair and poured it into his gas tank. We tried to reason with him that it went in the oil, but he refused to listen and drove off. He came back in about 30 minutes later saying his car wouldn't start; go figure...
I know someone who put radiator Stop-Leak in their gas tank. And another person who put red Loc-Tight on their spark plugs. Sigh.

OP, not the end of the world. Get a wet-dry vac or a turkey baster and suck everything out of the reservoir. Don't drain/flush the coolant or start the motor until you've done this.
THOSE people need to be banded from vehicle ownership :
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