Hammer Time: Oil Get You for This!

Steven Lang
by Steven Lang

The oil in the Honda Insight’s engine was overfilled by nearly half the length of the dipstick by the new car dealer. I was 40 miles away from there with a well deserved vacation on the horizon. So, I did what anyone in my neck of the woods would do and fixed the problem myself. Except the problem didn’t get fixed. It got worse. Boy, did it get worse.

I have a manual evacuator that’s used to handle these excesses which are not uncommon these days. Ninety bucks and a minute with a handpump are usually enough to get out whatever is needed. Plus I don’t have to tear anything apart or clean up any oil residue. I just pump n go. No tools required. It does absolute wonders for a variety of fluid changes and helps in those rare times when travel and time (or a special deal) make the labor of an oil change less than $5.00 an hour. Two minutes of pumping, a little self-auditing, and I’m done. Simple.

I put an extension to the usual tube since the dipstick hole for this car was almost pea sized. It fit perfectly. Pump . . . pump . . . nothing. Not even a drop. After a dozen more pumps I decide to turn the engine on to get some well needed suction. It works. Oil comes out, and I can literally hear the car getting better with each successive second.

Then the devil came to Georgia in the form of suction. I lifted the larger hose connected to the smaller hose in order to get it out and then magically, the little hose turned to a snake. It disconnected itself from the hose fitting and slithered its way into the car. Where it made its home in the chain tensioner. Damage? Probably not. But to remove the timing chain cover, you have to remove the engine from the car. It’ll be a complete bitch.

I love this car, and when I get the free time I’ll get a chance to love it even more. Whose fault is it? Mine. We all learn from our mistakes. This will be 20 hours worth—which will hopefully last a lifetime.

Steven Lang
Steven Lang

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  • Fincar1 Fincar1 on Jun 25, 2009

    My 1958 Plymouth 318 engine, if the oil filter gasket wasn't seated quite right, could pump its entire crankcase full of oil onto the garage floor in about thirty seconds. On a slightly different tack, one of my father's trucks starting running out of gas on the road for no apparent reason. Gas in the tank, no symptoms, then it would start and run fine until the next random occurence. It turned out that some SOB gas thief had put a piece of butter paper in the gas tank. This would float down at random intervals and paste itself to the output line. Then with the lack of suction when the motor was off it would drift away.

  • Steven Lang Steven Lang on Jun 25, 2009

    The oil was overfilled by the dealership. I tried getting the oil out with the engine turned off but there wasn't enough pressure in the pump system to lift the oil up. Therefore I turned the engine on and tried to remove the excess that way. It turns out that the hose was wrapped around the timing chain. Three hours of careful pushing and prodding, and she's as good as new.

  • Lou_BC Ironic, the Honda Ridgeline, a truck that every truck guy loves to hate is in 6th place.
  • 28-Cars-Later I keep forgetting I own it, but the space look on the ext cab reminds me of my 'Yota pickup of the same model year. I'm pretty sure there is some vintage of Hilux which features the same looking ext cab window (maybe '88?) its a shame these things are mostly gone and when available are $1,000,000,000 [INSERT CURRENT CURRENCY].
  • Sayahh Imagine if Ford had Toyota design and build a Mustang engine. It will last over 300k miles! (Skip turbo and make it naturally aspirated.) Maybe Yamaha will help tune it...
  • Sobhuza Trooper Isuzu's crime was to build some damn good trucks.Shame on them.
  • El scotto Listen, unless you were Lord Headly-Stempmoor or such when you got off the off the boat, boot in Canada, you got the short end of the stick. People got on the boat, these days a plane, to escape famine, becoming cannon fodder in yet another stupid war, or the government thought it was A-OK to let soldiers kill you. Juneteenth is just a way to right one of the more bad ideas in the American experiment. Instead we have commenters who were buying tater chips and diet soda at Wal-Mart and got all butt-hurt because they heard someone who wasn't speaking English. I'm going to go fix a couple of frankfurters with salsa and guacamole and wash them down with a lager or three