2012 S60 T5 High Oil Consumption - Did you fix it?

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Re: 2012 S60 T5 High Oil Consumption - Did you fix it?

Post by paredown »

KnucklesBusted wrote: Mon Feb 11, 2019 9:15 am In reply to Oragex, thank you for your comments.

The PCV on this car is a Mann-Hummel built unit. They are a huge company that among other things mfg a wide range of oil separation/crankcase pressure control systems for engines from small to high HP diesels. The unit is fairly complex, I have not seen anything so intricate short of high performance engines that actively manage crankcase pressure at all times. It is located on the front side of the engine and can be access by removing the airbox. It is integrated with the oil filter housing, half aluminum and half plastic which makes it fairly expensive to replace at ~$220 from parts geek. It also has internal heaters supplied by their own 12v connection. Rather than the metal rattle slug you may be used to the valve itself is a ~2" rubber diaphragm that reacts to crankcase pressure against a plastic orifice. Below that are the separation chambers with the heated orifices that drain into the chamber. It does not use a serviceable separation filter as many of their units now do.

More interesting to me is why did they choose this design?

My "opinions" are what follow, not based in empirical fact. The reason for the expensive system, and for the heaters is response to the expected higher level of gas volume that must be processed in this newly designed engine. It is integrated into the oil filter housing to keep it warm, and heated at the "choke points" to also keep it warm. Blow by from low tension turb engines is both higher in volume and contains more and finer suspended oil particles that must be processed. Also blow by contains significant amounts of moisture that will freeze and clog unheated systems. Keep it warm, and move a lot of air, and remove as much oil as possible before returning it to the intake.

When this systems performance starts to degrade it begins to allow positive crankcase pressures during certain operational conditions (ideal being slightly negative) which will not produce symptoms such as the famous "whistle", or oil blown out seals but will create the more serious and insidious issues surrounding excess oil in the combustion chamber. "Stuck" rings (the second ring actually, the "oil control" third rings not as much of a factor), high carbon deposits including potential burnt valves, all the rest. This can last many miles leading to essentially engine failure. I think the reason the Volvo TJ for this engine requires a ring replace as part of resolution is not because they have failed, but because they are as you say stuck. Volvo (no one actually) would call out for "cleaning" the rings.

The reason I think the TJ calls out for engine replacement as the last resort was that some engines were damaged so badly due to excessive oil and/or running on very little oil was that the engine was re-designed (only used one year) and field repair at dealers was not practical. I do not know if you had this car and the engine was replaced whether you did get a different engine or not.

This is a fairly tight tolerance engine, stock it uses three different size pistons. I have asked Volvo and 4 different dealers part/service departments "Has this piston/ring been re-designed?". No one can tell me... Also not known for sure is whether a single ring part number fits all three piston sizes, or is there a set for each piston? I have found both.

Based on a bore scope exam of my combustion chambers I am not thinking flushing would be a good idea due to the volume of the debris, there is a LOT. All that crud must make it's way into the crankcase past the rings or exit the exhaust system through the catastrophic perverter. I am planning on removing the pistons to clean them replace the rings and examine the valves (perhaps a trip to the machine shop for seals and lapping).

Still learning, so appreciate your comments.
Curious to know how you made out on your rebuild/exploration. I got interested because I spotted a 2012 S60 at bargain price--that my have the oil consumption problem and is not running,
1999 na 2.4l V70 beater--donated to Habitat in running condition

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Post by KnucklesBusted »

Hello there,

I would not touch it because they only used that engine for one year. As you likely know 2012 was the first year they started making the S60 again, and they changed the engine (my opinion only the piston rings) for the 2013. If the car has over 100k miles, and the PCV unit has never been serviced the rings are likely stuck and there is a LOT of carbon in the jugs. In my case no chemical solution would have worked, there was just too much. When the PCV fails the engine simply moves a ton of oil (1 qt in 600 miles or so in my wife's car) through the cylinders. No way to fix it other then to pull the pistons. Once you do that you might as well rebuild everything although the dealer will just do the ring job with engine in block. But I never would, no way to really clean the block surface without introducing abrasive material into the engine which even a tiny bit is death.

I replaced with new or rebuilt:

Cylinder head (did not need valve job)
Top and bottom end gaskets
Rod's and mains and bolts
tanked the block, did not have to ream ridges or bore, had de-glazed at the shop
polished crank
rebuilt turbo (sent out, amateur cannot balance it)
New PCV housing, alternator, starter AC compressor and dryer, water pump, timing belt, all belts, all belt spinners, spark plug boots, fuel filter, all filters, ?
I am sure I am forgetting a lot.

Things I learned:
Almost no one ever rebuilds this engine. The Volvo dealer mechanics were fascinated (and astounded at my lack of good sense for taking it on).
I asked MANY including Volvo formally and no one knows or if they do will not say if then changed the rings for 2013, and whether or not the rings I bought are the newer design.
Ordering the rings and bearings is complicated and even the dealer has trouble. They car uses different size pistons and each bearing is different including upper and lower. Precision built oil burner at least.
I spent almost $3500, I shopped very carefully buying from 4 different sources
Engine has to come out with the tranny, no other way

I took this on as I enjoy working on it, and have a really nice shop that I like to spend time in. I should have just sold the car! And, I am always looking for a excuse to massage my tool fetish, bought a cam compressor. Popping the glued on cam cover without the Volvo tool is a challenge also.

Run Forrest, run. I am pretty sure every 2012 out there with no PCV service will have this issue. Combo of rings and PCV.

My opinions, could be wrong.

Or, just buy the car and plan on spending money on oil. I dug into mine originally just because the AC compressor was failing and one of the idlers had started making noise. They are great cars!

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Post by RickHaleParker »

KnucklesBusted wrote: Sat Oct 19, 2019 7:42 pm
Things I learned:
Almost no one ever rebuilds this engine. The Volvo dealer mechanics were fascinated (and astounded at my lack of good sense for taking it on).
The lower ends are so reliable a a junkyard short block is a good bet.

I took this on as I enjoy working on it, and have a really nice shop that I like to spend time in. I should have just sold the car!
Wait a second, its good therapy, keep you sane and cost less then a shrink. It is smart finances.

I am always looking for a excuse to massage my tool fetish, bought a cam compressor.
One can never have enough tools. It been argued that tools are what set humans apart from the rest.
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Post by KnucklesBusted »

LOL! I do feel your pain Mr. Parker...

"Keep you sane"? Perhaps a bit too late, but it may have slowed the unstoppable progression.

I have clipped your comment about tools and sent it to my wife, I will let you know what she says on that.

All the best

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Post by mrigmo »

I wish I had found this post a long time ago. But I learned a lot of things the hard way that may or may not be in line with what what others on here or Volvo recommends but they worked for me.

They make an updated PCV system for this but it's a dealer part. iPd sells replacement diaphragms for 20 bucks, and they even have a slightly improved design over the stock. You can and probably should clean the PCV system out a few times a year. I soak a gun brush in seafoam or lucas complete engine or gas even and scrub the buildup out. I assume the buildup is what causes the consumption to start and the worse one gets the worse the other gets. It will literally shut this engine down once it overwhelms the PCV.

The first thing I noticed when I got this car was how much varnish (I don't know if this is the right term) had built up on the oil dipstick and oil cap.I assumed it was the same all throughout the engine. So I don't normally use engine oil additives and certainly not ones with solvents in them (detergents yes), but I regularly drive from Dallas to Orlando which is almost exactly 1000 miles and I'll add something when I'm doing my pre trip fluid checks. I also bring a spare PCV diaphragm and get my oil changed when I get there. The first time I did this the oil came out RED, like I've never seen anything like it. I thought I drained transmission fluid by accident or something off the wall for a minute. But I assumed it was just all that varnish being stripped out of the motor.

Second thing I did that had a huge impact on oil consumption went counterintuitive to what I had been taught about stopping or slowing engine oil usage. I would have on a domestic car, anything based off an older design like a 350, used an "engine honey" or really thick oil stabilizer. But that only will make it worse because of the compression ratio, the turbo and PCV system and the way the enginess rings are designed. Instead I used the lucas low viscosity oil treatment and it also helped a lot with removing the varnish coating everything in the engine.

Third I is probably the weirdest thing about Volvos that I've experienced is how sensitive they are to their oil. Being half a quart low, a thousand miles behind on a change or using 10w-30 instead of 5 will have huge performance differences. What my moms S80 likes and what mine likes are completely different. I started trying different oils looking for something that my engine would agree with, I did some research as not all full synthetics are created equally and have huge differences in their specs. Where conventional oils just had detergents and anti friction additives, synthetics aren't even all made from the same base "oil". Mobile 1 was NOT the oil for me, it was the first one I tried and was burning a quart every 1000 miles and the car ran like crap at the same time. I tried the recommended Castrol and it was a little better, I'd get 1500 miles per quart and the car wouldn't miss as bad. But the Pennzoil Synthetic Euro L works great. Granted that I did try it right as I finished cleaning 85000 miles of gunk out of the engine and lining out the PCV system. And I've been using it and performing maintenance on the PCV system with every oil change. But my car doesn't burn oil like it did. I keep an extra quart in trunk, and might have to add half a quart if I am particularly hard on it, but I don't really consider my car to be an "oil burner" anymore. And I guess even though Volvo and Pennzoil don't have the same official relationship they do with Mercedes and some other manufactures, the design techniques used to create the efficiency increases that caused this whole problem to begin with are very similar across the European sedan category so it stands to reason they would have engineered the Euro L to address some of the challenges they were facing like PCV systems failing and blow by.

If you aren't the original owner of one of these though then chances are the rings got scorched at some point, it's almost guaranteed if the person driving the car wasn't the one paying for. Volvos tend to hold a lot of oil, probably because they are so sensitive to it, they build in some redundancy to ease that. That extra oil down in the crank might have saved the lower engine but I'd say getting the rings replaced might not be a bad idea since it can be done without completely tearing the engine down.

Lastly, I did the math and running premium gas, top tier if you can find it, helped big time with everything and my car gets a mileage bump from it that offsets the cost per gallon. They say turbo engines are the only thing you're supposed to run premium gas in anyways. Even though it will run fine on regular, it will run great on premium. I hope that wasn't too long, hopefully somebody on here can tell me how to fix my "city safety service" light problem being on. I've managed to fix everything else that's come up with this car in my driveway. That's the only way I can afford to own it lol.

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Post by 14s60 »


We have a 2013.5 S60, this year we complained about the high oil consumption. The dealer here in Toronto took down some information, and sent it off to Volvo. The end result was they replaced the cylinder rings at no cost. We did have he extended warranty, but not sure if that mattered or not. The car at the time had about 135,000 KM. It was not burning it that we could tell. Consumption was 1 quart/month. We asked them to lightly (hone) recondition the cylinder walls to the new rings would seat properly. This part was not covered or called upon.

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Post by KnucklesBusted »

Thank you for your reply, I am curious, did this fix it for you?

Merry Christmas!


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