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Pcv, breather box help

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TyRawr
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Pcv, breather box help

Post by TyRawr »

I have a 03 s60 with about 200,000 miles and I'm replacing some things. I took the old breather box off and it was filled to the brim with this light brown milky sludge. I want to know what is causing this. I dont want to just throw a new one on and have it fill up like the old one.
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amblerman
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Re: Pcv, breather box help

Post by amblerman »

TyRawr wrote: Thu May 14, 2020 1:54 pm I have a 03 s60 with about 200,000 miles and I'm replacing some things. I took the old breather box off and it was filled to the brim with this light brown milky sludge. I want to know what is causing this. I dont want to just throw a new one on and have it fill up like the old one.
The milky sludge is a combination of moisture mixing with oil .

it doesn't surprise me that there would be some of that in your breather box especially if there were a lot of short trips..

The PCV system by nature contains a mixture of oily residue and moisture. On longer trips, the whole system should reach temperatures where the moisture is cooked off eventually but lots of short trips could cause a build up of an oil/moisture mix to accumulate.

But filled to brim? That doesn't sound good or normal.
I could speculate on what would cause the system to get backed up like that but it would be pure speculation.

The only reason I replied was to explain what it is, in case you weren't sure what it was in general.

-A
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Re: Pcv, breather box help

Post by amblerman »

This orifice goes to your block right?

What the block entrance also plugged up or did the goo only appear in that location after you took the box off, moved it, and let it sit for a bit?
I'm asking because from that picture, it woud look like your block entrance where the breather box drains was also plugged up.
plugged.png
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TyRawr
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Re: Pcv, breather box help

Post by TyRawr »

Yes that is where it was connected to the block. When I took it off there wasn't really goo coming out of the block, just sitting there hanging out. I cleaned it up with some cleaner and qtips. It does not seem like a straight opening I could only clean so far back into there. But I didn't know if I would need to further address this inside the engine or the oil pan. I was reading and some people said it could possibly be coolant mixing with oil?
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Re: Pcv, breather box help

Post by TyRawr »

It was not plugged up like in the picture there. Nothing oozing out. It was more black like old oil or carbon around the rim of the hole on the block. A little clogged up but not like the box
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Re: Pcv, breather box help

Post by amblerman »

coolant and oil would result in the same thing as what I described as "moisture" mixing with oil.
When I said "moisture" i meant was any naturally occurring moisture found in the air that might be in your crank case and/or comes from the combustion cycle that gets mixed into the PCV system and never heats up enough to burn off. An example of this sometimes shows up on the bottom of the oil fill cap in the form of a brown mayonnaise looking goo. In a well running engine, this should be minimal at best and should only show up with repeated short trips where the engine doesn't get hot enough to boil all the moisture out of the system.

However, if you do have an issue (blown head gasket) then you could get coolant and oil mixing.
The volume of brown milkshake you are seeing does seem excessive for just being the result of short trips and condensation build up. :-(

there are things you can do to test if your head gasket is blown. I will search on those but "test head gasket volvo" will yield results for you. I have something due for work tomorrow so I have to stop procrastinating. :-)
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Re: Pcv, breather box help

Post by - Pete - »

To add to the excellent words that have already been shared with you, I would also include that it is absolutely possible to have a complete occlusion of the (lower) port in the block as well as a plugged up oil trap/black box and not have a head gasket issue. I bought a low mileage 04 V70 AWD 2.5T and it’s oil trap & lower port on the block were completely plugged. The old man I bought it from drove it routinely 2 miles to town to do his shopping, then 2 miles home. Zero highway miles, ever. For 61k miles he drove it like this! This is thee worst possible thing for these engines! On top of that, he did 7,500 - 8,000 mile oil changes with Castrol - yuck. The motor was so plugged up with sludge I am convinced I am still purging some out at each 3-3.5k synthetic oil change to this day.

As far as where that port on the block goes, yes, cleaning that is very important! In fact, if you still have it apart, I would get some pipe cleaners and scrub the hell out of it all the way down into the oil pan. Blow compressed air through that passage also. Anything in that passage, or most of it, that you clean/brush away at will most likely fall into the oil pan. So if it was me, I’d barely let the oil get warm after finishing your current task, and then dump it immediately. Put cheap oil back in, run it a hundred or two miles, dump it. Etc.

If you are lucky, you won’t have to drop your oil pan. If you are unlucky, you will. One way to improve your odds is to do very short oil change intervals for the next 5k miles. By short I mean like 500-1000 miles. If the oil turns dark, it’s time to change it. Oil is cheap. For this exercise feel free to use cheap conventional “flush” oil, until it’s pumping clean & the sludge is lessened.

This is not something to test fate with. If your oil pan looks like mine did, your oil pickup tube will become clogged trying to suck oil past all the carbon & sludge that is now suspended in oil & floating around the pan. When this happens (oil pickup tube becoming clogged), the rest of your engine cannot receive the supply of pressurized oil that it needs to survive. Aaaannnnddd, when that happens, you’ll get a scarey message on the dashboard DIM center that says “NO oil pressure, STOP SAFELY”. Not low oil psi, NO oil psi. And when you see that, stop the car, immediately.

It’s an unfortunate truth with these engines - short heat cycles promote the buildup of this junk called sludge. Couple that with long oil change intervals, mix in low-mid quality conventional or semi-synthetic oil, and you have a recipe for disaster.

If the car gets driven short distances & then is allowed to cool, that’s not good. But if that’s how life is for you, so be it. You will need to make sure you take the car out for longer jaunts to burn off all the gunk and change oil with good synthetic oil at shorter intervals. I like to do my oil changes at 4K miles, tire rotations at 2k miles. I typically run Rotella T6 5-40 or Mobil 1 ESP 5-40 (cheap & decent synthetic diesel oils) & Mahle or Mann filters.

As far as solvents go - you do not want to shock your engine with a big dose of solvent to free it of the gunk. This always ends badly. The best way to do it is to do it slowly, over many miles with good oil, and changing it at low mile intervals until the junk has been satisfactorily removed. After the junk has been purged, it’s fine to add some Seafoam etc to your oil just before an oil change.

Anyhow, sorry to drone on. If you couldn’t tell this is (still) one of those topics I feel is very important.
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Re: Pcv, breather box help

Post by darrylrobert »

is your engine oil looking okay?. i assume it is, then i wouldnt worry too much. replace it and you may want to check it again..FYI the cars 3 that ive changed the breather box on had minimal to no build up of dry material.
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Re: Pcv, breather box help

Post by amblerman »

When I got my s70 a few years ago at about 110K, the PCV failed the glove test.

When I took mine off, it looked like the below picture (not my car). Not as bad as the below picture in terms of % clogged.

However the below picture does give a good representation of the type of debris I found waiting for me.
It was black, grainy and a bit like a dry paste.

It was not like what you found. Wet brown goo.
pcv.png
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-A
TyRawr
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Re: Pcv, breather box help

Post by TyRawr »

Thank you guys for your help btw.
But I just changed the oil a couple weeks ago. Not even 1k miles and the oil is very dark again already. I am going to change it immediately after this job. I have used seafoam twice. Ive only owned the car for about 7k miles and did a change when I got it w/ no sea foam then 3k w/ foam and another 3k w/ foam again. I have replaced the spark plugs and coil packs along with removing the breather box. Have not put it back together yet not having time with working but also wanting to fix it correctly.
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