Desperate way to clean an oil pickup screen.

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May 13, 2003
Toronto, Canada
Hey guys, if an oil pickup screen gets clogged what do you think of this a quick and dirty way to clear it. Oil pan is a bear to drop.. 1. Fill crankcase with parts cleaner thru dipstick. 2. insert some kind of stirrer or use an aqarium pump with a tube to agitate parts cleaner to dissolve sludge. 3. Leave overnight, drain.
When I was a young Machinist Mate striker my Chief used to purge his cars crankcase at every oil change. He'd drain the oil leaving on the filter. Fill with JP-5 (which I think is pretty much straight kerosene) and run the engine a few minutes or till the lifters started ticking. Take it for whats its worth which may not be much. However,He seemed to keep the same car for a long time using this procedure every three months of so. Of course we were always drunk when we did this and I have never done it to one of my own cars.
Yes I'm with YZF - what's the prognosis based on? IMHO desperate ways don't usually apply to mechanical items that you wish to keep... I would do two cans of Amsoil flush (purely for the solvent), drain, then a of gallon of Neutra soak...then an Auto-Rx triple treatment.... But if you got chunks that don't dissolve after that I think you have bigger problems.
Honestly-I think you are wasting your time. Anything you dump in there may affect seal leakage. It is possible that the offending material is Silicon sealant (that actually happened to me). So anything that dissolves this will dissolve the seals.
Legend, you don't say what engine this is.....? One way to clean the screen is to bend and insert a piece of piano wire through the oil drain hole, and scrape the screen bottom. Then put about a quart of parts cleaner in it, and let sit overnight, and drain. The screen is near the pan bottom, so you don't need much cleaner. Certain early 90's engines were put together using an oil pan sealer, rather than a gasket. This sealer degraded over time, clogging the pump pickup screen. It didn't matter how well these engines were maintained, the screens would always clog......
If it is worth doing it is worth doing right!! Better that you yank the pan and replace the screen then blow the engine. If you decide to clean it which is not recomended you should at least clean it right. After you install a new one you should consider Auto-RX or Nuetra cleaning agents for future use to clean your engine out. If the screen if pluged up so are the oil galleys!!
JohnBrowning is right. Why monkey with chemicals when you can just replace the screen and the oil pan gasket? Use a torque wrench when replacing the pan. [Cheers!]
It's not my engine but a fellow member of another forum. He now thinks his oil pickup might be plugged because his oil warning light is on but he is getting oil to the valvetrain. He mentioned that there was some sludge in the valve area. Suspicion is on screen. The engine is a Honda C27A - 2.7l Acura Legend It has gaskets. The oil pan is a bear because you need to drop a crossmember and exhaust. It looks like the heat cool cycles causes oil pan bolts to back out after a while (10+ yrs) on these engines. The ones directly above the exhaust are always the loosest. I was thinking like TheLoneRanger. I guess refilling half the crankcase would do the trick and no seals would be touched by the parts cleaner. What I don't like about scraping is that it pushes some of the sludge past the screen. Whereas a bubble effect would dissolve it "gently".
Since we really don't know WHAT is blocking the pickup screen, mechanically clean it. Sludge may not be the issue. I agree with JohnBrowning and GSV. This is a case for spending the time to do it right. Pulling the crossmember and exhaust may be cheap compared to the engine being replaced. There could be other issues like a pickup that has worked loose, etc.
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