• Protip: Profile posts are public! Use Conversations to message other members privately. Everyone can see the content of a profile post.

Help - Engine Failure after Rear-end collision!!!

17 December 2001
Portland, Or
This is my first post to NSX prime, and unfortunately it is not a pleasant one. I was rear ended in my 91 NSX while sitting at a stoplight. The car was damaged (Rear bumper / Tailights / Bumper braces / Minor Frame Damage. I had an estimate done at Dick Hannah. They were the preferred shop for Farmers (The lady who hit my car's insurance co.) I decided to get a second quote and picked the car up from DH. I drove about 5 miles. I was on a residential street doing about 30 mph at low rpm. The Oil light came on, pressure dropped to 0, and a catastrophic sound projected from the engine compartment. (I will pray that nobody in this group ever hears this sound from their car. I am still having nightmares!)

I had the car towed on a flatbed to the other body shop.

Prior to the accident, the car ran strong. I had Morgan at Acura of Portland do a pre purchase inspection w/ compression and the car was perfect. I also had a recent valve adj, 90k, Timing belt 70k, oil change 95k, and clutch 70k. The car was full of clean oil after it broke down. The car has 98Kmi.

I am arguing the car must have been damaged in the collision, Farmers says it was "Highly Unlikely ." They questioned how the engine could be damaged when the collision was in the rear. They did not know it was a mid engine.

I would like to know if anyone else has experienced a catastrophic t about 100k under normal driving conditions. I do not race the car, and I drive it daily.

Please let me know what the experts think. I am having it looked over by Morgan at Acura of PDX soon.

Thank you,
Bryan Emerson
Is it possible you had a major oil leak from the accident?

This happened to an NSX once when I was at a shop. He had an oil change done at some crappy place and they probably did a bad job or did not use enough.

The tech that was with him for a drive later saw the oil pressure dropping to 1 at speed.
On the freeway, the oil pressure started dropping to 1 (should be at least 5+ at that speed). tech said pull over... that is not right. He didn't.
Nasty sound from behind, car is dead.

Car had insufficient oil in the system and it blew the motor. You mentioned the oil pressure gauge dropping. If you had a leak and your car did not have enough oil in the system, this is a possibility. It would have had to lose a lot of oil for that to happen. It means you bent or put some holes in some very expensive engine parts. Basically what happens when running a car without oil.
I sure hope not.
If it was still full of oil then there are other possibilities. Was the passenger side rear badly damaged? I can see where the lines for the oil cooler might have been crimped. They would be quite vulnerable in a rear impact. I suppose it's also possible that the filter and mount were badly damaged which could block oil flow or pass particles which in turn plug passages. It could even have crushed the pan far enough to damage the oil pickup tube inside, but that's getting a bit far fetched if it’s not leaking.

I would certainly pursue this vigorously since it is extremely (to the point of being dismissed in my opinion) unlikely that the engine picked this particular time to simply fail, particularly given the miles on it.
I agree 100% with sjs. The metal oil line could have been crimped or the rubber hoses severed.

Sorry to hear about your car, at least it sounds like you are physically ok. Good luck with Farmers Insurance.

Thank you all so much for the help. The FIRST thing I checked was the oil level, and it was full (Top notch of dipstick) as well as clean.

There are no visible signs of leakage other than very small pre-existing (Both mechanics who inspected the car for purchase noted them) seepage near the vtec seals. Morgan said this was common and not to worry too much about it. It has not been a problem, I can wipe away the oil with a rag in on stroke if I did it about once a month.

I looked at the pan and there is no apparent damage. I will check the Passenger side.

What was the timeframe between the light coming on, the pressure going to zero on the gauge, and the bad noise from the engine? And did they happen in that order?
I've been in several accidents that were clearly the other person's fault. I took my car to the body shop of my choice and their insurance paid for it. No lawyers, no problems.
Originally posted by NSX_PDX:
I had an estimate done at Dick Hannah. They were the preferred shop for Farmers (The lady who hit my car's insurance co.) I decided to get a second quote and picked the car up from DH.

If you were rear-ended while at a stop light, it is clear that the fault is completely with the person that rear-ended you. You should take the car to get estimates and fixed at any place you want that you feel "comfortable" with. DO NOT LISTEN TO FARMERS no matter what they say. I have dealt with them before and they will try to get your car fixed with used and non-factory parts.

It also looks like Farmers is being difficult and will continue to be difficult with your claim. As many have suggested, best way to ensure that you don't get "dicked around" is to get a lawyer and have the lawyer and the insurance company deal with the problem. All that matters is that your car was in perfect working condition before the accident.
I haven't heard of an attorney settling a collision loss for property damage only, at least not here in NY. I personally don't know of a lawyer or firm interested in representing a client for property damage only. Where would their expenses/fee come from? The settlement/repair figure? The Law firms I know only accept the property damage if they are negotiating an injury loss as their primary focus, even then they don't normally get involved unless it is a total loss. Do attorneys routinely accept collision damage only cases in other states?