97 SSE low oil pressure? - GM Forum - Buick, Cadillac, Chev, Olds, GMC & Pontiac chat


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Old 12-19-2007, 11:38 PM   #1
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Default 97 SSE low oil pressure?

Bonneville 97', 142k,
Here is my problem:
Oil replaced Castrol GTX High mileage 10W30
FRAM High mileage oil filter ( Only one at Walmart )
System RESTORE ( metal can 6 cyl )

Before I replaced oil:
40 idle
50-55 thruway
200-205* temperature

After I replaced oil, filter and RESTORE
30-35 idle
35-40 thruway
200-205* temperature

Is that fine or not, am I safe to drive that car?

Just to mention, before that I have used Valvoline regular 10W30, with STP oil additive
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Old 12-20-2007, 04:26 AM   #2
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I think you're due for another oil change. With that Fram filter, who knows what can happen? Also, I actually don't mind the Super Tech filters Wal Mart carries because they're manufactured by the same guys who make Motorcraft, AC Delco, STP, Mobil 1, etc. The differences are how much oil pressure they can take and the filtering media. The little seals to keep the oil from flowing back to the oil pan gets better almost always with price increments, but it'* not that big of a deal to me.

Here'* how poor a FRAM is on the inside:

You can see how the filtering goods are not nicely separated. I think they may even fold over because of how loose they look. Your best bet, if you have no other option but Wal Mart, is most likely to get a Super Tech filter and any name brand 10W30 oil (except for Pennzoil and Quaker State) and then do a sub-3000K mile oil change.

I had a similar problem recently with an AC Delco filter an fully synthetic Mobil 1. I don't know what happened. I then used a Purolator (superior, IMO) filter with Mobil 1, and everything was all right. I just don't know what happened.
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Old 12-20-2007, 07:29 AM   #3
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Didnt realize that, that specific filter could create a problem, i work in the Water business and I instal whole house filters with the same design as the picture above, the spacing between flaps dont make a hill of beans, the filter is still the same composite between the, and including the flaps so i really dont understand how that style filter is the issue but oil is diff than water. But those style filters(for water) on a house have a MAJOR ISSUE with inner suction that collapses the filter and blocks flow all together
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Old 12-20-2007, 07:52 AM   #4
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That last part about collapsing is true for filters that have plastic cores. What I mentioned about the flaps being uneven is that the Fram filter has a cardboard end cap, so the fins can just break loose as they please. This is terrible, and then they can fold over and "suck." Here'* some little thread I started before I forgot to take a saw to my filter:
http://www.bonnevilleclub.com/forum/...ic.php?t=87439

Following those links will get you places. I am sure there have been a few similar or more detailed threads here, but this is mine, and I'm biased. Also, we here at BC hate Fram and do not use it. The last Fram product I got for my Bonneville was a locking gas cap, and the locking mechanism broke. My mom'* Sable has had a non-Fram locking gas cap for years, and it'* fine.

How big are the filters you install?
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Old 12-20-2007, 09:14 AM   #5
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small, orange
high mileage FRAM oil filter
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Old 12-20-2007, 01:30 PM   #6
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Another important factor here is that you were using STP before when the pressure was higher. STP is a viscosity "improver", and does indeed increase oil pressure compared to an oil change without it. Temperature of the engine is another large factor in what oil pressure will gauge. A cooler 180F drilled thermostat will typically result in higher pressures than a non-drilled 195F.

I like Wal Mart brand coolant and have no complaint with their oils. I have a low oil pressure problem in my Vanagon, and have found that Wal-Mart brand Super Tech 20-W50 oil maintains a higher pressure than Valvoline Racing oil straight 50 weight. This is one of the few cases in my experience where a multi-viscosity oil outperforms a straight weight at operating temperature.

Another thing I have noticed about Wal-Mart oil is that it does a pretty good job of cleaning out dirty engines. I have used Tech 5W-30 as a cheap, flushing oil when repairing cars with internal coolant leaks, and have been surprised at how quickly it removes the brown colored deposits in valve galleries.

I like heavier oils in loose, worn engines. For example, I run Shell Rotella-T 15W-40 oil in my '95 SLE; It has 155K miles and runs about 40 psi on the highway, maybe 35 psi idling hot with my winter 195 drilled thermostat. A can of STP would probably increase that pressure a bit, but that pressure is just fine in terms of providing adequate lubrication to the bearings.

Many years ago, Mercedes published a guideline that you need 7psi of oil pressure for each thousand RPM. Even so, when the oil pressure gets down around 20 psi at idle, I get pretty nervous.
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