Oil Pressure Problem (Yes, another one) - GM Forum - Buick, Cadillac, Chev, Olds, GMC & Pontiac chat


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Old 09-16-2007, 02:08 PM   #1
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Default Oil Pressure Problem (Yes, another one)

Sorry for making yet another topic about this.

My wife has a 1996 SE with 170k on it. About a month or so ago, as she was coming home from the store, the check gauges light and warning chime came on as she turned onto our street. She noticed the oil guage was at zero, so she immediately pulled over and shut the car off (smart girl!). After waiting a few minutes, she decided to start it and see what it did. The oil guage still at zero, but she noticed the engine was not knocking or ticking, so she carefully drove home and told me what happened. (Which made me wonder just how fast she took that corner, lol)

I checked the oil, and it wasn't even on the dipstick. I found a half quart in my toolbox, put it in, then started the car. The pressure was still at zero, but I had a suspicion, so I quickly looked under the car. Sure enough, oil was dripping very rapidly from the area of the sending unit.

This is the problem. After replacing the sending unit, the gauge shows 40psi at cold idle, in gear or not. After it warms up to operating temp, it occasionally dropped low enough to trigger the check gauges and warning chime while in gear at operating temp. As a temporary measure, I dumped in some Rislone enigine treatment (the thick stringy stuff kind of like Lucas), which helped, but it still drops dangerously close to the red zone. Before the sending unit went, the pressure never dropped lower than about 20psi idling in gear, regardless of temperature.

It'* running Pennzoil and an STP filter ( I'd prefer Delco, but at least it'* not a Fram), that was change 2 weeks before the sending unit, and there was no coolant or metal in the old oil. The engine has never made any noise (other than an intermittent sticking lifter that'll be fixed soon, along with the intake and valve cover gaskets), so I have a hard time believing it actually has low to no oil pressure. I haven't been able to hook up a mechanical gauge yet. We've been limiting how often, and how far, we drive it, as it'* our only vehicle at the moment.

The pressure problem didn't start a few days after changing it, I noticed it when I started the car after changing the sending unit to check for leaks. Maybe I didn't get all the oil out of the pigtail before I plugged it into the new sending unit, or the new AutoZone sending unit is faulty?

Thanks, hope all my rambling doesn't bore you, lol.
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Old 09-16-2007, 02:22 PM   #2
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Ok, well lets see here

I've noticed just about everything I've ever gotten from autozone is not up to my standards in one way or another.

a mechanical gauge would help alot in considering if there is a real issue here.

Also, those oil additives do nothing good for your engine, plain old oil is just fine, having to add something else is an existing problem in itself.

Being that its making good pressure when cold and then not later, could indicate a bad sending unit. I would consider swapping it out for a GOOD well known sending unit or putting a mechanical gauge on it. Something just doesn't add up.
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Old 09-16-2007, 02:45 PM   #3
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Yeah, that'* what I was thinking. It'* odd that the pressure was fine with the old sending unit, then low with the new one.

I know the Rislone stuff wasn't a great idea. I only did it incase it actually had low oil pressure. But still, it'* about the same as duct taping a ballooning radiator hose, lol.

I wasn't too keen on using an AutoZone part, but since we only have the 'Zone and a Federated store where I live, I didn't have much choice. I had to bum a ride from a neighbor to get to the store, so I couldn't make them drive me to the next town where the Advance Auto I used to work for is. Advance carries GPSorenen, which I know is good quality.

My brother in law has a ton of parts he'* had on cars he'* owned, so I'll check and see if he'* got a pressure gauge lying around I could use.
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Old 09-16-2007, 02:52 PM   #4
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GP Sorenson is so so... Better than Wells... But not as good as AC Delco...

I have a GP sorenson oil pressure sender.... I have had issues with it not telling anything close to the truth once it warms up....We have had others that had the same issue..

My original was pretty good... But with the later years it got really twitchy... We broke it when we were getting the opposing bolt on the trans.. I ended up with a GP sorenson.. I hate it... I will get an AC Delco unit when I have more time..

Do Put a mechanical gage on there and see what you come up with..

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Old 09-16-2007, 03:08 PM   #5
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Thanks. That'* what I'm planning on doing. I'd really rather not replace the engine already. We just got the car in February. Got it from the dealership I was working at. We were going to buy it last fall for $2500, but a few months later a metal brake line blew and I discovered the leaking intake, so I talked them into selling it for 1k. The wife loves it, it'* the nicest car she'* ever had. It'* that cool Dark Teal that looks blue/green/purple, depending on the angle you look at it. She hates teal, so it'* "green" to her.

I know GP isn't as good as Delco. I've worked in parts stores since 1996, and a few dealers in between. GP is decent, but not without faults. Some GP parts are actually Delco parts in GP boxes. Wells is total garbage. A friend of mine bought Wells plug wires for his old 79 Cougar from Walmart. They leaked more spark than the ancient wires they replaced. Lol, he actually took a roll of electrical tape and taped them all from boot to boot! I teased him for it, but surprisingly they didn't leak after that! Hillbilly engineering at it'* finest...
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Old 09-16-2007, 05:34 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JoeVk
Thanks. That'* what I'm planning on doing. I'd really rather not replace the engine already. We just got the car in February. Got it from the dealership I was working at. We were going to buy it last fall for $2500, but a few months later a metal brake line blew and I discovered the leaking intake, so I talked them into selling it for 1k. The wife loves it, it'* the nicest car she'* ever had. It'* that cool Dark Teal that looks blue/green/purple, depending on the angle you look at it. She hates teal, so it'* "green" to her.

I know GP isn't as good as Delco. I've worked in parts stores since 1996, and a few dealers in between. GP is decent, but not without faults. Some GP parts are actually Delco parts in GP boxes. Wells is total garbage. A friend of mine bought Wells plug wires for his old 79 Cougar from Walmart. They leaked more spark than the ancient wires they replaced. Lol, he actually took a roll of electrical tape and taped them all from boot to boot! I teased him for it, but surprisingly they didn't leak after that! Hillbilly engineering at it'* finest...
Yes I do know that some of the GP parts are AC Delco in the GP box.. LMAO... I thought it was funny when I figured that one out... I have some AC Delco door switches that I got cheaper from GM than the Parts store.. But when you put them side by side they were identical... Right down to the part number that was attached..

And as for Wells... We see their parts fail all of the time..

I actually ended up with a 99 GP motor in my 95.. And it wasn't for oil pressure either.. I usually had 70 Psi on a cold start.. Take off down the road would leave me at 80 Psi... Road speed on the interstate for a long time would leave me at 60 Psi.... But a wrist pin started going...

I would hate to see another 3800 Bite the dust.. The upper intake failures seem to be the death of these engines..

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