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Old 07-27-2012, 02:32 AM   #1
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Default Oil Pressure Fluctuations

Hello everyone,

I have a concern regarding my '96 Park Avenue, relating to apparent oil pressure readings. I fear I may just be over analyzing the gauge in my dash, but I figured I'd ask, better safe than sorry.

Since I've owned the car, the oil pressure gauge in the dash has acted a bit more reactive to the load on the engine. My previous '93 Park Avenue'* oil pressure gauge never moved as jittery or had as large of a range as my current Park Avenue'* gauge. Please take a look at the following pictures, I am beginning to think my oil pressure sender is on it'* way out, or perhaps something more critical might be happening inside the engine.

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I guess I'm worried I may be ignoring some tell-tale sign or something gone wrong, or a component beginning to give out. Please take a look at the pictures, and lemme know what you think about the readings.

Thanks,
Dane
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Old 07-27-2012, 06:26 AM   #2
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Dane, I don't think you have anything to worry about. I'll give a quick lesson about oil here. When the engine and oil is cold, at first start up, you will see a high pressure indication on your gauge. Once the oil becomes warm, you may notice a small drop in pressure. This is normal. As long as its not fluttering like the old style audio meters.

Now, let'* talk about OLD oil. If its getting close to the 3 month mark, or 3 year mark for some people, you will notice a high pressure reading at first start up. But once the oil gets hot, it may drop very close to the red portion of the gauge. And both of these tend to coincide with engine RPM.
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Old 07-27-2012, 10:47 AM   #3
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The oil pressure readings in your pictures do not look out of line.
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Old 07-27-2012, 06:04 PM   #4
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Ah alright, thank you for checking. I just wanted to make sure I wasn't ignoring a potential problem.
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Old 07-27-2012, 10:50 PM   #5
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as stated by everyone else, not a problem at all.

oil pressure is mainly determined by viscosity and RPM. as oil warms, it thins, which will drop pressure for a given RPM. there is an overpressure relief built into the oil pump that will only allow a certain amount of pressure to be built before it starts venting excess, it looks like the 3800s allow roughly 60-80PSI before venting. viscosity also changes as the oil breaks down from use, thinning out is the result, causing a pressure drop. if you kept track of oil pressure religously(and can always encounter identical situations), you could probably use it as a decent indicator of when to change the oil.
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Old 07-28-2012, 01:48 AM   #6
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Looks pretty normal compared to my 96' Park Ave, only thing different is you seem to have a little more oil pressure than I do, have you put anything other than 10W30 in the car?

The short sweep you see with our electric oil pressure senders is normal, the sweep corresponds to the pressure as mentioned already, if you ever wanted to have a larger sweep (needle fluctuating back and forth in response to the pressure) you could add a brass Tee to where the oil sender goes, then hook your old oil sender up so you have no issues with the fuel being cut due to no oil pressure reported from the sender, and then you'd have to run a nylon line containing pressurized hot oil into the cab of the car, many do not like this option and prefer to stick to only electrical gauges, which you could still do as they actually have some higher sweep electrical gauges, they still won't have an accurate sweep as a mechanical sender, but you'd be able to better see how the pressure fluctuates in relation to pressure.

To be honest our gauges work well enough to know if we have enough pressure or not, and an additional gauge would be overkill, unless you were modding and tuning the car for more HP...
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