Low Oil Pressure ? - Flickering Oil Light at hot idle - Page 3 - Taurus Car Club of America : Ford Taurus Forum
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post #21 of 36 (permalink) Old 03-20-2019, 05:40 PM Thread Starter
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Bump / quick update:

2 years later, Oil light on dash, on my 2000 Taurus, starts to come on solid.

Flickers / goes on and off / stays solid ON, sometimes, at ALL RPM. Finally stays on ALWAYS.

I am somewhat concerned - as I MIGHT have some major failure and possibly NO OIL PRESSURE Now.

But I continue to drive short distance back and forth to work, for a few days, till weekend comes.
Car is showing NO abnormal signs or noises and is working fine.

I do NOT believe I have NO OIL PRESSURE. That can not be. That idiot light on the dash is BS-ing me.

So weekend comes, and I finally have the time to pull the Oil Pressure sender, and install the Mechanical Gauge AGAIN.

Real TEST shows I DO have oil pressure. Real guage reads: 40 PSI at idle cold.

So my sensor / Oil Pressure Sender - is likely BAD.

I order and receive new oil pressure sender from local Ford Dealership.

I have not installed it yet. I am still running with a 1/4 NPT pipe thread PLUG there for now .
the old sensor is out. (and I don't give a sht. - because I know I DO have oil pressure - for the moment.)

I will install the new sender when I have the chance.
I may like to test it first on the bench, with a good gauge, and see at exactly what pressure it gives the electrical "GROUND" connection /signal to illuminate the idiot light. Just for my info ...

So I guess my point is:

If you have a flickering or solid oil light - there may be a chance your oil pressure sender is "on it's way out" / or has failed / or will fail completely later.

Sort of a relief. There is a good chance my flickering oil light, when hot and idling in D Drive at the stop light - is / was due to an
old, worn, marginal, malfunctioning - oil pressure sender / sensor - on it's way out.

[ like I did previously - you gotta do an oil pressure test with a real guage - to know the truth. ]

[ At this point, I would seriously like to have a real good quality mechanical oil pressure gauge on my dash - all the times.
But not sure if I will make the effort to try and install one myself on this car at this point. ]

It would be "nice" to be able to view the ACTUAL ACCURATE pressure of oil in my engine at all times - on the dash.

I guess it is nice to dream.

Maybe on my next car. Buy car (or truck) with REAL Gauges. Not warning (aka "idiot") lights.

Last edited by mrvanwinkles; 03-20-2019 at 06:10 PM.
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post #22 of 36 (permalink) Old 03-21-2019, 06:28 AM
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Oil pressure gauges on fords are no different than a idiot light. My '07 mustang GT and every Ford I've had prior the needle never varies with RPM unlike my GM gauges that move with engine temp and RPM. Fords gauge is a idiot light with a needle unless they finally got real on today's gauges.

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post #23 of 36 (permalink) Old 03-22-2019, 02:56 PM Thread Starter
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New Pressure Sender installed. Working. comes on at 4.5 PSI

So I have installed the *NEW* Oil Pressure Sender switch today, and had one run, and it seems to be operating fine.

The Oil Light on the dash is off now, and has not flickered yet, when hot idling in Drive at the stop light.
I may have to do more observation in car, maybe after a good highway run, to see if flickering still at times, ever, when hot, idleing, in D Drive, stopped at light.

Before I installed the NEW pressure sender, I tested it on the bench, connecting it with a TEE fitting, to an air pressure source and a really good mechanical gauge, and an electrical meter on the contact.

Dropping the pressure ever so slowly, watching the GOOD / accurate pressure gauge, it gives ground contact / low pressure electrical signal - at between 4 and 5 PSI.

I would say, by my experiment, at 4.5 PSI and below, it gives electrical signal to the light on the dash.

THIS FORD PRESSURE SENDER COMES ON AT 4.5 psi AND BELOW - SEEMS LIKE TO ME. BY ACTUAL TEST ON THE BENCH.


[ If I could have my wish - I would connect a good mechanical gauge like that one I used in my bench test - on the dash, and feed it the pressure sample, with a small copper tube or something, thru the firewall. But I do not think I will go to the trouble to do something like this, on this car. ]

[ ? Install good aftermarket gauges ? I dunno... lotta work. But many do it . ]


At least I have warning again - if / when my oil pressure drops below 4.5 psi.

Last edited by mrvanwinkles; 03-22-2019 at 02:59 PM.
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post #24 of 36 (permalink) Old 05-16-2019, 11:54 AM
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So install an aftermarket oil pressure gauge in a bracket below the dash?
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post #25 of 36 (permalink) Old 05-16-2019, 01:43 PM
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An old time mechanic once told me, "oil pressure does not matter as much as oil flow, no flow no go".
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post #26 of 36 (permalink) Old 06-17-2019, 11:06 AM Thread Starter
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Bump thread again. Signifigant new development in oil pressure saga.

First reply to two earlier posts:

With my new development now below ...

Yes, I am beginning to appreciate that it would be very good and helpful, in this situation, to have a real OIL PRESSURE GAUGE.
To know the REAL oil pressure at various times / conditions.
So yes, good idea, if having issues like flickering oil light - to, yes, "install aftermarket oil pressure gauge" somehow.
[ I did see a pretty good one at Princess Auto for only about $20 ]


Oil Pressure / Oil Flow - I think are both related. Yes, need to have BOTH .
[ Oil lubricates as well as cools. Flow=cooling capacity, as well as lubricating capacity. Pressure, to give the flow, and to drive the oil and the flow.
I think they are interrelated. ] Yes, Yes, Yes.


Now to the new development:

On a short highway run recently, week or two ago, oil pressure on car really DID drop to zero.
Dash light, from NEW oil pressure sender came on SOLID, at highway cruise speed.
So that was a real pressure drop to near zero.

Engine started to miss and studder a few times, but continued to run quite well.

I was pretty sure I had a real serious problem this time.

I pulled off next hwy exit, went a few more KM to get to a safe destination / parking lot.

Engine valve train started to tick a little. With some signs of hesitation, lower power, and the odd miss / stutter.

Made it to a parking lot, slow n easy, at idle, and she stalled, at idle.

I do not know if any major damage done.

Anyway - the Taurus was re-started to try later, and it started, but made a machine hiss sound, so I shut it down right away.
Towed it to driveway later.

Up on blocks in driveway, Working on it myself now at home ( I do not think worth to pay mechanic on this old car).

I am in the process of dropping oil pan to investigate.

Current Progress: Up on blocks in driveway.
Battery disconnected, Oil and filter out. Starter disconnected and removed. Cover plate beside is out.
Finally got the two lower Oxygen sensors out without damage. Got the special socket with slot cut, but it was too loose, it was a 7/8" unit.
I custom made a O2 sensor removal socket, from a 22mm deep socket, 6pt, face machined end so it fits all the way down on the thin nut,
and cut the slot myself, thinner, about 1/4 slot, and then clamped end with worm hose clamp when dissassembling to clamp solid. then got em off
carfully with clr, penetrating oil, and TLC.

If you recall in earlier post #9, of date 7-9-2017 in this thread - I knew oil pressure was low / below spec / by test and measurements.


So new advice then to all:
================
If you really have low oil pressure / signifigantly low / by direct measurement - then in the long run something may be bound to fail
eventually.

You may want to consider, planning to install real Mechanical Oil Pressure Gauge, to know better what's going on all the time.
(watch for situation / pressure / dropping more and more. It did happen with my Taurus, shown by new oil pressure sender, flickering
more and more, even with new oil and filter... I did have indication of upcoming failure. )

You may also want to consider taking action, at some convenient time, ahead of time: like: drop pan and investigate oil pump etc.


I have been able to keep the car going, by more frequent oil & filter changes - but it seems something finally / untimately failed.

Needing frequent oil and filter changes, flickering oil light, more and more, noted low pressure, and oil analysis indicated "extreme bearing wear" /
bearing metals in used oil of only 1000km. So, low oil pressure (and flow) and flickering light did lead to bearing wear far beyond "normal"

This is really interesting ... Good / normal oil pressure (& Flow) is very important for bearing lubrication. Not to mention top end / valvetrain - which I did also have some issues with.

Good ... if it failed now, solid, middle of summer, I can disassemble and try to investigate myself.

[ much better than middle of winter here, with -20 deg C or more ! and this was my winter car. ]

Let's see if I can bring the old Taurus back to life ! If she is not totally F'd ...

Stay tuned - I will try to report more later. May be a few weeks.
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post #27 of 36 (permalink) Old 07-03-2019, 11:02 AM Thread Starter
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Quick Update - working on it slowly in my spare time, and I am busy, so going slowly.

I was able to get the oil pan off, without moving, or removing the exhaust Y pipe, by a method I found online.

The two lower O2 sensors had to be removed for clearance to remove pan.
Dipstick out too - I forgot to mention earlier - mentioned in manuals / procedure.

Pan can be lowered abit, and tilted to one side, giving slight access to single oil pump bolt (13 mm socket),
undo it, 13mm combo wrench or offset wrench, or even short socket and breaker bar, and the oil pump will drop down with the pan / allow pan to be manuvered and dropped without moving the Y-pipe on exhaust.

There are baffle plates inside the pan which hook the oil pump & pickup tube & horn/screen and prevent manuver of pan straight down, to allow removal of pan, with exhaust y-pipe in place.

Unbolting the oil pump, allows pan to be taken off.

Quick disassemble cleanup and inspection of my oil pump:

Bypass valve in oil pump is found partly stuck probably due to dirt, varnish, sludge, fine metal particles found in the sludge at the bottom of the pan.

I suspect this is the main problem with the loss of oil pressure - Oil pump relief valve sticking in the open
position. Bypassing oil pressure and flow back to the inlet chamber of the pump, and not to the engine.

Remember that the oil in the pump is unfiltered, except for the screen. So it can pick up stuff from the bottom of the pan easily, and pull up into the pump.

Relief valve is a spring and plunger behind a hex cap (5/16" hex wrench to open that cap).

Initial inspection and clearance measurements of gears etc in the pump show it is not worn. Think not.
Clearance measurements appear within specs. Does not look worn or scorn or anything.

Cleaned up everything and freed up relief valve.

Tested spring of relief valve per specs. seems good too.

Half inch of sludge and fine metal particles and a few pieces of crud in bottom of pan. cleaned out now.
I think normal for an engine of this age. But not good, needs to be cleaned out. Pump may be sucking it up, causing these issues.

More details later, actual specs etc, my measurements on my pump. Don't have time now.

I may want to do an actual flow and pressure test on the pump somehow, with oil in a container, and spin the pump somehow, on a gauge, get flow and pressure measurements at certain rpms ... to verify actual function and performance before re-install of oil pump.

To see if I still should install a new pump ... or not.

That will be the "Real Test" of the pump itself.

Last edited by mrvanwinkles; 07-03-2019 at 11:05 AM.
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post #28 of 36 (permalink) Old 07-04-2019, 09:17 AM Thread Starter
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Specs and measurements related to oil pump work

Oil Pump Specs - 2000 Ford Taurus 2V engine, 3.0 litre V6, "Vulcan" engine (push rod engine, cam in block, 2 valves per cylinder)

Lubrication System / Oil pump specs - from Ford service manual CD.


Oil Pump Specs:

Relief Valve Spring Tension (force @ length)

44.9 - 40.5 N (10.1 - 9.1 lb) @ 28.2mm (1.11 in) [measured, my pump 9lbs 1.140 in 10lbs 1.10 in - pretty close to spec ]

note: my relief valve plunger was found "stuck" on pump disassembly. suspect stuck in open position, main problem, if stuck in partly open position, will bypass oil flow from the engine back to the pump inlet, and loss of oil pressure.


Relief valve to bore clearance
0.073-0.043mm ( 0.0029-0.0017 in)

[did not measure mine yet, but cleaned up good, free and moving now, cleaned out well with acetone / solvents / brushes / ear swabs.
noted dirt, fine metal particles came out. probably varnish & sludge too. was found stuck on disassembly, inspection. suspect sticking was main problem.
there appears to be a little bit of wear on one side of the plunger - think insignifigant, but practically no play when you try move the plunger side to side in it's bore. I think I will try and POLISH the plunger by hand - make sure it moves free as possible in it's bore. When you remove the 5/16" hex cap, to relief valve, the plunger inside has a little TIP that you can grab with like needle nose pliers, and that helps pull it out and see if it moves freely back n forth. have fun !]


Oil Pump Gear Backlash
0.02 - 0.03mm (.008 - .012 in)
[measured mine: 0.010in same on 3 or 4 different gear teeth ]

Oil Pump Gear Radial Clearance - idler and driver
0.125 - 0.050mm (.0055 - .002 in)
[measured mine: idler .003in driver .005in ]

Oil Pump Gear Height Clearance
0.069 - 0.039mm (.0027 - .0015 in)
[measured mine: idler .002in driver .002in ]

Idler Shaft to Idler Gear Clearance
0.069 - 0.039mm (.0027 - .0015 in)
[measured mine: .001in - pretty close, does not move much on shaft ]

Driver Shaft to Housing Clearance
0.073 - 0.038mm (.0019 - .0005 in)
note, I think there is an error here in the CD numbers as given.
I did the conversion from metric and got: (.0029 - .0015 in) same as idler shaft clearance, and makes sense, just went with that.
[measured mine: .002 - .003in two or three thousands of an inch, still pretty tight and close to / within specs I believe ]


General comment: All measured clearances on my used pump seem within specs given. Not worn or scored best I can tell.
Pump itself seems in good condition visually. Will have to do a pressure / flow test, I think, run pump with drill or something input in container of oil at various rpms and try to measure pressure and flow with some real oil and restricted outputs ... see what I get ... real world performance. Since this pump runs off camshaft, I assume whatever rpm I drive pump hex shaft at, would be half of the representative engine rpm.


Some other useful specs, bolt torques / procedures etc. I found, related to re-assembly:

Oil pump-to-crankshaft main bearing cap bolt - 35 ft lb
[this is the one 13mm socket size bolt which holds the oil pump to the "block"]
[ Haynes Taurus Manual says 30-40 ft lb ... which matches. good. ]

"Oil Pan to block bolts - (a) refer to procedure in this section"
[ Found Procedure ... it says ]
"Install the bolts. Tighten the bolts in four stages:
1. Tighten the four corner bolts to 12Nm / 9 inch lbs
2. Tighten remaining bolts to 12Nm / 9 inch lbs
3. Loosen all bolts one turn
4. Tighten all bolts to 12Nm / 9 inch lbs"


There are 16 bolts on my pan, they use an 8 mm socket.
Two are a little longer than the rest, and I believe these two longer ones go into the aluminum front cover at the front end of the engine. Note the torque is only nine (9) INCH pounds. not very tight. That's LESS than ONE (1) foot lb. Ya, they are small bolts, and mine go thru a blue rubber type pan gasket with hard grey plastic tangs that sorta grip the edges of the pan/block in a couple places, with metal eyelets in the bolt holes to limit "squeeze". so when you tighten the pan bolts, you squeeze the rubber gasket a bit, and come up tight against the steel eyelets. Looks like a good design. To re-install, I cleaned / wiped pan flange & gasket good with ACETONE in clean rag, then paint Permatex Black gasket maker, thin coat on one side, pan flange, with stiff little artist brush, let dry, to glue down gasket to pan. Other side will be left bare, with NO Permatex Black gasket maker, except for a few (four) places/ beads on block, as mentioned in CD manual, read below.


"To Re-install the PAN and PAN Gasket"

"Apply 4 beads of gasket maker (sealant). 2 @ front cover gap and 2 @ rear main bearing corner / gap
- Position the oil pan gasket
- position the oil pan and hand start the bolts"

Last edited by mrvanwinkles; 07-04-2019 at 09:33 AM. Reason: edit wording, add comments, do BOLDING
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post #29 of 36 (permalink) Old 07-21-2019, 04:12 PM Thread Starter
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Update.

Pressure / Flow test of Pump:

So I was able to do a real oil pump pressure / flow test. All be it - a basic one.

I made a plate to cover the output flange of the pump, like where it mates with the bottom of the engine.
A 3/8" hole and a 3/8" bolt of appropriate length thru the pump mounting hole, with two thick hard rubber washers on either end of the bolt to seal, holds the plate to the pump.

A piece of semi squishy flat vinyl sheet made/cut with scissors, like a gasket under the plate to seal the oil pressure when I run the test.
(the gasket was actually cut from the flat part of a piece of vinyl adhesive floor baseboard roll. I tried inner tube rubber as a gasket but did not work, the pressure pushed it out, so you need something with both some strength and something that will seal when you tighten the bolt. Semi strong not to push out or move/ yet semi squishy to seal.)

A 1/4 NPT - national pipe thread hole - was tapped in a free spot on the plate - where I would attach the fittings for my test. All 1/4 NPT. A short fitting tube scrwed into that thread, and out to the T fitting. A 100 PSI gauge on the top of the T. On the other side of the T, A control valve and nipple out to a short rubber hose to be able to open up and let the oil flow out the hose and back into the tray holding the oil, the "horn" input of the pump submerged within. Maybe 2 litres / quarts of oil in that tray for the test.

This setup on the bench, and the pump secured to the vise via the extended end of the plate edge tightened up in the vise. Kinda like it would be mounted under the engine.

To make a long story short - it was a bit of a mess, squirting oil around, till I managed to get it all sealed up properly and working how I wanted. Tightened up the fittings and the plate and 3/8 bolt and gaskets etc. just right to seal this test setup all properly.

With a cordless battery drill slowly at first, then up to full power after, as I gained confidence, driving the hex shaft of the pump. Later I figured better to put a 8mm socket on the drill thru an attachment to drive the hex shaft.

Full power on the battery cordless drill got me 40 psi and lots of oil flow. Maybe guessing 300 rpm or so.
Guessing maybe 2 litres / 2 quarts in 30 seconds at 40 psi and 300 rpm.

That might be, estimate, around 1 gallon per minute at idle at 40 psi out of a 1/4 inch id hole hose.

I think that's pretty good pressure and flow. I assume working good.

Next I put a more powerful drill on. 3/8" Black N Decker 115V AC two speed plug in drill.

Ran in full power.

Got up to 50 PSI and more oil flow.
I estimate maybe 1000 rpm on the drill and labouring. that like equivalent 2000 rpm on the engine.
I think the pressure is limited by how powerful the drill is...how much it can drive the pump in this test.

Man ... it's blasting the oil out pretty powerfully.

I feel confident my pump is good / OK.


OTHER PROBLEM / ? OIL PUMP NOT NOT TURNING / NOT BEING DRIVEN ? ? ?

So I re-assemble the car.
It's difficult putting it all back together, the car up on blocks and me crawling under it to do the work.
Difficult to get the oil pan back on and tighten the oil pump underneath it - without removal of exhaust.
But I manage to get it all on again - well enough.

You gotta stick the gasket on the pan good. Mine came partly off during re-assembly, and I had to make
sure I had it all on correct after. Still not totally sure. Hard to tell on the ends of the pan / round areas.

Lower O2 sensors back on with good coating of anti-seize on the threads.

Cover plate and starter back on. etc etc.

3 litres / quarts of oil in. No oil filter yet. I wanna see if oil flows out oil filter flange / hole to prove it's pumping.

Disconnect connectors at ignition coil pack so it does not start.

Re-connect battery and Turn it over with the starter a few times with pan under.

But NO OIL FLOW AT ALL. hmmm.

Prime the pump from above with a short hose. pour some oil into it from oil filter hole.

Try again. No Flow at all .

Connect ignition and actually start car with oil filter. No pressure still. Shut it down.

It seems almost certain now to me, that my oil pump is not being driven / not turning.

I suspect PUMP is NOT being driven by drive unit / CAM Synchronizer Unit (Cam position sensor).

I pull out the Cam Synchronizer - and see the gear is badly worn. And some little bit of play in the bearing of shaft.

Looking for a new replacement.

Had to go through all those steps in any case I think ...

P.S. pushed oil through the engine beforehand too, thru Oil Filter fitting and special made setup with air pressure. Seemed to hold pressure - at least up to 12 psi. and pushed thru about a litre of oil manually.

Conclusion. I think the major problem is loss of Oil Pump Drive, due to worn out gear on CAM SYNCHRONIZER DRIVE UNIT. That is basically where the distributor would be on the older engines.

That's my update for the moment.

Looking for a new Cam Synchronizer unit. Or one in very good condition / few miles.

That has to be in very good condition - or will wear out the gear again.
Bearings must be good, with very little play to hold / run / mesh gears properly.

Hope the camshaft gear is in good enough shape.

I understand that maybe the cam gear is possibly made of tougher and harder material - just for that reason ... so you wear out the other gear first. The SYNCRONIZER GEAR. The replaceable one. I hope.

Will see ...

Long story. Working on it in spare time.
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post #30 of 36 (permalink) Old 07-21-2019, 08:58 PM
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I once drained the oil in an S-10 Blazer due to oil pressure problem. I put kerosene in the oil pan to clean the screen and drained the pan. Added oil and could not get the pump to prime. Eventually it primed but you should use the hex drive of the cam synchro in a drill to run the pump after it is installed in the engine.
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