Low Oil Pressure ? - Flickering Oil Light at hot idle - Taurus Car Club of America : Ford Taurus Forum
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post #1 of 36 (permalink) Old 04-07-2017, 12:44 PM Thread Starter
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Low Oil Pressure ? - Flickering Oil Light at hot idle

Low Oil Pressure ? - Flickering Oil Light at hot idle


I wish to start this thread to discuss this issue I have on my high mileage 2000 Taurus SE ( 3.0 litre, Vulcan V6, 2 Valve, pushrod engine ).


When engine and oil are good and HOT, like coming off the highway, and I come to a stop light, idle in park,
and esp. near when I am due for an oil change / later in the engine oil life, my oil light will flicker, indicating,
most likely - my oil pressure is going pretty low.


I've read and researched a lot about this - and it seems many have a similar issue.


I've taken good oil pressure readings now, and tried a few things so far, and they may be helpful for others.


So I want to start this thread and share and have possible discussion.


Thanks.


Starting Thread.


Will be making a few posts now myself to start topic.
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post #2 of 36 (permalink) Old 04-07-2017, 01:35 PM Thread Starter
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Oil Pressure Tests

Oil Pressure Tests


Correction on first post - Idle in *DRIVE* - waiting at the stop light, after coming off the highway - oil light flickers - when oil good and hot, and nearing time for oil change.




The Oil Light flickers - sometimes, under these conditions - for several years now.




Anyway - so I have a ticking valve, or rocker, in the front bank, confirmed by listening carefully,
and by pulling off the front valve cover to have a look.


Nothing broken, in front bank valves, but all rockers have a little play, but I have read this may be normal.
[ Some manuals indicate something like a 2 to 4 mm gap between valve stem and rocker end - is spec'd when engine is off, and
when hydraulic roller lifters are not pumped up / bled down / no oil pressure / when engine is not running.
So I figure a little rocker looseness on engine stop - is normal. Not totally sure. But that is what I noticed.
This play is taken up, in theory, when the engine runs with oil pressure, and the lifters pump up - to zero valve lash.
All 6 rockers on the front bank - do indeed have a little "play". ]


I figure I have one or two roller hydraulic lifters, stuck, or not totally pumping up, or maybe one or two of
the valves worn more, due to high mileage, ie. stem, rocker, pushrod - or something in the mechanism worn a little more than the others - so ticking.


And this ticking valve has been going on for awhile now - couple years, and not too serious yet. Otherwise engine runs well enough.


Given the car has near 275,000 km - I may have a few contributing issues.




But given the flickering oil light, sometimes - I decided to start to investigate my Oil Pressure.


Since Proper Oil pressure is needed to operate / pump up the hydraulic roller lifters - and proper Oil Pressure is important
generally for your engine to operate well.


So I start with Oil Pressure tests.


I Get a good Mechanical Pressure Gauge - and improvise an oil pressure gauge.


[ Lee Instruments, 0-100 PSI gauge, for around $20 at Princess Auto, and with a few brass fittings, nipples and
a short piece of good rubber hose, screw clamps - and improvise a gauge. ]


I remove the oil pressure sender, top of block, driver side, behind thermostat housing, and thread in my tester / improvised gauge.
I get to it more easily, by removing the black plastic air cleaner box, after the air filter and before the intake.


Install the mechanical gauge, put the air cleaner box back.


Start warming up the engine and I take readings.


A mirror strapped on the driver's side headrest and a light to light it up better, help me look at the reflection of the Tach on the dash,
to see RPM s. Tilting down the steering wheel, helps the mirror see through the big opening in the steering wheel, to see the Tach in the mirror,
from the driver's side of the front engine bay - where I am working.


ie. I'm working in the engine bay, looking at the pressure gauge, and looking through the windshield at the Tachometer on the dash
through a medium sized mirror, maybe 10 x 14 " square mirror, I have strapped up on the driver's seat headrest. A light helps see the tach better.


I am able to rev up the engine from the engine bay, because I have discovered that under the black plastic throttle cover on top of the engine,
if you put your fingers in the gap on the side, you find a metal tab, and if you push it, you rotate and activate the throttle - reving up the engine.


To make a long story short - YES - I definitely have lower than normal oil pressure - mostly when the oil is very hot.


Spec for this engine says you should have between 40 - 60 PSI oil pressure at 2500 rpm when HOT.


And there is a BIG BIG difference in readings - between cold oil and hot oil.


IMPORTANT - you must get the oil and engine GOOD AND HOT - to get meaningful readings.


Cold oil - I have 40 PSI at Idle ! 600 rpm - dropping down slowly as the engine and oil warm up.


But imagine this ... after a warm up and a 15 minute highway run, oil good and HOT now ...


HOT OIL and HOT ENGINE. dropping down to TWO (2) PSI at idle 600 rpm.
and only Thirty (30) PSI - at 2500 rpm.


So this is significantly below spec. Should be at least 40 PSI - when hot.




30 PSI at 2500 rpm HOT. Not enough. Definitely low.


2 PSI at 600 rpm idle HOT ! this is surely too low, and is why the oil light flickers under this condition.


Not killing the engine - but I think I have some issue.
Maybe a weak / worn oil pump (not surprising, given mileage of car)/ or some obstructions / restrictions.


So low oil pressure is confirmed - when hot.


Reading more and researching the subject online - indicates lots of people have sludged up / plugged up Oil Pump intake screens - at the bottom of the oil pan.


I decided to try and check that out first.


I would not be surprised - given the age of the car - if there is some sludge - bottom of oil pan - and plugging up bottom of pump intake screen.


Oil changes always done on time - by me - always had good oil, so figure oil pump probably not that bad.
And read that the oil pumps are pretty bullet-proof in these cars. So I figure oil pump may be ok.
But I did a sludge out treatment before last oil change - 4-5 months ago.
So I figure some sludge may have migrated near the bottom of the oil pan.
And I see many pictures online of sludged up intake oil pump screen.


I'm investigate this next - since I can do this myself.


Let's see if I may have sludged up / restricted oil pump intake screen.


posts will follow.
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post #3 of 36 (permalink) Old 04-07-2017, 01:58 PM
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What weight oil do you use and brand filter. I would use a pint of trans fluid in the oil before the next oil change. Run for a while and drain. Also use 5w-30 and Motorcraft filter. They seem to have less pressure drop.
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post #4 of 36 (permalink) Old 04-07-2017, 02:13 PM
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For a 17 year old with 170K miles to have low idling pressure is not an issue. Up the oil viscosity a step and keep on trucking. As long as oil is flowing inside the engine, you are fine. Might change oil more often.

-chart-
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post #5 of 36 (permalink) Old 04-07-2017, 03:25 PM Thread Starter
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Yes, thanks, using, a good 5W 40 synthetic, and Ford Oil Filters.


More posts to come.


I did a long procedure at home, myself, to try and clean out the sludge from the bottom of the oil pan and the oil pump pickup screen.


Using some good solvents, cleaners, degreasers, carb cleaners, bottle brushes. And flushing it out.


Without taking it all apart or dropping the pan.


I think that helped. I think that was somewhat successful. Sludge and crap did come out.
And seems to have improved / run better now.


Gotta go now. have to log off. Will have to explain later.


This procedure is abit messy and long ... but may help others.


Thanks.
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post #6 of 36 (permalink) Old 04-07-2017, 08:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mrvanwinkles View Post
Yes, thanks, using, a good 5W 40 synthetic, and Ford Oil Filters.


More posts to come.


I did a long procedure at home, myself, to try and clean out the sludge from the bottom of the oil pan and the oil pump pickup screen.


Using some good solvents, cleaners, degreasers, carb cleaners, bottle brushes. And flushing it out.


Without taking it all apart or dropping the pan.


I think that helped. I think that was somewhat successful. Sludge and crap did come out.
And seems to have improved / run better now.


Gotta go now. have to log off. Will have to explain later.


This procedure is abit messy and long ... but may help others.


Thanks.
Your engine must have had a hard life. I use 5w-20 in my 2006 with 205k miles with no issue. Always used the OEM viscosity in my engines and had two other Vulcans hit 245k without oil issues.
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post #7 of 36 (permalink) Old 04-07-2017, 09:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mrvanwinkles View Post
Yes, thanks, using, a good 5W 40 synthetic, and Ford Oil Filters.


More posts to come.


I did a long procedure at home, myself, to try and clean out the sludge from the bottom of the oil pan and the oil pump pickup screen.


Using some good solvents, cleaners, degreasers, carb cleaners, bottle brushes. And flushing it out.


Without taking it all apart or dropping the pan.


I think that helped. I think that was somewhat successful. Sludge and crap did come out.
And seems to have improved / run better now.


Gotta go now. have to log off. Will have to explain later.


This procedure is abit messy and long ... but may help others.


Thanks.
Sludge happens for couple reasons. PCV not working as designed or water in the oil. I bought a used car, distressed condition and the engine had lots of sludge. Oil like tar. I was driving about 300 miles a week highway miles. I changed oil and filter every weekend. After 3-4 rounds the oil did not come out so black. Then went to every other weekend until it did not look so bad. Then to normal 3K mile changes. Car ran many miles with no issues until a tree fell on it and totaled.

-chart-

ps Pic my '03 for clean inside, now with 159K it still looks like this. Walmart conventional oil ~every 4-5K. MC oil filter from wallyworld.
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Last edited by chartmaker; 04-07-2017 at 09:25 PM.
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post #8 of 36 (permalink) Old 04-09-2017, 10:24 AM Thread Starter
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Oil Pressure Gauge - pictures. Improvised / made / used

Oil Pressure Gauge - pictures. Improvised / made / used











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post #9 of 36 (permalink) Old 04-09-2017, 10:42 AM Thread Starter
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Oil Pressure Tests - results

Oil Pressure Tests - results


2000 Ford Taurus SE 3.0 L Vulcan, 2 Valve, Pushrod Engine. Outside Temp 5 deg. Celcius


Measure Time elapsed (min), PSI @600 RPM, PSI @2000 RPM, PSI @2500RPM, notes/comments


0, 40, - , -, start car and start to warm up. oil & engine cold. 5 deg. Celcius out. car half in garage.
1, 40, -, -,
4, 38, 42, -
7, 36, 41, -
8, 30, 40, - , coolant temp gauge just starts to move
9, 26, -, -
10, 22, -, -
11, 20, 40, -, coolant temp gauge on bottom bar
13, 18, -, -
15, 16, 38, -
17, 14, -, -, coolant temp gauge warm, near mid range
18, 11, -, -
19, 12, -, -
20, 11, -, -
21, -, 30, -
22, -, -, 36
23, 10, -, -
24, -, 30, 36, now take car for a 15 minute hwy drive
38, 4, -, 30, after a 15 min hwy drive, oil good and hot. 30 psi at 2500 rpm. drive back.
53, 4, -, 30, after the return 15 minute hwy drive. only 4 PSI at idle and only 30 psi at 2500 rpm


Previous posts I said only 2 PSI at idle. That was my error I think.
That was 2 graduations on the Gauge, which is 4 psi ( 2 psi per graduation / tick on this gauge.)
Still low I think.


Note that to get good results took a few short hwy drives and around 38 minutes for complete warmup
of engine and engine oil.


30 psi at 2500 rpm hot - is significantly low. Spec says should be 40 - 60 psi at 2500 rpm HOT.


4 PSI at 600 rpm idle hot - is also low. Oil light flickers on dash, idle at light in drive.
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post #10 of 36 (permalink) Old 04-09-2017, 10:51 AM Thread Starter
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Supplies Tools - used to attempt sludge cleanout

Supplies Tools to attempt Sludge Cleanout: Princess Auto Power Fist 18 pc air Paint Spray Gun Cleaning Kit (brushes), Solder Seal GUNK engine Brite Heavy Duty engine Degreaser 454g Spray Can, MotoMaster Carb Cleaner, SeaFoam Auto Marine Fleet Motor Treatment, 30ml / 1oz syringe fitted with 1/8" clear hose short and long length 6" and 36", mini plastic funnel - typical smallest funnel from a 3 funnel set, grocery store or dollar store.

The Procedure I used to try a sludge cleanout, lower oil pan and oil pump pickup screen - to follow in more posts. (it's king of long ... to describe ... will take some time.).

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