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Old 06-15-2010, 06:22 AM
v8hed's Avatar
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No oil pressure

The car was fine last time I drove it (only about 2 weeks ago), then when I went to start the engine a few days back, it started fine, but I noticed after about 10 seconds that the mechanical pressure gauge was showing 0psi! I immediately shut-down (engine sounded fine too). I've since done a few basic checks... plenty of oil in the pan, no leaks and the capillary tube for the pressure gauge fills with oil and there are no kinks in it.

What's got be confused is the oil pressure warning light on the dash extinguishes quite quickly. I don't know what that pressure switch is calibrated to, but I've seen figures of between 2psi and 8psi for the average pressure switch.

I've tried cranking the engine over on the starter to observe the capillary tube to the pressure gauge and it fills with oil. I disconnected the capillary tube from the gauge and did the same thing and oil dribbles out of the end when cranking the engine over. I put my finger over the end of the tube and there's no obvious pressure behind it when cranking.

Any ideas? I've done a forum search already and seen mention of the pick-up detaching from the oil pump, so I guess that could be a possibility? But, if that was the case, surely I'd get 0psi and the low oil pressure light wouldn't go out?

For what it's worth, the engine is a 383 SBC stroker. Previous to this problem, I was getting very healthy (actually, probably too high) oil pressure @ 60-85psi during normal driving according to the gauge.

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Old 06-15-2010, 09:20 AM
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I would check the gauge. Your pressure lite is telling you there is at least some pressure.. If the pickup tube had fallen from the pump, there would be no change in pressure untill higher rpms. Or extremely low oil level. As the inlet to the pump is submerged in oil.
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Old 06-15-2010, 12:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BOBCRMAN@aol.com
I would check the gauge. Your pressure lite is telling you there is at least some pressure.. If the pickup tube had fallen from the pump, there would be no change in pressure untill higher rpms. Or extremely low oil level. As the inlet to the pump is submerged in oil.
I didn't think mechanical gauges could really go wrong? The gauge isn't leaking oil. I suppose I could purchase another gauge just to check?
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Old 06-15-2010, 12:59 PM
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What oil filter are you using??

You might try installin a new filter to rule out the possibility of an internal collapse of the filter media inside it.

Yes, mechanical guages can go bad, either over time or if over pressurized(sprung).
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Old 06-15-2010, 03:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by v8hed
The car was fine last time I drove it (only about 2 weeks ago), then when I went to start the engine a few days back, it started fine, but I noticed after about 10 seconds that the mechanical pressure gauge was showing 0psi! I immediately shut-down (engine sounded fine too). I've since done a few basic checks... plenty of oil in the pan, no leaks and the capillary tube for the pressure gauge fills with oil and there are no kinks in it.

What's got be confused is the oil pressure warning light on the dash extinguishes quite quickly. I don't know what that pressure switch is calibrated to, but I've seen figures of between 2psi and 8psi for the average pressure switch.

I've tried cranking the engine over on the starter to observe the capillary tube to the pressure gauge and it fills with oil. I disconnected the capillary tube from the gauge and did the same thing and oil dribbles out of the end when cranking the engine over. I put my finger over the end of the tube and there's no obvious pressure behind it when cranking.

Any ideas? I've done a forum search already and seen mention of the pick-up detaching from the oil pump, so I guess that could be a possibility? But, if that was the case, surely I'd get 0psi and the low oil pressure light wouldn't go out?

For what it's worth, the engine is a 383 SBC stroker. Previous to this problem, I was getting very healthy (actually, probably too high) oil pressure @ 60-85psi during normal driving according to the gauge.
Mechanical gauges have an internal pressure damper which is nothing more than a plug at the receiving end fitting with a small hole. This prevents the engine oil pressure from shocking the gauge but also slows the gauges response to pressure changes. Less expensive gauges usually have more damping to protect their lower quality innards from being busted by a large increase in pressure going from off to a cold high idle. the longer an engine sets the longer it takes the gauge to show pressure as the oil leaks out of the feed line, that combined with the damping function can take longer than ten seconds to show any pressure and may take upwards of a minute or two to show peak pressure. then of course if some dirt gets into the damper passage the gauge wont show any pressure. Cranking on the starter is unlikely to show any oil pressure before the stater burns out as it just doesn't spin the motor very fast.

Bogie
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Old 06-15-2010, 06:09 PM
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All, thanks for your collective replies... my next plan of action is to get an oil pump priming tool, pull the distributor and spin the oil pump up with a drill and watch the pressure gauge. If the gauge doesn't move after a good minute or two of priming, I'll try another gauge. If that doesn't work either, I'll report back.

Sound good?
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Old 06-15-2010, 06:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ericnova72
What oil filter are you using??

You might try installin a new filter to rule out the possibility of an internal collapse of the filter media inside it.

Yes, mechanical guages can go bad, either over time or if over pressurized(sprung).
Fram. I'll try replacing the filter if priming the oil pump doesn't show any pressure.
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Old 06-15-2010, 06:23 PM
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It's simpler to just try another gauge!

Quote:
Originally Posted by v8hed
Fram. I'll try replacing the filter if priming the oil pump doesn't show any pressure.
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Old 06-15-2010, 06:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by v8hed
Fram. I'll try replacing the filter if priming the oil pump doesn't show any pressure.
Rut Roh, Shaggy, you just said the F-word.(Fram)

Had one guy in my area call the Fram filter "the orange canister of death" for it's likelyhood of collapsing inside. I've seen it myself, wouldn't use one even if they wanted to sponsor me(or else I'd paint my Wix filter orange, and take Fram's cash

Last edited by ericnova72; 06-16-2010 at 01:07 AM.
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Old 06-15-2010, 06:55 PM
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OH NO!!!!!!!!!!!!!Not the dreaded F-Word.
Stick another wet gauge on it and a new filter.

Cole
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Old 07-01-2010, 04:23 PM
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Well, I've changed the oil filter (for a Purolator) and re-filled with fresh oil and I still have zero pressure according to the pressure gauge. Again, the oil warning light goes out when the engine starts.

I'm going to take the pressure gauge out tomorrow and take the back off it to see if the spring inside is broken. The needle doesn't even flicker. Hopefully, this is a gauge or sender problem and not something more serious.
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Old 07-20-2010, 03:17 PM
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Forgot to update this... took the pressure gauge out, stripped it down and couldn't see anything wrong. Re-assembled and re-connected and, bingo, oil pressure is back. Only thing I can think of is perhaps a bit of teflon tape may have plugged the inlet at the gauge. Anyway, all fixed.
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Old 07-20-2010, 03:33 PM
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I love it when a good plan comes together.
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Old 07-20-2010, 03:42 PM
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oil presure.

Excellent outcom. Made my day.
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