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Oil light flicking on


Southernfarmer

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My truck is an 85 2.3L EFI 4 speed auto, I just done a tune up on it but now when its idling in park the oil light just barley flickers when you put it in drive it comes on bright but going down the road its off but as soon as you come to a stop its back on gotta hold your foot on the gas just a hair to keep it off, its fine when its cold but give it about 10mins to warm up and it starts it. Other then that it runs good just leaking oil from the tube beside my alternator I'm going to try and put a clamp on it to stop that, it is always showing 1/2 qt-3/4 qt low. Anybody have any ideas about the oil light. It even does it when its full of oil. Maybe oil pump starting to go bad or is bad?


I know this is posted in the parts for sale but I didn't realize it and I can't delete it now it won't let me, sorry
 
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Mark_88

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Oil leaking from a tube beside alternator? Is your alternator mounted on the driver side near the top of the engine?

Maybe take pics of the tube...could be your PCV valve is not working...it allows pressure from the bottom of the engine to be drawn off and into the intake to be burned, but if there is excessive pressure in the lower end it could force oil out of the pan and up...

Could also be the valve cover vent...pics would confirm that...show both ends of tube if possible...
 

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It could be a few things like the oil filter is plugged. excess tolerance in the crankshaft bearings, pump getting weak? Put a new motorcraft oil filter with fresh oil with a quart of lucas oil stabilizer. The leak can be excess blowby change the PCV with spark plugs as a habit they are cheap. Excess blowby coud be due to rings somtimes you just need to put a PCV from a large V-8 to keep from posative pressure in the crankcase. If thats the case start saving for a long block or rebuild a engine now and just do a swap.
 

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What you describe about when it flickers, goes on steady and goes out is consistent with oil pressure behavior, but that doesn't mean it is good.

I just mean when at idle oil pressure usually drops, when put in drive and RPM drop further oil pressure drops a little more, when driving pressure goes up.

So it would see the light is indicating at the point when pressure would be low. It dropping below the switch threshold (causing the light) is an issue that I normally associate with low oil (usually radically low).

I don't know if the oil switch itself could be bad. If it were tripping at a high pressure than it is supposed to, then good pressure could cause an indication. The important thing is having sufficient pressure so I wouldn't assume it the switch. The only problems I ever had with a switch was a complete non-function so I am thinking bad switch is unlikely, but still maybe a remote possibility.

I would start with what others mentioned above.
 

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Ford uses an oil pressure switch set for 5psi, below 5psi oil light will come on, so flickering light means pressure is at 5psi, which is OK but worth finding out the reason.
Steady oil light on would be an immediate, turn off the engine now, concern.

Oil level showing on the dipstick but low wouldn't cause this.

High miles on the engine = lower overall oil pressure

Oil pressure comes from back pressure in the crank bearings, the oil pump creates the flow of oil but with 0 pressure, the pressure comes from the oil being forced out between the bearings and journals in the crankshaft.
As the bearings wear down the gaps get larger so back pressure(oil pressure) goes down, normal occurrence as miles go up.

Oil pump turns based on engine RPM so as RPM goes up flow goes up, as flow goes up back pressure increases so oil pressure goes up......oil light goes off.
If oil filter is restricting the flow then back pressure would be lower overall so a good idea to change the filter if the oil light flickering is a new occurrence.

Running a thicker oil, 40w instead of 30w, will increase overall oil pressure.

Oil pumps usually last longer than the engine, they are pretty simple devices, but yes they can wear out, just not the most likely cause of low oil pressure.
 

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I'd put a mechanical oil pressure guage on it first to see what kind of oil pressre it has, "most" times it's usually the sensor for the light is bad. Since oil is comming out from where the pcv valve is, the piston rings aren't sealing as good as they used to (blowby), pull the oil fill off the valve cover, if smoke comes out the rings are done (which is pretty common on well used 2.3's).
 
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If the light comes on after the tune up you must have lowered the idle speed so thats why now and not before, if the oil has been changed recently then you can add a can of stp oil goo and this should turn the light off, also you can make sure your idle speed is in spec and set as the sticker on the front apron or airfilter says, I drove a opel kadet 900 miles with a bad rod knock with 4 cans of STP, thru the mountains and down the freeway to get me home, opened the motor up the crank was still good thru some bearings in it and drove it another 20k
 

Southernfarmer

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Sorry it took so long to get back I've been working but I believe my rings may be shot cause the last time I drove it was on Sunday and I took my cap off and smoke was coming out of the valve cover and I thought that was kinda weird I hadn't seen your post before then, I put 1qt in it and drove it to work was coming home and stopped at the store and noticed it was pouring oil out put another qt in it and made it home 2 miles down the road and it was empty again and I hadn't drove it since. I had just bought 5qts and 1qt of Lucas stabilizer and was going to change the oil and oil filter the next day to see if that fixed my oil light coming on but apparently the whole time it was my rings wearing out and getting worse, I haven't had anybody look at it yet but I'm sure thats what it is by what you described by smoke coming out the valve cover
 

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"Oil pouring out" is a pressure leak, front or rear main seal or loose oil filter or oil pressure gauge.

Bad rings won't burn oil that fast.
Smoke coming out the oil filler cap means PCV valve needs to be cleaned/replaced.
But yes, the rings may be wearing out if you have excessive pressure in the valve cover area.

The valve cover should also have a Vent hose going to the air filter or air plenum(tube).
If you want to test "blow-by"(ring wear), make sure PCV valve and it's hose are clean and working.
Remove Vent hose and plug it, so valve cover is sealed.
Remove dip stick
Start warmed up engine
Place 1 square of toilet paper over dip stick tube.
If paper sticks to tube, so vacuum pressure is present, rings are fine
If paper sits on tube and barely moves rings are wearing but are fine.
If paper blows up away from tube, blow-by is excessive, rings are worn.

You can also, and should, pull out a few spark plugs and look at the ends, oil burning in the cylinder is easy to see.
Google: images spark plug condition
 
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Mark_88

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Never tried the TP trick before...I'm afraid my engine will fart on my hand...
 

Southernfarmer

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I changed the spark plugs less than 2 weeks ago, they had just a little oil on them, does my PCV valve need to have a clamp on it? It looks like it is barley in there and will come out going down the road. Do I need to put a bigger on on it? I looked its coming right below the back of the valve cover but not from it or don't look like it, its a steady stream maybe headgasket but its not blowing out any white smoke? If it was the rear main seal it'd come from the bottom of the transmission
 

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The oil on the plugs is either from bad valve seals, and or bad oil rings. You can clamp the the hose onto the PCV valve if you want to (it won't hurt it). At the rear of the head (right behind the intake manifold) on the head there is a oil pressure sending unit, that's where your oil leak is coming from. If I were you I'd be planning on either rebuilding, or replacing the engine.
 

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Yes, oil pressure sending unit, is at that location.
You can often get a better view of it thru the drivers side wheel well.

White smoke is coolant burning
Blue smoke is oil burning

The PCV valve is there to reduce the emissions from blow-by and oil vapor in the crankcase.
4 stroke Engines ran just fine for 60 years without them, so they are not part of what makes an engine work, there used to be a tube at the top of the oil pan that pointed down at the ground, blow-by and oil vapor would come out there and just drip on the ground.
PCV valve is the Cat converter for the crankcase air, lol.
The vent tube will suck up most of the emissions, but if you care about my children's lungs you will get a proper PCV valve gasket or larger PCV valve for existing gasket, :)
 
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Southernfarmer

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So how easy is it to get to the oil pressure sending unit? Is it that bad that I have to plan on another motor or rebuild?
 

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So how easy is it to get to the oil pressure sending unit? Is it that bad that I have to plan on another motor or rebuild?
How long are your arms? :)

Not easy to get to but definitely a DIY swappable part.

Leaking oil pressure sender wouldn't be cause to rebuild.
Never use sealing tape on 1 wire senders, they need bare metal threads to get a good ground to the engine metal.
So if you must/want to use sealant leave the lower threads bare :)
 


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