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Oil pressure gauge shows no oil pressure!!

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Old 11-17-2009, 04:10 PM   #1
black974X4
Louisville, KY
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Oil pressure gauge shows no oil pressure!!

I've had my 97 explorer for about 3 weeks now and when I first bought it i noticed the temp gauge didn't work correctly. Had plenty of coolant and thermostat was opening and closing fine. About a week later i noticed the oil pressure gauge bounces sometimes randomly. Well here is the big problem. I started my car after classes today and it showed i had pressure, then while driving i noticed it showed i had very low pressure and the needle was bouncing a lot. Then it went to zero. The car still runs great, no metal to metal sound, no smoke, nothing. Could i have a bad instrument cluster or bad oil pressure sending unit?

car has 142k miles on it.
did an oil change 2 weeks ago, and it has plenty of oil in it with the problem

Thanks for any help!!
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Old 11-17-2009, 04:42 PM   #2
Blazepet7
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Welcome...Mine dosent fluctuate while driving but when I cold start my ex it stays pinned on no pressure there is a thread on how to replace the pressure sensor it is a cheap sensor and is real easy to change if the truck has that many miles it dosent hurt to change it again I don't have any info on the fluctuation...but I know a bunch of guys have this problem...good luck try the search button or go to the forums page it WILL help, hope this helps




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Old 11-18-2009, 10:38 AM   #3
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I have a 2001 Sport that does this. But only in the morning. I changed the oil to fully synthentic. now it takes 45 seconds for the pressure gauge to come up to normal in the morning. But only in the morning. I'm going to replace the sender and i don't hear any knocking. but yes, i'm concerned...
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Old 11-18-2009, 10:43 AM   #4
my98nnj
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Originally Posted by black974X4 View Post
Could i have a bad instrument cluster or bad oil pressure sending unit?
Either one is possible, you'll have to do some trouble shooting.
If it was mechanical, a real loss of oil pressure, you'd have known it immediately.

It could be something as simple as corrosion at the sensors electrical connection. Simply verify that both sensors connectors are in good shape. Clean them with electrical contact cleaner or just use some brake cleaner.
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Old 11-18-2009, 11:05 AM   #5
CobraSix
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Originally Posted by my98nnj View Post
Either one is possible, you'll have to do some trouble shooting.
If it was mechanical, a real loss of oil pressure, you'd have known it immediately.
I never did figure out why my oil pressure gauge in my 91 is all screwy. After the car warms up, oil pressure goes to 0. I replaced the sender, same. Check with a mechanical gauge, sure enough, pressure is 0 at idle, 35psi at 1500RPM.

Been doing that for 70k miles now, engine still purrs, doesn't burn oil, no lifter ticking...but no pressure at idle. Also the time it takes for it 'lose' pressure varies based on outside temperature and oil weight used. If it is cold outside, it takes longer to lose pressure and it returns to full pressure at a lower RPM. If i use 10w30, it losses pressure at a lower RPM than using 20w50.




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Old 11-18-2009, 12:47 PM   #6
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20w-50... Holy crap!!! Why are you running racing oil?!?




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Old 11-18-2009, 03:37 PM   #7
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If I didn't...I'd lose oil pressure at 1200RPM. While I think it is some weird internal engine quirk, I don't like driving down the highway with no pressure. It's one thing to let it idle with no pressure, another to drive 70MPH with no pressure.

I actually usually put about half a quart of straight weight 80 in during the summer as well to keep the pressure up as low as 1000RPM. I have a magic formula based on seasons to keep the pressure up but still allow the car to crank.

Cut the engine some slack...325k miles, and they haven't been easy miles. Beach wheelin, off roading, mudding, Boston Traffic, SoCal Traffic, spent the first 100k miles as a commercial vehicle towing trailers.

And only had to rebuild the transmission once at 160k miles.




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Old 11-18-2009, 06:56 PM   #8
black974X4
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Thanks for all the responses. I went to start it up today and it started fine and ran fine, but it still showed little to no oil pressure. I had to move it tonight for my dad to get out of the driveway and there was a slight tick(very soft tick), I don't know if this is common with these engines on very cold start ups(low 40s outside). I'll be getting the problem fixed this weekend, hopefully it isn't anything mechanical.
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Old 11-18-2009, 09:59 PM   #9
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Right on CobraSix- it's stuff like yours that makes for great Ford stories!

OP- how is your oil level? When mine is low, I get a tick on startup...




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Old 11-19-2009, 07:04 AM   #10
black974X4
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Right on CobraSix- it's stuff like yours that makes for great Ford stories!

OP- how is your oil level? When mine is low, I get a tick on startup...

Oil level is great, drove again today to school, about 15 miles, and it ran fine. Still had a slight tick for the first few minutes after start up, but I didn't hear it when I got to school. Hopefully going tomorrow to make sure it has plenty of oil pressure.
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Old 11-19-2009, 07:25 AM   #11
CobraSix
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A tick on startup for up to 30 seconds isn't uncommon. Just means the lifters are pressurizing. If it happens a lot, it may be a sign of a lifter starting to wear out (they usually don't loss pressure every time you let it sit for long periods).

As it was previously said, if you really had lost true oil pressure, you'd know it very clearly within 5 minutes (max) as your explorer would become an exploder and come to a screeching halt.

I've thought about contacting Ford...




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Old 11-19-2009, 07:55 AM   #12
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It was my understanding that these oil guages are strictly electrical. With your fluctuation, I would suspect a loose/corroded wire or just a malfunction within the sensor itself.

The "tick" could be just a normal valvetrain noise. If you are like me, when you think you have a problem, every little squeak or tick becomes the sound of the engine coming apart.
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Old 11-19-2009, 10:04 AM   #13
black974X4
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Thanks everyone! And paints n cows that's exactly how I am lol. It's driving fine so I guess it's just somethig eletrical. I'm getting it checked now as I type this.
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Old 11-19-2009, 12:51 PM   #14
black974X4
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I was leaking oil through my oil pressure switch. Also found out my upper control arms need to be replaced . Guess I'm doing that this weekend, oh fun!!
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Old 11-19-2009, 07:26 PM   #15
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Don't mean to hijack, but I am in the same boat.

Just rebuilt the motor in my 92, and after the motor warms up, the gauge says I loose all oil pressure at idle (really anything under 1200 rpm). Replaced sender with one from 300 I6 to convert to real gauge, and its still showing I loose pressure. Only thing I know to do is to replace the gauge with a spare.

Any ideas?

Like I said, almost new internal motor (only things reused were connecting rods, crank, cam, and rocker arms/pushrods). All stock with stock clearances...




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Old 11-20-2009, 11:29 PM   #16
994x4Bauer
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Originally Posted by Paints-n-cows View Post
It was my understanding that these oil guages are strictly electrical. With your fluctuation, I would suspect a loose/corroded wire or just a malfunction within the sensor itself.

The "tick" could be just a normal valvetrain noise. If you are like me, when you think you have a problem, every little squeak or tick becomes the sound of the engine coming apart.
I am the same way with the noises. Mine has 82,000 miles , I got it when it had 75,000 on it and have already had to replace the upper control arm/ball joints, lower ball joints, sway bar links, (all MOOG parts)and I need to replace the oil pressure switch and see if that fixes my no pressure at cold start-up issue and have the exhaust replaced as it is so rattly noisy you cant hear yourself think!!!!
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Old 12-06-2009, 04:05 PM   #17
teaman5843
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I had a problem with 2001 explorer sport oil pressure gauge not working when below 50 degrees. I thought it might be the gauge, the wiring, the pump clogged with slick 50, or anything else when I came to this site. I saw it was a common problem, replaced the sending unit, and it worked like a charm. Thanks all.
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Old 01-12-2010, 06:23 PM   #18
joeward87
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I have had this problem with mine, my fix is to go buy your self a can of seafoam. Pour half a can in your oil start the vehicle wait for oil pressure to pick up, let the vehicle warm up real good shut it off and let the oil drain for a good hour thin put new oil and filter.....just try it :P
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Old 08-17-2010, 11:25 PM   #19
mechomancer
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Well i just finished replacing the frame and pulled motor and trans together unhooking nothing but the two large connections to body and fuel and stuff and put everything back in order when new frame went back under it. the oil pressure gauge is not working now. I know it worked before and stayed at 1/2 to 2/3 towards high most of the time now nothing still purrs and runs great aside from that code 37 from airbag but thinking this might be a grounding issue as well
Where on the 4.0 SOHC on the 99 is the sending unit??
BTW got the exhaust done and new battery put in since the changeover drove it to town and back with little prob
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Old 08-18-2010, 07:11 AM   #20
2000StreetRod
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oil pressure switch location

The oil pressure switch screws into the left (driver) side of the block behind the power steering pump as shown below.
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It has very limited access. You'll probably have to remove the wheel and inner fender flap for access.
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