oil guage always on 'L' | Ford Explorer Forums - Serious Explorations

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oil guage always on 'L'


Explorer Addict
June 30, 2005
Reaction score
City, State
Springfield(ish), MO
Year, Model & Trim Level
'00 XLS
As long as i can remember my X's oil guage has read 'L' and im now starting to wonder if this is normal/common... 96X 4.0 OHV

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probably an oil pressure sensor. You haven't been hearing any knock/ticking have you?


actually i have :/

nothing bad, sounds like a bad lifter and everything ive read says its the 'ford noise' so i never put much thought to it

Well, the best way to check is to put a pressure gauge into the sensor port and then fire it up and see what kind of presure you have. You want about 35-45 psi


sounds good. im gonna do this asap (couple of days :( ) where is the sensor port located?

To be honest, I do not know, but I'm sure someone can give you some information.

Any signs i should look for when i yank the engine out to replace the heads and valvetrain for signs of actuall ow oil pressure?


Look for any purple/blue metal markings. This usually means heat which means low oil pressure or no coolant flow. Anyhow, just keep your eye out for anything out of the ordinary


I looked on Alldata today and it said next to the power steering pump.


If I remember correctly, even the 2nd gen explorers didn't have a real oil pressure gauge.. Its an analog idiot light.. 5+psi and it shows normal, under 5 and it shows low..

search on "fake oil pressure" and there is a lengthly thread about it, including info about what year (It might not be in that thread, I can't remember, but it was possibly 1997+) they changed the dash so you couldn't modify it to work correctly as a real gauge. If you can modify it, you just short out one resister, change the sending unit and your gauge is a real gauge..


I found the thread.. its here

I guess that is why Autozone had it named a "oil pressure switch" instead of sensor. :confused:


thanks guys. i hipe its a bum sender or something and that i havent put umpteen thousand miles on it with low oil pressure...

on a bit of a side note...

does your guage cluster have a lil black pin under the low marking that the needle rests against? mine doesnt.. i dont think it ever did, so... i may have installed the needle wrong (dumb, i know) when i turn on my x, not start the engine just turn the key to the run position, the needle drops waaaay below the low mark, and then once the engine is started, it jumps up to just above the lov mark.. maybe i just put the needle back on wrong. anyone elses X do this?>

I have the same "ticking" noise with my V8. I also attributed it to a bad lifter (just love pushrods). Anyhow on cold mornings (below 40 degrees) my oil pressure gauge doesn't register AT ALL until the engine heats up some. Could this be the same problem. And what would cause that mechanical tick? cause it's dependent upon RPM.


Yeah, it is the same problem.

I have the same deal, if it's cold out pressure dosen't register for about 5 min.
No probs at all in the spring and summer.

Ford has a tsb for that problem. Replace with updated oil pressure switch.Lincolns have the same problem.

So what is the mechanical "tick" then? How does low pressure cause it? And how much am i looking to have Ford, or a local shop, replace the pump?

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