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Oil Pressure Gauge Sagging?


mike1305

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May 8, 2019
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Location
Colorado
Year, Model & Trim Level
1992 Explorer Eddie Bauer
Hey nice folks,

Thanks for the plethora of information I've already found using the search function. Over 20 years of fandom sure does add up. I wasn't able to find anything that mimics my current symptoms though.

I have a 1992 (original motor, 196k miles), and earlier in 2018, the oil pressure gauge started to read a bit on the low side of center. I figured it was a dummy gauge, and confirmed it is, so I am sure this is nothing to worry about. Though the commentariat at Reddit had mixed thoughts. Here's a photo of the gauge.

After an oil change and a new intake manifold gasket (though the latter is likely unrelated), the gauge snapped back to center. Great! Then it dipped again a few days later. My first thoughts were the sensor itself, though it appears to just be an on/off switch, per this helpful post. So now I think it could be the 20 ohm resistor behind the cluster slowly wearing out. But that could be explained away by the gauge returning back to center then sagging again at all, let alone after an oil change.

Perhaps I'm just looking for some reassurance that I need to just get the F over it and move on. The motor runs like an absolute top but I want to keep it that way. I've found many threads about adding a manual pressure sensor, which sounds great as well, but seems like a helluva project unless I want to start butchering my interior (it's absolutely mint).

Cheers!
 


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Roadrunner777

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City, State
Bemidji, MN
Year, Model & Trim Level
94 4x4 Sport 88k
A stock setup should sit either at zero or between the N and O of NORMAL on the gauge face, as your picture shows.

If your gauge reads lower than the N/O in NORMAL, but substantially above zero, I would inspect, clean, tighten the connection at the oil pressure sender switch.. that's easy. I might test resistance of the switch with the engine running, it should be zero ohms. Or I might just replace the switch, it's cheap and easy to do.

If your gauge reads substantially above the N/O in NORMAL... that's a bit of a troubleshooting tree...
If you are shooting for highest reliability, then I would install an aftermarket oil gauge and forget about the stock gauge.
If you are shooting for pure stock, then you have to fix the stock gauge.
If you are shooting for a quick snapshot of where you are now, I'd put a test gauge on it and see what's really going on... or have a shop test your oil pressure, it would be a minimum labor charge.

If you are between N and O, I'd say get the F on with it. If it is anything else, and you want to monitor your oil pressure, you have some work to do yet.
 




Billy Ridgeway

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May 10, 2019
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City, State
Pinehurst, NC
Year, Model & Trim Level
1992 Explorer XLT
Mine does the exact same thing. It’ll be dead center but out of the blue it’ll hover around N for a couple of days then go back to being in the middle. As long as the lifters don’t start rattling I don’t worry too much lol :thumbsup:
 




mike1305

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May 8, 2019
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Location
Colorado
Year, Model & Trim Level
1992 Explorer Eddie Bauer
Thanks to both of you for your responses. Onward with other nitpicky things I shouldn't waste time worrying about on a 30 year old truck :)
 




AGodlyCanuck

Active Member
Joined
June 13, 2018
Messages
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City, State
Nelson, BC. Canada
Year, Model & Trim Level
1992 Explorer 4dr 4x4 XLT
Mine often sits around 25 or 75 percent.

Just slam the binders if it drops to 0
 




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