oil pressure probs. | Ford Explorer Forums - Serious Explorations

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oil pressure probs.


Well-Known Member
May 3, 2000
Reaction score
City, State
Plantation FL
Year, Model & Trim Level
96 xlt 4x2
ive got a question for everyone. my oil pressure has been running low lately around the 'NO' on normal and usually its right on the 'A'. if i rev up the engine to 4k then the pressure jumps up and stays for awhile but then after some normal driving it goes back down. do you think i have a bad pump in the making, some crud on the pick up, or a bad oil filter (just changed it)

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if it is still in the no of the normal range i would figure it is still normal.

May just be the sending unit..Front lower right, check it for leaks..No leaks, go out and by an after market gauge and hook it up to check the pressure.lol

I talked to JDraper over the weekend, he said this is a problem on the early models. There is a spring in the oil pressure 'device' which breaks or loses its spring. Oil pressure will remain normal at high speeds but at idle it will drop and kill the engine. He can probably give more information, but apparently this is a known problem.
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triton46 are you talking about the oil pump or the sending unit. if its the sending unit im not worried but if someone thinks the oil pump is going out then i am worried.

Its the oil pump. JDraper said his mother-in-law was getting a lound clatter on the lifters (more than normal) and that was the beginning of the end.

Mine hs the normal clatter but the pressure appears to be good.

To me this sounds normal.

As far as I know all first generation Explorers (including 1994) didn't really have an oil pressure switch/guage. They have an analog idiot light. At any pressure above 5 psi (I think it was 5) the sending unit thinks oil pressure is good and put the guage at the normal range.

To get around this we had bought a real oil pressure switch (you can tell it is a real one since it is so much bigger).. We then use the origonal guage. It will rear a little low but it will work. If you want it to read correctly, you need to pull your dash out (just the guages) and short the 200ohm resister for the guage (you can't miss it). Once that is done your oil pressure guage will read and react correctly.

When your guage is working correctly and it isn't an idiot light the oil pressure should be lower your at idle. Once you bring up the idle it should go up.. Now when your oil really warms up (like after driving a while) the oil pressure will be lower (at idle and when driving).

To me it sounds like your oil pressue is reading correctly, IF you really have an oil pressue switch and not just an analog oil pressure light. (There was a long thread about this a while ago)

The stock Ford oil pressure "gauge" has only 3 approximate positions (hence, the analog "idiot light").

A minor change in needle position probably doesn't mean anything.

However, there is a spring in (I believe) the oil pump that will probably fail (I think mine has) which will cause low/erratic pressure. I have a real oil pressure gauge, and see fluctuation that I really don't like - but with 174K on the motor, I'm not going to change just the oil pump.

well it just started this yesterday. today and only once the guage freaked out and was bouncing around everywhere. its only done that one other time about a year before and i dismissed it as an electrical problem of sorts. i dont have any unusually loud lifter rattle now, although it was rattleing quite a bit when it got really cold, but not anymore. the guage was reading fine when it was really cold and rattleing. to change the pump you basically have to pull the engine right? i just hate to let the engine die at 120k especially since other than this and the crappy 5spd its a really good truck.