1989 2.3L erratic oil pressure - Ranger-Forums - The Ultimate Ford Ranger Resource


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Old 06-13-2016
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FIXED: 1989 2.3L erratic oil pressure

The oil pressure gauge in my 1989 2.3L started moving around quite a bit just recently. I am copying links to two videos showing what I am talking about. It used to just stay steady about 1/3 between the L and H (closer to the L). Now it hovers around the red mark mostly. Obviously this is worrisome. My thoughts are: 1) the connector to the oil pressure switch is loose (haven't had a chance to crawl under there and check yet), 2) the oil pump is going bad, or 3) something is clogging an oil galley somewhere.

I check oil level and it was between the low and high marks.

I did recently have to pull the transmission to replace the clutch, and while I did that I also replaced the valve cover gasket since it was leaking. Not sure if these things are relevant.

Videos:
Driving 45 mph at 2000 rpm

Driving 0 mph idling at 800 rpm

Anyone have any ideas? Thanks

Last edited by demliag; 06-14-2016 at 09:25 AM. Reason: Fixed problem
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Old 06-13-2016
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Bad switch or connector.

There would be valve train noise if oil pressure was low.

2.3l oil pressure switch should be above oil filter, drivers side rear close to head

If you pull off the connector and Ground that wire, then turn on the key the oil gauge should show 1/3, what you said was normal.
That means wire and gauge are OK, problem is the switch or the connection to the switch.

The oil pressure switch is just a Ground for the gauge, when pressure is above 6psi switch closes and Grounds the gauge to the engine, so only 1 wire is needed.
Because switch is a Ground leave some bare threads at the bottom when installing a new one, it is OK to use sealer, just leave a few bare threads for good ground
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Old 06-13-2016
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Here's what I do personally. I go to auto zone or advance and get one of those 18 dollar oil pressure gauges and tap off where the sending unit is supposed to be with a 1/8-27 NPT t connector, lay the gauge on the dash or console and see what the pressure really is. It is the only way I can sleep at night.

The T allows both sending unit and mechanical gauge to work at the same time. If the pressure is fine at idle and cruising then dig into the electric one. When you fix the not so sensitive usually wrong dash oil indicator then cap the T and remove the mechanical keeping it in the garage ready for the next oil pressure mystery.

I'm not opinionated about stock dash gauges at all am I? :)
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Old 06-14-2016
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FIXED

Thanks for the suggestions. I went to take a look at the oil pressure switch, pulled the wire off and pushed it back on. And just like that it started operating normally. I guess the connection had gotten loose while I was replacing the valve cover gasket.
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Old 06-14-2016
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Thanks for the update, good work
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