oil pressure guage needle stuck below stop - Ranger-Forums - The Ultimate Ford Ranger Resource


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Old 10-14-2014
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oil pressure guage needle stuck below stop

I just bought a 2001 B3000 4x2, and noticed that the oil pressure gauge needle is stuck BELOW its stop. I was worried about the oil pressure when i was driving it home, so i pulled the wire from the pressure sender to see if the check gauges light came on, which it did. So I decided to drive it home. The last owner doesn't know much about the history of the truck, it seems to run well, but a lot of the screws are missing from the dash pieces. I'm wondering if anyone is aware of a scam where people put the needle below the stop to hide bad oil pressure? I'm going to try and find a buddy that has an obdII scanner and see if i can get some oil pressure data. I am hearing the odd squeak of a bad bearing here and there, but I'm not sure if it's just in my head, as it happens infrequently, usually as i'm letting out the clutch. This weekend i hope to get the dash apart and get into the gauge cluster. I know how to get it out, but not sure what it takes to get inside of it. Would anyone bother getting in there to mess with the needles in the first place?


EDIT: cool, after doing some digging i've realized that the oil pressure sender is basically an idiot light, and that the needles flip around often and can be reset quickly and easily with either a magnet, or some wire.

Last edited by mmmdc; 10-15-2014 at 01:04 AM.
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Old 10-15-2014
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Did you correct the issue?

Like yourself, my mind will always play games with me when a cluster guage is not working. When my radiator was always requiring about a quart of liquid a week, I swore I smelled a burning up engine! Ended up being a loose automatic transmission line fitting on the upper radiator (drivers side), allowing the minute steam to escape, and the overflow was always at the correct mark, but the radiator would not draw from it, rather drawing 'air' from this loose fitting (thatnks to RonD for this explaination).

It does sound like the cluster was removed/changed, based on your comments that the clusyer screws are missing. Hopefully, no fraud was done with the mileage; its easy to simply change the cluster out with one that has a lower odometer reading on it to make it appear to have lower mileage.

And the squeak you hear may simply be an idler pulley, the alternator, or A/C clutch.
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Old 10-15-2014
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Yes, in the mid-'80s Ford changed to an oil pressure switch instead of a variable resistor, making the oil pressure gauge an ON/OFF gauge, so an "idiot light".

Switch is OFF under 5.5psi approximate, ON above 5.5psi, this Grounds the gauge and it shows 1/3-1/2, any movement of the needle is from changes in voltage, not oil pressure.

The squeal could be the Cam Synchronizer, it is located in the old distributor hole and on the 3.0l it is prone to bushing/bearing failure around 80-100k miles.
It also drives the oil pump, same as distributor did, so if it fails while you are driving the truck you could ruin the engine.
Good read here: Ford Ranger 3.0L Camshaft Position Sensor

Last edited by RonD; 10-15-2014 at 10:56 AM.
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