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4th Generation Camaros 1993-2002

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Old 10-20-2009, 05:24 PM   #1
wetodd
 
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Unhappy Oil pressure drops bad

Just bought a 1997 Z28 drove home fine, but at one stop light oil pressure dropped to almost zero and check engine light came on. I put in in neutral and revived it a bit and pressure came back up. The car is new to me so I am not sure what oil pressure should be at idle, but i do know that 10 seems very low, as this is where it usually is at idle. I stopped for about 20 mins checked the oil level and it was fine. Drove on home and it ranges to 40-50 under load. What issues should I look at besides the oil pump? I think I might have gotten screwed. Any help, and thanks in advance.
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Old 10-20-2009, 05:38 PM   #2
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It should have more oil pressure at idle, first check the oil pressure sending uint to make sure it is working correctly. It sounds like it has excessive bearing clearance in the rods/mains.
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Old 10-20-2009, 07:19 PM   #3
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oh, crap that does not sound good. I hope for the lesser of the evils.
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Old 10-20-2009, 08:17 PM   #4
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take out the light oil, and put in some 20w50 if weather permits.
maybe 30 weight if the motor is miled out. if its colder, try 10w40, or 15w40

if you can turn up the idle 100 or so, that will help too.
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Old 10-20-2009, 08:24 PM   #5
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thats not very odd for a worn motor. how many miles does it have on engine
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Old 10-20-2009, 11:54 PM   #6
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the carfax check out awesome, 67000 miles one owner, standard service records, brakes, emission test, nothing but routine maintenance. Of coarse I don't know if they beat on it for years. It runs strong, no smoke. Drove again to the store and back, oil 10-20 at idle, 40 under load.
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Old 10-21-2009, 08:41 AM   #7
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Is there any test I can run, or does it have to go to the dealer?
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Old 10-21-2009, 08:47 AM   #8
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Min use to run ~10 at idle and it was fine. Drove that way for years. Now 0 at idle is not good. However the sending unit is notorius for being bad on the LT1's.
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Old 10-21-2009, 01:51 PM   #9
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Location of sending unit???
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Old 10-21-2009, 03:35 PM   #10
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I my self wouldnt rev it up if its low on oil....
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Old 10-21-2009, 03:56 PM   #11
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update: Installed new sending unit, all was fine when engine was cold, steady 40psi, and 20 at idle if we want to call that fine? once warmed up 10-15 psi at idle, 39 under load, 40 when it hard enough to engage passing gear. back home idle 10-15psi seems to very, rev to 4500 to get to 39-40 psi. then on occasion gauge pegs past 80 for a flash then returns to normal. kind of stumped my dodge ram is always steady, gauge is always dead center, my old fairlane with a 302 5 speed idle was always 20 - 30 idle and 60 - 70 under load. oil level is fine in the z28.
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Old 10-22-2009, 03:57 PM   #12
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You need 10psi for every 1k rpm for an engine to survive. The gauge could be bad. If you have 0 oil pressure it would not run long. If the bearings are worn or damaged it could give you a low oil pressure. If this is the case thicker oil is not going to help.
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Old 10-22-2009, 04:49 PM   #13
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Its back at the dealer I bought it from. Their mechanic is supposed to be looking at it. I know its not the sending unit, because the new one did the same thing as the old one mentioned above. I told them if it were me I would hook up a manual oil pressure gauge the don't lie. I hate that its probably a worn out block as I really like the car. Strange that it still runs strong, no smoke, no unusual noises. Cross my fingers, wishful thinking, but if they gave me half or so of my money back and I kept the car, hello new crate motor!!!!
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Old 11-10-2009, 01:02 PM   #14
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any update??
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Old 11-10-2009, 03:38 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wetodd View Post
Its back at the dealer I bought it from. Their mechanic is supposed to be looking at it. I know its not the sending unit, because the new one did the same thing as the old one mentioned above. I told them if it were me I would hook up a manual oil pressure gauge the don't lie. I hate that its probably a worn out block as I really like the car. Strange that it still runs strong, no smoke, no unusual noises. Cross my fingers, wishful thinking, but if they gave me half or so of my money back and I kept the car, hello new crate motor!!!!
Wishful thinking alright!
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Old 11-10-2009, 03:44 PM   #16
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its an old chevy. its normal. my brand new motor with a high volume oil pump is only just above the red line when hot and idling at 900rpms. the second you touch the gas it shoots to 60psi and stays there.

i dunno if there is a problem i have seen many many chevy 8cyls at idle with very little oil pressure many of them with over 200k on the motor and they ran like a champ.
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Old 11-10-2009, 03:54 PM   #17
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Most 4th gens. I've owned hold in the range of 20-40psi at idle and 45-60psi at WOT. You should be okay at 10psi/1000rpm but at 0psi? NFW! Park it and get it repaired first. Hope you know something about cars...this isn't an easy fix for a DIY without specialized tools for removing/installing the harmonic balancer. Atleast a min. 2hr job for a DIY guy.
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Old 11-12-2009, 08:58 AM   #18
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I had a small block V8 Ford that had the exact same issue. It was a bad oil pump. The bypass valve in the pump was sticking/leaking/had a weak spring. (Did not go through the trouble of testing the exact reason once I removed it.) I replaced the pump and the car was fine. Now one thing I would recommend before going through that trouble is to put a "real" oil pressure gauge on the motor to test. (If you don't want it permanent you could put in under the hood. It will just be a PITA to check.) Factory gauges are notoriously inaccurate. In my 65 Stang with this trouble I had an Autometer so I knew the pressure numbers were on. My 94 Stang had a built motor so I had Autometer gauges in it. The factory gauge always just floated around in the middle but the Autometer moved accurately with RPM.
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Old 11-12-2009, 12:51 PM   #19
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Make sure the pickup is still attached to the pump....
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Old 11-12-2009, 12:59 PM   #20
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Stock guage? Most likely its not very accurate. If it doesnt knock when you fire it up in the morning you are most likely ok. Throw some thicker oil in it 20-40wt and some stp oil treatment or the like and drive it!
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Old 11-12-2009, 01:50 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by Huggerorange73 View Post
Make sure the pickup is still attached to the pump....
This... I lost my first LT1 after this happened. Similar symptoms... used the old 10psi per 1000rpm saying and the engine seized on the way home. Had more than 10psi per 1000rpm according to the gauge.
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Old 11-16-2009, 12:36 PM   #22
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I had the same problem with my 96, a couple months later it spun a bearing.
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Old 11-16-2009, 01:25 PM   #23
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My '97 Z28 does this too ever since I bought it almost 5 years ago, roughly 10 psi at idle and 30-40 psi under load. Have yet to have a problem, and all the mechanics and Camaro nuts I've talked to have said it's typical for the LT1's.
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Old 11-16-2009, 02:42 PM   #24
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It is quite normal for LT1's. I would run a thicker oil and just pay attention to it a bit.
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Old 11-25-2009, 03:38 AM   #25
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same problem in my bros 5.7 '99 tahoe with vortech engine. touch the gas and it shoots back up. but almost all his guages are messed up
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