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Old 06-25-2013, 02:11 AM   #1
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Oil Pressure Sending Unit bad or... ?

This is regarding my 2002 Firebird 3.8L @ 88k miles

Recently, I had to replace the OPSU when it blew out and started gushing oil. I had a few higher than normal oil pressure readings before it blew, but nothing alarming (in the 65-75ish range) and mostly still stayed in the 60 +/-5 range so I didn't think much of it at the time. Today when it blew the oil pressure completely dropped to zero so I pulled over immediately and noticed that oil was leaking pretty out of the sending unit where the pigtail socket connects. Luckily, there was a nearby auto parts store which had a replacement available (generic autozone brand) and I was able to replace the leaking one with the new.

However, now I'm worried because the new OPSU is reading way too high - almost to 120. I didn't add oil because the dipstick was still in the full range so it shouldn't be overfilled. I did drive it a short distance home and there is no bulging from the oil filter or funny noises. I'm running mobile 1 5w-30 and a bosch filter. The oil is very clean and still somewhat clear, recently changed a hundred or so miles ago.

Anyone have any ideas?
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Old 06-25-2013, 08:11 AM   #2
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Either the new generic sending unit is faulty, or the wire to it is shorted to ground.
Does it read any pressure with the key on before you start the engine?
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Old 06-25-2013, 11:03 AM   #3
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No, oil pressure is zero with the key on and engine off. The gauge did move slightly while I was driving but remained high around 90-120
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Old 06-25-2013, 11:48 AM   #4
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I would say the new sending unit is bad.
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96 T/A, Black/Graphite Leather, T-Tops, 6 speed, 10 speaker Delco/Bose "Monsoon"
Original owner, 188k miles and counting.
Total engine rebuild at 187,020 miles.
AIR delete. Bored .030 over.
Comp cams Xtreme Energy LT1 266HR-14 street cam and springs..
lift I .500 E .510 duration I 266 E 276
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Old 06-25-2013, 12:20 PM   #5
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Update: I just checked the oil filler tube and the dipstick, there was steam coming from both. The oil on the dipstick looks normal but there's a little bit of foam in the filler tube. Is that normal?

I only took it for a short drive, about 2 miles or so and taking it pretty easy. I'm definitely going to replace the sending unit, but is there anything els I should be checking while I'm in there?
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Old 06-26-2013, 01:32 AM   #6
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Update again: I did an oil pressure test and got average readings 60-70psi so I'm thinking I got a lemon sending unit or the electrical connector needs to be replaced. Unfortunately, while I was digging around in there...

I'm pretty sure there's a little water leaking into there from somewhere. Just not sure where yet, the oil on the dipstick is still pretty clean.
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Old 06-26-2013, 01:34 AM   #7
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What is the second pic of?
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Old 06-26-2013, 02:16 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Superman View Post
What is the second pic of?
Its a close-up of the goo inside the filler tube, I used a long cotton swab to take a sample. It appears more yellowish in the second pic, the first is a better representation of the color.
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Old 06-26-2013, 09:13 AM   #9
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Do you make a lot of short trips where the engine doesn't get fully warmed up?
That will cause the foam in the filler pipe.
So will a clogged PCV valve.
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96 T/A, Black/Graphite Leather, T-Tops, 6 speed, 10 speaker Delco/Bose "Monsoon"
Original owner, 188k miles and counting.
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AIR delete. Bored .030 over.
Comp cams Xtreme Energy LT1 266HR-14 street cam and springs..
lift I .500 E .510 duration I 266 E 276
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Old 06-26-2013, 01:48 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Potmunkey View Post
Its a close-up of the goo inside the filler tube, I used a long cotton swab to take a sample. It appears more yellowish in the second pic, the first is a better representation of the color.
Condensation and evaporation of humidity in a cold crankcase will occur when the engine reaches operating temperature. Technically becoming a small amount of steam it will seek to escape from the highest point on the engine. And that's the oil filler tube. Unable to escape it accumulates there and congeals into the goo on your swab when it cools. As long as your dipstick oil is good I wouldn't be concerned with it. ~FH
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Old 06-26-2013, 01:54 PM   #11
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I agree with FloridaHorseman. This condensation has occured to many including myself. It's never been anything major from what I've ever heard. As long as your oil looks good, I wouldn't worry.
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Old 06-26-2013, 02:07 PM   #12
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Thanks guys! You all are always so helpful here!
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