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1987 - 1996 F150 & Larger F-Series Trucks 1987 - 1996 Ford F-150, F-250, F-350 and larger pickups - including the 1997 heavy-duty F250/F350+ trucks

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Old 10-08-2010, 02:52 AM
1raven 1raven is offline
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oil pressure gauge jumping

I'm new at this so please forgive my mistakes. i own a 97 f250 351, 5 spd, 2wd with 111,000 miles. a few years ago i noticed my oil pressure gauge would start jumping eradically when i came to a stop while i had the a/c or heat on and/or had been driving for a while. it has recently gotten worse. the gauge starts jumping almost instantly after starting and it now makes a "knocking" (the best i can explain it) sound but if i rev it just a little, the gauge stops jumping and the knocking goes away. i cant figure it out. any ideas?
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Old 10-08-2010, 06:03 AM
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First, your oil pressure gauge isn't a real gauge. It's hooked up to an oil pressure "switch" which will register the gauge to read "normal" when oil pressure is above a certain PSI. If it drops below a certain PSI, then you will see that difference in the gauge and probably get an idiot light.

My guess is either the connection at the oil pressure switch is loose or you've got a bad ground in the circuit.

As for the knocking sound... you're saying the gauge is making the knocking sound, or the motor?
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Old 10-08-2010, 07:00 AM
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I'm in agreement with DBGrif.
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Old 10-08-2010, 07:57 AM
lupin398 lupin398 is offline
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If you really want to as well the gauge cluster can be fixed with a quick solder so that replacing the switch with an actual sending unit will give you an actual gauge.
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Old 10-08-2010, 08:22 AM
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by the sounds of it i would say that the oil pressure gauge is dropping at idle which would be caused by a clogged or failing oil pump, under higher rpm's it is able to build the pressure high enough to keep the sending unit happy, but at idle it is dropping under the 7? ( i believe thats where the gauge drops off at ) psi the gauge drops.. also the knock at idle could be the top end rattling from lack of oil if it is a dying or clogged oil pump
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Old 10-08-2010, 11:40 AM
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I had this same issue with my truck when I first bought it. I tried the sending unit and gauge first but to no avail. I wound up dropping the oil pan and installing new pump and pickup tube/screen. You might try installing a manual or electric gauge first to verify the reading. The pans on these trucks suck to remove so good luck!
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Old 10-08-2010, 01:45 PM
Eddiec1564 Eddiec1564 is offline
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Had the same problem with my "converted to actiual" oil guage on my 89. Found the sending unit was bad, but I still have low oil at idle at 15psi hot(low for me) and about 35 to 40 at 1500rpm.

Best to hook up a mechanical guage to verify oil pressure, but with engine knocking at idle, your bearings are probly getting wiped out from low pressure,
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Old 10-08-2010, 09:49 PM
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sorry i should have clarified that. the motor is making the sound
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Old 10-08-2010, 10:08 PM
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ok ill try installing one of these gauges just to make sure its not the oil pump cause i sure dont wanna replace that. thanks for the help folks.
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Old 10-08-2010, 10:08 PM
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