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Oil Pressure Gauge


Guest SwiftBuicks

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Guest SwiftBuicks

On my '89, I see two or three readings for Oil Pressure on the gauge screen. It's basically either Hi (255 psi) or Lo (50-55 psi) depending on whether I'm increasing the Rev's or not. Is this normal? I really don't care about the exact oil pressure reading. However, since I want to keep the car in top-knotch condition, I'm thinking about replacing the sensor if it's defective.

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Guest C.F.Massie

On my 89 I have replaced the oil pressure switch three times over the years and I finally said the heck with it. Right now mine will fluctuate from about 40 to 70 depending on engine temp and revs, normal cruising it stays about 43 - 58. Really as long as it stays in that range your fine. As for me if it goes bonkers again I won't be changing it. I'm from the old school and believe the oil temp is more important and that the oil level is correct. Pressure doesn't bother me at all, as long as it doesn't hover above 80 - 95 too long, after all its not an aircraft engine.

Where do you see those readings? On the 89 CRT the oil pressure reading is a graduated scale reading unless it gets really high and I believe I saw it hit so high the reading just said HIGH instead of a number. And the 50 - 55 range is not too low, in fact any reading within 50 -70 is normal operations. Of course it will be in the 40s when first starting and warming up.

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Guest Richard D

My 90 does the same thing. From what I have read this is a common failure mode for the sender. As long as it does not drop below 40 psi or halfway on the dash gauge I am not to concerned.

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I have the same problem w/ the sender on one of my 92 Rivs....pressure and temp are fine but the sender bites the dirt. I changed it once but have never bothered to change it again.

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Guest SwiftBuicks

Thanks for the replies. I'm reading the CRT. Whenever I apply the gas, I see the jump to max pressure. I also get the BCM error code of 132 from time to time. As you guys have stated, it's the sensor and not the actual oil pressure. You have convinced me that it isn't worth replacing. Thanks. The money can be spent in a better way.

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Guest kennyw

On 88's and 89's you will also get an [electrical problem detected] show up on the side of the ins. cluster. It only show for a second or two when the oil pressure is at max....ken

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Guest sanders

It is always interesting to read of problems with our cars and get help and answers to some quick fixes . I to have had issue with the Oil Gauge in my 1990 Coupe . My gauge always lights up the full space when I start the car and usually stays right there while I am driving . I have noticed at times the gauge will drop back to one half lit maybe at a stop light but will jump back to full when getting under moyion . Does anyone think I may have a problem and any thoughts on how to check it out . The car runs beautifully and I hate to tinker with it .

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I do look for long term effects such as when it is time to change the oil (warmed up cruising drops 2 psi) but we would probably be ok with just a light, I just wish it turned on at 15-20 psi and not 4-6.

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My gauge always lights up the full space when I start the car and usually stays right there while I am driving . I have noticed at times the gauge will drop back to one half lit maybe at a stop light but will jump back to full when getting under moyion . Does anyone think I may have a problem and any thoughts on how to check it out

Extremely common issue on GMs of this era, just change out the sensor.

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Guest SwiftBuicks
On 88's and 89's you will also get an [electrical problem detected] show up on the side of the ins. cluster. It only show for a second or two when the oil pressure is at max....ken
O.K. now that explains it!!!! Thanks. I didn't drive the car long enough to link the two but was wondering why that msg. showed.
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Guest Drake

Replaced my oil pressure switch about two years ago(GM part). Gauge reads between 45 & 50 psi. It was off the scale (high) previously.

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Guest Richard D
Replaced my oil pressure switch about two years ago(GM part). Gauge reads between 45 & 50 psi. It was off the scale (high) previously.

How hard a job is it to change it? Can it be done from the top or do you have to get it from under the car?

Thank's

Richard

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Guest Drake

Hey Richard,

Not a bad job to change out. Do it from the top. The switch is to the left of the water pump and directly below the power steering pump. There is an electrical connector on top.

First use an 18mm wrench on the idler pulley to release tension on the serpentine belt to get it out of your way. Now you have a clear shot at the switch. I used a good set of vice grip pliers on the base of the switch, and it came right out. Screw in the new one finger tight, and snug down with the pliers (carefully). The top section of the switch is a plastic type material. Connect the electrical connector, re install the belt and you're ready to go.

The reason I used vice grip pliers (not my first choice), the base of the switch takes an open end wrench just over one inch in size. Area definately to small to use the wrench.

Edited by Drake (see edit history)
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Have done both ways - from the top with a special socket (be careful not to lean sideways, it it easy to snap the black plastic body off), or through the wheel well with a small pair of channel locks. Does not need to be real tight, is a pipe plug thread (tapered), about like a spark plug (12-15 lb-ft) is good.

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Guest Richard D

Thanks To both of you. I just went to Advance auto and Pep Boys, they both wanted $28.00 and they both have to be ordered.

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Guest SwiftBuicks

Now that I have been driving and watching the Electrical Problem light as it corresponds to the Oil Pressure bar graph on the CRT, I am thinking about replacing the sensor. I was wondering if you all thought that the failures were either used or aftermarket parts and a genuine GM part from a Buick dealer would not fail.

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Guest SwiftBuicks

Well, I've been getting pretty crappy service from NAPA and AutoZone lately so let me rant a little. I had to replace the Oil Level Sensor recently and decided to go to NAPA. I was pretty happy with the way they handled it at first. The guy at the counter was pleasant and gave me a AAA discount. He said that the part would be taken out of their warehouse and in the store the next morning when they opened. I showed up an hour after they arrived, and it wasn't there. The counter guy was not at fault and very good about the situation, although he didn't notice that it wasn't there. The NAPA warehouse just took my money and didn't pick and send the product. So I went into AutoZone the next time around (this past week) to find a regulator for my Toyota power window. I walk in, they were shuffling around behind the counter playing with themselves and made me wait. A guy I hadn't seen before comes out of the floor area and up to the counter. He stands in front of me playing pocket pool, says nothing and answers the phone. After helping this caller for a while, he turns to me and asks if I need help. I could have said >>No, I'm just standing here because I am enthralled with his looks<<, but I decided to ignore what had ensued and cut to the chase. He finds the part and orders it from the vendor. Now, last week I also had a part shipped from another store to this one. The manager helped me and didn't ask for any up-front money. However, they called me as soon as it was in. This time, since it's a part from a vendor, the counter guy requests the money up-front and tells me it would be in after 3 on the 13th. Well, the 13th passes and no call. Yesterday comes along and no call. I wait until 3 to give them twenty four hours. Then I make the call. The part had arrived the day before. This time I'm going to a regional part's chain, Orleans Auto Parts if I don't go to the Buick dealership. They have always given me the best service hereabouts.

Edited by SwiftBuicks
Composition and spelling (see edit history)
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This time I'm going to a regional part's chain, Orleans Auto Parts if I don't go to the Buick dealership. They have always given me the best service.
I don't want to sound argumentative but why didn't you go to Orleans Auto Parts to begin with if you have always gotten the best service there?
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Guest SwiftBuicks

Good Question. Force of Habit, I guess. Price, perhaps, I can't remember ever buying anything from Orleans, but I'm sure I have. They have basically just given me loads of useful information. One more on Auto Zone, they finally called me on Saturday leaving a message that the part was in. Yes, it was in my garage waiting to be installed after I picked it up on Friday. I used to use Consumer Auto Parts almost exclusively when I lived in the Worcester to Boston corridor. They were a great regional store chain, good service and the lowest prices. When I traveled the country extensively I used Auto Zone. Now that I'm semi-retired and living on Cape Cod, things are different.

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  • 2 weeks later...
Guest SwiftBuicks

Well, I stopped into the nearest Buick dealer on MacArthur Blvd. this side of the Bourne bridge on Cape Cod. It certainly struck me as a serious contrast to visiting the Falmouth Auto Zone. I won't state that they were ecstatic to see a new face, but the guys were polite and attentive in the service area. They wanted $110 for the sensor!!!! No wonder GM went BK. Stick a fork in it, it's done.

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Are you sure you were at a Buick dealership, and not a Benz dealership. I picked up a spare Switch-Oil Level at Buick GM #12603784 last week. List was $46.88, they sold to me for Net $29.39. The Sensor Assembly- Oil Pressure Switch listed for $118.22, Net was $65.02.

No wonder the guys at the parts counter were polite.:eek:

Edited by Drake (see edit history)
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Guest SwiftBuicks

Yes, it was a Buick dealer. They weren't all smiles when they heard what I said about the offer. I decided to go to AZ again Thursday. Since their usual customers were out watching the Kennedy funeral procession, I had the regular staff to myself and the service was good. Well, sorta good. The manager knew it was called a switch and the gal found one in the software. Those that were listed as lying in their HUB warehouse wound up being the wrong part in the right box. :rolleyes: They had one in the Middleboro store some 30 miles away for $24. Funny, though, they have no way to do a store transfer. Nevertheless, since yesterday was such a good day for a drive, and I was already going that way, I decided picking it up myself would work out. It did. Traffic was tolerable and the car running great. However, I discovered that once on the hiway with the engine warmed up, the old switch was functioning and the idiot light never came on. Such is life.

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  • 3 weeks later...
Guest SwiftBuicks

Finally, I changed the O.P. switch out. It wasn't hard. Now everything works fine. The insidious >>Electrical Problem<< idiot light stays off. Error code is history. Pressure reads steadily 50 to 52 PSI. Thanks all for the help.

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