When I starts the vehicle, the oil pressure gauge moves to the right, sometimes past 80., but not for long.
After the vehicle heats up a bit, it seems to stabilize and hover between 40 and 60, but will get close to 80 when I accelerate.
When I first got the "Deerslayer", the gauge sat consistantly around 40.
I had an oil change barely 3000 miles ago so I'm due, but this problem just started about 400 miles ago.
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The computing system on your vehicle has no safe mode for running low on oil . The only thing that will happen is the check gauges light will come on.
The oil pressure gauge is an analog device that is located in the IPC. The oil pressure gauge is operated directly by the oil pressure sensor circuit. As the engine oil pressure changes, the resistance of the sensor and the current flow in the oil pressure gauge changes. The current flow in the oil pressure gauge causes the needle to move in order to appropriately display the engine oil pressure. A sensor resistance of 1ohms will display as 0 kPa (0 PSI) and a resistance of 88 ohms will display as 80 kPa (80 PSI ). The IPC also monitors the oil pressure sensor circuit and interprets the current flow in this circuit in order to determine when the engine oil pressure is too low. If the oil pressure is too low, the check gauges tell tale will turn on. The oil pressure sender is located on the left side of the 2.2L. The 4.3L engine, oil pressure sender is located at the top left side, near the distributor/high voltage switch.
Try disconnecting the battery cables an hold them together for ten minutes , reset ECM !
Since changing the oil sender made no change, dash gauge may be dead. Hook up cheap mechanical gauge to see what is really going on. Ticking when first started is probably a lifter and may not be a big problem. How many miles on engine?
Your problem may have nothing to do with the sensor but in fact, the pressure relief in the pump may be stuck. Install a mechanical gauge on there temporarily and check the actual pressure. If normal then the gauge wire may be grounded somewhere. If it reads the same as the one on the dash then the relief is stuck (sometimes it can be freed up by draining the oil filter, filling it with marvel oil and re-starting, sometimes takes time though...otherwise you'll need to take care of the pump)
That is probably a defective oil pressure gauge or a broken oil pressure sender, it reads 80 psi just because that is the maximum value allowed.
Pressure can be verified by reading it with a gauge tool.
If you really have pressure over 70 psi when engine is running then start replacing the oil filter, and check that the oil lines from pump are not obstructed, if there is nothing in there then replace oil pump.
If instead the gauge reads 80 with engine off, that is a defective pressure gauge.