Question about 1989 Pontiac Firebird

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Oil pressure Hi I have a formula 350 and It seems that It doesnt want to get any oil pressure in idle, But even when the rpms climb it still has minimal pressure. So I checked the oil and it was over full and it smelled a little like gas, so I changed it and put some thicker oil in than I usually do. But it didnt seem to help at all, but it doesnt smell like gas. what do you think it could be?

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It sounds like the oil pump is getting weak and you need a tune up from the information you gave. But before you pull up the engine to get that oil pan off, check the oil pressure switch. The oil pressure switch will send a false signal to the ecm when it starts to go bad and it will in turn throw other sensors off. It can also cause too much gas to go through the fuel system and find its way back into the oil pan. Hope this helps.

Posted on Jun 09, 2008

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3.5L V6. Why does oil pressure light turn on intermittently?


1. As a basic measure I would make sure the correct grade and spec oil is going in the engine. You can no longer trust that a local mechanic or even a dealer service center will necessarily use the required product as stipulated by the manufacturer. It is always better to buy and supply your own so you know the correct product is being used.

2. I would not assume there is a problem with the oil pressure warning light even though there could be.
The first thing the mechanic should have done when you reported the oil pressure issue is to hook up an independent mechanical oil pressure gauge and check oil pressure when the engine is hot at different RPMs. Any oil pressure issue will usually show up at idle when the engine has been warmed up properly and the engine oil is hot (unless you have some kind of intermittent oil pressure relief valve that is sticking). Just replacing parts without actually knowing what the oil pressures are at different RPMs is being sloppy and negligent.
This is what you need to do now. Contact a business that can hook up their own pressure gauge to your engine and have them check the oil pressure readings at various RPMs when the engine is fully warm. If there is a low oil pressure issue it will show up on the oil pressure gauge. As you have a new oil pump there should be no issue now with oil volume or a sticking oil pressure relief valve which on your engine should be part of the oil pump assembly.

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How well your engine with over 90000 miles has been maintained depends on how often all the owners changed the engine oil and filter , whether they kept the engine oil level up to full (most owners rarely ever check oil levels between services) and whether they always used the correct product. Manufacturer oil change intervals shown in service schedules can be 10000, 12000 miles or more which is much too infrequent for the type of use 95% of private vehicles experience which typically are on the severe to very severe use end of the spectrum. Engine oil typically needs to be changed at least at half the mileage shown in service books (at least twice as frequently) and thus at least every 5000 miles if you want your engine to last.

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