Question about 1984 Chevrolet Camaro

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Low oil pressure

My oil light and oil pressure gauge on my 84 Camero is reading about 5 pounds. I just had my oil changed thinking that it could be dirty oil. Still has the problem. Could it be the sending unit and if so where is it located?

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  • laarnot Jul 20, 2008

    I used a pressure gauge and it shows it has plenty of oil pressure. I put in a new oil gauge and it shows it has proper pressure. The old gauge still shows it has some pressure. They both fluctuate but the old one always did to some degree when there was more rpms. Could it be a electrical proplem?


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I believe your sending unit is located on the top of the block, towards the fire wall. You can get an inexpensive pressure test gauge and put in place of your sending unit. It should be a 1/4" NPT fitting. Does the pressure gauge fluctuate between low and high RPM? If so, chances are that your oil pump may need to be replaced.

Posted on Jul 19, 2008

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Many things can attribute to the oil pressure being reduced. The sending unit can not functioin properly due to build up of varnish & sludge on the inside of the switch. Worn bearings, allowing too much oil to pass without any restriction, or less restriction, can cause lower oil pressure.

Most vehicles will have a low pressure at or near idle when warm and 35 pounds shouldn't be a major concern.

35 pounds when accelerating & at higher RPM's, is too low and I would suggest that if you can, you go ahead yourself and just replace the Oil Pressure Sending Unit. I say this, as it's less expensive to replace it than to get a mechanic to test it & if you cure your problem, you're done. If not, you're out the expense of that switch and a few minutes of labor, you'll have to judge the value for yourself.

You didn't mention your mileage, or any history regarding oil changes, there is a valve that allows the oil to by-pass the filter, those can get stuck partially open & cause lower pressure (seldom happens thought), if the engine oil is old and hasn't been replaced on schedule, a few oil changes with just regular oil for about 2,000 miles instead of 3,000 will help to clean it up.

There is also an Oil Pressure Switch but that is for the trouble light, not the gauge. If you don't have an engine light flickering or coming on, evidently this switch is reading sufficient pressure not to alert you. Remember, many cars only use this switch & never see the pressure.

I'm also considering that it's winter & you have 5W-30W oil, it is extremely thin, you could move up to a 10W-30 as soon as it gets a little warmer out. If this is due to high mileage & just normal wear.

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Low oil pressure is generally caused by internal engine bearing wear, not a "bad" oil pump... Pumps become "bad" when debris from a failed component gets into it, causing damage. (exception being pressure regulator spring/plunger assembly becoming clogged with gunk in engines that do not get proper maintenance; likely not your case)
Were there any tapping noises coming from engine when pressure was low? If not, The most common problem is the pressure sending unit, sending bad info to the warning light. If passage going to it or internal passage is gunked up, this problem usually disappears when oil is changed. sometimes the sender just goes bad, in which case, change it.
To get a proper diagnosis on your problem, have someone put a mechanical oil pressure gauge on it. This will read the actual oil pressure and will tell you a lot about the condition of your engine!
I have never seen a valve job that corrected any oil pressure problem. I mistrust anyone who would even think that!!!
Mlinimum low pressure at idle is 15 psi Max is about 60psi running (higher can explode an oil filter) A reading of 15psi indicates the beginning of a problem. although considered "safe" it is not good.

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