I JUST BOUGHT A 1996 DODGE RAM. I WAS TOLD THAT THE OIL PUMP WAS BAD AND THAT I WOULD HAVE TO REPLACE IT. I AM WONDERING IF IT IS THE OIL PUMP OR SOMETHING ELSE. HOW CAN I TEST THE OIL PUMP TO FIND OUT IF THIS IS THE PROBLEM OR NOT.
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Has a tune up been done recently? If not may want to replace the plugs , wires,cap and ignition rotor. Also, find out if the previous owner had ever changed the fuel pump. The fuel filter is located on the the fuel pump assembly and can become clogged to create a lean fuel condition and make the engine sluggish.
I had the same problem and ended up changing the oil pump and it did not fix it. (Peace of mind anyway and it was cheap) I replaced the pressure sensor (that happens to be tucked in deep between the back of the engine and firewall) and the pressure gauge worked just fine after that.
There are several reasons. The oil viscosity can make a difference and if the oil is contaminated with fuel. Wear in the oil pump and all of your bearings starting with the main crankshaft bearings and the connecting rod bearings. The wrong or bad oil filter.
When cold oil flows it plugs leaking bearings and oil gears. When the oil warms, the wear in the bearings (gaps) can't hold back the thin oil and the pressure drops. If the bearings are replaced before the crank and cam are damaged, the pressure will be maintained.
Just to add, hope this helps with sensor location. The spec I saw was 30--80 psi oil pressure at 3000 rpms. In the old days they used to say for generic spec, 10 psi for every 1000 rpms. Always use the proper spec. You might be able to use analog pressure gage to screw in to replace sending unit to double check oil pressure. Just my opinion.