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Old 03-14-2004, 01:54 AM   #1 (permalink)
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oil pressure gauge failure?

Is there any tell tale sign of gauge failure? I know I can just quickly plumb up another gauge to check for sure, but I'm not sure if I'll be able to get one on a Sunday.

I have a HV oil pump in my 342 stroker which is recently completed and all the vitals have been fine. The gauge is an autometer mechanical 0-100 psi unit. It had about 60 psi cold idle, 40 or 45 hot idle, and 50 to 60 cruising. Then earlier today I had it up to about 7500 rpm for the first time and the next time I checked my pressure gauge it was flat at 0. I didn't hear any strange noises and oil temperature remained exactly the same while I drove for about half a mile from the time I saw the gauge to a convenient place to pull over. The engine continued to run flawlessly. I tried tapping the gauge and fired the engine up again after I had shut it down, and there was nothing, not even a budge of the needle. I doubt that I lost my pump or drive because it has the beefy ARP drive and it is a high quality Melling pump. My guess is the pressure went way up at high rpm and it blew the gauge. Any suggestions?
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Old 03-14-2004, 02:10 AM   #2 (permalink)
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oil pressure gauge failure?

the first thing i would do is wipe off the dip stick and then put it back in. start the car up for 3-4 seconds then pull the dip stick again and see if there is oil splashed on it.if there is this means that there is probaly some oil pressure. next check your tubing for ur gauge and make sure its not kinked or plugged. if you dont see any wrong try a differnt gauge
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Old 03-14-2004, 02:26 AM   #3 (permalink)
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oil pressure gauge failure?

racecar...no dipstick, one of those stupid racing pans with the level check plug...racers are too good for dipsticks I guess...man, life's grand, ain't it?!

the hose isn't kinked, it's possible it's clogged though. I've never had a gauge fail? Are there any tell tale signs of failure? I'm suspecting it failed because the gauge doesn't even move the slightest bit... and becuase the oil temp was totally unaffected...and I guess partly because it would sure be a hell of a lot better if the gauge failed than if I had no pressure! Haha...
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Old 03-14-2004, 02:38 AM   #4 (permalink)
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oil pressure gauge failure?

try un hooking the gauge and carefully blow some compressed air in it, to see it the guage moves.
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Old 03-14-2004, 02:54 AM   #5 (permalink)
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oil pressure gauge failure?

I ruined 3 gauges with the same combo you got, 347
with an HV pump, before I replaced the HV pump with a
standard pump.
The 3rd gauge went to 120 Lbs, ruined that one also. I
had a 5 qt oil pan on mine and it suffered from oil
starvation in the upper rpm range also, ended up regrinding
the crank and replacing the bearings at about 100 miles.
I put a 7 qt Miloden pan on it with standard pump and haven't had any trouble with it since. Guys say that the
HV pump sucks the pan dry but I think what actually happens
is that the pump goes into cavitation because there's no
place for the extra oil to go. The bypass valve can only
handle so much. The HV pump puts out 25% more then stock
and your spinning the engine about 50% faster then it was
designed for. I don't think the bypass valve can handle
that much excess volume. Bruce
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Old 03-14-2004, 12:49 PM   #6 (permalink)
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oil pressure gauge failure?

what exactly did your broken gauges do? did they just stay at zero, or do something else?
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Old 03-16-2004, 01:08 AM   #7 (permalink)
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oil pressure gauge failure?

Did you drill a oiling hole for the dist gear in the oil galley plug in the front of your block (so oil squirts on the dist gear)? If you did you can pull the dist and with a 5/16 socket, extension and cordless drill run the oil pump and you should see oil squirt from the hole. you can also get a cheapie guage and disconnect the sense line from the block and plumb the other guage and do an idle check. I have never herd of a mechanical oil pressure guage failing, but any thing is possible.. what kind of oil pan is it that doesnt have a dipstick? on my pan there are two threaded bungs,I just plumbed a dipstick into one of them. one other thing have seen a lot is people using to much permatex and it clogging the screen to the oil pump. good luck Chris
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Old 03-16-2004, 10:01 AM   #8 (permalink)
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oil pressure gauge failure?

If it's a mechanical gage, couldn't you just disconnect the gage at the end of the hard line and crank it?
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Old 03-16-2004, 03:50 PM   #9 (permalink)
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oil pressure gauge failure?

Well the update is, it looks like the gauge was fine, unfortunately. I took out the line that goes from the block to the gauge and cranked it a little and no oil shot out. Then I tested the gauge by blowing compressed air in it and it read 20 psi. So, it looks like my oil pump took a dive, or something happened to the pickup, not sure which. I'm planning to pull the pan later today. I know its not a distributor gear problem because the engine still runs flawlessly (so obviously the gear is turning on the distributor). I don't think any damage has been done to the motor though, I was just cruising at 2000 rpm when i saw the oil pressure at 0 and it hasnt' run more than 30 or 40 seconds total since i lost pressure. Hey, at least I was smart enough to be checking my gauges frequently right?? could've been much worse...
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Old 03-16-2004, 03:58 PM   #10 (permalink)
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oil pressure gauge failure?

I wouldn't be supprised if it took the bearings, I've seen it to many times, I'd at least pull a few caps and check it over real good, also I'd cut the filter open and check for metal filings in there.
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Old 03-16-2004, 04:01 PM   #11 (permalink)
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oil pressure gauge failure?

I have an oil temp gauge and it did not move at all, do you think it still could've crapped the bearings? I hope it didn't, motor is virtually brand new...
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Old 03-16-2004, 04:40 PM   #12 (permalink)
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oil pressure gauge failure?

I've seen it before, I'd cut the filter open and check for metal in the filter, if there is, then you might just as well pull the whole motor, if there isn't then pull the pan and check the bearings at the least.
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Old 03-16-2004, 09:01 PM   #13 (permalink)
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oil pressure gauge failure?

Well, I pulled the pan and found the problem. I found 3 pieces of my oil pump, looks like some sort of pressure valve or something, sitting in the bottom of the pan. A large spring, a plunger, and a freeze plug looking metal cup. There is also an empty hole on the side of the pump from where this stuff came. It's just a press fit and I guess the pump was defective. Luckily the pieces didn't make it through the engine. I pulled one main and one rod bearing, they look like they are probably fine but I'm going to take them to my machinist/engine builder tomorrow to be sure.

The rod bearing is white down the middle, I'm not sure if this is normal for these types of bearings or not. I've never seen it before but it doesn't look like its worn, just a white stripe down the center. The main looks pretty much fine, a coupla fine scratches in it and a little discoloration but I don't think any problem. The journals on the crank look perfect.

The good news is melling will be taking care of any costs (new oil, filter, gasket, new pump, hopefully not new bearings...).
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Old 03-16-2004, 11:26 PM   #14 (permalink)
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oil pressure gauge failure?

There should have been a cotter pin in the end of the relief valve port, it holds the freeze plug, spring, and plunger in place.

Without the pin, vibration can work those parts right out of your pump.

Good luck,

Greg
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Old 03-17-2004, 12:35 AM   #15 (permalink)
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oil pressure gauge failure?

I just double checked, and there does not appear to be any such cotter pin. I don't see any provision for it in the pump and the pin is nowhere to be found either. To me, it looks like it was just a press fit with the freeze plug holding it all together....any ideas?
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