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Old 08-06-2009, 09:42 PM   #1
PCMarine
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Default What would cause the oil pressure light to flicker on an 02 Taurus

Hey all,

I have a 2002 Taurus with the 3.0 DOHC motor, 118k miles, 5w-20 oil. Recently the oil pressure light has been lightly flickering when the engine is at idle speeds (stopped at a light, pulling into a parking space, etc.). However, this only occurs after a long highway drive. I've been continually monitoring the oil level and it's been perfect.

Just driving around town the light never comes on, regardless of engine RPM... it's the long highway drives that do it. So is my oil pressure sending unit on its way out? I've been continuing to drive it since the oil level is fine and the engine sounds/feels perfectly normal when the light is flickering. Maybe the thin oil (5w-20) and high temperatures are thinning the oil out too much (a stretch?)

Any ideas?
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Old 08-06-2009, 10:03 PM   #2
SparkyJJO
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Default What would cause the oil pressure light to flicker on an 02 Taurus

I guess they changed it on the DOHC, the standard 3.0L in my old taurus required 5W-30.

The light flickering means it is at borderline oil pressure. Could be due to a worn oil pump, too thin of oil, bad sending unit...
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Old 08-06-2009, 10:20 PM   #3
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Default What would cause the oil pressure light to flicker on an 02 Taurus

Well, it may actually be low oil pressure which you don't want at all...

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Old 08-06-2009, 10:23 PM   #4
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Default What would cause the oil pressure light to flicker on an 02 Taurus

Quote:
I guess they changed it on the DOHC, the standard 3.0L in my old taurus required 5W-30.
IIRC it was actually changed to 5W-20 for your Vulcan (and many other Ford engines) via a Ford TSB

He could try switching to 5W-30 or heavier oil to see if the flickering goes away.

It could be the seals or the pump or the sensor, I suppose. Or even the idle speed too.
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Old 08-06-2009, 10:28 PM   #5
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Default What would cause the oil pressure light to flicker on an 02 Taurus

probably a legimate low oil pressure problem if it only happens at hot idle. just about any engine should be available to muster up enough pressure to turn the light off once you put your foot on the gas.

i'd want to put a mechanical gauge on it, if you can get access to one (you'll screw it into the sensor hole). or you can just try a new sensor, but if it doesn't fix it the vague possibility of a wiring problem still existing. i like to use a gauge and be sure of the problem, especially with something as serious as oil pressure.

if the pressure is low, i would bet that the pickup tube is plugged up or maybe sucking air (oil pan ever been damaged?). it's unlikely that a properly maintained engine would have enough bearing wear to cause oil pressure issues at barely over 100k. could be an oil pump problem, also, though.

all in all, if the pressure's low, the oil pan needs to come off. i'd try changing the oil filter before i'd resort to that, though. you could also just try some thicker oil, but that's a bandaid.
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Old 08-06-2009, 10:59 PM   #6
thedarkwolf
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Default What would cause the oil pressure light to flicker on an 02 Taurus

My van did the same thing and it was just the $10 oil pressure sender.
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Old 08-06-2009, 11:20 PM   #7
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Default What would cause the oil pressure light to flicker on an 02 Taurus

sludge, that is slowly building up in your oil pan, and causing issues due to movement during hot driving and then settling back down on the inlet due to the pressure, causing the filter to clog slowly.
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Old 08-07-2009, 12:33 AM   #8
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Default What would cause the oil pressure light to flicker on an 02 Taurus

could be the sender or your oil pump going/clogged.
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Old 08-07-2009, 02:30 PM   #9
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Default What would cause the oil pressure light to flicker on an 02 Taurus

Well, your engine is likely going to be the hottest from the long highway drives, and your oil pressure will be lowest when idling. The higher the oil temperature, the lower the cSt (viscosity), which will affect pressure. Idling after a long highway drive logically will see your lowest oil pressure.

The suggestions above are all good....

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