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#1627658 - 06/12/2018 18:25 oil pressure + oil level = panic?
G_Man Offline
Club member 1656
Enjoying the ride

Registered: 16/03/2006
Posts: 784
Loc: Warrington
Hopefully not a numpty post but I have creeping concerns.

Oil pressure at start up is at 3 but say on a cruising motorway drive eg 80mph in 5th it will by c 2.8. Hot idle is 1.25 which is lowish to me. Also there's a short decline off the main road to our drive and as I drive down this can drop to 0.5 before settling back to 1.25. So must be an oil level issue? From cold the level is obvious and is slightly over max. However doing the oil check by the book it's much more difficult to determine as the oils more viscous and "lighter" and I don't want to overfill. The coupe appears to be running ok - starts first thing, ticks over fine with no unusual noises and can't see any smoke etc in my rear view mirror. It's been through the capable hands of AllItalia and Motormech since May and no issues have been highlighted and a compression test returned solid results. Any observations peeps?


Edited by G_Man (06/12/2018 18:28)

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#1627668 - 06/12/2018 22:55 Re: oil pressure + oil level = panic? [Re: G_Man]
Edinburgh Online   content
Club Board member
I AM a Coop

Registered: 04/03/2007
Posts: 10285
Loc: Auld Reekie
One way to reassure yourself is to carry out a mechanical oil pressure test. You can get this equipment at places such as Machine Mart for around 40 quid if you want to do it yourself, otherwise get your friendly spanner-man to do it.
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#1627672 - 07/12/2018 00:11 Re: oil pressure + oil level = panic? [Re: G_Man]
DaveG Online   content
Club member 311
Forum is my life

Registered: 16/12/2005
Posts: 7053
Loc: Lightwater, Surrey, UK
I tried doing this myself on my Porto 20vt, I didn't find it was that straightforward, never having done it before. The procedure is to unscrew the low oil pressure warning sender and screw in the gauge. Start the engine and let it warm up until the fans come on, and see what the dash gauge shows at hot idle conditions. Then switch off the engine and press the "release" button on the external gauge to drop the pressure reading to zero (some oil will likely leak out at this point) and restart the engine and leave it at idle, noting the readings on both gauges. Then increase the revs in steps, say to 1000, 1500, 2000, 2500, etc. ...easier said than done if you are holding the external gauge and a notepad and pen whilst looking at both gauges and trying to keep your foot steady on the pedal...

On the 20v/20vt engine the spec is pressure when hot (oil T 100°C) at idle should be > 1 bar and > 4 bar at 4000 rpm (but dash gauge stops at 3 of course). On the 16v/16vt engines the spec is 0.8/1.1 bar at hot idle and 5/5.5 bar at 4000rpm.

How long has the oil been in there, when was it last changed (what date, and how many miles ago)? What's the engine mileage?

Low oil pressure can be caused by worn bearings (eg: big end), worn oil pump lobes, problems with the pressure relief system, and dilution with petrol from leaking bores/rings/injectors - try a "sniff test" on the oil, does it smell like oil or does it has a faint whiff of petrol?
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1996 Portofino 20vt & 2000 Pearl White Plus
1985½ & 2016 2017 Fiat 124 Spider + XF Sportbrake

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#1627673 - 07/12/2018 07:36 Re: oil pressure + oil level = panic? [Re: G_Man]
barnacle Offline
Club Member 18 - Minister without Portfolio
Forum Demigod

Registered: 17/12/2005
Posts: 31954
Loc: Hemel in the Hempstead
On a 16v, I believe the largest oil pressure loss on a high-mileage engine is from the bearings on the balance shafts.

One and a quarter bar is probably to be expected for a hot high-mileage engine.
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#1627674 - 07/12/2018 08:56 Re: oil pressure + oil level = panic? [Re: barnacle]
G_Man Offline
Club member 1656
Enjoying the ride

Registered: 16/03/2006
Posts: 784
Loc: Warrington
Thanks peeps for the above. The coupe has had 2 x oil changes since May and has got 107k on the clock which isn't that high on a 24 y o car. Although it is in regular use the journeys tend to be short ie 14 mile round trip to work. If I had some of the mechanical problems above then surely the running of the car would be getting compromised?

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#1627675 - 07/12/2018 09:59 Re: oil pressure + oil level = panic? [Re: G_Man]
BBR Offline
Membership secretary
My life on the forum

Registered: 15/05/2011
Posts: 1866
Loc: Herts & Norfolk
Originally Posted By G_Man
Oil pressure at start up is at 3 but say on a cruising motorway drive eg 80mph in 5th it will by c 2.8. Hot idle is 1.2


Sounds about the same as my 16v which I drive every day - if that is any help - I have an oil leak towards the front of the engine down low so I top up regularly. Once it is back on the ramps in 2019 I can finally sort that out :fingers_crossed:
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16v NA Blitz Blue

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#1627788 - 11/12/2018 18:33 Re: oil pressure + oil level = panic? [Re: BBR]
G_Man Offline
Club member 1656
Enjoying the ride

Registered: 16/03/2006
Posts: 784
Loc: Warrington
Thanks Rich. I did have an oil weep from the gasket but that was fixed by MM a couple of months ago so there's no obvious leak in the engine bay or oil on the gravel etc. I've monitored the oil pressure relative to the temp and it sits at 1.25 bar at 70 then drops to 0.5 when reaches 80 and beyond. I doubt it's the bearing as that would be fairly obvious but could be worn lobes or a pressure relief system problem as Dave pointed out confused Anyway got it booked back in at MM next month for them to have a check over.

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