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Old 12-27-2004, 04:12 AM   #1
Dr Tweak
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Default Oil pressure light on along with loud knocking from the engine.

Hey all!

I'm new here obviously. I run a small tuning shop in northern Vermont. My wife's best friend crashed at our place last night (happens quite often, she has her own room in our house! haha), and this morning I went out to start up our vehicles. She drives a '95 Saturn station wagon (I guess the SW, but it's all the same engine anyway, right?)

Well, I start mine and then go over and start her's and immedietely hear a loud knocking from the engine (clack-clack-clack-clack-clack), check the guages, and woah! Oil light is on! I give it another second thinking maybe it just needs to build pressure, no good, so I shut it down.

I grab a rag and check the oil level, it's right at the full mark. No metal flakes on the dipstick.

She says that she hasn't noticed the oil light on or the heavy knocking.

Obviously I'm hearing a rod bearing knock from the lack of oil pressure. The oil level is good. So a bad sender is ruled out along with low oil level.

Some time ago she was complaining of a ticking from the engine, I figured that it was either low oil pressure causing the lifters to not fill completely or the timing chain. I planned on checking the oil pressure with a real guage, so that needs to be done right off.

Tomorrow I will check the oil pressure, and then I will drain the oil and strain it checking for metal flakes. I'm thinking that it's either worn rod bearings causing a low oil pressure condition, a stuck oil pump relief valve, or a worn pump. Hopefully it wasn't driven too far like this.

Any other thoughts? Do you guys have any experience changing the rod bearings with the engine still in the car? (The online manual doesn't mention it.)
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Old 12-27-2004, 10:30 AM   #2
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Default Re: Oil pressure light on along with loud knocking from the engine.

My 97 SC2 did a thing last winter kind of like that. The oil light would come on when I started the car cold, and it would sound really bad...not quite knocking, but definately not smooth idle either. Then it would go off after a few seconds. I'm not sure exactly what fixed or exactly what was wrong, I did a couple extra oil changes really close together, switched to AC Delco filters, 5W 30 oil, and added some smoke away oil additive stuff, and it hasn't done it for a year...(knock wood!)

This sounds like it might be something else, worse, though.

Cynthia
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Old 12-27-2004, 11:58 AM   #3
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Default Re: Oil pressure light on along with loud knocking from the engine.

Hmmmm, 95? Over 100K? Are you sure that is rod bearing knock your hearing and not worn out timing chain guides?
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Old 12-27-2004, 01:30 PM   #4
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Default Re: Oil pressure light on along with loud knocking from the engine.

still if it was worn timing chain guides where is the oil pressure???

Quote:
Originally Posted by cris_thomas
Hmmmm, 95? Over 100K? Are you sure that is rod bearing knock your hearing and not worn out timing chain guides?
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Old 12-27-2004, 08:44 PM   #5
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Default Re: Oil pressure light on along with loud knocking from the engine.

What type of oil is she using? And how's the weather?
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Old 12-27-2004, 11:21 PM   #6
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Default Re: Oil pressure light on along with loud knocking from the engine.

Quote:
Obviously I'm hearing a rod bearing knock from the lack of oil pressure.
Not necessarily - I'm having trouble understanding what you're hearing. A knock would be consistent with stuff in the bottom of the engine (crank/rod bearings), a clack is more consistent the the top of the engine (valve train). You describe it as a knock and a clack, so I'm not sure what you're dealing with.

I'm not a tech, but I think your plan is a good one. Get a gauge on it and measure what oil pressure you really have. Inspecting the oil is also a good idea. Where you go from there depends on what you find.

As for replacing bearings in the car, search the site. I think there are some tips and techniques for doing it.
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Old 12-27-2004, 11:28 PM   #7
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Default Re: Oil pressure light on along with loud knocking from the engine.

Could be the oil pump has gone south and the timing chain is on its' way. Whatever the cost, it doesn't sound like an easy fix.


Drain the oil and throw a magnet in pan. Let it sit overnight and see what you wake up to.
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Old 12-30-2004, 01:37 AM   #8
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Default Re: Oil pressure light on along with loud knocking from the engine.

doing rod bearings with the engine still in the car is not fun, especially if you have to do it in the cold. But it is possible, as I have done it and I didn't know what I was doing at first.

I'd check that the crank journals aren't too out of round also, as when you go to put in new bearings, the clearances might not be right without taking the crank out and regrinding it. To make it easier, take off the downpipe to give more room when working under there.
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Old 12-30-2004, 01:41 AM   #9
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Default Re: Oil pressure light on along with loud knocking from the engine.

Well I checked it out, and it's okay.


As soon as I started it up, I noticed right away that it sounded a lot better. I ran the oil pressure test and it was good. Drained the oil (which was more than due, buy the looks of it), and there were no metal shavings.

So, I gave it some Castrol GTX Startup and a new filter and it's running fine. I guess maybe the filter had let all the oil drain out and it just took a long time to fill it all and build pressure. Better safe than sorry I guess!

Thanks for the help and feedback guys, I probably won't be back around, but if you ever need some work done in Vermont just drop me an email: drtweak@phoenixtuning.com
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Old 12-30-2004, 02:57 AM   #10
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Default Re: Oil pressure light on along with loud knocking from the engine.

It was probably a sticking anti-drainback valve in the filter. Saturns are oil change sensitive, you really shouldn't go over the mileage. Just a question though, why are you using a Break-in oil in an old not recently rebuilt engine?
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Old 12-30-2004, 03:06 AM   #11
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Default Re: Oil pressure light on along with loud knocking from the engine.

Yeah that's what I was thinking. Either way it has a nice one in it now.

GTX Startup isn't a breakin oil, it's oil for extra protection when then engine is started.
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Old 12-30-2004, 04:19 AM   #12
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Default Re: Oil pressure light on along with loud knocking from the engine.

Must be a US only product, Castrol Canada doesn't list it.
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Old 12-30-2004, 04:20 AM   #13
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Default Re: Oil pressure light on along with loud knocking from the engine.

It's brand new, just came out like last week or something, so maybe it's on the way.

BTW I like your sig
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