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 low oil pressure issue

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battmann
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PostSubject: low oil pressure issue   Tue Apr 22, 2014 12:06 am

i need input guys. i'm running 20W50 oil in my car and it has great oil pressure when i first start it - like 50+. as the engine warms up it goes down to like 12 at idle and maybe just over 20 cruising. when the engine has high pressure i can beat the hell out of it and it runs great. as soon as the pressure drops it starts detonating pretty bad. when i built the engine, the machine shop said the cylinders were on the edge of needing an overbore, but i didn't have the funds for machine work and all new pistons. i'm thinking maybe this is part of the issue.
what are my options for fixing this? i'm leaning towards buying an assembled Summit Racing shortblock and swapping the rest of my engine parts over to it. i don't really have the time or money to do that level project though. can i run a race oil with additive(s) or install a high volume oil pump? the car is still fun to drive, but would be much more enjoyable if i could put my foot into it a lot more often.

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PostSubject: Re: low oil pressure issue   Tue Apr 22, 2014 12:54 am

My pontiacs always did that, where the oil pressure would drop after warming up. I've been told it's usually due to excessive main bearing clearence but it didn't seem to cause any issues with my cars. I've never heard of it causing detonation before, are you sure the noise isn't something else?
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PostSubject: Re: low oil pressure issue   Tue Apr 22, 2014 7:44 am

Generally low oil pressure is an indicator of:

- Leak between pick up and the pump.

- A filter failure

- internal pump leak

- relief valve hung open

- excessive bearing clearance

From what your describing Clint she's tired and you have excessive bearing clearance. We have hundreds of blocks, heads, cranks at the shop. SB 4 bolt mains...you name it. Call me and I'll be happy to help you out with a short block assembled to your specs. Smile Save on freight too.. Wink
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PostSubject: Re: low oil pressure issue   Tue Apr 22, 2014 11:33 am

The detonating part concerns me as well, not usually having anything to do with a drop in oil pressure. Overheating can cause both issues, however.

Excess fuel in the oil from a defective fuel pump will drop oil pressure substantially as well.

---John

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PostSubject: Re: low oil pressure issue   Tue Apr 22, 2014 8:37 pm

Clint, like it was said before, the Cylinder bore will not cause a drop in oil pressure. The main or rod bearings will cause that. And the rule of thumb is 7 psi for every 1000 RPM. So your still in good shape pressure wise.

Now the Detonation issue, it sounds like it might be the timing. Make sure the distributor isn't loose. Mine comes loose now and then and I have all kinds of drive ability issues.

And also be sure to check your oil, it may be gas contaminated. When was the last time you changed it?

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PostSubject: Re: low oil pressure issue   Tue Apr 22, 2014 9:04 pm

I usually change the oil & filter each spring since I only put maybe 1K miles on it each summer. I need to do that soon but wanted to get some feedback before staying with the same oil weight I've been using. I think I have a rear main leak to address too. The car does run a little rich, but I thought that was desirable for a blower engine. I'd hate to lean it out. I've had trouble tuning the car since it has this old school EFI system on it. I bought a wideband A/F ratio gauge to see where I'm at but haven't been gotten around to installing it yet.
The engine was rebuilt 7 years ago and has almost 7K miles on it. It's basically a stock 1971 shortblock with a B&M 144 blower and B&M EFI setup. Car never runs hotter than 180. Once warm it pings & knocks under acceleration. I just figured low oil pressure meant bad lubrication and thus engine noise.
I don't mind working on my own stuff but I'm not a mechanic and don't know the best route for solving the problem. I could take the car to a performance shop but they'll charge for an evaluation & then whatever the fix costs. If that costs say $1K would I just be better off using that money to buy a new shortblock, cam, lifters & pushrods and swapping all my existing parts to it? Maybe that's overkill. I'm just trying to be smart with my money since it takes forever to save up for projects.
The other option is to just leave things alone and put this money into getting my LQ4 trans am build underway.
Thanks for the input everyone. It's much appreciated.

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PostSubject: Re: low oil pressure issue   Wed Apr 23, 2014 8:54 pm

What's the compression ratio and what are you running for gas?

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PostSubject: Re: low oil pressure issue   Wed Apr 23, 2014 10:11 pm

Compression should be between 8.5:1 & 9:1.
I always run 93 gas.

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PostSubject: Re: low oil pressure issue   Wed Apr 23, 2014 10:18 pm

Do you have a boost retard switch and Is this an issue that just started?

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PostSubject: Re: low oil pressure issue   Thu Apr 24, 2014 6:52 am

I do have an MSD boost retard switch. I think it's set on 3 degrees. I'd have to check.
The problem has been more noticeable over the past couple years.

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PostSubject: Re: low oil pressure issue   Thu Apr 24, 2014 8:39 pm

I would recheck the timing, I know the quality of fuel has gone downhill. You might have to retard the timing a little more or run better gas.

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