5w20 to 0w20, low oil pressure

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Hi folks. I just thought I'd share this for anyone curious or for any thoughts. I have an '02 Taurus with the 3.0 OHV Vulcan. Currently 104k miles. I've ran Valvoline Maxlife 5w20 (the blend version) for almost the entire 7000 miles I've had the car. At cold starts on cool or cold mornings I noticed some ticking for the first minute of idle. I did some Techron, Seafoam and finished the OCI with Rislone with no change in the noise. So I decided to try a thick 0w20 in which case Magnatec seemed like a thicker of that grade. It specs an 8.511 100C viscosity versus the Valvoline Max's 8.9. The cold start noise is gone but after two days of driving with the 0w20, my low oil pressure light flickers occasionally at idle in hot stopped traffic. I wonder if these instances point towards not-so-great internal tolerances, or is the 0w just too thin? I guess I'll look for a 0w or 5w20 with a 100C visc of 8.9 or better. Or maybe I should use a 5w30 like this engine was spec'd for in earlier years? I sure did like the Magnatec. The engine is SO quiet and mileage is already showing a good jump.
 
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I'd check the oil pressure using a gauge because you could have a bad sending unit triggering the low oil light at hot idle. I doubt it's the oil choice, more likely coincidence or the one oil is just enough of a minor difference to trigger the light because the sensor isn't reading properly to begin with.
 
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You are in GA? Run a 10w30 in it and call it a day. There are simply times when thin doesn't win. This looks like one of those cases.
 
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Originally Posted by beanoil
You are in GA? Run a 10w30 in it and call it a day. There are simply times when thin doesn't win. This looks like one of those cases.
My sister is running 5w20 in her Elantra in Dubai. Want to try that one again?
 

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Originally Posted by StevieC
I'd check the oil pressure using a gauge because you could have a bad sending unit triggering the low oil light at hot idle. I doubt it's the oil choice, more likely coincidence or the one oil is just enough of a minor difference to trigger the light because the sensor isn't reading properly to begin with.
Yes, I'd suspect the sender personally.
 
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I would skip the additives. They are just a waste of money. Going to a 5w30 might be a good route here provided there isn't any mechanical issue going on. It would be worth checking it out.
 
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Is it a 2003 Elantra? I'm thinking this is an apples to oranges comparison. An old school OHV 3L Vulcan vs (even if a 2003 Elantra) a more modern OHC 4 banger. I'm with the run XW-30 in it (pick your favorite value for X) suggestion and call it a day.
Originally Posted by StevieC
Originally Posted by beanoil
You are in GA? Run a 10w30 in it and call it a day. There are simply times when thin doesn't win. This looks like one of those cases.
My sister is running 5w20 in her Elantra in Dubai. Want to try that one again?
 
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I'd run a 5W30 in it, which was originally spec'd for that engine. I would also confirm oil pressure with a mechanical oil pressure gauge to be certain there are no engine problems.
 
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Originally Posted by javacontour
Is it a 2003 Elantra? I'm thinking this is an apples to oranges comparison. An old school OHV 3L Vulcan vs (even if a 2003 Elantra) a more modern OHC 4 banger. I'm with the run XW-30 in it (pick your favorite value for X) suggestion and call it a day.
Originally Posted by StevieC
Originally Posted by beanoil
You are in GA? Run a 10w30 in it and call it a day. There are simply times when thin doesn't win. This looks like one of those cases.
My sister is running 5w20 in her Elantra in Dubai. Want to try that one again?
No it's a 2014. She has had a couple.
 
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https://www.rockauto.com/en/catalog/ford,2002,taurus,3.0l+v6+ohv,1385771,electrical-switch+&+relay,oil+pressure+sender+/+switch,4588 The sending unit / sensor / switch appears to be a $ 10 - $ 15 part . If it is reasonably accessible , I would replace it . I would also switch to 5W-30 in Georgia .
 
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Originally Posted by StevieC
Originally Posted by beanoil
You are in GA? Run a 10w30 in it and call it a day. There are simply times when thin doesn't win. This looks like one of those cases.
My sister is running 5w20 in her Elantra in Dubai. Want to try that one again?
Does your sister's Elantra in Dubai have a flickering oil pressure light ... ? Didn't think so. The OP's car is telling him SOMETHING ... and the first and easiest thing to change is to try a thicker oil. 20 grade is not for every engine ...
 
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Originally Posted by geeman789
Originally Posted by StevieC
Originally Posted by beanoil
You are in GA? Run a 10w30 in it and call it a day. There are simply times when thin doesn't win. This looks like one of those cases.
My sister is running 5w20 in her Elantra in Dubai. Want to try that one again?
Does your sister's Elantra in Dubai have a flickering oil pressure light ... ? Didn't think so. The OP's car is telling him SOMETHING ... and the first and easiest thing to change is to try a thicker oil. 20 grade is not for every engine ...
Yes because sending units don't fail all the time versus it being an oil pressure problem which is rare for most engines. smirk2
 
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Originally Posted by StevieC
Yes because sending units don't fail all the time versus it being an oil pressure problem which is rare for most engines. smirk2
The engine in question is 17 years old with over a 100 k miles ... MAYBE it is actually an oil pressure problem. And the EASIEST thing to try first is thicker oil.
 

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Originally Posted by geeman789
Originally Posted by StevieC
Yes because sending units don't fail all the time versus it being an oil pressure problem which is rare for most engines. smirk2
The engine in question is 17 years old with over a 100 k miles ... MAYBE it is actually an oil pressure problem. And the EASIEST thing to try first is thicker oil.
No, the easiest, and CORRECT thing to do, is verify the bloody oil pressure. If it has low oil pressure, it has a mechanical issue that changing the grade isn't going to resolve. If the oil pressure in fact proves to be just fine, then changing the sender, as the reading has now validated its disfunction, is the next course of action.
 
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Originally Posted by geeman789
Originally Posted by StevieC
Yes because sending units don't fail all the time versus it being an oil pressure problem which is rare for most engines. smirk2
The engine in question is 17 years old with over a 100 k miles ... MAYBE it is actually an oil pressure problem. And the EASIEST thing to try first is thicker oil.
I'd put money on it.
Originally Posted by OVERKILL
No, the easiest, and CORRECT thing to do, is verify the bloody oil pressure. If it has low oil pressure, it has a mechanical issue that changing the grade isn't going to resolve. If the oil pressure in fact proves to be just fine, then changing the sender, as the reading has now validated its disfunction, is the next course of action.
Exactly... Verify the problem and apply the correct repair. Not mask the problem with thicker oil or fire a parts canon at it.
 
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Hold it....before you go tearing things apart oil sending units, problem solving use common sense and prudence, starting with the easiest most cost effective methods then get deeper and more spendy. The easiest, cheapest test would be to put the previous oil weight and filter type back in and see if the problem is rectified, then escalate with oil pressure items...
 
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Originally Posted by Smokescreen
Hold it....before you go tearing things apart oil sending units, problem solving use common sense and prudence, starting with the easiest most cost effective methods then get deeper and more spendy. The easiest, cheapest test would be to put the previous oil weight and filter type back in and see if the problem is rectified, then escalate with oil pressure items...
That doesn't in any way determine whether the engine has an oil pressure problem or not. We are talking about 2x xW-20's, if one of them causes the oil pressure light to flicker, either the engine has a serious oil pressure problem or the sender is bad.
 

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Originally Posted by StevieC
Originally Posted by geeman789
Originally Posted by StevieC
Yes because sending units don't fail all the time versus it being an oil pressure problem which is rare for most engines. smirk2
The engine in question is 17 years old with over a 100 k miles ... MAYBE it is actually an oil pressure problem. And the EASIEST thing to try first is thicker oil.
I'd put money on it.
Originally Posted by OVERKILL
No, the easiest, and CORRECT thing to do, is verify the bloody oil pressure. If it has low oil pressure, it has a mechanical issue that changing the grade isn't going to resolve. If the oil pressure in fact proves to be just fine, then changing the sender, as the reading has now validated its disfunction, is the next course of action.
Exactly... Verify the problem and apply the correct repair. Not mask the problem with thicker oil or fire a parts canon at it.
Exactly. He could toss some Lucas "engine in a can" in it, but that's not fixing anything either. This is like putting a piece of electrical tape over the CEL and believing you fixed something.
 
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Originally Posted by StevieC
Originally Posted by geeman789
Originally Posted by StevieC
Yes because sending units don't fail all the time versus it being an oil pressure problem which is rare for most engines. smirk2
The engine in question is 17 years old with over a 100 k miles ... MAYBE it is actually an oil pressure problem. And the EASIEST thing to try first is thicker oil.
I'd put money on it.
Originally Posted by OVERKILL
No, the easiest, and CORRECT thing to do, is verify the bloody oil pressure. If it has low oil pressure, it has a mechanical issue that changing the grade isn't going to resolve. If the oil pressure in fact proves to be just fine, then changing the sender, as the reading has now validated its disfunction, is the next course of action.
Exactly... Verify the problem and apply the correct repair. Not mask the problem with thicker oil or fire a parts canon at it.
This or you get this.

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