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Thread: Oil Light Problem

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    Question Oil Light Problem

    Hi again!

    I just thought I would ask this, which so far has not proved to be a problem but I hope I'm not secretly hurting the van!

    Occasionally, mostly when idling (I think), the oil light in the van (1984 2WD) will come on. The oil pressure has been tested numerous times and the oil pressure is good. Also the sensor has been replaced twice!

    Due to this, it was taken to a professional mechanic. He simply said that it would come on when idling, but to not worry because the pressure is fine. I am a little worried still/skeptical.

    I just want to ask people who have a lot of experience, AKA the wonderful forum if any of you have ever experienced anything like this or know what it could be?

    Any insight is beyond appreciated and helpful.

    Add. info: Oil used - 10w30 "AutoZone" brand. Oil is full when dipstick is checked as well

    THANK YOU!

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    Re: Oil Light Problem

    Depending on the trim level of your van, you may have 2 oil lights. One is amber and illuminates when the oil level is low. The other is red and illuminates when pressure is low. If it's the amber one and you've verified the correct oil level, then it's a bad level sensor (driver's side middle of oil pan). This is a common problem on the van & most vans I own have had this problem. It can be fixed, but if you have a regular routine for checking & changing oil, assuming it's never low, then you may wish to simply ignore it.

    If it's the red light then it could be due to low or no oil pressure (that sending unit is on the passenger side under the oil filter). That sender provides a ground to the oil light and is "normally closed". When pressure reaches 4-5 psi, it "floats" the contacts inside that switch. When the contacts float, the ground contact is lost (circuit opens), & the light goes off. Your oil pump moves oil from the sump, past that sender, through the filter, then out to the bearings, lifters, etc. New engines build higher pressure because the bearings are tight & the oil has trouble escaping past them. As the bearings wear there is more room for oil to escape & pressure is reduced. Oil pumps have the lowest output at an idle & oil is the thinnest when hot. Taking all this into account, a worn engine at an idle while hot may not be able to maintain enough oil pressure to keep the oil sender from grounding out. As long as it only does it at a hot idle it's not anything to worry about. While at an idle the engine is not stressed and it does not need as much oil pressure. You can just ignore it or start using thicker motor oil (10w-40 or 15w-40 would be fine). I've heard of guys using 20w-50, but IMO that's too thick. I'd only go that thick if I were trying to prolong the demise of an engine with a mild knock.

    My 89 van was giving me intermittent low pressure warning at odd times. Often it was at higher RPMs or when the engine was cold. This concerned me so I installed an aftermarket oil pressure gauge. I was quickly able to determine that it was a problem with my warning light circuit. I tried changing the switch/sending unit, but that made no difference. Based on that I figured it had to be the wire in the harness (between the sender & the gauge) grounding out someplace. I performed a careful & thorough inspection of my harness (at least the parts I could see) but could not find the bad spot. I ended up running a new wire from the sender to the gauge and that solved my issue. Tim

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    Re: Oil Light Problem

    Quote Originally Posted by timsrv View Post
    Depending on the trim level of your van, you may have 2 oil lights. One is amber and illuminates when the oil level is low. The other is red and illuminates when pressure is low. If it's the amber one and you've verified the correct oil level, then it's a bad level sensor (driver's side middle of oil pan). This is a common problem on the van & most vans I own have had this problem. It can be fixed, but if you have a regular routine for checking & changing oil, assuming it's never low, then you may wish to simply ignore it.

    If it's the red light then it could be due to low or no oil pressure (that sending unit is on the passenger side under the oil filter). That sender provides a ground to the oil light and is "normally closed". When pressure reaches 4-5 psi, it "floats" the contacts inside that switch. When the contacts float, the ground contact is lost (circuit opens), & the light goes off. Your oil pump moves oil from the sump, past that sender, through the filter, then out to the bearings, lifters, etc. New engines build higher pressure because the bearings are tight & the oil has trouble escaping past them. As the bearings wear there is more room for oil to escape & pressure is reduced. Oil pumps have the lowest output at an idle & oil is the thinnest when hot. Taking all this into account, a worn engine at an idle while hot may not be able to maintain enough oil pressure to keep the oil sender from grounding out. As long as it only does it at a hot idle it's not anything to worry about. While at an idle the engine is not stressed and it does not need as much oil pressure. You can just ignore it or start using thicker motor oil (10w-40 or 15w-40 would be fine). I've heard of guys using 20w-50, but IMO that's too thick. I'd only go that thick if I were trying to prolong the demise of an engine with a mild knock.

    My 89 van was giving me intermittent low pressure warning at odd times. Often it was at higher RPMs or when the engine was cold. This concerned me so I installed an aftermarket oil pressure gauge. I was quickly able to determine that it was a problem with my warning light circuit. I tried changing the switch/sending unit, but that made no difference. Based on that I figured it had to be the wire in the harness (between the sender & the gauge) grounding out someplace. I performed a careful & thorough inspection of my harness (at least the parts I could see) but could not find the bad spot. I ended up running a new wire from the sender to the gauge and that solved my issue. Tim
    First of all, thank you so much for all of this info, it has already helped immensely. My first question is, how would I know if I have two oil lights? I believe there is only one (at least, I've only ever seen one!) Just to be 100% sure here is what it looks like, maybe you can tell me if you know which it is!:

    http://postimg.org/image/rxl215ued/
    http://postimg.org/image/njche5n35/

    I will try to install a pressure gauge to check it! That is a great idea. I think that if that is all good, I should attempt the warning light circuit, right?

    I have also noticed that it is not exclusively when idling, sometimes I can't even really point out when it turns on!

    Lastly, if the van has only 101,000 miles on it, do you think I should still possibly up it to 10w-40?

    You all are the absolute best!!

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    Re: Oil Light Problem

    I don't think your van has the oil level light (amber). The one showing in your picture is the low oil pressure light (red). I wouldn't switch to a thicker oil until you know what the pressure actually is. If it's low, then you could benefit from a thicker oil. An after market pressure gauge is a good thing to have. Tim

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    Re: Oil Light Problem

    Quote Originally Posted by timsrv View Post
    I don't think your van has the oil level light (amber). The one showing in your picture is the low oil pressure light (red). I wouldn't switch to a thicker oil until you know what the pressure actually is. If it's low, then you could benefit from a thicker oil. An after market pressure gauge is a good thing to have. Tim
    Tim, thank you so much. I will check with that and let you know! Would you say that if the oil pressure is running at a good level (what would this be, by the way?), that it is most likely circuitry?

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    Re: Oil Light Problem

    Because the sender establishes a ground for the light (when pressure is low), another way you could check the circuit is to disconnect the wire at the sender, tape off the connector, & then drive the van a few days. If the circuit is good, there is no possible way for the light to come on. If however the light comes on, then you'll know the circuit is shorted some place (like mine was). If that checks out okay, then you may want to install an aftermarket pressure gauge. The idiot light sender is designed to turn on the light somewhere between 4 - 5 psi, so if your pressure is lower than that at a hot idle, and your light comes on, then the low pressure warning system is doing it's job (run thicker oil). High pressure (at cruising speed) will vary, but I would want to see at least 50 psi when the engine is at 3000 RPMs or higher. If you install an aftermarket pressure gauge, here's a thread that should help with the hook-up. Tim

    http://www.toyotavantech.com/forum/s...=4342#post4342

    Here's another thread with good general information regarding the oil pump & related issues: http://www.toyotavantech.com/forum/s...ump-fail-often

    PS: It's unlikely, but a messed-up pressure relief valve (located in the oil pump) and/or a plugged up oil filter can also cause low oil pressure.

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    Re: Oil Light Problem

    Quote Originally Posted by timsrv View Post
    Because the sender establishes a ground for the light (when pressure is low), another way you could check the circuit is to disconnect the wire at the sender, tape off the connector, & then drive the van a few days. If the circuit is good, there is no possible way for the light to come on. If however the light comes on, then you'll know the circuit is shorted some place (like mine was). If that checks out okay, then you may want to install an aftermarket pressure gauge. The idiot light sender is designed to turn on the light somewhere between 4 - 5 psi, so if your pressure is lower than that at a hot idle, and your light comes on, then the low pressure warning system is doing it's job (run thicker oil). High pressure (at cruising speed) will vary, but I would want to see at least 50 psi when the engine is at 3000 RPMs or higher. If you install an aftermarket pressure gauge, here's a thread that should help with the hook-up. Tim

    http://www.toyotavantech.com/forum/s...=4342#post4342

    Here's another thread with good general information regarding the oil pump & related issues: http://www.toyotavantech.com/forum/s...ump-fail-often

    PS: It's unlikely, but a messed-up pressure relief valve (located in the oil pump) and/or a plugged up oil filter can also cause low oil pressure.
    Tim, I can't thank you enough. That is a very good idea. Maybe I will try taping that off first to determine if that is what it is. I really appreciate the psi info as well as the thread on how to install an aftermarket pressure gaugage, so helpful.

    I was going to post a separate thread called "Misc. Tech Questions, but since I have you hear I might as well ask! (lol!) Here are the misc:

    1. Recommended tire pressure? (using original rims and standard tire size for the van) (usually carrying nothing too heavy)

    2. There is a lot of rust in various places of the van, (esp. the underside). Is there any way to take care of this/strengthen/revitalize the rusted areas? Is there some magic spray or something like that to reinforce/provide longevity to rusting parts?

    3. The horn works about 50% of the time, it's a coin flip! Any possible reason/explanation and what I could do to help it?

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    Re: Oil Light Problem

    For the sake of organization I would request you search the forum 1st, then if you cannot find the answers, post your questions in similar threads or start new ones . Tim

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    Re: Oil Light Problem

    Quote Originally Posted by timsrv View Post
    For the sake of organization I would request you search the forum 1st, then if you cannot find the answers, post your questions in similar threads or start new ones . Tim
    Will do! Doing right now!

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    Re: Oil Light Problem

    I have a few pending repairs one of them is replacing the oil light sensor. The oil light flashes and stays on briefly here and there but 9 times out of 10 it's a false alarm, Out of precaution I still pull over and check. By any chance does anyone know the part number?

    Thank you and Happy holidays!
    That smells like regular! She needs premium DUDE! PREMIUM!

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    Re: Oil Light Problem

    Quote Originally Posted by Jdelgado View Post
    I have a few pending repairs one of them is replacing the oil light sensor. The oil light flashes and stays on briefly here and there but 9 times out of 10 it's a false alarm, Out of precaution I still pull over and check. By any chance does anyone know the part number?

    Thank you and Happy holidays!

    Heres a sening unit/ switch for the oil pressure: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

    I installed in mine and it works. Again, reading what Tim wrote above, you may have 2 lights... I don't know the trim level/ gauge cluster of your van. I have an 87 Cargo and only have the red oil indicator in my gauge cluster. It reads not only the oil pressure, but also the oil level via the level sending unit, drivers side of engine, mounted on the oil pan. I would first check to verify BOTH connectors are actually plugged in and greased with some bulb grease/ dielectric grease. The level indicator is especially prone to getting gummed up or the plug dislodged. You will know why when you see it.

    So far as I know the level sending unit is NLA and dang near impossible to rebuild. If/ when I run into that scenario I will either bypass or yank the annoying dummy light and check fluid levels on a regular basis, which I already do!

    Another option is to find another 84/85 oil pan without the level sensor cut out and just eliminate the thing altogether... it's also a known LEAK spot in my opinion, best sealed with Toyota fipg.

    Take care!

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    Re: Oil Light Problem

    Quote Originally Posted by Flecker View Post
    Another option is to find another 84/85 oil pan without the level sensor cut out [...]
    Only the '84 Vans did not have the oil level sensor, and thus the oil pan with no port for the sensor.

    Also in case you are thinking of snagging a junkyard sensor, '85 Vans DO have oil level sensors, but they don't interchange with '86-'89 due to exterior differences in the oil pan.

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    Re: Oil Light Problem

    Quote Originally Posted by llamavan View Post
    Only the '84 Vans did not have the oil level sensor, and thus the oil pan with no port for the sensor.

    Also in case you are thinking of snagging a junkyard sensor, '85 Vans DO have oil level sensors, but they don't interchange with '86-'89 due to exterior differences in the oil pan.

    Gwen
    Thanks for clearing that up!

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    Re: Oil Light Problem

    Quote Originally Posted by Flecker View Post
    Heres a sening unit/ switch for the oil pressure: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

    I installed in mine and it works. Again, reading what Tim wrote above, you may have 2 lights... I don't know the trim level/ gauge cluster of your van. I have an 87 Cargo and only have the red oil indicator in my gauge cluster. It reads not only the oil pressure, but also the oil level via the level sending unit, drivers side of engine, mounted on the oil pan. I would first check to verify BOTH connectors are actually plugged in and greased with some bulb grease/ dielectric grease. The level indicator is especially prone to getting gummed up or the plug dislodged. You will know why when you see it.

    So far as I know the level sending unit is NLA and dang near impossible to rebuild. If/ when I run into that scenario I will either bypass or yank the annoying dummy light and check fluid levels on a regular basis, which I already do!

    Another option is to find another 84/85 oil pan without the level sensor cut out and just eliminate the thing altogether... it's also a known LEAK spot in my opinion, best sealed with Toyota fipg.

    Take care!
    Awesome! One more question do you have to have drain the oil to replace this sensor?
    Thank you
    That smells like regular! She needs premium DUDE! PREMIUM!

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    Re: Oil Light Problem

    Quote Originally Posted by Jdelgado View Post
    Awesome! One more question do you have to have drain the oil to replace this sensor?
    Thank you
    For the pressure sensor, no not really. It taps into a 10 or 12mm boss next to the oil filter housing. Might want to set a rag or something under it though, it may dripple some when you turn it out.

    Unless you have the right size socket for it, your gonna be using some small channel locks just to get the old one out... it's slight cumbersome. I did find with the filter removed it was easier.

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    Re: Oil Light Problem

    This is SO not worth starting a new thread about but I've discovered yet another bizarre oil light problem.

    Now that my van is back to being a long-hauler after an overhaul, I noticed my oil light would intermittently come on during long trips. After determining it wasn't a pressure sensor issue, I started to assume it was the typical level sensor. As I was buzzing down the 5 in the middle of nowhere with only my thoughts and anxieties about the van dumping oil randomly, I even found that jerking the wheel to the left a bit would typically make the light go out (I assumed I was knocking the level sensor unstuck when doing so, returning it to its high "off" position)

    Then, it stopped, and I made another assumption that the detergents in the oil had cleaned the shaft enough to prevent it.

    BUT THEN. It started again, and when I was again out of podcasts and left to ponder I realized something else -- the light was going on directly in conjunction with my turn signal being activated. .... Okay. So now I'm left to ponder if it's an electrical issue either in the dash cluster (87 cargo, simple one, no clock) or in uh... the steering column? Is an oil sender wire routed through there? Why would it be? Am I just insane and seeing things that aren't there?

    I'm not really expecting an answer, just looking for commiseration/to know if anyone else has experienced anything like this, ever.

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    Re: Oil Light Problem

    Here's a quote from an earlier post in this thread:

    Quote Originally Posted by timsrv View Post
    If it's the amber one and you've verified the correct oil level, then it's a bad level sensor (driver's side middle of oil pan). This is a common problem on the van & most vans I own have had this problem. It can be fixed, but if you have a regular routine for checking & changing oil, assuming it's never low, then you may wish to simply ignore it.
    I've never bothered to troubleshot or fix this issue. As long as you know the oil level is correct, then that system is not needed. If you're the main person who drives the van and you have a routine or system down for regularly checking oil level, then I'd just ignore it. If it really bothers you then you could always remove the light bulb in the dash or perhaps repair/replace that sensor. As you mentioned, it's also possible there's a problem with the electrical system (like a bad ground) but intermittent things like that can be hard to trace. Tim

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    Re: Oil Light Problem

    Try this one. Post 39 and 40 discuss a bypass of the sensor. This could be useful for troubleshooting by process of elimination. If you jumper wire the sensor harness and the light still comes on then you know the problem is elsewhere. Like Tim said, grounds are always suspect when multiple systems seem to have problems that are connected. If you jump the harness and the oil light/blinker correlation still exists, then I would want to look at a wiring schematic to see if there is a common ground location between those two systems.

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    Re: Oil Light Problem

    I took a quick look at my 88 manual, the non-LE instrument pack indicates that the level sensor and the pressure sensor are married together by the "oil level warning computer" (5 pins), could just be a glorified relay but have not put eyes on.

    Anyway, pin 5 of that "computer" connects with ground point C (located on cowl right side)
    The T/S flasher and both inst pack indicator bulbs also utilize the same ground point.
    I doubt they run 2 separate wires all the way to that cowl ground and is likely an internal harness splice somewhere along the way.
    Further, the ign switch feeds the fuse box and both circuits pull from the same power feed (G)
    Name:  photo 1.jpg
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    I would think that means that there could indeed be some merit to your observations.
    Might be worth pulling things apart, to clean inspect all connectors

  20. 03-23-2021, 11:40 PM

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    redundant

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    Re: Oil Light Problem, where is part?

    I picked this up as a solution to the oil level light (yellow one next to O/D light on the dash) but can't seem to locate it. I see the squarish oil pressure part on the driver side. Is this one located elsewhere? Any thoughts ? I am thinking that this may not apply to my model, 87 LE Auto 4wd.
    https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0789C7C8R...GJ31RK8W2B6QGR


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