Intermittent No Oil Pressure Light, Low oil pressure - Volvo Forums - Volvo Enthusiasts Forum


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Old 11-04-2012, 05:42 AM
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Default Intermittent No Oil Pressure Light, Low oil pressure

Intermittent No Oil Pressure light......Cause, Effect, Result
Volvo XC 70, 2.4t, 2001, 95Km, Eng B5244T3
A bit of back ground, I have recently replaced the turbo charger, due to the end result of oil sludge/ Black Death as some so eloquently call it, but that is another story....
Dropped out the sump pan and cleaned up, removed all internal oil pipes, and plugs and cleaned replaced all sump O rings.
Installed new /rebuilt turbo and cleaned out all oil lines supply and drain lines.
Boxed back up and refilled with oil.
Test ran the engine for 15min and removed and changed the oil filter a little dirty but not bad.
Things were going well....., after a tank full 425km of gentle driving; I changed the oil and oil filter.
Shortly after this 10km, things started to go less well, the No Oil pressure light came on. Stopped the engine and checked oil level in case the oil filter seal had popped oil leaks etc. Oil level was fine. Restarted car and light does not come back on and drove home.
Checked engine compartment, oil filter, oil level for anything strange, zip. Started engine and brought up to working temperature, everything fine, no strange noises.
Drove around the block and down to the shops and back about 8km and then the oil light came back on again when I was waiting for my gate to open. Parked and put back on the car ramps.
Had a think! Had a read of the Volvo boards!! Had another think!!!
The most popular theories for this intermittent No oil pressure would appear to be:
a/ O rings on the sump pan leaking.
b/ the oil pressure switch is faulty.
c/ the oil pump is faulty.
d/. Change out the engine. No good reasoning but changed out everything else, see above.
I did not like the look of any of these, because:
aa/ the O rings were new, having just replaced them when cleaning out the sump, and why would the pressure be OK at start and then drop off. No if the seals had gone or were misplaced the pressure would be low all the time.
bb/ I did take the oil pressure switch out and cleaned it and gave it a prod and the switch felt good. It seems to work on start up and for sometime thereafter before giving a low pressure reading. They are designed to last the life of the vehicle and usually do, so a fairly reliable component generally.
cc/ Unlikely that oil pump should go bad so quickly, on a relatively low mileage car, when its job is to pump lubricant oil. The pressure seemed OK at start and when the car was warmed up.
dd/ Worn engine? Low mileage engine, no engine noise of bearings rattling around, or top end noise. Was running fine before turbocharger went.
So what next?
The oil circuit is relatively simple. A sump for the oil storage, an oil pick up, a pump, a filter , an oil pressure switch and then to the oil way and pipes which feed the bearings, and journals etc.
It is always best to start at the beginning, (or do the easy stuff first) so I of course dropped the oil filter to check the condition of the filter. It was a little dirty with the black carbon flakes still being flushed out of the engine. But not enough to cause that low oil pressure.
I then dropped the sump; the sump was relatively clean with a few flakes of black carbon at the bottom.
Looking up at the bottom end of the engine, the oil pick up pipe tube screen looked clean.
BUT! Taking my pinkey (This is the smallest finger on the hand opposite the thumb) and running it around the inside of the oil pick up there was a good deal of carbon flakes.
I removed the oil pick up pipe from the engine and when turned upside down all these back carbon flake dropped off the trough of the oil pickup head and covered the mesh screen.
The mesh screen was also dished up into the oil pipe. It was flat when I removed it from the last sump clean out during the turbo-repair, the mesh material had also started to tear at one section.
I have elected to remove the mesh screen to prevent the mesh being sucked into the oil pump at some blockage of the mesh screen. This seems the lesser of a number of evils.
The mesh on the pickup tube is to prevent lumps of metal going through the oil pump. These lumps being larger than 1mm the size of the oil pick up suction mesh. Some of these carbon flakes seem to be ideally sized to block off the mesh and thus prevent oil flow. About a teaspoon full was inside the oil pick up trough, which was enough to cover the mesh screen. There was about another teaspoon full in the sump once I cleaned it out and less than a teaspoonful in the oil I drained out. I can expect more as the engine gradually cleans its self of the consequences of the sludge.
Since the mesh screen was dished inside the oil pipe once the mesh is blocked you will have no/little oil pressure. Hence on the stopping of the engine, the back flow of oil will flush the contents of the mesh screen off and give you normal oil pressure on start up. Until the screen blocks up again.
I toyed with the idea of drilled holes in the dished oil pick up trough to allow the carbon flakes to drop back into the sump, but rejected the idea.
i.The mesh was dished and had started to fail.
ii. Does the pickup trough have some self cleaning design for the mesh screen, as the oil is sucked through it?

iii. The flakes will continue to circulate around in the sump until the next oil change.
So the solution Synopsis the removal of the pickup suction screen:
The debris that is causing my problem is carbon flakes from the sludge issue I had. These are products of combustion, carbon and oil baked onto the hot surfaces of the engine. These will slowly come away from internal surfaces of the engine with clean fresh oil and the mechanical abrasion of the oil splashing around inside the engine. They are relatively soft, and can be broken down by rubbing between the fingers. So these going through the oil pump should not be an issue. The oil filter will then catch and remove these partials. Regular inspection of the oil filter, and change as required will help to clean up and remove the carbon flakes from the engine.
The other options are:
Complete dismantle of the engine and the thorough clean of all parts.
a new engine
remove the sump each time the oil pick up screen blocks up and clean out the pickup trough.
All rather expensive and time consuming for an older car.

I am indebted to Alanjackson2011 and Luvinvolvos from Volvo forums who have been there!
Hope this post is of some use to others in the same situation with low and intermittent oil pressure problems that have had sludge affected engines.
Bydand
Attached Thumbnails
Intermittent No Oil Pressure Light, Low oil pressure-oil-pickup-removed-inverted.jpg   Intermittent No Oil Pressure Light, Low oil pressure-pinkey-oil-trough.jpg   Intermittent No Oil Pressure Light, Low oil pressure-oil-pick-up-opening-sump-looks-clean.jpg  
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Old 11-04-2012, 07:14 AM
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Didn't read every word but you started out saying that the car had some sludge. Someone can ruin a motor in 50,000 km by not changing the oil like it's suppose to be.

Do a compression test if you haven't already done so.
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Old 02-18-2013, 01:44 PM
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A very good post bydand! Thx for this. I am having a same issue: intermittent no oil pressure message.

Gotta try to clean up the sludge..
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Old 02-22-2013, 12:00 AM
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Originally Posted by flatlander84 View Post
A very good post bydand! Thx for this. I am having a same issue: intermittent no oil pressure message.

Gotta try to clean up the sludge..
Wow, Someone read it! All of it!!

Good luck Flatlander84. I have been running now for a few thousand Km, with the strainer screen removed and no further Oil pressure issues.

After I, 1/. Cleaned the crank breather system,
2/. changed oil and filter,
3/. clean the sump pan (in the dish washer worked great)


" I have elected to remove the mesh screen to prevent the mesh being sucked into the oil pump at some blockage of the mesh screen. This seems the lesser of a number of evils.
The mesh on the pickup tube is to prevent lumps of metal going through the oil pump. These lumps being larger than 1mm the size of the oil pick up suction mesh. Some of these carbon flakes seem to be ideally sized to block off the mesh and thus prevent oil flow. About a teaspoon full was inside the oil pick up trough, which was enough to cover the mesh screen. There was about another teaspoon full in the sump once I cleaned it out and less than a teaspoonful in the oil I drained out. I can expect more as the engine gradually cleans its self of the consequences of the sludge.
Since the mesh screen was dished inside the oil pipe once the mesh is blocked you will have no/little oil pressure. Hence on the stopping of the engine, the back flow of oil will flush the contents of the mesh screen off and give you normal oil pressure on start up. Until the screen blocks up again."

The above is the crux of the matter.

Bydand
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Old 12-30-2013, 08:20 PM
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Volvo 2000 V70 AWD XC/SE 125,000mi with the same symptom: intermittent oil light. Your step-by-step analysis was most helpful--I'm not really keen on pulling the pan, but as an alternative to ruining the engine, I'll keep that as an option.

The oil has been changed regularly (6k miles) with Pennzoil 'natural' oil. I recently made a trip from Seattle to San Francisco with no oil light problems. Then about a month of local driving, not a blink from the light. The oil was down about a quart, so I added some Mobil One 'synthetic' to bring it up to full. A day or two later, the oil light started the blink. (OK, I read on one of the forums that synthetic oil is more slippery and can cause leaks, but mea culpa, I did it anyway)

I had a 250mi trip planned on Boxing Day and started off ok, but encountered the blinks in traffic, pulled to a safe spot and checked oil level (OK) and observed that plenty of oil was getting to the cams, etc. I eased back on to the freeway and cruised along at 55-60 mph with no blinking light. The return trip was the same day and no blinky at 65-70.

Next day blinky came back in the AM at slow speeds. My next step is to do an oil/filter change and have an analysis done on the oil. A compression check too.

My question for the forum concerns the "carbon flakes": are they hard or soft? And, do they look like the crud that is found in older engines?

Thanks,
D
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Old 12-31-2013, 05:49 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dbbotkin View Post
Volvo 2000 V70 AWD XC/SE 125,000mi with the same symptom: intermittent oil light. Your step-by-step analysis was most helpful--I'm not really keen on pulling the pan, but as an alternative to ruining the engine, I'll keep that as an option.

The oil has been changed regularly (6k miles) with Pennzoil 'natural' oil. I recently made a trip from Seattle to San Francisco with no oil light problems. Then about a month of local driving, not a blink from the light. The oil was down about a quart, so I added some Mobil One 'synthetic' to bring it up to full. A day or two later, the oil light started the blink. (OK, I read on one of the forums that synthetic oil is more slippery and can cause leaks, but mea culpa, I did it anyway)

I had a 250mi trip planned on Boxing Day and started off ok, but encountered the blinks in traffic, pulled to a safe spot and checked oil level (OK) and observed that plenty of oil was getting to the cams, etc. I eased back on to the freeway and cruised along at 55-60 mph with no blinking light. The return trip was the same day and no blinky at 65-70.

Next day blinky came back in the AM at slow speeds. My next step is to do an oil/filter change and have an analysis done on the oil. A compression check too.

My question for the forum concerns the "carbon flakes": are they hard or soft? And, do they look like the crud that is found in older engines?

Thanks,
D
Hi, this post is going back a bit.

The carbon flakes are soft, just washed off baked oil sludge from inside the engine and yes looks like crud from older engines. (baked on dirt from the combustion process)

The engine in my post was affected by Sludge. The cleaning up of the engine ( oil changes and the crank breather system working again) produced the carbon flakes which blocked up the oil inlet strainer, blocking off the oil feed to the oil pump. Once the engine was turned off the back flow of oil from the pump blew the flake off the suction screen and the oil pressure returned to normal until the screen blocks up again.

Since you are changing your oil regularly 6K, and you do not have a sludge issue? ( A slight negative pressure at the oil filler cap means the crank breather system is working.)
Judging from what I am reading you have a (fast intermittent low oil pressure) blinking which is not what I was having which was. The Low oil pressure coming on after some 10km 15- 20min of driving.

When I Stop the engine and the oil would blow the crud off oil the suction mesh pick up, and on restart the oil pressure would return. Only to go through the same sequence again.

I would drop the oil filter housing and have a look at the filter if you have trapped solids in the filter element I would suggest you have the same issue as I had with a blocked crank breather system or the 1 ltr of Mobil One Syn oil you added as started to clean up the engine.

If the filter looks good just black with no solids/ flakes in it , then it may be the connection to the oil switch corroded or not making all the time.

If you have been snowing it In Seattle and ploughed into a drift the connection to the oil switch it may have come out a little. So far as I can remember if the oil pressure switch wire is broke or fully disconnected the oil pressure low will not activate.

Seasons greetings for the New Year.
Bydand
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Old 01-01-2014, 12:05 PM
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Hi,
Thanks for the quick response to an old post! I may have misstated the condition: the light does not come on right away--and may not come on at all--but when it does, it is random and more likely at idle. It is extinguished by switching the engine off (like at a stop light) and starting up again. So, it seems I have the same problem as you had.

Dropping the filter and a good cleaning is the next step for sure. BTW, is it possible to see anything inside the crankcase through the oil drain opening? I have access to one of those flexible fiber-optic view scopes.

Cheers and Happy New Year,
Donal
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Old 01-02-2014, 03:35 AM
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Donel,

If you drop the oil filter out of the housing and look in between the pleats you will see if there is material in the oil or not.(which has passed through the oil pump or washed off the engine internals)

If you drain the sump oil into a basin and pour off slowly you will see if there are any flakes or material which could be blocking the suction screen.
You will see very little by putting a boroscope through the oil drain hole. There is a splash plate mounted on top of the oil pan preventing you seeing much, and all the carbon flakes you are looking for will be in the oil you have just drained.

Is there any sign of oil sludge on the oil filler cap an early indication of trouble?

Bydand.
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Old 01-02-2014, 07:44 AM
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Just wondering if you guys are running full synthetic oil and if you have done a compression test. It really is important to run synthetic oil in turbo cars.

It is NOT common to have sludge in these motors nor wear out a turbo in less than 200,000 miles (318,000 km). I read a day or two ago where a guy had over 345,000 miles on his car with no motor, turbo or tranny problems. There is also a way that turbo cars should be driven, never hard when cold or right before you turn it off.
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Old 01-02-2014, 07:52 AM
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I'm not an advocate for oil additives but I'm sure there is something out there that can flush out sludge or at least break it down. I believe that high quality full synthetic oils do that same thing at a much slower rate. An example would be something like this: it may take full synthetic oil 5 oil changes (or 25,000 miles) to slowly clean out or break down what some additive will break down in 15 minutes.

I personally would rather break down some sludge slowly than to break it down quickly and have to clean it out of the pan. No one likes opening up a motor.

From what I have read, most full synthetic oils have better cleaning detergents than dino oils.
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Old 01-03-2014, 08:52 AM
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The filler cap and the area visible inside the camshaft gallery has a brownish color and there is little is any sludge to be seen there. I'll be doing an oil change in the next day or so and will have a close look at both the filter and the oil.

My idea with the horoscope was to have a look at the sump screen w/o pulling the pan. Is it visible through the drain?

Thanks,
Donal
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Old 01-03-2014, 09:11 AM
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Ooops, 'boroscope', not 'horoscope'!
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Old 01-03-2014, 08:29 PM
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Default Results from oil and filter change

Hi and Happy New Year,
Today I drained the oil and removed the filter (see pics attached) The dark blob on the filter is congealed, caked-on carbon! It was near the suction inlet in the filter bowl and probably was an accumulation of the carbon flakes that were blocking the sump screen. It is hard for me to believe that much could accumulate since the last oil change less than 4,000 miles ago! The car has had regular oil--and presumably, filter--changes, but I didn't do the work, so that is subject to speculation.

The good news is that the oil-pressure has returned to normal--no blinky light.

I have a couple of questions: first, how dirty should a filter be after 5,000 mi in a car with 125,000+ miles; second, Robert makes a good case for synthetic oil in turbo engines, but others suggest that it is more prone to leakage, anyone want to weigh in on this?

Finally, compression check. I think I watched one of Robert's YouTube video's on that, so I'll have a look again.

Thanks,
Donal
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Old 01-04-2014, 04:22 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dbbotkin View Post
Hi and Happy New Year,
Today I drained the oil and removed the filter (see pics attached) The dark blob on the filter is congealed, caked-on carbon! It was near the suction inlet in the filter bowl and probably was an accumulation of the carbon flakes that were blocking the sump screen. It is hard for me to believe that much could accumulate since the last oil change less than 4,000 miles ago! The car has had regular oil--and presumably, filter--changes, but I didn't do the work, so that is subject to speculation.

The good news is that the oil-pressure has returned to normal--no blinky light.

I have a couple of questions: first, how dirty should a filter be after 5,000 mi in a car with 125,000+ miles; second, Robert makes a good case for synthetic oil in turbo engines, but others suggest that it is more prone to leakage, anyone want to weigh in on this?

Finally, compression check. I think I watched one of Robert's YouTube video's on that, so I'll have a look again.

Thanks,
Donal
Hooray!

No, there should not be that much crud in the oil filter after 4K, and yes this is most likely what is blocking your oil suction mesh, and causing the low oil pressure.

What's causing the crud? Could be adding the 1ltr Moble one at top up? or a dirty crank breather system. Check the banjo bolt under the air inlet manifold once you do the check of the sucking or blowing from the oil filler port on the engine top.

Oil for your Volvo from owners book.

[I]2001 VOLVO V70

Engine Oil
Meeting or exceeding ILSAC specification GF-2, including ACEA A1, API SJ, SJ/CF, and SJ/Energy Conserving.
Oil additives must not be used unless advised by an authorized Volvo retailer.
Volume:
Capacity (including oil filter): 6.1 US qts. (5.8 liters)
Capacity (including oil filter and oil cooler): 7.1 US qts. (6.7 liters)


This is the Oil grade/spec recommended by Volvo. I use Syn oils, a better all round oil for temperature and clean up.

You will not see anything on the suction screen even after taking off the sump off or using the boroscope, The oil in the system back flushes the mesh when you switch the engine off, or drain the oil.

Find the root cause of your sludge, and clean up the engine with oil and filter changes.

Good Luck.
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Old 01-04-2014, 12:28 PM
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Man, seeing that sludge horrifies me. That is a scary situation.

Here is my take on switching to full synthetic.

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Old 01-04-2014, 12:36 PM
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I have added some photos in the bydand photo album of the oil sump and suction strainer when removed.
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Old 01-10-2014, 06:31 AM
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@bydand when you had than pick up screen clogged, did you also notice sludge/particles in the oil filter?

@dbbotkin in your case, there is already sludge in the engine, using a synthetic oil will dislodge it and let it run free which in turn will be clogging the oil pick up screen. if you got an oil pressure light, I would replace the pcv then remove and clean everything in the pan (including the pcv passages), change o-rings inside, remove the pick up screen (with the risk of damaging the engine) and run for a while without the screen on synthetic. Then once there's no more particles in the oil filter, put back the pick up screen. You can also remove the camshaft cover to clean every sludge up there.

But before all this job, make sure you still have compression, the sludge gets into the rod end bearings and eats them. You can simply remove the spark plugs and when the piston is just past the TDC push down on it with a wood stick to feel any free play.
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Old 01-11-2014, 10:35 AM
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Doing a pan drop on the engine is not an option at this time.

Here's the current status: the PCV system has been replaced and is working fine; the oil light is no longer blinking; the oil has been changed along with the filter and the car runs fine. And an oil sample has been submitted for analysis.

Here's my plan (subject to the good advice of Forum members): remove, check and replace with new ONLY the filter every 1,000 miles until it is free of sludge; add synthetic oil to make up to the 'full' line. If there is no more sludge, there is no more problem. Following Robert's advice I will begin using synthetic oil and do a compression check.
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Old 01-13-2014, 06:43 PM
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I too have had the sludge problem reveal itself with an intermittent "no oil pressure light", which eventually stayed on more than not. 84k miles.
You can see my previous post, but I had a mechanic drop the pan and clean everything on the bottom end, replace the pickup screen and the oil cooler, and all associated line & o rings. The dirt on the pickup sounds allot like the situation in the original message in this post.
I also used an oil sludge treatment that you add to the oil just before an oil change. I think this is the best way to clean any build up inside the engine, since the oil pump circulates this solvent and it is designed to dissolve sludge. I did the treatment when the oil pan was dropped, and once about a hundred miles later when the No oil pressure light came on again . (and another oil change. Also switched to Mobil1 with this oil change- it couldn't hurt.)
Then also changed the PVC oil trap and hoses as I heard ddbotkin said he did. The oil trap was completely full, and the bottom lines into the engine block were solid sludge. Before the PVC change , there was a pretty strong vacuum on the oil cap (2002 model. I understand earlier models may show pressure with a clogged PVC system). After the fresh oil trap and cleaning the connections to the engine, pressure was neutral, indicated by a rubber glove over the oil fill cap hole. I've only about a hundred miles on the car since , and so far all is fine. After all this, I think the PVC system is obviously easily clogged by sludge, and it makes sense being clogged it may contribute to the problem of the oil pressure light, or at least explain the intermittent light.
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