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rottenhead

92 Legacy Oil pressure indicator light

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92 Legacy wagon, 215K that I just changed the oil on for the first time on my own.

 

May have put slightly too much in (1/4 quart or so).

 

Anyway, OPI light comes on at IDLE and only at idle. Manual says if there is sufficient oil, which there is, there may be a problem with the lubrication system.

 

Is there a quick fix or did I mess my baby up?:(

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Details on what kind of oil, how much, and what filter were used will help.

 

# of miles or time since last oil change too please.

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I used the Valvoline Maxlife stuff with a tuffguard filter that was picked out using one of those computer guides.

 

I put in the 4.8 quart capacity...and then added about a 1/2 quart more when i saw the light come on the first time.

 

It had been about 4,000 miles since the last change and it has now been about 200 miles since I changed it.

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Two questions and one opinion.

1) Does the light come on at idle only when the engine has reached its operating temp or does it come on at idle even when the engine is cold?

When the engine is at operating temp, at what rpm does the light go out?

2) I would check or have someone check the oil pressure and see if it is within specs. If it's not then your oil pump o ring and/or seal is probalbly in need of replacing. If it is then maybe the oil pressure sender is defective.

Just my 2 cents.

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on pressure.

If you put in a slightly thinner oil results you describe are normal for an engine with a bit of wear.

Since Subies have oil pump sealing problems it might be a good idea to check your actual pressure as reccomended above.

The cheap fix is to add slightly heavier oil.

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Agree with above.

 

I'm starting to think that thicker is generally better. Ex: Honda specs 0-20 for the new cars, but show a marked decrease in expected lifespan. Lots of US cars run thinner oils than their overseas counterparts, strictly for CAFE reasons.

 

1/4 Qt overfill won't hurt. Consider a bottle of viscosity thickener, like the STP in the blue bottle at wally world. Works nicely in our miata, easy fix.

 

With 215k and these symptoms, use 10-40, 20-40, straight 30 (unless you live somewhere COLD), or even 15-50/20-50.

 

mike

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that many K I suspect you may not want to throw money around.

When I was a student I would have just drain out one quart and put in one quart of the same brand in a heavier grade. This is to keep the additives the same but the oil would become slightly heavier.

I used to have a couple of old cars that I had to run straight 30 in to keep the oil light off in the summer. One Volvo I ran 40 in till I did an in chassis on it.

If it is winter out your way you don't want to get very heavy on the oil or you will run into starting problems.

I know a lot of folks are very picky about thier oil and one guy wants you to run the best in old heaps.

When I was broke enough to run old heaps I ran Valvoline or what ever dino oil I could get my hands on that was a good brand.

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Personally.....I wouldn't drive the thing or even let the engine run if the light was coming on at idle.

 

More then likely the o-ring on the oil pump needs to be replaced.....probably a good idea to check the pressure with a gauge before tearing into things.

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Any idea what might have led to the o-ring

going?

 

The engine was absolutely fine before I changed the oil...is there something I could have done during that process to cause the o-ring to go?

 

I wish i had the luxury of not driving it...but it's my only car and both me and my girlfriend have commutes to work:(

 

I don't have access to a gauge...so I guess I'll have to bring it somewhere to have it checked out...

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you might have some leakage there as it is pretty normal for an old Subie.

You only noticed the pressure being a bit low because you added the newer and thinner oil.

Do you have any external leakage? Boy would I be surprised if you don't have any, these cars have a lot of gaskets that tend to need replacement on old ones due to the boxer layout.

If it was a Chevy or any other brand with that many ks you might see the same thing with low pressure.

Subies do have a fairly easy oil pump resealing procedure, but you have to remove the cam belt, covers, etc.

I am sure you did nothing to cause it, the oil pump seal is not a proud moment of Subaru design. It might even be fine and you just have low pressure from general wear on bearings and pump.

To be honest when I was a broke kid I would have just run it with heavier oil till I had the money to do it up.

As an ex mechanic I can also tell you that the best thing to do would be to tear off the front of the motor and do all the service that needs doing, but sometimes you have to do what you can afford.

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I really don't have much external leakage to speak of. It loses around a quart every 3-4K...but no spots.

 

Thanks for setting my mind at ease about the source of the problem. It's tough to decide whether to throw any money at it...I could probably afford to do it...I've kept the body flawless as well as the brakes and suspension....

 

The tranny is solid and the only engine work I've had done is the timing belt so I suspect it certainly has some gasket/seal probs that need to be addressed. I want a BAJA to the point of obsession but am entering law school in the fall...soooo...hopefully she can pull through.

 

Sincere thanks guys....

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