Low oil pressure / stop engine warning

zippy216

Original poster
Member
Apr 23, 2012
19
This morning about a mile from my house the low oil pressure / stop engine warning came on. I pulled over and stopped the engine. I restarted it and the warning remained. I returned home and swapped vehicles. I am close to due for an oil change but I know I am not leaking oil. There is no evidence of oil on the garage floor. I will check my oil level when I get home just in case. What might be causing this problem?
 

Bartonmd

Member
Nov 20, 2011
545
Wait... so... when you pulled over after the light came on, you didn't bother checking the oil right then and there??? Just restarted and drove back home with -presumably- no oil in the thing?

:eek: :hissyfit:

Mike
 

davenay67

Member
Jan 16, 2012
217
Saturday....that was then, today is now. Check the oil level again. Chances are it is good, especially if you have not been noticing any tell-tales signs in your garage or where you park at work.

If that is the case then you likely have low oil pressure to diagnose. This could be as simple as a faulty oil pressure sensor, but it could also be a failing oil pump.

Check you oil level first and get back to us with the results....also what is the mileage on your vehicle odometer.
 

The_Roadie

Lifetime VIP Donor
Member
Nov 19, 2011
9,957
Portland, OR
And since you have a V8, the oil pressure sensor is a true analog sensor, and should be giving good data. What does your oil pressure gauge indicate? Zero, or in the middle of the dial?
 

zippy216

Original poster
Member
Apr 23, 2012
19
When I left it was in the middle but then went to zero. I have approximately 68,000 miles.
 

Wooluf1952

Member
Nov 20, 2011
2,663
Milwaukee, Wisconsin
The 5.3 is known for the oil to suddenly disappear.

IIRC, the fix was a redesigned rocker arm cover.
 

Jkust

Member
Dec 4, 2011
945
When shopping for another 360 in January, I was testing a 2009, 9-7x with the 5.3 with 20 something thousand miles. Was nearly new and on the highway on the testdrive the oil pressure went to zero and the same message poped up on the DIC. Sufice it to say I didn't buy it but they called me back and indeed it was the sensor mentioned above. I bit of google searching and years on the other site shows this to be a common issue on 5.3's. My Rainier again with a 5.3 at 46,000 miles had the new cover mentioned installed . It went from no oil usage to huge oil usage all at once but never had any sort of oil pressure or dic messages.
 

zippy216

Original poster
Member
Apr 23, 2012
19
I changed the oil last night and it turns out I was down about 2 1/2 qts. everything seems to be working fine now and the warning is gone. Can anyone tell me how often to change oil in the V8. The manual says when the change oil indicator comes on. on older vehicles I followed the 3 month / 300 mile rule but newe vehicles are supposed to run longer without a change. And how much oil should I be burning normally?
 

davenay67

Member
Jan 16, 2012
217
3 months or 3,000 miles is simply not applicable with today's modern oils and modern engine design / build. I think you should be fine following the oil life computer.

Good news is that it's not your oil pump, or the sensor even, but losing 2.5 qts in as many days is NOT normal. You should have no trouble seeing if the gasket is bad; the engine should be bathed in oil..!!
 

zippy216

Original poster
Member
Apr 23, 2012
19
When I checked it the other day it was at the bottom end of the marked area on the dipstick. There was no sign of oil leaking anywhere. How much oil normally burns away between changes?
 

zippy216

Original poster
Member
Apr 23, 2012
19
Thanks for the info. I guess I just need to be a little more vigilant. I appreciate the help.
 

Denali n DOO

Member
May 22, 2012
5,596
Been there done that. I was going through oil between changes. At 43000km my dealer put new valve covers (PIP4574C) on due to baffle concerns. At 84900km while driving the oil pressure dropped, shut engine off on DIC. Towed it to my dealer to investigate and they found an audiable noise in engine when driving. They tear down the engine and find damaged bearings, damaged crankshaft as well as block damaged at lifter. They replaced with a new engine (89018189). I have had no oil burning issues since and I have 132000km on it now and every time I check the oil level it is where it should be.
 

StormPursuit

Member
Dec 23, 2011
19
So this isn't a new issue.. Well kind of.. I'll be sitting at an intersection and the engine will start to run really rough. The RPM's will fluctuate between revving up and real low. Then the check engine light comes on, along with the message "Low Oil Pressure" and the light to the left of the engine light (it looks like the tachometer). Then the engine shuts off. I can turn the ignition off, then restart the vehicle no problem with no warning lights on. This isn't the first time this has happened, and I'm worried I'll fry my engine. My dipstick is showing my oil level is okay, and I'm 1k miles away from another suggested oil change. Oil looks clean. Any ideas on what the issue might be? I have a 4.2 I6 with 132k miles. You guys are amazing, and have really helped in the past. This occurs once every couple of weeks. Anything would be great :frown:
 

C-ya

Member
Aug 24, 2012
1,098
4.2L with idling/stumbling issues = one thing, baby! Clean the throttle body, clear any codes and report back.

Not sure if that is your issue, but I figured I'd be the first to toss it out there. As to why you are getting an oil pressure light, maybe the idle drops enough to trip the switch that the 4.2 has and show low oil pressure.
 

djthumper

Administrator
Nov 20, 2011
14,950
North Las Vegas
Take a look at your MAF, it may need cleaning. Is it storing any codes?
 

StormPursuit

Member
Dec 23, 2011
19
djthumper said:
Take a look at your MAF, it may need cleaning. Is it storing any codes?


When I cleaned the throttle body I also cleaned the MAF. It isn't storing codes, I'll try to run it again though. My neighbor said he may think it could be the oil pressure sensor going bad?
 

BRomanJr

Member
Dec 9, 2011
371
StormPursuit said:
When I cleaned the throttle body I also cleaned the MAF. It isn't storing codes, I'll try to run it again though. My neighbor said he may think it could be the oil pressure sensor going bad?

You will always get a Low Oil Pressure warning when the RPM drops below ~500, Your problem is the erratic/low idle. There are a few parts that can cause this and are best checked using a High end Scan Tool that can read and manipulate engine sensors and controls. If you don't have the tools or skills, find or make a friend that does. Last resort, take to a skilled Repair Shop that you trust.
 

BRomanJr

Member
Dec 9, 2011
371
zippy216 said:
When I checked it the other day it was at the bottom end of the marked area on the dipstick. There was no sign of oil leaking anywhere. How much oil normally burns away between changes?

The 5.3 is notorious for using oil, most common problem is the PCV system sucking it into intake during highway driving because of defective driver side valve cover.

If you have no proof that it was ever replaced, I would start by replacing it with a new GM cover.

Always watch the oil level closely on the 5.3. And oil change refill with filter is 6 quarts.
 

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