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Oil Pressure Problem

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  • Oil Pressure Problem

    I'm having an oil pressure problem with the flathead six in my 1957 Silver Hawk. When the engine first starts up, the oil pressure gauge reads a solid 40 lbs driving and 20 lbs at idle. However, the pressure began to drop within the 1st half mile of driving and got down below 20 lbs before I could get home. Under the hood, some oil had been sprayed around on the drivers side, but not a huge amount. I checked the oil and it was down a bit, but still showed about 80% full on the dipstick. This has happened the last two times I have taken the car out.

    I tried to check for an oil leak without driving the car. Like before, the oil pressure started off just a bit over 40 lbs with the engine revved, and then began to drop. However, there was no sign of oil leaking under the hood. I continued to rev the engine while looking under the hood and could not spot a drop. It seems to only spray the oil around when driving. Any ideas? Thanks.

  • #2
    How many miles are on this engine? What weight and type of oil are you using? Do you have an oil filter? It's kind of hard to give any suggestions based on what you've told us.

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    • #3
      Does your car have an oil filter canister with rubber oil lines going to it? If it does, check the condition of the oil lines, if they are the original or arer older oil lines, the rubber may be cracked and leaking/spraying when the engine is reving higher rpms. Specifically the hose that comes from the passenger side and crosses over to the oil filter, that line is oil supply from the oil pump, pumping oil into the oil filter.

      Studebaker Fever
      60 Lark
      51 Champion
      Phil

      Studebaker Fever
      60 Lark
      56 Power Hawk
      Phil Hendrickson
      Arnold, Missouri

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      • #4
        Just for good measure, make sure the road draft tube is clear as well as the oil filler cap. The cap has a wire mesh mesh inside. You can soak the whole cap assembly in a can of mineral spirits, then shake, blow or air dry. The road draft tube also may have that same type of wire mesh inside,held in place with a cotter pin at the lower end of the pipe. Sounds like you may have some blow-by in the crankcase causing the oil spew at road speed. Oil pressure...check the condition/cleanlyness of the oil pressure relief valve. Consult your shop manual for servicing procedures.
        Dan Miller
        ROADRACELARK

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        • #5
          I like Phil & Dan's ideas. The breather cap being on the driver's side, that's where blow-by would exit if the draft tube's clogged (it should come off the rear side valve cover on the Pass. side of the engine.

          AND, as Phil says, those lines to the filter cannister (or even the cannister lid gasket) could have failed to where they're spewing oil. Of course, the whirlwind of the radiator fan's gonna keep the source from being readily appearant unless it's a gusher![:0]

          These little sixes have a reputation of worn cam bearings after about 50K mile or so. That can have an effect on oil pressure. But Stude engines are prety tolerant of low oil pressure so long as something's being pumped thru their arteries.

          Miscreant at large.

          1957 Transtar 1/2ton
          1960 Larkvertible V8
          1958 Provincial wagon
          1953 Commander coupe
          1957 President 2-dr
          1955 President State
          1951 Champion Biz cpe
          1963 Daytona project FS
          No deceptive flags to prove I'm patriotic - no biblical BS to impress - just ME and Studebakers - as it should be.

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          • #6
            There was a Q & A in the Studebaker Cooperator in Turning Wheels concerning this issue a while back. One of the suggestions was made to use an oil with a higher viscosity and see what transpires. If I remember correctly, it was recommended that the writer try switching to 20W-50 oil.
            I had a similar situation in my '59 Lark VI and tried the 20W-50. That seemed to do the trick in my case.
            The point is that you should try other measures before committing yourself to a big engine job.
            Rog

            '59 Lark Regal Hardtop
            '59 Lark VI Regal Hardtop
            Smithtown,NY
            Recording Secretary, Long Island Studebaker Club

            Comment


            • #7
              Bill,
              I have noticed this similar oil pressure drop in my Champion although I have to say that it has never dropped below 20" in my six.
              You didn't mention how many miles you have on your six but
              I firmly believe, based upon my experience, that a couple of things are happening here;
              a)worn surfaces within the engine and in particular the oiling system.
              b)multi-vis oil which flows very thinly under temperature in-order to properly lubricate today's tight tolerance engines.

              Studebaker's recommendation for my six was for straight 30 weight (plus STP) and the shop manual recommends 40 weight for motors using modest amounts of oil.

              I firmly believe that as these engines wear-in that the higher single weight oil with STP added stabilizes the oil pressure. The oil pump being more efficient with the thicker fluid.

              As far as your oil spray I believe it came from the vented oil filler cap and the fan spread it around. You may have a blocked road tube or PVC.
              I would check that breather tube screen (if not PVC valve equiped), the various hoses to the oil filter canister, etc.

              For the oil pressure problem go with a higher vis single weight oil and, the L6's best friend, a little STP...but I caution against synethic oils. I am sure you have seen them but there are multiple posts on this board regarding synthetics and the potential hazards using them.

              Good luck and let us know what you discover!

              "Oh That? It's a STUDEBAKER!!"

              54 Champion Regal 2dr
              Sedan

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              • #8
                20W 50 is ok during the summer months and might be ok year round if you live in the south-west. If the temps get below 30 though, look out! The manual has dire warnings about this kind of thing. could be just C.Y.A.-W.B.H. on a corporate level, but what the heck? Why take a chance?

                I do try to follow my owner's manual and the shop manual...[:I]

                Lotsa Larks!
                K.I.S.S. Keep It Simple Studebaker!
                Ron Smith
                Home of the famous Mr. Ed!
                K.I.S.S. Keep It Simple Studebaker!
                Ron Smith
                Where the heck is Fawn Lodge, CA?

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