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  • Engine: Oil pressure issue?

    Quite happily I finally got "Trudy", my '56 Flight Hawk on the road today after passing state inspection. I knew it needed an oil change and did so, using SAE30. There wasn't any change in oil pressure after finishing, still right around 40 PSI at running speeds. The shop manual says anywhere from 20-40 PSI at 40 mph but nothing about pressure at idle. The factory gauge shows something less than 10 psi and I'm wondering if this is too low. There's no noise from the engine or oil pump at idle which might indicate the pump going bad so is pressure like this normal?

  • #2
    Is this an automatic trans. car...and this "idle" you note, is it in gear ?

    For 30wt., it sounds fine.
    Where did you find a single weight oil ? A 20-40 or 20-50 might be a better choice. Might raise the pressure a coupla pounds also.
    Castrol GTX, 20-50 has treated my ol 259 powered Lark well for many, many....many miles.

    Mike

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    • #3
      It's a manual transmission. Found the single weight at my local Parts Plus store. Yes, I thought about heavier multi-blend and will try that next change.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Mike Van Veghten View Post
        Is this an automatic trans. car...and this "idle" you note, is it in gear ?

        For 30wt., it sounds fine.
        Where did you find a single weight oil ? A 20-40 or 20-50 might be a better choice. Might raise the pressure a coupla pounds also.
        Castrol GTX, 20-50 has treated my ol 259 powered Lark well for many, many....many miles.

        Mike
        I too, ran Castrol 20W50 for many years & miles in Studes, and never had a lube related problem, changing oil every 5000 miles. Went to Mobil-1, 15W50 about 15 years ago, but that's another story.

        Oil viscosity & brand in Studes seems largely subjective; many others will swear by 30 or 40 weight; my older brother, and bro-in-law, both use 10W30 in their 289s.

        I think the oil pressure on yours is just fine, as is.

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        • #5
          Have you checked the pressure relief to see if it's stuck open?

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          • #6
            Enjoy your Flight Hawk, Kevin; there is nothing wrong with the oil pressure.

            If you ever feel it is too low (and it isn't now), it will probably be the valve lifter bores in the block having worn a tad too large, not "the oil pump going bad."

            'Might not be a bad idea to add a pint of regular old STP Oil Treatment with each change to reduce that possibility, but that's just my opinion and not universally held. BP
            We've got to quit saying, "How stupid can you be?" Too many people are taking it as a challenge.

            Ayn Rand:
            "You can avoid reality, but you cannot avoid the consequences of avoiding reality."

            G. K. Chesterton: This triangle of truisms, of father, mother, and child, cannot be destroyed; it can only destroy those civilizations which disregard it.

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            • #7
              This "low pressure at idle" question seems to be a common one. It isn't mentioned because the manufacturer knew that the little load on an engine at idle didn't require any oil pressure to speak of. As long as you have 40 lbs at 40 mph in drive or 3rd OD you are good to go.

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              • #8
                When I changed the oil in my '55 E7 the first time after buying it, I put in Shell Rotella 15W40 and a can of STP. I immediately got better oil pressure when the engine got up to operating temperature. I get about 40 PSI running 40 mph with my 224 V8.

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                • #9
                  The manual does give some consideration to low oil pressure " The timing gears are lubricated at low speeds by oil metered through a hole drilled in the valve plunger. This assures lubrication of the timing gears when the oil pressure is not great enough to open the valve" This is from the 53-54 manual Dave

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                  • #10
                    The symptoms K Russell is describing with his '56 Flight Hawk are better than average for that engine and as suggested, nothing to worry.

                    Everyone has an opinion about oils. Yours may vary.

                    My first Stude was also a '56 Flight Hawk with a 185" Champion with worn lifter bores so low oil pressure and worn valve guides which burned oil like a diesel. I thought I was helping it by adding STP, until one cold morning the mess in the crankcase was so thickened, the engine wouldn't turn over fast enough to start. When I did some research into the science of the matter, treasonous though it may be to STP and the Studebaker connection, forever after I wouldn't put STP in my lawnmower if it were free.

                    Also, for thirty years, I was a 30wt Quaker State guy all the way. Then, I had a conversation with a petroleum engineer who explained how multi-vis had improved it all and since then, it's been multi-vis all the way.

                    Bottom line - for most Studes driven mostly in warm weather, 15-40 or 20-50 from any major brand would be what I'd run.

                    jack vines
                    PackardV8

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