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Discussion Starter #1
My wife had the oil changed about 3 weeks ago on her Nitro and we started having a slight "dry" start in the mornings, pretty much immediately(Damn Valvoline!!)...I checked the levels and added some Lucas oil additive. About 4-5 days ago the oil light started coming on intermittently while dinging and flashing, then staying on for a while. Fluid levels were still good so I changed the oil pressure sensor...To no avail~ Yesterday the oil light stayed on almost consistent all day, then started sounding dry, which I'm assuming oil pump? What's my next step/Any thoughts, suggestions? 2007 3.7L 4x4....Thanks in advance!
 

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Khaki Nitro Nut
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Welcome to the forum trishias07nitro.

When you have a chance, head over to the Newbie Section and say "Hi".
Tell us a little about yourself and your ride.
That way we can welcome you all proper like.

I agree with 07blacknitrosxt, Change out the filter, top it off and see how it goes.
Get back to us if that does not solve your problem.
What viscosity oil did they put in it? SAE 5W-20 is what the 3.7 uses.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks for the replies! Actually went ahead and changed the oil and filter yesterday and added a little SeaFoam just to be safe...Checked the O.P.Sensor/Switch connection as well. Not 100% sure what weight they used but I'm not going to bet they actually even changed the oil...It looked a little thick and the color of a strong coffee! I replaced it with a semi-synthetic 5/20 and Mopar filter...Started good and ran nice and clean for the first 15 to 20 minutes but the light chimed a couple of times when I went to park, and was back at it this morning when I used it to run an errand this morning. It did not sound like it was running dry or anything this morning so I'm hoping to check the level to make sure it doesn't just need to be 'topped' off...I'll let you know how it turns out, but I don't know if the light/chime is activated on a low level situation?
 

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Khaki Nitro Nut
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I'd try replacing the filter again. It may have plugged up if the oil was too thick/dirty. Not a common problem but I have seen it happen in extreme situations.
Low level oil will cause pressure drop and the light will come on.
 

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How many miles are on the engine?
 

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Discussion Starter #7
How many miles are on the engine?
129k on the mileage...Went ahead and replaced the filter again, as I had to remove the reservoir anyways chasing down a transmission cooler line leak~ Every time I think I've got it licked, well...Not so much :-( The weird thing on the oil pressure is this...A few times I have started it in this process and it gets a dry rattle but nothing extreme...just kind of like it hasn't had its morning java yet. Read in one of the forums that to reset the oil "change" message, to turn key 3 times w/o starting and then press the accelerator 3 times to the floor. Don't know the validity of this, but it does coincidently reset the oil pressure light and allows a smooth start without the "dry cough".? The other thing that happens, is if I rev the engine a little(when the light is NOT on), the oil pressure light will chime and flash once at around 2500 rpm....Leads me to think that maybe the oil pump is "weak" and under the increased load it has maybe a gasp for oil, hence the drop in pressure. Speculating of course, as logic is about all I have to work with since the Nitro folks like to keep all the paper knowledge to themselves ;-)
 

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129K is low mileage for an oil pump problem. What about a partially clogged pickup screen or a restriction somewhere in the system? I read one place that Kreen oil flush is a good product. Maybe the simplest solution is to try and flush the system.

The second step would be to remove the new oil pressure sensor and set up an actual oil gage. What is the psi at idle?

You didn't mention a check engine light. Has the truck set a code of P0522 Oil Pressure Too Low?
 

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Some Paper Knowledge: Per page 9-1896, 2008 Dodge Nitro Factory Shop Manual

CHECKING ENGINE OIL PRESSURE 3.7 V6

  1. After removing oil pressure sending unit, install oil pressure gage
  2. Run engine until reaches normal operating temperature and thermostat opens
  3. Oil Pressure at curb idle should be 25 kPa (4 psi) minimum
  4. Oil pressure at 3000 rpm should be 175-758 kPa (25-110 psi)
  5. If oil pressure is 0 at idle, shut off engine. Check for clogged oil pickup screen or a pressure relief valve stuck open.
The flush might cure both of the problems in step 5. Also, 25 psi at 3000 rpm seems low to me. I would have expected at least 50-60 psi, but I didn't engineer the motor.

Per page 9-1907, 2008 Dodge Nitro Factory Shop Manual

ENGINE OIL PUMP
  • Oil Pump Pressure Relief Valve and spring should not be removed from the oil pump. If these components are disassembled and or removed from the pump, the entire oil pump assembly must be replaced
  • Removal of the oil pump requires removal of oil pan, pickup tube, timing chain cover, timing chains and tensioners, and finally the oil pump itself
In other words, the job ain't like a Chrysler big block, where the pump was mounted outside the engine block and easy to get to. Hope your oil pump is OK.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
129K is low mileage for an oil pump problem. What about a partially clogged pickup screen or a restriction somewhere in the system? I read one place that Kreen oil flush is a good product. Maybe the simplest solution is to try and flush the system.

The second step would be to remove the new oil pressure sensor and set up an actual oil gage. What is the psi at idle?

You didn't mention a check engine light. Has the truck set a code of P0522 Oil Pressure Too Low?
No CEL...At least not at this juncture. Had one off and on(it gets jealous if the TPMS light gets more Glow time than it! LOL), but was not giving me an actual code when I checked it, just dashes. It reset and cleared once I removed the battery to swap the oil sensor. Anyways, I think I'll try the flush in the morning...still getting the intermittent Chime and oil light flash sporadically today. Hopefully if something is in the pickup screen, I can get lucky and it clear out...Not sure of the psi though, without installing an actual gauge...Next step I suppose if the flush doesn't work. Will keep you updated...and Thanks Again for the help guys. The oil pump info ^^^may come in handy 2011Knight~ Big Thanks
 

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I hope the flush works too. Look forward to hearing the results.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Sorry for the delay...Been a busy couple of weeks, but wanted to give an update. Ran a bottle of motor flush through the engine and changed the oil ...Went back with a Mopar filter and Castrol 5w20 High Mileage synthetic Blend. Sounded great and ran great until the last couple of days...This morning was around 45-50 degrees when I went to leave for work and the oil light came on at start and continued to flash while I was warming it up. I stopped the engine, turned the key 3 x and pressed the gas pedal 3 x and started it back....Hasn't came back on since, with me driving most of the day so far. Not sure where I go from here...Could be something in the pick up screen in the pan, but it is so sporadic it's hard to say at this point...I don't suppose it will be an easy job to drop the pan to inspect it as I believe I read somewhere that the engine has to be raised to gain clearance, but I'll have to do a little research on it....Good Times! :cool:
 

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Hi, great to have an update on this, i personaly would now have the oil pressure checked, as i have no faith in garage mechanics, i would go out and buy a oil pressure gauge and do it myself, very easy to do, and would probably work out cheaper than paying a garage mechanic.
OR, i don't know if you have many Mobile Mechanics in the USA, but if you do, at least you can Watch them carry out the test at your home.
if you do have low oil pressure then you need to sort it ASAP.

just my thoughts.
 

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Are the "Dry cough" and other mechanical noises still present?
 

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Discussion Starter #16
I've had one to two starts that were a bit dry for maybe 5-10 seconds long, but all in all, 90-95% of the time, post flush, it has ran quiet and sounded very smooth. A couple of instances on a hard stop or maybe idling in traffic the light has lit/chimed but hasn't stayed on for any amount of time... Probably test with the pressure gauge next step... Have to start chasing a transmission coolant line leak as well, so no time like the present I suppose ~
 

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Strange it is only intermittent. Almost like the pickup tube is not all there.
When you tap on the bottom of the oil pan can you hear any rattling?
Could try draining it again and looking into the drain hole. lol
 

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I still think the oil pressure test is a good idea. There's no better way to see what your engine is actually doing with oil pressure.

Since 3 weeks after an oil change, the Valvoline looked like strong coffee, I'm concerned about dirt and contaminants putting wear on the main bearings as well as other points where tight clearances help maintain oil pressure. Low oil pressure at idle, especially right after stopping at a stoplight, is a classic sign of internal engine wear.

An old trick that works in Dodge, Ford, and Chevy V8s that are worn internally is too move up one level in oil weight. A lot of the old V8s used 10W40 from the factory. When the internals got worn, people would step up to 20W50 to get rid of oil pressure lights at idle. I used this trick with multiple old Dodge trucks. If all else fails, rather than tear down the engine, you may want to go from running 5W20 to running 10W30. I realize people will get angry over this suggestion, since it's not stock, but it is a way to keep a vehicle with a worn engine on the road a little longer. If 10W30 gets rid of the oil pressure lights at idle, you will know that wear is an issue.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Strange it is only intermittent. Almost like the pickup tube is not all there.
When you tap on the bottom of the oil pan can you hear any rattling?
Could try draining it again and looking into the drain hole. lol
Don't think I didn't think of that(Looking into the hole that is!) ...LoL! Actually tapped on the pan when I was draining it this last time...Sounded pretty solid, no rattle at all.
 

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I still think the oil pressure test is a good idea. There's no better way to see what your engine is actually doing with oil pressure.

Since 3 weeks after an oil change, the Valvoline looked like strong coffee, I'm concerned about dirt and contaminants putting wear on the main bearings as well as other points where tight clearances help maintain oil pressure. Low oil pressure at idle, especially right after stopping at a stoplight, is a classic sign of internal engine wear.

An old trick that works in Dodge, Ford, and Chevy V8s that are worn internally is too move up one level in oil weight. A lot of the old V8s used 10W40 from the factory. When the internals got worn, people would step up to 20W50 to get rid of oil pressure lights at idle. I used this trick with multiple old Dodge trucks. If all else fails, rather than tear down the engine, you may want to go from running 5W20 to running 10W30. I realize people will get angry over this suggestion, since it's not stock, but it is a way to keep a vehicle with a worn engine on the road a little longer. If 10W30 gets rid of the oil pressure lights at idle, you will know that wear is an issue.
Interesting thought 2011KNIGHT...I do intend to do a pressure test on it and if it persists, I may try the step up in weight...Worth a shot I suppose. The engine sounds good and smooth other than the instances at startup, or the occasional occurance with the "low" pressure. It's definitely 90% better since the flush and 2nd change, but it is still having those intermittant occurances...Definitely seems to be an issue on the few colder mornings that we've had here recently.
 
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