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"Low Oil" Light

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Old 05-16-2011, 05:39 PM   #1
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Default "Low Oil" Light

i've got an intermittent "low oil" light and it's starting to bug me. If the light comes on when I start the car, it will stay on until I shut the engine off -- no matter how far I drive or how quickly I shut it off. If the light comes on and I immediately shut it off and restart it will go away and stay off.

I have replaced the oil level sensor (was leaking badly) and the engine wiring harness (not for this problem -- solved several other problems though). Any ideas why I'm getting this intermittently? Probably comes on about every 7 or 8 times I start the car.

Thanks!
~ Timothy
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Old 05-16-2011, 05:46 PM   #2
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It's a switch therefore if it keeps coming on it could be getting grounded out somehow...

Dumb question, but how many quarts of oil do you use when doing an oil change?
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Old 05-16-2011, 06:02 PM   #3
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It's a switch therefore if it keeps coming on it could be getting grounded out somehow...

Dumb question, but how many quarts of oil do you use when doing an oil change?
I usually use one of the 5.25 quart oil change jugs and a standard (short) filter. I normally get right at 5 quarts of old oil out of the pan after 3k miles.

If it were an intermittent short, wouldn't the light flicker on and off while driving? It's either on or off, and the only way I've been able to reset it is to shut the car off and restart it.

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~ Timothy
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Old 05-16-2011, 06:06 PM   #4
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It may only be making intermittent communication with the sensor. Mine is unplugged because of headers and Canton pan and would do the same thing until I jumped the plug- Stay on and wouldn't go off unless engine was restarted. Unplug the sensor, jump the plug and see what happens. If it stays off you've pretty much isolated your problem.
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Old 05-16-2011, 06:15 PM   #5
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Sounds like a decent idea...I'll jump it the next time I do an oil change and see what happens.

Thanks!
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Old 05-16-2011, 09:30 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Rainman_11 View Post
i've got an intermittent "low oil" light and it's starting to bug me. If the light comes on when I start the car, it will stay on until I shut the engine off -- no matter how far I drive or how quickly I shut it off. If the light comes on and I immediately shut it off and restart it will go away and stay off.

I have replaced the oil level sensor (was leaking badly) and the engine wiring harness (not for this problem -- solved several other problems though). Any ideas why I'm getting this intermittently? Probably comes on about every 7 or 8 times I start the car.

Thanks!
~ Timothy
Not sure why it is intermittent, but the first paragraph describes exactly what it is supposed to do (when low oil is indicated). Oil level is only assessed at startup and only if the engine has been off a certain amount of time (to make sure oil has drained back into the pan). That is why it won't come back on when you quickly restart. Once the light is on (if correctly indicating low oil), it is not going to go away because a low oil condition is not going to repair itself.
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Old 05-16-2011, 09:39 PM   #7
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If this were my car and I've done all the other work that you have to eliminate any other anomaly, I'd put in the full 6 quarts instead of 5.25 quarts just to see if it cures the problem.
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Old 05-16-2011, 09:53 PM   #8
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If this were my car and I've done all the other work that you have to eliminate any other anomaly, I'd put in the full 6 quarts instead of 5.25 quarts just to see if it cures the problem.
6 quarts is above capacity, isn't it? 5.25 puts me slightly above the full dipstick mark if I am not mistaken. Either way, I rechecked the oil level again and it still reads right at the mark.

Shbox -- thanks for the information. Makes sense that it would be a one-time read signal with a timeout before it would display an error again. Still, cannot figure out why it only happens occassionally. Someone mentioned display/warning light problems as an early indication of charging problems, but I don't think this is the case.

Gonna have to do some more research on this...

Thanks again!
~ Timothy
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Old 05-17-2011, 01:51 AM   #9
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I'm having the same problem with my coolant low level. The light will come on awhile into driving. Probably when the car fully warms up and won't go away.
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Old 05-17-2011, 02:03 AM   #10
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best way to fix them both is bypass them and check your own fluids...

I had the same issues with the coolant and oil light and i just ditched them...I check my car religiously so it wasn't really an issue...
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Old 05-17-2011, 06:37 AM   #11
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Funny...I had the same problem with the coolant level sensor. I drained and flushed the cooling system (radiator, block, heater core, reservoir) and removed/cleaned the sensor. Haven't had a problem with it since. Now, if I could just get the oil level sensor to behave...

~ Timothy
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Old 05-17-2011, 10:03 AM   #12
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My car does the samething. I broke the original when I rebuilt my engine and bought a replacement at vatozone. I'm thinking its just a shitty China sensor that was never any good to begin with. What I do now is turn the key to the on position till the fuel pump cycles on then off, then turn the key off for a few seconds, then turn it back on. Once the low oil light shuts off I click it over to start.
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Old 05-17-2011, 10:55 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MattSapp95_T/A View Post
best way to fix them both is bypass them and check your own fluids...

I had the same issues with the coolant and oil light and i just ditched them...I check my car religiously so it wasn't really an issue...
X2

The oil light issue is an ongoing issue and most of just do without it. Ive heard some folks just cutting the connector off and splicing the two wires together which will turn off the light. When i put my new motor in for some the sensor in the pan i know was bad but i plugged my harness into it and its not lighting up on the dash but is tripping a code so go figure that lol?

The coolant light is also another common issue mine i just unlugged it from the rad and problem solved it doesnt really have any use as you should be watching your dash to see if it spikes.

The oil should be checked on a normal routine so the switch is not needed and most of us on here are modded so its common sence to check. The coolant as i just stated should be something to keep your eye on all the time.
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Old 05-17-2011, 11:19 AM   #14
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dont over fill your car, just check your oil level 1 a week, like every sunday.
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Old 05-17-2011, 10:18 PM   #15
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I broke the original when I rebuilt my engine and bought a replacement at vatozone. I'm thinking its just a shitty China sensor that was never any good to begin with.
I have the same sensor...wonder if they are defective from the manufacturer...
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Old 05-17-2011, 10:55 PM   #16
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Convinced the oil level switch is common on ALL LT1s. My Imp SS will no longer have a switch connector after the next oil change. Doing as suggested earlier... jumping the wires. I check my oil every other week (as often as I drive it).
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Old 05-18-2011, 12:18 AM   #17
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This oil level switch was used in many GM cars from 1992 through 2002 including the 98 and up F-Bodies.

Neither my 94 or 99 Firebirds had the problem listed here. I still suggest going to six quarts JUST AS A TEST to see if the problem goes away. The owners manual puts the oil capacity with filter at 4.5 quarts. I suggest doing this test to be absolutly certain the oil level is above the sensor. You don't even need to run the engine to do this.

If slightly overfilling it doesn't cure the problem, you may have a bad oil level sensor-even if it's new.

The oil level sensing system that GM put on millions of cars works. There's no reason to think it's always bad and should be eliminated/bypassed. This is a system that generally works well.

This is from a GM operations/service guide:

"PCM checks engine oil level during engine start-up. If oil level switch indicates oil level is low, PCM will send this information through the serial data to the Instrument Panel Cluster (IPC) to illuminate the "Low Oil Level" warning light. Oil level is checked once per ignition cycle and also after
ignition is turned off to allow oil enough time to drain back into oil pan.
"

Going with this description, I'm thinking it's possible that, for some reason, during cranking your oil level is dropping very low. Do you have a high volume oil pump in this engine?
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Old 05-18-2011, 09:37 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rainman_11 View Post
I have the same sensor...wonder if they are defective from the manufacturer...
I bought one from Advanced and they are shitty to, I ended up just getting one from gmpartsdirect and works great
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