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Old 06-18-2013, 02:48 PM   #1
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oil guage showing dead


People,

88 sunbird, guage on instrument cluster shows needle botomed out- below the zero/red zone. I was scared drining, but kept monitoring the engine temp guage, and held normal.....whew!

So, Im starting to poke around to troubleshoot. Gonna check the wire to the sensor, which means I gotta jack up the car. Ant tips on what to look for next is appreciated.

Noq.

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Old 06-18-2013, 03:21 PM   #2
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Check the cheap seat belt idiot reminder for the driver's seatbelt. In GM's infinite wisdom, they used the common ground bus connected to the cheap tin fingers inside the seatbelt at the aeat, which would cause problems from brake light fuse blowing, gauges not working, etc..

Did you use the paperclip trick to see if any codes are showing up? The only other thing would be corrosion in the wiring harness, or just a bad panel.

Now o course the best work around would be to get a add-on oil gauge that mounta to the dashboard, and see if that fixes the problem, same as changing out the sensor also.

If you have not tried a new sensor, checked for faulty wiring, asking here is going to do nothing for you.

Also go pick up the Haynes manual. It has the complete electrical wiring schematics.

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Old 06-18-2013, 03:32 PM   #3
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good tip on looking for stored codes- there was no check engine light on, though. Oh- my seat belts are basic low tech/non electrically connected type. I doubt that could be a source, right?
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Old 06-18-2013, 03:38 PM   #4
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Last time that happened (old chevy) it was the sending unit on the engine---that was a quick,cheap fix---
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Old 06-18-2013, 04:04 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by noquacks
good tip on looking for stored codes- there was no check engine light on, though. Oh- my seat belts are basic low tech/non electrically connected type. I doubt that could be a source, right?
The female end next to the seat has a cheap tin finger that can short out. Foun that out with my '87 Sunbird that I have. Everytime I pressed the brake peddle, with the seatbelt connected, it would blow the fuse.
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Old 06-18-2013, 04:36 PM   #6
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oil guage showing dead


Subscribing to this thread to see what the ultimate fix is.

It's kind of a dumb question but have you checked the oil level in the car yet?

It's unlikely that the car is low and oil or that its even an oil pressure issue given that the car continued to run as long as it did.

That being said I will confess to having seen a buddy drive his work truck that was showing a low will pressure light thinking that it was just sending unit when it turned out to be 3 quarts low on oil.

Oops for him.
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Old 06-18-2013, 05:16 PM   #7
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Geez, feling dumb right now- youre not gonna believe it, but I looked closer at the guage needle, and you know what? The "stop" or resting "pin" that the needle rests on at about oh, 7 oclock position , well, the needle is not resting on it!! Right. Somehow, it did a total loop around, maybe when I disconnected/reconnected the battery, and it flopped clockwise all around to rest at the OPPOSITE side of the resting "pin" !! Sheesh.
Howd that hapen?

So, I had to simply unscrew the clear plastic face shield, and gently move the needle back around counterclockwise.....LOL!!

Sterted car, and fixed! Believe it?

Thaks, people......offf to another thread.....see you there - its my ac.
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Old 06-18-2013, 09:13 PM   #8
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Forgot about that one noquacks. Another quirk of that series of car. Loved the '87 Sunbird, with how the lights were, but hated the OHC engine. The way the engine was set up, the lifters actually floated on the top of the block, and if you blew one, you would lose the rest.

Finally got rid of it, after it died two years, after I had the engine overhauled the first time it threw the third cylinder lifter. Had it for about four years, got rid of it around '93.
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Old 06-19-2013, 06:19 AM   #9
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Thanks, Greg. Wow- never met someone who owned a 1987 'bird! Mine still runs OK. 29 mpg. too cheap to run to throw away!! Was yours a non turbo GT, or a regular model?
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Old 06-19-2013, 07:13 AM   #10
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Glad you got it figured out.
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Old 06-19-2013, 07:27 AM   #11
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Non-turbo model. I loved it. Only got rid of it, due to could not afford to rebuild the head. Bad thing is, I had just put brand new tires on it about three months before it died. Had the head resurfaced, and was waiting on money to buy the camshaft, lifters, etc, and because it had sat so long, ended up getting a notice from the owners of our trailer park, to get it out of there, because it was a "nuisance" by the hoa rules.

Still miss that car. The best thing about it, was that it was the only one of that series besides the turbo, that had that sports car look to it.
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Old 06-19-2013, 02:59 PM   #12
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Thanks for your story, Greg. Too bad they force people to do stuff like that.
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Old 06-21-2013, 06:23 PM   #13
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Non-turbo model. I loved it. Only got rid of it, due to could not afford to rebuild the head. Bad thing is, I had just put brand new tires on it about three months before it died. Had the head resurfaced, and was waiting on money to buy the camshaft, lifters, etc, and because it had sat so long, ended up getting a notice from the owners of our trailer park, to get it out of there, because it was a "nuisance" by the hoa rules.

Still miss that car. The best thing about it, was that it was the only one of that series besides the turbo, that had that sports car look to it.
That's a pretty strict trailer park. Around here the old dead cars just sit around until the next tornado clears the place.
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Old 06-21-2013, 08:27 PM   #14
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That's a pretty strict trailer park. Around here the old dead cars just sit around until the next tornado clears the place.
It was that they were trying to keep out the trash, and plus the owner was a lawyer, so when he took it over from his parents, he got rid of a lot of problems, and I do mean a lot. We even got noticed for my Pug, who would take off running, due to my daughter who was two at that time, would open the door, and not thinking about it, let him out, and he would jump off the top deck at the door and run across the road to the trailers over there.

I finally moved out in 1997, when I gave it to my ex in the divorce, and was glad to have it off my hands and out of there.

As for the car, it had sat so long, and I not having enough money to fix it up, along with the usual young family money troubles back at that time, when things were just as bad as now, I ended up selling it for $250, because I just did not want to deal with having to fix the engine every two or three years.

Those OHC engines that that year had were the worst thing ever invented, next to a few other engines that GM made that have been headaches to mechanics. Hated dealing with it, all the time. If it was not the engine, it was the cooling system. If it wasn't the cooling system, it was the electrical system.

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