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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've been having an intermittent problem with my oil pressure light. It comes on about 10-15 seconds after I start the engine, but only on cold starts. Once the engine warms up a little, or if it's warm enough outside, the light doesn't come back. The magic temperature seems to be 60*F, below that, lights, above that, nothing. I also scanned the codes from the ECU and I see nothing oil-related.

I have checked the oil. Not low nor high. I'm running 0w-40, but that's the only VW-approved synthetic that I can find in my area. I checked the filter, not collapsed or clogged. I am using the ECS aluminum filter housing, but I've had it for about 20,000 miles, maybe a little more, and this problem only recently started.

Based on reading/searching online, it seems like this could be caused by one or more of:
1. bad oil pressure sender
2. bad oil pump
3. sludge
4. a bad seal/gasket somewhere


Has anyone else experienced this with the 2.5? Anyone have an idea about this? I have a new oil pressure sender ready to go in, but I really don't feel like taking the whole front end off the car to get at the sensor (it's above the oil filter assembly, so it's either remove the intake manifold to go in from above, or remove the radiator to go in the front). Or should I just drop the oil pan and see what I find? Try running some seafoam and changing the oil? Switching back to 5w-40 per manufacturer's specs?
 

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I've never experienced this but I really can't believe there is a place in the world where one cannot find a VW approved 5W-40.

I think of the possible causes:

1. bad oil pressure sender - most likely
2. bad oil pump - less likely
3. sludge - because of wrong oil
4. a bad seal/gasket somewhere - any leaks?

Also, when VW 502.00 5W-40 is unavailable in local shops and you have no means to order it online then the last resort are API SN/CF and ACEA A3/B4 marks on the label.
 

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You first should measure the oil pressure at the cylinder head. Take off the plug behind the motor mount and put a pressure gauge or a sensor in the M10 x 1 thread.
Doing so gives you a idea about the pressure at the end of the oil supply channel.
After that you make up your mind.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Well I replaced the sender. I dropped the radiator fan which gave me enough room to work. Problem being, the light didn't go away. So either the new sensor is also bad, or the problem lies elsewhere.

I'll try and find someone with an oil pressure tester, or worst case I buy one. Probably worth checking.

As far as oil weight goes, there's a lot of anecdotes of people (including some dealers) running 0w-40 without a hitch, especially in cold environments. So I really doubt that's my issue. It's VW approved, anyway.

I guess after checking the pressure I'll decide what to do next. Though my next attempt will probably be a seafoam treatment before dropping the oil pan and checking for sludge. Give it a nice cleaning and re-seal. There are no leaks that I see, so unless there's a bad seal inside the engine or a pump seal is wearing out, I don't know.

I'm also having a hard time finding DIYs or other tutorials on the oil system. anyone have an oil pump DIY?
 

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have you ever done a crankcase cleaning with seafoam? if you did and didn't pour through the dipstick tube, you probably have a bunch of gunk in your pickup screen. If you are planning to drop the pan, I would plan on replacing the screen, or removing it and cleaning it with brake cleaner. I had a similar problem on my 1.8T's when I had them. replaced the pickup tube and screen, no problems afterwards.

It's a cheap fix, labor intensive, but a cheap fix. I would do that before an oil pump. if it were the oil pump I would expect problems in other places, and not just below certain temperatures.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
have you ever done a crankcase cleaning with seafoam? if you did and didn't pour through the dipstick tube, you probably have a bunch of gunk in your pickup screen. If you are planning to drop the pan, I would plan on replacing the screen, or removing it and cleaning it with brake cleaner. I had a similar problem on my 1.8T's when I had them. replaced the pickup tube and screen, no problems afterwards.

It's a cheap fix, labor intensive, but a cheap fix. I would do that before an oil pump. if it were the oil pump I would expect problems in other places, and not just below certain temperatures.

Nope, this will be the first time I try seafoam at all. Planning to put some into the oil and some into the intake via a vacuum line. I guess now I'll pour a little down the dipstick tube as well. From what I've read, 2.5's have a reputation for being pretty clean, so I never really intended to do seafoam, but at this point I think any little bit of cleaning will help.

I'm really hoping to avoid the oil pump, it's the last thing I'm going to attempt. And I agree, the symptoms don't seem to correlate with a bad pump.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 · (Edited)
Nope, this will be the first time I try seafoam at all. Planning to put some into the oil and some into the intake via a vacuum line. I guess now I'll pour a little down the dipstick tube as well. From what I've read, 2.5's have a reputation for being pretty clean, so I never really intended to do seafoam, but at this point I think any little bit of cleaning will help.

I'm really hoping to avoid the oil pump, it's the last thing I'm going to attempt. And I agree, the symptoms don't seem to correlate with a bad pump.
Ok, put some seafoam in the crankcase and down the dipstick tube. Ran for ~50 miles then drained the oil. Dropped the pan, removed the pickup tube, cleaned both with brake cleaner. There were a couple very very small leaf fragments, not enough to clog the tube and no sludge. However, I did find one small shaving of aluminum. About the size of a clipped toenail, so not clogging anything, but I'm worried about what it came off of. Doesn't seem like a bearing surface, so I'm not sure what it means.

Filled up with mobil 1 0w-40 again, cranked it up, and bingo - the light is back. I'm really losing patience with this. It's more than annoying, it's really worrying me as I've eliminated most of the easy fixes. No leaks, nothing. I'll be getting the pressure checked asap, but I'm not really sure what to do with that information once I have it.

Does anyone have a picture of the plug I should use to check the pressure at the head? I can't make heads nor tails of the bolts there.

The oil pump... is that the mechanism in the oil pan that the pickup tube connects to? If so, I'd be able to replace that myself. If not, I have no idea where to find it.
 

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Yes, it is the mechanism where pick-up tube connects. You can check pictures and how it looks with 07K115105R or 07K115105T. Just google it. This maybe a costly replacement so you might need pressure measurements from experienced people and diagnostic inspections before a final decision is made. Also please :) change your oil to 5W-40, order it on-line or pay somebody to pick it up for you from major cities around. I have one final thought that I am suspecting now. When you replaced your battery last time? Is it in good order now? Do you live in a cold region?
 

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Ok, put some seafoam in the crankcase and down the dipstick tube. Ran for ~50 miles then drained the oil. Dropped the pan, removed the pickup tube, cleaned both with brake cleaner. There were a couple very very small leaf fragments, not enough to clog the tube and no sludge. However, I did find one small shaving of aluminum. About the size of a clipped toenail, so not clogging anything, but I'm worried about what it came off of. Doesn't seem like a bearing surface, so I'm not sure what it means.

Filled up with mobil 1 0w-40 again, cranked it up, and bingo - the light is back. I'm really losing patience with this. It's more than annoying, it's really worrying me as I've eliminated most of the easy fixes. No leaks, nothing. I'll be getting the pressure checked asap, but I'm not really sure what to do with that information once I have it.

Does anyone have a picture of the plug I should use to check the pressure at the head? I can't make heads nor tails of the bolts there.

The oil pump... is that the mechanism in the oil pan that the pickup tube connects to? If so, I'd be able to replace that myself. If not, I have no idea where to find it.



Those are two pictures I have of the oil pump, on the picture from the timing side it is the bottom left sprocket. On the other image the upper oil pan and pickup tube are removed so you can see the pump better.

The port on the head is on the passenger side of the head, think it was a 6 or 7mm allen head bolt that blocks the port.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Those are two pictures I have of the oil pump, on the picture from the timing side it is the bottom left sprocket. On the other image the upper oil pan and pickup tube are removed so you can see the pump better.

The port on the head is on the passenger side of the head, think it was a 6 or 7mm allen head bolt that blocks the port.
ThanksI Bummed that it's on the lower timing chain. IIRC, you have to take off the transmission to get at the lower chain? Or is the pump removable without going that far?

I think I see the allen bolt you're mentioning. I'll give it a go.

My battery is less than 6 months old.

In brighter, but more confusing, news: I started the car twice yesterday and once today with no oil light. Doesn't necessarily mean that it's fixed, so I'm still going to continue checking it out, but there's hope?
 

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I've had it for about 20,000 miles, maybe a little more, and this problem only recently started.
So is this a brand new car you've had for 20K miles? Or, is it a 2005.5? Is it a 2007? Is it a 2008? You should probably give a little more detail on the year/total miles. :thumbup:

Also if there is a Napa in your area, they can get Lubro Moly brand 5w40 and many other VW approved oils.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Any updates on the problem since the last week?
Sorry about the delay. At first I didn't respond because I hadn't had any new developments. Then, well...

I had an oil pressure checker in hand. I had just put a fresh filter and Rotella t6 5w-40 in the engine (not VW approved, but if it'll help, i'll give it a go). As I crank the engine to fill the new filter with oil, I was looking at the dash light up. I see all the lights come on for a brief second, as it does, and I notice:

The light I was looking at wasn't the oil light. The oil light went out after a second, and my problem light came back.

For the past couple weeks, I had been assuming the odd little symbol on the dash was an oil problem. It wasn't. Turns out, it's the coolant light. I check the reservoir, and sure enough the coolant level was *this* much below the min line. A couple ounces of water and G12 later, and bingo. No lights.

So thanks everyone for your help in fixing an issue that I, stupidly, assumed I had. Turns out the error was between the steering wheel and the seat. :screwy:

Tl;dr Make sure you double check the meaning of warning lights before you diagnose the issue.
 

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I read through this thread scratching my head on what the problem could be then I got the last post. :lol:

I have a collection of similar stories, so don't beat yourself up about it.
 

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I greatly appreciate you coming forward with that, because I was just about to start day two of going insane trying to figure it out, and I was also mistaken.

For anyone else ending on this thread, here's a source for the different engine light meanings

 

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I greatly appreciate you coming forward with that, because I was just about to start day two of going insane trying to figure it out, and I was also mistaken.

For anyone else ending on this thread, here's a source for the different engine light meanings

This Hamilton guide is great info. I wish I'd had it when my "battery" light would come on after warm starts and then go out after take-off, and stay off, until the next time I had a warm start (such as in the parking lot of a store). I just assumed the battery was old and ready to die. After it checked out OK, I started thinking that it only came on with warm starts and not cold starts and maybe, the high idle speed prevented it from coming on. High idle speed meant faster alternator and better charging. The car had almost 150K miles on it at the time, so I thought I should go ahead replace the alternator. Yep, that was the problem. After replacing the alternator, I stopped getting other intermittent warning lights, like bulb not working or the cruise control would not turn on.
If I had only realized the "battery" light was really the "alternator" light, I could have solved my problem sooner. Oh well....
 
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