MK1 1.8 low/no oil pressure '97

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MK1 1.8 low/no oil pressure '97

Postby Rustbuyer » Sun Mar 01, 2015 2:05 pm

MK1 '97 1.8, new to me, via my son, engine starts fine , however oil pressure gauge reads 0, erratically fluctuates, tappets rattly.
If left to idle it will on some occasions regain oil pressure and run as quiet as a mouse.
Switch it off, leave it, and the whole scenario starts again. I have run fresh oil through twice, c/w new filter each time.
I am leaning towards a faulty/sticking oil pressure relief valve, just wondered if anyone had any experience of similar issues or could throw a different
light on the matter?
Or should I be looking for a replacement bottom end?,
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Re: MK1 1.8 low/no oil pressure '97

Postby ruggiebloke » Sun Mar 01, 2015 5:12 pm

What grade of oil are you using?
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Re: MK1 1.8 low/no oil pressure '97

Postby drumtochty » Sun Mar 01, 2015 5:50 pm

Due to age of car the oil pressure gauge is just supplied with data from an off switch so I would maybe change the oil pressure sensor that is just an on off switch.

MK1's can be a bit tappety when cold.

If it is worse than that well I'm tending to think the same way as you.

If I remember it is an engine out job to get to the oil pressure relief valve, I have been wrong in the past!
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Re: MK1 1.8 low/no oil pressure '97

Postby gm » Sun Mar 01, 2015 6:22 pm

There are two types of oil pressure senders as shown here on mx5parts :

http://www.mx5parts.co.uk/advanced_search_result.php?keywords=Oil+pressure+mk1

later mk1 cars have the top one which basically indicates that there is 'some oil pressure', earlier cars give a proper analogue signal using the bottom one. The wiring is the same so if you can find an analogue sender in the scrappies and get hold of a gauge from an earlier car, you can swap the two over and get a real indication of what is going on with your pressure. You could recalibrate your existing gauge but it's a pain, much easier to swap one over.

If you had zero oil pressure, would the engine not have seized by now ?
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Re: MK1 1.8 low/no oil pressure '97

Postby Rustbuyer » Sun Mar 01, 2015 6:55 pm

Thanks for replies guys, but I have checked the switch for continuity, my son has an earlier Mk1 import with the real gauge.
The correlation of the pressure being apparent and the clattering stopping is , I fear, unfortunately more than coincidence.
It has not seized as yet, as not under load, just revved lightly to encourage the gauge to move.
I am confident that the oil pressure gauge/indicator (sits above 1/2 way when pressure apparent, back to L when none) is reading correctly, using 10w40.I tried it again this afternoon, pretty sure now that valve has stuck open, doesn't move from L at all now, apart from the odd flicker now and again.

I was considering draining the oil and running with diesel in the sump, at idle for 5 mins, last resort really :shock:, before pulling the engine to either replace pump or entire engine!
Out of interest, would any MK1 engine fit, or would i have to find another 1.8?
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Re: MK1 1.8 low/no oil pressure '97

Postby gm » Sun Mar 01, 2015 8:26 pm

if you do go for a replacement engine the easiest option would be to fit a 1.8, a 1.6 will fit but you would need to swap some ancillaries such as the coil pack, afm, ecu, manifold etc. the big stuff like the gearbox is the same though.

give Fraser down at AK automotive in Newcastle a call for some advice, they build and race mx5s so really know these cars inside out. they will be able to supply you with a good engine if needed, their prices are pretty good too.

http://www.akautomotive-mx5.co.uk
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Re: MK1 1.8 low/no oil pressure '97

Postby Rustbuyer » Sun Mar 01, 2015 11:17 pm

Cheers gm, will give AK a call!
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Re: MK1 1.8 low/no oil pressure '97

Postby mgrays » Mon Mar 02, 2015 6:16 pm

I would check out the sensor .. or get a pressure gauge into the port... if you can borrow your son's "real" sensor .. that would be the pain free way.. I seem to remember that it is a funny thread .. about 1/8" npt but not.. a brass 1/8" npt male + thread tape would seal but not damage the steel thread in the block so might be the way if you have to go with a real gauge; it is only 100 psi so a pressure gauge from compressor or tyre pressure gauge plus some hose and jubilee clips would hold the pressure. Doing something to get this done is a £100 max cost .. fitting a new engine is easy enough (1 day easy) but still a £500 to 750 option (I did get one for £300 but that was going begging.. and it's my spare!)


Tappet noise is real common and it needs flushing agent and maybe even a tappet strip .. do not take that as anything but an indication that the car has been gummed up by previous owners from poor oil, service intervals or heat/hard running.
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Re: MK1 1.8 low/no oil pressure '97

Postby Rustbuyer » Mon Mar 02, 2015 8:12 pm

Thanks for input mgrays, I made a pressure tester using an old switch from a scrapper and a schrader valve from kwik fit, drilled and epoxied one into the other.
Checked pressure using tyre gauge from my compressor and it confirms my initial suspicion of a faulty prv.
I will look around for an engine/bottom end, but would hope to pick one up for less than £300. For £5-700 I would expect not just an engine, but a whole car and some MOT :lol:
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Re: MK1 1.8 low/no oil pressure '97

Postby OldSpice » Mon Mar 02, 2015 9:21 pm

If it comes to it, and I hope it does not, I got an oil tight peach of an 1840cc whole mill from AK for less than £200.00 delivered.
They are good guys..no rubbish.
There is always an imbecile you never bargained for. Usually in a Tescon carpark with a dented Zafira minus hubcaps
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Re: MK1 1.8 low/no oil pressure '97

Postby Rustbuyer » Mon Mar 02, 2015 10:01 pm

Thanks for that Oldspice, I have been in touch with AK, unfortunately nothing in stock at present, but he requested that i keep in touch. The figure you mention was pretty similar to the budget figure I was quoted for an oil tight good running motor. I will most probably remove the engine this weekend, it will have to come out, one way or another!
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Re: MK1 1.8 low/no oil pressure '97

Postby Rustbuyer » Tue Mar 24, 2015 1:34 am

Will be resolving oil pressure issue by a process of elimination:

Eliminating this:
Image[/URL]

and replacing with this,
Image[/url]
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Re: MK1 1.8 low/no oil pressure '97

Postby drumtochty » Tue Mar 24, 2015 9:16 am

As always keep us posted of developments and good luck!
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Re: MK1 1.8 low/no oil pressure '97

Postby OldSpice » Tue Mar 24, 2015 9:59 am

Have you reworked/fettled what you had or is that a different mill?
There is always an imbecile you never bargained for. Usually in a Tescon carpark with a dented Zafira minus hubcaps
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Re: MK1 1.8 low/no oil pressure '97

Postby Rustbuyer » Tue Mar 24, 2015 5:49 pm

Oldspice, decided to go for a whole new engine. £170 for an oil pump against £180 for a complete unit(with ancillaries) , guaranteed 78K, from a '93.
Also I felt that any trace of what may be blocking the prv on the existing engine may return to haunt me.
I will autopsy the old engine, eventually, and find out what caused the fault.

Some of the bellhousing bolts are really hard to get at, grrrr, and as for the starter motor... getting there however. :wink:
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Re: MK1 1.8 low/no oil pressure '97

Postby OldSpice » Tue Mar 24, 2015 8:48 pm

Thanks for that. We await the "Post Mortem" results!
There is always an imbecile you never bargained for. Usually in a Tescon carpark with a dented Zafira minus hubcaps
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Re: MK1 1.8 low/no oil pressure '97

Postby mgrays » Wed Mar 25, 2015 1:58 pm

Rustbuyer wrote:Some of the bellhousing bolts are really hard to get at, grrrr, and as for the starter motor... getting there however. :wink:


I have a couple of long wobble bar 1/2" extension for the top 2 bolts.. it is about 3ft long of extension bars by the time it is done but you can then torque the bolts with torque wrench. The other trick is to jack up front of engine after you have dropped the rear gearbox mount so that the whole assy tilts to give more clearance. Put a block of wood on the sump and use the car scissor jack as it is not a lot of force to tilt it all.

Starter was not that bad I thought.. well had a lot worse.
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Re: MK1 1.8 low/no oil pressure '97

Postby Rustbuyer » Wed Mar 25, 2015 7:59 pm

That's it in and running:
Image



Access to many of the bolts was awkward, however apart from that, it was ok.
Left the gearbox alone, disconnected the bellhousing bolts removed the alternator, radiator and starter.
Removed the coil pack and the CAS sensor and associated wiring.
Disconnected the exhaust at the downpipe and connected the engine to the hoist.
Bottle jack under the bellhousing and out it came.
Had to extend the hoist beyond its so called max lift on the jib , due to not removing the front bumper.
Replaced the clutch before putting in the engine, found out that an aircooled vw flywheel holding tool fits perfectly!

I Will take the old engine apart this weekend.
Image
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Re: MK1 1.8 low/no oil pressure '97

Postby Rustbuyer » Thu Mar 26, 2015 8:46 pm

Removed oil pump to find the prv stuck.

Removed by using a bit of heat and a rawl bolt.

Good side:

Image

Bad Side:
Image

Also found this regards '97 motor:

http://forum.miata.net/vb/showthread.php?t=60543

New motor a '94, phew...The End
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Re: MK1 1.8 low/no oil pressure '97

Postby drumtochty » Thu Mar 26, 2015 9:02 pm

That was your original diagnosis.

Good call and nice to get it right but it would have been nice if the whole thing dd not happen!

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