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Low oil pressure solved

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I hadn't driven the car lately and took it out for a spin. After it warmed up, I stretched it's legs until the speedo pegged stupid, then i eased out of it for a mile or so and exited the highway. When I got to the intersection the oil pressure lamp lit up and i noticed it was about .3 bar. I could hear my sphincter pull my Levi's into my collon. A quick blip of the throttle brought it back up to 1.5, where it mostly stays. Even cold it doesn't usually make it over 3. So I headed to the house and hit this forum to find what I thought was my best guess as to what is causing this. The top choices seemed to be switching to the hotly contested "right" oil viscosity or a collaped or improperly fitted oil filter. I considered both of these causes and the bad charma my wife continues to throw at me and this car because she just doesn't get it. The correct answer turned out to be the bad karma. She caused the low pressure piston spring to break in the middle and the movement/vibrations allow it to thread itself back together to make a half as long - twice as strong spring, and that apparently will cause low pressure pretty much all the time. I ordered the part from the stealership $8, bought a cool new hat, and once it came in I swapped the springs. It took me little more detective work to find the bolt the spring goes over but once I did it is a 60 second swap. BTW, you can let out a lot of oil in those 60 seconds so be ready. That fixed it. 5 bar at start up, 1.5 at idle, and 3-5 going running thru the gears.

I'm willing to bet there are more of these worn out springs/bad wife karma combos out there so now you know. Maybe the brighter already knew.


Edited by ShaneSaw
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The brass looking bolt is the one. It's about 5" long with a 4" spring over it and a small chrome piston on the end. It's a steady 1/2" stream of Mobile1 while the bolt is out so you have to be ready. Remove the bolt, take the piston off the end, slide the old spring off, slide the new one on, and put the piston on the end. Fight the flow of oil shooting out of the hole you're going back into. Tighten to slightly past snug. (torgue?) Replace lost oil. The faster you move the less to replace.

Edited by ShaneSaw
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I replaced mine when I overhauled the top end on my engine.

It was much less messy a job with the oil drained from the engine.

While I was in there I did the piston, LN billet hex driver, and all of oil pump related o-rings, seals, and gaskets.

My spring was fine after 75k miles.

I've read about this issue on a turbo as well.

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  • 4 years later...
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1 hour ago, KoljaRenn said:

Hi , 


As per German parts manual from 01.08.2016, part numbers , all M96 01-04 engines :


996 107 127 53 Spring

996 107 125 51 Piston






All these parts have been superseded with upgraded pieces:

  • Piston 997.107.125.01 
  • Spring 996.107.127.53
  • Gasket 996.107.123.50

So for less than $20 at retail, you get better low RPM oil pressure.  The new piston also has a bevel on its upper edge as well, and the spring is slightly longer:




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9 minutes ago, wyovino said:

I love to hear about $20 fixes, but can you explain the function of this thing?  Is it an oil pressure sensor?  Is it worth swapping out proactively?


No, it is not a sensor, it is the spring and piston that control the actual oil pressure level leaving the oil pump and entering the engine oil passages.  Fortunately, because of the design of the M96/97 engine, the plug holding the piston and spring in place is exposed on the oil pump, making replacing this a 5 min. proposition.  The spring is slightly longer, which boosts the pressure, and the piston has a bevel on top that keeps it from getting stuck in the bore.  A simple low cost update that make your engine happy :biggrin:

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10 hours ago, wyovino said:

I just noticed that your parts description says 01-04 engines. Mine is a MY 2000. Is there a similar mechanism on the earlier engines?


Yes, these parts will work on a 2000, it uses the same oil pump.  Be sure to also order a new crush ring for the plug that holds it in place.

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