low oil pressure after distributor install

low oil pressure after distributor install

Postby frozenice [OP] » May 17th 2018, 7:48pm

I recently did a full tune-up including plugs, wires, coil, cap, rotor and distributor trying to chase down an intermittent rough or no- start condition. After the distributor swap my oil pressure has dropped considerably. On cold start I am around 60lbs, cruising on the highway warm I am at 40lbs, but at hot idle I am dipping down below 20lbs. Before the swap, hot idle was closer to 40lbs. (I know about the 10 lbs/1000rpm rule, but the drop in pressure is what I can't quite figure out) I did swap out the sending unit, oil and filter, but got no change in pressure. Is there a chance the re-man distributor shaft is a little short and not driving the oil pump? Wouldn't I just have no pressure at all? I unfortunately used the old distributor as a core so it is not here to measure against. Van is running fine otherwise w/210k on the clock.
I have searched the site and found a couple similar threads but no resolution has been posted.
Thanks for your time.
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Re: low oil pressure after distributor install

Postby AstroWill » May 17th 2018, 9:38pm

It's either going to be driving it or not. Maybe moving the wiring for the oil pressure sensor did something.

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Re: low oil pressure after distributor install

Postby DentManDave » January 11th 2020, 4:57pm

Did you replace the distributor with a cheaper parts store one? It may be the machining is off enough to allow oil to seep past it. Had a similar issue on a 5.7 in a gm truck.
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Re: low oil pressure after distributor install

Postby Big_kid » January 12th 2020, 1:50am

If you have oil pressure at all, the pump is being driven.

did swap out the sending unit,

There's the answer. If you have any doubts, put an actual mechanical gauge on it for a "real" reading. If you know the 10/1000 rule, you probably know what low oil pressure sounds and feels like.

A distributor would have to be WAY off to not engage the pump. If the diameter was off where it passed through the manifold, it might weep oil from crankcase pressure, but it wouldn't cause low oil pressure.
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Re: low oil pressure after distributor install

Postby Astro Pop » January 12th 2020, 8:17am

It's a long shot but is the new distributor seated all the way down? There's a screwdriver like slot in the bottom of the distributor and has to line up perfectly with the oil pump. If you're off a tooth you could be sitting a little high and only friction is driving the pump. I know... not likely, I'm just spitballin here.
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Re: low oil pressure after distributor install

Postby MechBob » January 16th 2020, 12:27am

LOL I see people responding to a 11/2 year old post. However, for future reference, the distributor on small blocks(well big blocks,also), block off an oil passage. If you got a low quality distributor, that the outer housing was machined undersized, you can have this problem. V8 guys have run into this quite a few times.
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