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  1. #1
    Senior Lancista
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    Engine Oil Light comes on in my 81 Zagato

    Hi All:

    My newly rebuilt 1500 mile 2L, now the engine oil light is coming on!
    Had the 1K service and all was OK.

    Gauge shows pressure; however, it is not very good (as is the case with most Lancias I hear).
    The pump was rebuilt in-house and had no issues with it.

    This does not happen unless the engine is hot.
    As we know the engine gets hotter, oil apparently gets thinner - am running 10W-40 - in Portland, Oregon a bit cold now.

    The oil light sending unit connection is not grounded - checked that!!

    As I rev the engine to about 2K the oil light goes off; however, the hotter it gets, it would come back on again.
    Rev it up to 4K and then the light would switch off.

    Keep in mind that the gauge is showing pressure; again it is Fiat Lancia and the gauge sending unit is not very reliable esp when getting older so I'd figure the pressure gauge to be running low - which it indicates.

    No smoke, no increased valvetrain sounds etc.

    Question0: with this set of symptoms do you think it would be anything likely outside of the oil light sending unit?
    Question1: has anyone had this kind of fault on their Oil light sending unit?
    Question2: who/ which company supplies a good quality Oil Light sending unit?
    Question3: who/ which company supplies a good quality Oil Pressure gauge sending unit? Or should I just go after market?


    I dn't want to be driving this around with the oil light being on since if I have a blow out of the oil system, well...... I'd never know till it was toooooo late! I am a PowerUser of this car.

    Thanks! pv2
    Last edited by PAV; 5th April 2009 at 11:17 AM.

  2. #2
    Jim Fierst
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    Re: Engine Oil Light comes on in my 81 Zagato

    My suggestion is to start with the simple tests first.. Remove and clean the oil pressure light sending switch. Use some pressure spray cleaner like throttle body cleaner. Next do the same with the pressure gauge sending unit.See if either changes before replacing them.
    FWIW I have both the stock light and gauge and an extra mechanical gauge I have fitted to the system. When cold the pressure is 60 pounds but when hot the oil pressure is 45 pounds and slightly below center on the stock gauge at 3 to 4K RPM. The light only comes on briefly when starting. The engine was fully rebuilt several thousand miles ago and had an oil pump that was on the tight side of factory tolerances.

  3. #3
    Senior Lancista
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    Re: Engine Oil Light comes on in my 81 Zagato

    Which is easier for you?
    Do you pull out from the bottom or Top (blind)?
    I can jackstand the car, or put up on ramps

    thanks,

    pv2

  4. #4
    Jim Fierst
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    Re: Engine Oil Light comes on in my 81 Zagato

    I have a 79 non-FI car so I don't know if you can get there from the top but that is where I would start. You may have to remove something but the bottom looks like a pain.

  5. #5
    Allen Lofland
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    Re: Engine Oil Light comes on in my 81 Zagato

    Removing the oil presure sender and the oil light sender are a bitch
    Remove the oil filter, then go after the sender of choice. The large pressure sender can be removed with an appropriote size open end wrench that has been shortened with a hack saw to allow a slight swing. I have dobe this many times. The smaller light sender is easier to remove with a proper size wrench.
    My past experience with the 81 and 82 zagato's was the the low pressure LiGHT almost always worked properly would slightly glow once in a while at low idle when hot.
    The Presure guage is very heat sincitive and sounds like yours is as most of them are.
    Pull the light sender, clean it and see but I would get a new one and just replace that one. The large pressure sender is a bit more pricey and vendor oriented.
    As you drive the car if you ever hear upper tappet noise getting lauder, STOP that is the for sure sign your oil has lost pressure but of couce by then your mains have gone anyway

  6. #6
    Master Lancista len_newstrum's Avatar
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    Re: Engine Oil Light comes on in my 81 Zagato

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Fierst View Post
    I have a 79 non-FI car so I don't know if you can get there from the top but that is where I would start. You may have to remove something but the bottom looks like a pain.
    Try removing the grill. It has 3 screws at the top, then lift it up and pull it out. I'm not absolutely sure if you can access the sensors, but I think so. (I had to do that to get the A/C compressor and power steering pump out a couple of weeks ago.) Raise the hood to get at the screws. The other thing that I learned was that removing a body brace (just 3 nuts) can make access to a lot of things much easier.

  7. #7
    Jim Keller
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    Re: Engine Oil Light comes on in my 81 Zagato

    I'll chime in here as requested, <smile>, Like Allen said, just buy a new sensor first, don't bother cleaning only to find it has internal problems and needs replaced after going to all the trouble to get to it, they don't cost much

    I'll back Len up on taking things apart for access, except I recomend removing the strut tower brace and alternator and going in that way, that will give you some work room. I took an extra wrench I had, stuck it in a vise and used my 1 pound mini sledge and torch to bend it over enough to get room to move rather than cutting it off, I also did the same for easier manifold nut access, they have since become invaluable in many other applications as well! ha ha

    Over the years, I have found Beta gauges run up on the gauge on cold oil, once warm at idle, they will sit right at the edge of the red on the gauge and come up when your driving at revs above 2000. This is perfectly normal, if they fluxuate a lot or drop off below the red and the red warning light doesn't come on, the gauge sender is bad. If the red warning light comes on but the gauge is still at the edge of the red, the light sending unit is bad. It is normal for the light to have a slight varying glow at idle, especially at night, and it is even mentioned in the owners manual as this is normal operation. If the gauge is in the red and the light is on, the problem is internal, most likely rod/main bearings but have heard of oil filter causing this problem, although I have never had that on any make/model of car I have ever owned.

    IF your aux shaft was cut and plugged during the re-build, and you find it isn't the senders, I would check the filter first, then the aux shaft, I have heard tell of the plugs coming out if not peened in place.

  8. #8
    Will
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    Re: Engine Oil Light comes on in my 81 Zagato

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Keller View Post
    IF your aux shaft was cut and plugged during the re-build, and you find it isn't the senders, I would check the filter first, then the aux shaft, I have heard tell of the plugs coming out if not peened in place.
    You can use a threaded plug for this, but Eddy Tuason's technique is even better (and simpler) IMO. He just grinds the eccentricity out of the lobe part and leaves the shaft full length, with the original plug undisturbed. I like this approach because it uses only one tool (grinder) and does not rely on any operator skill, no danger of a mis-tapped hole or going too deep and plugging the oil feed to the rear bearing (easy to do if you cut the shaft to the shoulder). not that cutting, drilling, tapping and setting a plug is a big deal to most of us, but the simplicity of Eddy's technique makes it highly error-proof.

  9. #9
    Jim Keller
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    Talking Re: Engine Oil Light comes on in my 81 Zagato

    Totally agree with Will, the grinding off of the lobe is the way to go, but I would think, you need to also consider doing something about balance, maybe not, I didn't.

    But back when I did my first two aux shafts, (the last one, "The Biltmore Project", I paid a machine shop to lathe off the lobe), I just cut, tapped, plugged and then also peened to keep the "threaded" plug from backing out, that was what everyone was telling me to do.....I didn't use a press type plug Will, ha ha, that never crossed my mind to use something like that in a place like that.

    It also never crossed my mind to simply grind off the dang lobe either back then! LOL...I can't remember who smacked me upside the head and turned on that light to be honest, seems it was someone in FLU at a Freakout event, like Dave Shindler or maybe you Will!, those trips are too much of a drunken blurred memory to remember exactly who it was! ha ha.

  10. #10
    Will
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    Re: Engine Oil Light comes on in my 81 Zagato

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Keller View Post
    Totally agree with Will, the grinding off of the lobe is the way to go, but I would think, you need to also consider doing something about balance, maybe not, I didn't.

    But back when I did my first two aux shafts, (the last one, "The Biltmore Project", I paid a machine shop to lathe off the lobe), I just cut, tapped, plugged and then also peened to keep the "threaded" plug from backing out, that was what everyone was telling me to do.....I didn't use a press type plug Will, ha ha, that never crossed my mind to use something like that in a place like that.

    It also never crossed my mind to simply grind off the dang lobe either back then! LOL...I can't remember who smacked me upside the head and turned on that light to be honest, seems it was someone in FLU at a Freakout event, like Dave Shindler or maybe you Will!, those trips are too much of a drunken blurred memory to remember exactly who it was! ha ha.
    The original one is just press fit, as are the main gallery plugs. Since the thing is only about 1/8" in diameter, at 50PSI it would have something like a whopping 1/5 of one ounce of pressure on it.

    IIRC Eddy posted that on the now nearly defunct Lansiascorpion Yahoo group, it was one of several really insightful fixes and it's a pity that group isn't active anymore IMO. I tried to keep that one from going the slow death of the Lanciabeta group but that required some pot-kicking and I was asked to leave by some folks who didn't appreciate that tactic. Unfortunately after running me off not one of the complainers bothered to make a concerted effort to keep the group alive which is really too bad. All water under the bridge but too bad they let it die. Maybe one day somebody will resurrect it.

    I know what you mean about the FLU and Carlisle boozing!

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