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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I was driving the Deathtrap home Saturday evening when I started hearing a knocking noise from the engine. I had been doing around 60-65 (about 4000 rpm) for about 25 miles, when I got into the big valley outside of town - it's a pretty good hill to get back up. Coming up the hill was where I started noticing the knock. I managed to limp it home successfully, and got it a couple miles down the road to my mechanic this afternoon.

Full disclosure: I've been fighting an oil leak for the past few months. I was planning on taking the valve cover off and replacing the gasket to see if it helped, but the weather got cold and so I ran a couple bottles of oil leak stop in it (whatever was cheap at O'Reilly's) and had just been putting bottles of oil in when the light came on.

Anyway, my usual mechanic doesn't do engine repair - he took a listen, and his solution is to try to find me a junkyard engine. According to my brother, this was a crate engine with all of 200 miles on it when I bought it from him - I've only put about 2000 on, so this motor is in bad shape far before its time.

I haven't tested to see which cylinder has the problem, and I really don't have the tools/place/time to do an engine rebuild. I also don't have the Tracker here - I left it at the mechanics, so I can't really do a recording of the knocking.

Anyone have experience with this? Any ideas on what might be wrong (that could be fixed without an engine swap?)
 

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Generally when the oil light comes on, it's too late and damage is being done. That's why they call them idiot lights. Because it's idiotic how they work that way. Unfortunately to my knowledge these cars didn't have a factory oil gauge option. You should be regularly checking the oil, and checking it very often if you know you're losing oil.

A single dose of stop leak is usually fine, but more is not always better. Stop leak softens seals to make them swell up a bit, to seal a minor leak. But keep adding stop leak and making the seals softer and softer and they're probably going to give way and cause a major leak, which sounds like what happened in your case.

Fastest, easiest and probably cheapest solution would be a good junkyard engine. I wouldn't go into this engine without doing a rebuild. Who knows what all damage was done from being run with little to no oil pressure. Really, 2200 miles on this engine?
 

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x2. When the idiot light comes on, the oil pressure is 5psi or less. And the damage is done. Sadly, it would appear that your dilemma stems from lack of attending to your problem when it occurred - in hindsight, you should have thoroughly checked for your oil leak and attempted to repair it. Stop leak mixtures are meant for small pinhole leaks, etc., and normally not meant as a permanent fix. If you don't have tools/place/time, it would appear that your only alternative is a new engine.
 

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Of course the best scenario would be to get an engine you could hear running. Around here a junkyard engine is 700+.sure it may be warranted for meby thirty days or x miles but you likely have to put it in to find out it's no better than what you have.
On the light vs gauge thing,the gauge will show pressure as long as there is any oil,so if you loose pressure it's the same as the light coming on.
 

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On the light vs gauge thing,the gauge will show pressure as long as there is any oil,so if you loose pressure it's the same as the light coming on.
True, but the gauge normally shows the amount of pressure. The oil pressure on the car should be somewhere between 50-60psi at 3,000 rpms. If your oil pressure at that rpm shows 30psi, you know there is a problem, but it may not be a 'disaster' at that point. The idiot light goes on at 5psi, or less - by that time, much damage can have occurred. It would have been better if the light went on at a psi that was below what it should be, but not as low. If you are idling with pressure at 5psi, while low, it may not be too bad. But traveling at 60mph with the oil pressure at 5psi is a different thing.
 

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Before I spent big money on a new motor I think I would do more than have someone with magic ears condemn the old one. If the engine is a crate motor it would pay you to take it to a shop that does rebuilds for an opinion.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Before I spent big money on a new motor I think I would do more than have someone with magic ears condemn the old one. If the engine is a crate motor it would pay you to take it to a shop that does rebuilds for an opinion.
Thank you for this. I got the truck back from my mechanic's this afternoon - I'll probably take the valve cover off next week and see if maybe it's just a stiff lifter or something. I'll also see if I can't track down a shop that does engine rebuilds - the only place I've found so far won't pull the engine, which does me no good.

I love this little truck, and don't want to see it go by the wayside.
 
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