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Dakota w/wierd oil pressure

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Posted by Ludwig on August 05, 2002 at 11:53:28 from (

At about 1900 rpm the 318 in my Dakota seems to give up on making oil pressure, the guauge drops like a stone. Then maybe it'll pop back up on its own, or I'll take my foot off the pedal and it'll come back.
At idle or lower than 1800 everything is fine, above 1900 it never holds pressure but will sometimes fluctuate, and between 1800 and 1900 sometimes it'll hold and sometimes play games.

Oil was last changed 1000miles ago, I change every 3000 religiously, just regular oil, not synthetic.

Another thing, at idle it seems like the oil pressure might be a touch high. It seems like before the gauge would run at about 1/3 of the way up (stupid gauges with no numbers) now it sits about about 1/2 when it drops I'm careful to not let it below 1/4 before I back off the pedal.

I'm thinking a pressure relief valve of some sort is opening up as the rpms get higher and not closing off soon enough or leaking for some reason.
Any ideas?

Unfortunately I had to drive it that way from NH into MA where I live today, about 70mi total with it 90 degrees out. At 50mph it took FOREVER. On the good side I bet I got good gas mileage.

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