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Just had oil changed at 160k miles. Synthetic. Oil light has come on and then off a couple times. Might it be that oil sending unit?

Also according to mechanic steering rack needs replacing. I've added p/s fluid a few times a year, keep it topped off, avoids that noise. Small drip under car every day. I thought it was oil. But seems to be power steering fluid sprayed all over oil pan, filter etc. P/S resevoir is not low. Bought some Lucas fluid. Question is can I add the Lucas to the p/s resevoir and expect it to circulate through the system after each ride? Maybe add a little bit every few days? If it doesn't work, then go for rack replacment?
 

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Unless you have full confidence in your mechanic, get under your car and see where the drip is actually coming from. Because the rack is behind the oil pan and filter, I'm wondering why a leaking rack would spray all over them. You may need to clean up all the oily wetness, then go for a drive and recheck so you can better find the actual source of the leak. It might be the rack; it might be a hose. My most recent drip turned into a burst PS cooler hose that drained ALL the PS fluid, resulting in my wife calling for a rescue when it was -25°C. I'm happy to report it was relatively easy to replace. I would always rather fix a leak than add a leak-fixing fluid to any of my car's fluids. I haven't researched or used the Lucas fluid you are considering, so can't comment more than I have.
 

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Nothing definitive here except you have a leak from an unknown source.

Your Mechanic says your power steering rack needs to be replaced. Why? Because it has a leak somewhere, that he has found, or because he's running out of work.?

A leak that sprays???, doesn't sound like a small leak. But you say you only have a small drip on the ground every day and the power steering reservoir isn't low on fluid. Based on that, nothing is spraying. Sounds like a seal leaking a bit.

First confirm that it's power steering fluid. Proper power steering fluid is ATF+4 transmission fluid and it smells beautiful. :)

1. Find out the source of the leak.
2. If it's a seal in the power steering, then Lucas may help. It can be added to the power steering reservoir. Fluid is flowing though the reservoir as the power steering pump pumps.

The power steering box on my Jeep has had a small leak for years. Every couple of months, I add some fluid. Lucas has not worked for that leak. The ZF steering boxes just leak, they all do, even the two remanufactured ones I have put on it.
 

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check your oil level and make sure it's good before starting the van again

90% of the time the oil light is on it's just the sending unit
 

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Just had oil changed at 160k miles. Synthetic. Oil light has come on and then off a couple times. Might it be that oil sending unit?
Oil pressure sending unit bad?.... perhaps
The light is based on oil pressure not oil level. When you have low oil level, the light may come on because low oil can also a low oil pressure condition. And sometimes the oil is full and for some reason you MAY have low oil pressure and sometimes the oil pressure transducer (actually and oil pressure light on-off switch) may be worn out and giving a false alarm.

The best way to determine is to plumb in an actual pressure gauge and view what pressure and conditions the oil light illuminates.

Second best is to rig up a test oil pump with a gauge and remove your oil pressure switch and see what pressure it switches on or off.

You could also THROW A PART at it and just change out the switch, but in my opinion, you have a 50/50 chance that it may fix the problem. Are you feeling lucky today? Four leaf clover's a plenty....

A few questions: I assume this light coming on is a new situation since you changed the oil.
Did you put the correct weight (viscosity) oil in your engine?
Does your engine idle pretty smooth about 700 RPM, does the rpm drop off and then you get the oil light?

Baron's advice above is great, check that oil level. It has been more times than I care to know where a grease monkey gets distracted and forgets to tighten the oil drain plug, or a cell phone call rings and they forget to put that last quart in... Always try to check over the other guys work, We are all only human after all.
 

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Synthetic oil will do it every time, mess up the oil pressure sensor. Best to replace the sensor and go back to conventional oil.

Just kidding but bad oil pressure sensors are common and IMO it's best to go Mopar, avoid the Standard Motor Products PS287 unit.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
You guys are always good to talk to. Yes fluid is on the pan and the filter so it doesn't make sense that it would drip from the rack forward. I can see the boots on the rack are shiny wet. Prior to oil change my level was a little low after 4800 miles. I am going to go back underneath and look at the oil sending unit. The front end is clunky but I can live with that and I have been adding P/S fluid for years. Every few months.

The light came on 3 times and quickly off yesterday only. It's been maybe 120 miles since the oil change. I drive this thing every day. I will clean it keep an eye on it and add some Lucas every few days. Apparently that oil pressure sending unit isn't too hard to do.
 

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If you had this vehicle for less than 5000 miles, chances are P.O. used very tick oil.

Cheapest way to diagnose is to replace the oil pressure sensor.

Good luck.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thank you. I am the sole owner and have driven nearly all of the 160k miles. Was synthetic a mistake. I thought it would help at this age.
 

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if you just now made the change to synthetic then it's certainly what's caused the oil sensor to start acting up

my van has been on synthetic for over 10 years, i wouldn't change mine back to conventional as it might cause problems like this due to the chemistry change
 

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Thank you. I am the sole owner and have driven nearly all of the 160k miles. Was synthetic a mistake. I thought it would help at this age.
Synthetic oil doesn't perform any miracles, although some may think so and report so. Longer oil change intervals is the only benefit you are going to get from it. Some conventional oils, like Valvoline Daily Protection, contain some synthetic oil blended in the 5W-20 and 5W-30 grades. Go with 5W-30, the 20 stuff is a North American fad and that fad isn't about durability.

It's often on sale at Walmart here.
 

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if you just now made the change to synthetic then it's certainly what's caused the oil sensor to start acting up

my van has been on synthetic for over 10 years, i wouldn't change mine back to conventional as it might cause problems like this due to the chemistry change

What chemistry change has to do with a pressure sensor? :oops:
 

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I second going with a Mopar sensor.
I replaced the sensor in my Gen 4 twice with an AAP part. both failed in about a year. The mopar replacement cost more, but has been worth every penny.
 

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Never heard that before.
Dexcool and a certain type of gasket failure maybe. Just sayin. Synthetic oil and an oil pressure sensor failure may be a stretch though, but what happens with the sensor anyway, that makes it act erratic and not just fail. Stickiness I guess.
 

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What I mean is, never heard oil chemistry would affect a pressure sensor.

Oil chemistry is different between different brands of oils any ways.

Sensors just fail at any given time.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
FYI, the electrical connector on my sensor is coated in something, oil or p/s fluid. I am going to spray it clean with brake cleaner.
 

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