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07-02-2001, 02:17 PM
Greetings. FYI this is my first time using a message board. Here goes:

I've got a 911 with an '89 3.2L which has performed flawlessly for the past 3 years. Last weekend, while on a ~1hr drive, the oil pressure guage suddenly dropped to 4atm from the 7atm that it runs normally. I checked the level which, while a little low, was within the acceptable range. I went and added an extra quart just to be sure, which made no difference. I continued to drive, and despite the cool ambient temperature and light throttle usage, oil temperature began to increase until an external cooler was able to regulate it to 100*C. Upon reaching the destination, the engine itself was not found to be noticably warm, and in fact was cool enough to be touched. This suggested to me that something in the oil pump had died, that the oil flow rate was correspondingly decreased, and thus the oil was heating up more while in the engine. I nursed her back home after fully cooling overnight, and since she was due, went ahead and changed the oil. I had been running Redline 10W40, on their recommendation since the car was typically used for short trips and sludge accumulation was a concern. I had also been performing oil analyses every 2k miles and had been seeing increasing lead and copper wear contaminants (20ppm/2kmiles). This possible bearing wear, along with a change in driving needs, promted a change back to 20W50. With the thicker oil I figured that, if something was wrong with the pump such as a failing seal, I should see an increase in oil pressure. I, however, saw no such thing. Oil pressure remained at 4atm, though temperature did not seem such a problem. This lead me to wonder if perhaps one of the pressure relief valves was opening too early. I planned to drop by the shop today for advice, but after siting for 36hrs, I started her up today to find the oil pressure back up to 7-8atm, and no signs that anything was ever wrong. My question, then, is what could have happened, and should I be concerned that it might happen again, to a more severe degree, at a less convenient time?

Thanks much for any wisdom :)

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