1998 Chrysler Town and Country oil indicator light

Tiny
ROOUDAV
  • MEMBER
  • 1998 CHRYSLER TOWN AND COUNTRY
  • 6 CYL
  • FWD
  • AUTOMATIC
  • 150,000 MILES
Several minutes after my van's warmed up, my oil indicator light sporadically comes on when i'm in a low idle situation (waiting at stoplight, for example). I've checked my oil and it's not low. I'd like to disable the annoying "tone, " "chime, " "alarm, " or whatever it's called. Can you please tell me how to do this? Thanks!
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Saturday, March 21st, 2009 AT 1:24 PM

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Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
Please don't disable it. It's trying to tell you there's a problem before you blow up the engine.

The first thing to try is a new pressure sending unit. Chrysler had a lot of trouble with them but usually the gauge would read low intermittently and the light would be fine. By the way, these are a pressure switch for the light and a rheostat for the gauge built into one unit.

If you take it to a shop, they will install a mechanical oil pressure gauge to measure the pressure accurately before condemning the sending unit. In that way, they won't sell you the part if it isn't needed.

Oil that is too light (runny) will cause low pressure, as will excessive fuel contamination from a previous starting problem. If you have the 3.0L V-6 Mitsubishi engine, 6 pounds of pressure at idle is acceptable and the pressure sending unit is calibrated to that characteristic. 6 psi is catastrophically low for most other engines. The wrong sending unit would cause the oil light to flicker and the gauge to read low.

With the mileage on the engine, you're approaching the point where the engine bearings could be worn sufficiently to allow the oil to run out too quickly causing low pressure. The good news here is oil is still getting to all the critical points, so it could last like this for a long time.

A worn oil pump can cause low pressure too, but it's not real common on modern engines. The pumps on Chrysler's V-6 engines are bolted to the front, (passenger side), of the engine and are driven by the crankshaft snout. Replacement is generally too involved for a competent do-it-yourselfer.

The chime can't be disabled because it is built into the instrument cluster or body computer which are computer modules. In the past, the chime was a simple, inexpensive, and reliable little box that could be unplugged. Now, manufacturers run everything with expensive, trouble-prone computers, ... And they can't understand why people don't want to buy their cars!

As a first step, unplug the oil pressure sending unit and look at the connector. If it is covered in oil, the sender is leaking and is a clue that it is defective. I can still be bad though if it's not leaking. If the oil pressure gauge stays in the normal range when the warning light is flickering, that's another clue the sending unit is the only problem.

Caradiodoc
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Sunday, March 22nd, 2009 AT 7:25 PM

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