2004 Ford F-150 - Oil pressure drops

My Ford F150 4x4 Heritage Edition has 234256 miles on it and the oil pressure drops then rebounds then bottoms out. There is a light tapping sound then it worsens to a rattle. The oil was changed on Friday and this happened the next day after a 160 mile trip.

Have you checked the oil level? If you haven’t checked it, do it NOW before driving it again! Seriously, NOW!

Is there an oil puddle under the truck? Has the low oil pressure warning light (red) been or flickering? Was the correct oil used when changed?

I changed the oil on Friday, used what the specs called for 5w-20. It isn’t leaking or blowing out or burning the oil. Oil level is perfect.

Install an oil pressure test gauge in place of the oil pressure sending unit/switch, and see what the oil pressure actually is.

It doesn’t sound good tho. Especially with the noise.


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What’s your worse case scenario? I don’t have a lot of wiggle room, it’s my only vehicle and I need a direction to go with it…like to the scrap yard…Ha Ha…

The engine locks up solid. That is the worst case.

Considering that this didn’t happen until you changed the oil, I’d replace the oil filter with a new one from Motorcraft. If, for some reason, a bad filter is causing this, it is a quick and easy thing to do.

The 2nd thing I’d do is what @Tester suggested, test the oil pressure with a mechanical gauge to confirm the readings you are seeing on the dash.

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A very similar thing happened to a coworker of mine several years ago

he performed an oil and filter change on his personal vehicle, using the correct viscosity oil, but a cheap store brand filter

Soon afterwards, he noticed that the oil pressure gauge . . . an aftermarket gauge that was part of a “pod” hung in front of the shifter . . . was indicating very low oil pressure

sure enough, the cheap filter damaged his engine

he wound up pulling a used engine at pick a part on 1/2 price weekend

Then he installed it in his stall, during work hours, which ate up pretty much his entire work day. It was a fwd car, so there was quite a bit of work involved

So that cheap filter wound up costing him a lot of money . . . the price of the engine, a full day’s work, and whatever it cost him to pull the engine at the junkyard

After all was said and done, he never bought store brand oil filters again


Well not only does it lose oil pressure, after approximately 10 mins, it has a rattle that sounds like it is a diesel engine… I don’t have the capability to check the pressure as you suggested…

Maybe some drain holes in the cylinder head are blocked - maybe from oil sludge, maybe from filter material. Removing valve covers and checking may be the next step if a new good filter doesn’t make a diff.

Then swap out the oil filter for a Motorcraft or Wix . . . did you perform the oil and filter change yourself, or did a shop do it?

If a shop did it, go back to them, with the invoice in hand, and explain the situation. Maybe the filters they’re using are bad

And if that doesn’t resolve your issue, you need to rent/buy an oil pressure gauge or pony up money for a shop to diagnose the problem(s)

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