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Oil pump problem, Dodge 3.9 V6

3.9 V6 I lost oil pressure, I check the dip stick there was oil in pan, tried starting truck a few days later. It clicked like lifter noise. But then I got 40 pounds of oil pressure, I was going to change sending unit. but now its got oil pressure. let it sit a few more days, started it up no oil pressure, idiot light came on, clicking not rapping. shut it off try starting it a few more times 3rd try I got oil pressure. I dont know were the problem is sending unit or is it oil pump? I dont want to spend money on sending unit if it won`t correct problem, what could cause this to happen like that?

What year is this Dakota?


Oil pump failure is EXTREMELY rare… Pressure sending unit failure is very common. Start with the cheap, common, stuff first…When is the last time you CHANGED your oil??

Well, the sending unit might not read the oil pressure correctly, but with the lifters clicking, you probably didn’t have any oil pressure. Could it be that the oil is so dirty that it plugged up the oil pump screen? Or the pump is failing?

If the clicking only occurs when you show no oil pressure, it can’t be the sending unit. It sounds like a clogged oil pump screen or a worn out gear on the oil pump that is sometimes meshing and sometimes not

Sorry its a 1994, the truck is a work truck, only used it last fall, then used it a few times last winter, then parked it, only start it every other week. I think it only gets 500 miles use each year. Yes it has oil in the oil pan. If its a plugged oil pump screen would something like Seafoam help to unplug the screen, or just make it worse? The motor only has 77k on it, its a Dodge Dakota SLT 4x4 extra cab.

Thanks for all your replys

The fuel injectors on my 95 Dakota 3.9 made a clicking noise, but it was not loud. Here is a good Dakota forum. The folk here were helpful when I had my Dakota.

Ed B.

I’ve seen (but only once) a piece of debris get wedged into the oil pump pressure relief valve - causing low oil pressure. I’m not saying this is your problem, but if your oil pressure was good, then gone, then good again, keep this in the back of your mind.

As others have noted, it may be wise to check the oil pump pickup screen.

A friend of mine has the same problem with his '03 Dakota V6. He had neglected changing the oil and I told him it could be plugged up. He took it to a mechanic who told him he was not getting oil from the pump, but he wasn’t sure why. They are cleaning it up, replacing the pump and hopeing it will still run. We’ll see.

The pressure sender is about $15 or $20…Change it!! I have a feeling the valves will be clicking on THIS truck even if it had 100 PSI oil pressure…Read the OP’s posts…

I would take it and connect a oil pressure gage to check to see if it is your oil pressure dropping or what is going on. Has the valve cover or any other top engine work been done on the truck that might have dislodged any debri so it would drop down into the oil pan? If so you may very well have a blocked oilpump screen. If you have debrie in the oil pan it could cause it to plug off your sreen then when you start and shutoff your engine your oil may thin out enough that the debrie might fall away from your screen.

I would give the SeaFoam a try.

The oil pump has a pressure relief valve. If this pressure relief valve is getting stuck from gum and varnish the SeaFoam will remove this gum and varnish freeing up the valve.

If that doesn’t work, then there may be a problem with the pressure relief valve or the oil pump shaft gear may have a worn section of teeth.


The lifter noise will go away when there is oil pressure, Ive never had a lifter noise problems before, motors aways ran strong. Ill try the Seafoam I`ve used it before but, never put it in the oil pan, I know it has many uses.

Thanks again

Yes it has oil in the oil pan. If its a plugged oil pump screen would something like Seafoam help to unplug the screen. Ive had the same problem before with my dodge then my friend advised me to try asking about Dodge repair questions what should i do to prevent it. they helped me fix it by myself without spending that much.