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GMC Forum: 2009 Sierra 5.3L Vortec Low Oil pressure Indicators
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  #1  
Old 12-18-2011, 03:34 PM
ggodwin ggodwin is offline
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Default 2009 Sierra 5.3L Vortec Low Oil pressure Indicators

I have a 2009 Sierra 5.3L. The oil has been changed every 5K miles. A couple changes I may have exceeded that limit and gone past to 8K. But, it has been changed about 15-17 times since I owned it.

This morning I was on a steep grassy incline and suddenly the low oil pressure indicators came on.The oil pressure gauge would fluctuate around 40 based on the RPM then suddenly drop down around 0. Prior to that occurrence, the vehicle was facing front down on a driveway which rarely happens. (not steep at all) Normally, the front is elevated. When I started the engine it had the momentarily engine clicking which it has done in cold weather. However, that noise was momentarily. I drove approximately 2 miles to the steep grassy incline when the problem first occurred.

After the first indicator I moved the vehicle to level ground and evaluated the condition. The engine was indeed low on oil. I added 1 Qt and re-evaluated. The issue seemed to go away. However, after driving back the 2 miles the problem recurred. Through out all of this the ENGINE NEVER made a ticking noise as if it were low on oil.

Anything you can add is appreciated.

Thanks in advance!
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  #2  
Old 12-20-2011, 02:56 PM
ggodwin ggodwin is offline
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Update:
Yesterday I took my Sierra into the dealer and he ran the codes.

Some of these codes are NOT related. However, just for the total picture I will post them also.

P0 Code - Dealers comments
P0521 - Oil PSI Sensor
P0555 -
P0449 - Vent Solenoid
P0442 - Smell (have no idea what smell means)
P0446 - PSI Sensor
P0335 - Crank Sensor

The check engine light was already on because of the fuel tank leak/Fuel cap leaking etc..

I did not have the money to have him repair every issue. I believe I can save a lot of money doing some of these myself.

I did have them fix the issues related to the Oil System. (No chances taken).

They repaired the Oil Pressure sensor.
Approximately 75 miles down the road the problem recurred. As I was pulling off the interstate and the RPM's dropped I noticed the Oil Pressure gauge drop down to around 15 psi. just as I was stopping the warning's came on again to "Stop the Engine" because there was NO oil pressure.

I can tell when the engine is low on oil as the lifters/valves etc.. start ticking/rattling. There was NO sign the engine was in any danger. As I drove the next 150 miles getting home the oil pressure would fluctuate. When the sensors would indicate a pressure drop the the alarms would sound and the lights start flashing. I could get a temporary relief from the issue by turning the engine off and restarting. Today the issue has occurred just one time. However, I have noticed that the Oil pressure is dropping down around the 15 psi mark. Also, moment ago i heard two sounds that sounded like a "back fire" up into a Carburetor. (Air popping noise) on the 2nd pop the Traction Control error came on the truck felt like it was in 4 cylinder mode. This lasted for maybe 1 mile when the truck starting driving normal again.

Any ideas on this issue?
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Old 12-21-2011, 02:20 PM
Rowdy_GMC Rowdy_GMC is offline
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this happen to my truck, the oil pressure would fluctuate a lot. eventually the message " Turn Engine off Oil Pressure Low." came on and that is when i knew there was a problem the truck had been making the noise for about 2 months now even while driving.

Problem is GM has had bad issues with the lifters mine were not receiving oil anymore which lead me to swap the engine completely to a 2009 engine.

Recently my truck just died on me after having the new engine for 5months now its parked and its really depressing. i need help on my post as well.
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Old 12-21-2011, 03:16 PM
ggodwin ggodwin is offline
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I'm not getting any hits on this issue on the site. Another site is giving me some feedback.

My dealer just told me that there are some issues with this engine and dealers need to add a kit and or replace the pictons and rings. It has something to do with oil being sprayed in the lower end under the pictons. (I'm not real sure)

How many miles do you have on yours?
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Old 12-21-2011, 07:51 PM
Wartsnuff Wartsnuff is offline
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wow,

sorry to hear that gents... it used to be pretty normal to get 10 psi or less at idle...

but as soon as you rev the engine it should come back up!

whats the climate like where you live ? cold/warm ?

what oil do you run in the engine ? not brand as much as weight??

sounds like the oil pump is failing, or oil pump pickup is plugged...but i am just guessing

or there is a gallery plug leaking...??? strange nonetheless

good luck
keep us posted
Cheers
Warts
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Old 12-21-2011, 08:28 PM
ggodwin ggodwin is offline
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I got a call from the dealer that did the work on Monday. As it turns out, the service manager is a friend of mine from High School. He told me that there is a problem with these engines that require oil to be shot/squirted into the bottom of the cylinders etc...etc... yada yada yada.

Anyway, there is a service bulletin for these engines that have fluctuating oil pressure that requires a kit be installed. In some cases the kit is not enough and new pistons and rings are required. It sounds like GM did not do their home work with their reliability testing. I am sure we can find the service bulletin on the net some where. The Service Manager said that they would refund all the work that was done replacing the oil sending unit.

After talking to him, I took my truck by the local GMC dealer and explained the long list and details of the failure mode. We made an appointment for the tomorrow to bring the truck in. As I was driving there the truck started running really rough. However, it was a "good" rough. If that makes sense. It never came close to stalling, it was just rough. The skid control lights came on again. The service guy told me that when something goes wrong, many times the vehicle will switch into a "safe mode". It shuts down many of the "systems" and allows the driver to reach safety and not get stalled. The skid control system was simply turned off therefore the indicators gave a warning. The check engine light was blinking at this point. He told me that a blinking check engine light is bad and we should not drive it. As I pulled out to go home the condition came back so I turned around and went back. He gave me a loaner and they will look at it tomorrow.

Update you tomorrow.
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  #7  
Old 12-21-2011, 08:29 PM
ggodwin ggodwin is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rowdy_GMC View Post
this happen to my truck, the oil pressure would fluctuate a lot. eventually the message " Turn Engine off Oil Pressure Low." came on and that is when i knew there was a problem the truck had been making the noise for about 2 months now even while driving.

Problem is GM has had bad issues with the lifters mine were not receiving oil anymore which lead me to swap the engine completely to a 2009 engine.

Recently my truck just died on me after having the new engine for 5months now its parked and its really depressing. i need help on my post as well.
How many miles is on it?
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  #8  
Old 12-26-2011, 06:10 PM
ggodwin ggodwin is offline
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I got my truck back on Saturday and everything seems to be back to normal.

I had several codes in my truck however, they were not related to the rootcause.

This turned out to be the issue that y original dealer informed me about.There is a Service Bulletin for this issue. This WAS indeed covered under warranty. Here is a list of what the dealer did.

Added a deflector (not sure what this is)
Clean the top end with some "cleaner". (cleaned AFM screen)
added 2 gaskets
8 new Spark Plugs
Oil and Filter
cover? (Not sure what this is)

The Skid control was caused my the #6 cylinder mis-fire. The mis-fire was caused by oil creeping into the combustion chamber and fouling out. All was covered under the warranty. I was informed that at some point new piston and rings could be needed.



after this was completed the engine has missed really bad on two occasions. However, it has not done it in 2 days.



The check engine light is still on because I have a faulty evap solenoid that needs to be replaced. I am doing this on my own.
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  #9  
Old 12-27-2011, 08:44 AM
Z15 Z15 is offline
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I understand that this condition is a drawback to the active fuel management (4 cyls shut down). Some engines have the problem while others do not. The exact cause has not been revealed but could be linked to the oil used not being good enough. Note the that new engines are getting synthetic oil although GM just calls it dexos1 but to meet the dexos1 spec the base stock has to be synthetic. Basically what happens is the oil turns to carbon on the cylinders that shut down, the rings stick and oil gets past and is burned. Eventually the cylinder walls get scored and nothing but new rings and pistons will fix it.

Chances are 99% you will need new pistons and rings because all the other fixes rarely work but the dealer is required to jump thru the hoops that GM makes them do. I think if GM admits its one thing then they will end up with a recall and they are avoiding that by blaming it on multiple causes. They will run the customer around for a year or more before they finally fix it.

Last edited by Z15; 12-27-2011 at 08:52 AM.
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Old 12-30-2011, 01:34 PM
lotwsolar lotwsolar is offline
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Sorry to hi-jack this thread and if I should start my own just say so. I'm just shocked at how exactly the same ggodwin's problems are to mine. Quick summery:

2008 GMC Sierra SLT, 5.3 L Vortec V8
220,000 KM (136,700 Mi)

I purchased this vehicle in October 2011 from my dad's business partner who has had it since new (July 2008) so I have a complete service/experience history. In about August 2011 he started to experience the same "low oil/no oil pressure" situation as described by ggodwin. An engine shutdown/restart would clear the issue, sometimes for a few hours other times for a few weeks. Eventually (in about September 2011) he took the vehicle into the dealership as the problem kept resurfacing. At first they told him "engine failure - will need new engine" but then upon further inspection they "cleaned an oil screen" and called it repaired. At first I didn't know what that really meant but upon reading ggodwin's comments I realized they may have been acting on Service Bulletin.

Fast forward to November 2011, a month after I got the truck and all the sudden I'm experiencing "Traction Control Off/Service Stabilitrak" and a rough engine idle. This occurs probably 3 times, and clears itself within minutes of happening. No further investigation, no work done.

Fast forward again to December 2011, Christmas shopping, driving home I experience the same "Traction Control Off/Service Stabilitrak" message as well as rough idle. This time it won't go away. I punch the OnStar button and tell them my check engine light is on and I'd like a diagnosis. They run one and report "random engine misfire". OK. I drive home, misfiring the whole way. The next day (still misfiring) I pick up 8 new plugs and wires and change them up. Truck still misfiring. I call OnStar again, same report: random engine misfire.

So I take the truck to my mechanic friend who scopes it: engine misfire, cylinder #6 (exactly the same as ggodwin). We do a compression test on #6: no pressure. I leave the truck with him and ask him to pull valve covers and get a closer looker. A couple of days later he reports - yup - lifter on #6 is collapsed (you guessed it, same as ggodwin).

Ggodwin: do you know the Service Bulletin number your dealer mentioned?

Rowdy_GMC: is there any documentation regarding bad lifters in the GMC engines? Or is this something that is just common knowledge/rumor/etc?

Z15: Thanks for the info. Is there anywhere I can read more about this?
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