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Old 03-15-2011, 06:48 PM   #41
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So I've seen this before as well. It may or may not be the problem, but this is my strongest guess...

I sold a set of gears to a guy who was having his motor assembled in Indianapolis, hey, that was me! allegedly these people made F1 engines that won races from lego blocks or whatever. So they were infallible... I don't know about F1 engines, but apparently they do a lot of spec miata stuff...not sure how they stay in business though with their shitty QC The gears all say that they are drop in, but I tell people to check them against their housing anyways. This makes sure people put them in the right year of housing, and that the housing is not worn. The shop said they did check it in the housing, and they bolted the pump up to the block filling it with an assembly lube as they went. The shop didn't check side clearance in the pump housing, though he claims to have checked radial clearance. He fucked up by putting an oversized VVT pump on my '94 block, and then dropping in the correctly sized NA gears. The assembly lube acts as a super primer, your tolerance in your oil pump could be off by an 1/8th inch and it would prime and pump (no really verified!)

What had happened is that they inserted my oil pump gears into the wrong style of housing, so they were literally nearly .1 inches of clearance (.085 clearance IIRC, not very far above manufacturers recommended max) . They alleged that they had tested the gears in another housing and then switched them into this better housing for final assembly(right...). The heavy assembly oil got things siphoned up the tube, and got the oil flowing. Once the oil is up in the gears the viscosity of the oil itself is strong enough to create the seal and keep it working. Once you turn the vehicle off and drain it of all oil the air doesn't have enough viscosity to suck the oil up the tube again. These means the pump never primes, so you get the infamous one shot wonder oil pump. You could verify this by putting your Miata on a steep inbankment and letting the oil flow down onto the oil pump and then turning the engine on. This should properly prime it for operation and it will work again. The oil pump actually emptied of oil while it was sitting. 20 or 25 minutes of sitting after running was enough to drain the pump. I verified that it was the oil pump by removing what I consider a *priming plug* on the oil pump, forcing oil into the hole, closing it up, and starting the car. By doing this, I would get oil pressure again.
So what I would do is go in and check the width clearance in the housing. Width clearance should be less then or equal to .06 (manual says .055 but .06 is fine) Radial and tip clearance are important, but only for total oil flow not for menial pumping and priming operation. Besides if there was something wrong with those clearances you would see it!

Thats my best guess, break out the plastigauge!
OP, I'm glad a shitty builder isn't the cause of your problem!
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Old 03-15-2011, 07:21 PM   #42
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Sorry for your loss! Please stay tuned for the following epic message.
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Old 03-15-2011, 07:32 PM   #43
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Did you actually take apart the relief valve? The picture that you took is the bottom of the relief assembly and pressing in that area does not mean anything. In your second picture, the hole on the bottom right by the outer gear, you should see the plunger there. I.e. that hole should be fully blocked by the plunger. Is it?

--Ferdi
I don't know who you are, but thank you. I wasn't looking in the right place at all. The plunger was stuck at the very top. See pic, it was seized there!!!!!
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Old 03-15-2011, 07:49 PM   #44
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So, you took out the cotter pin and the spring came out, but the plunger remained stuck? If you haven't yet, the spring is pretty strong so make sure it doesn't fly away. At the position it is in that pic, the bypass opening is pretty small - not big enough to cause zero oil pressure, I think. The plunger presses against the spring and as the oil pressure goes up, the opening becomes bigger to bleed off the excess pressure.

--Ferdi
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Old 03-15-2011, 08:54 PM   #45
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So, you took out the cotter pin and the spring came out, but the plunger remained stuck? If you haven't yet, the spring is pretty strong so make sure it doesn't fly away. At the position it is in that pic, the bypass opening is pretty small - not big enough to cause zero oil pressure, I think. The plunger presses against the spring and as the oil pressure goes up, the opening becomes bigger to bleed off the excess pressure.

--Ferdi
Thats right, took out cotter pin and spring. Plunger remained stuck right there. Stuck a small eyeglass screwdriver in that little opening and i couldn't even get it to move without fear of breaking the little screwdriver. You're are right though. Its not much of an opening...but I had no oil pressure, and its seized, so i'm taking that as the problem.
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Old 03-15-2011, 08:56 PM   #46
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check your oil squirters if one has cracked or failed then you wont be able to make oil pressure.
squirters are all still intact and tight on the block.
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Old 03-15-2011, 08:58 PM   #47
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took out rod bearing #3 and #4. they both looked good...some white hazing on them but nothing special....

Took out rod bearing #1 as well just the cross check against a known good bearing and it looks the same.

From those methods...i'm assuming there is no internal damage and i'm good to go.

Time to order new pump.


TRAVIS, answer your pm or I'm buying a VVT oil pump.
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Old 03-16-2011, 12:44 PM   #48
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Thats right, took out cotter pin and spring. Plunger remained stuck right there. Stuck a small eyeglass screwdriver in that little opening and i couldn't even get it to move without fear of breaking the little screwdriver. You're are right though. Its not much of an opening...but I had no oil pressure, and its seized, so i'm taking that as the problem.
The only reason these things get jammed is because the block was improperly cleaned. If it is that, it could be there is more material lurking in there that could jam a fresh relief valve. Doesn't take much, its a horrible design. We have designed an updated relief valve that can't get stuck, but its not tested and isn't out yet...
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Old 03-16-2011, 02:13 PM   #49
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The only reason these things get jammed is because the block was improperly cleaned. If it is that, it could be there is more material lurking in there that could jam a fresh relief valve. Doesn't take much, its a horrible design. We have designed an updated relief valve that can't get stuck, but its not tested and isn't out yet...
Brake cleaner, it will be used, unsparingly.

EDIT: Get on that relief valve!!!!
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Old 03-16-2011, 09:55 PM   #50
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OP, I'm glad a shitty builder isn't the cause of your problem!
Yea I didn't mean any of it offensively. I just know what happens when someone puts a gear in thats out of width spec for a housing I am actually kind of glad I got tangled up in it. The more information I have the better! Everything is working great now I take it?

Best,
Travis
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Old 03-16-2011, 10:43 PM   #51
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Yea I didn't mean any of it offensively. I just know what happens when someone puts a gear in thats out of width spec for a housing I am actually kind of glad I got tangled up in it. The more information I have the better! Everything is working great now I take it?

Best,
Travis
I'm still seeing oil pressure drop at high RPMs (it holds 60psi near the redline when hot, and at about 6900rpm it drops to about 40psi pretty quickly, then to 20psi or so at about 7100rpm) that I'm not quite sure of, but oil pressure is solid otherwise (I'm still using the stock OPG - haven't found a gauge solution yet that I like to put aftermarket pressure/temp gauges into, so I'm slowly building my own). It re-primes for about a second and a half every time I start the car, which is exactly how the bone stock '93 I bought for my mother works, so I expect that it's supposed to happen like that. I think I should be looking for an oil filter with a better anti-drainback in it, but I'm using the napa gold which seems to be highly recommended for our cars every time I search for oil filters.
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Old 03-17-2011, 12:29 AM   #52
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I'm glad you found the problem and are on the way to fixing it!

There is a good lesson in this thread. You posted about a common problem, and all of the initial responses pointed to a problem with the pressure relief valve. Some people offered exotic reasons for the problem, but at the end of the day, the most simple explanation was correct.

I have been through oil pump issues myself, it sucks.

Things to consider:
1. Successful, experienced engine builders would never take an off-the-shelf part and install it without inspecting it themselves. Every company is capable of sending out a part with a manufacturing defect or assembly error. That goes 1000x for oil pumps, and yes, even from trusted sources like Mazda.
2. Successful, experienced people learn from their mistakes and do not repeat them.
3. We should all strive to be successful, experienced people, even if we're not.

So, when your new pump arrives...
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Old 03-17-2011, 08:30 AM   #53
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Thank you for the those wise words.

Everything will be inspected thoroughly before if it put back in of course.

On the plus side, this gives me the opportunity to redo my oil return line directly underneath the turbo as it should be. I'm ordering a 1/2" fitting the the return on the turbo and getting a 1/2" fitting welded onto the pan for a steel braided line. Right now I just have a rubber line curving to a bung under the AC bracket.
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Old 03-28-2011, 09:36 AM   #54
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UPDATE.

Here is it running (with oil pressure)...motor is shaking pretty bad because it is simply hanging on the chain... no subframe is re-installed yet.


Here she is back on her feet. Need to make myself a bracket for the COPs and a Heat Shield. Should be good to go tunning right after that.


It's about -5 degrees (23 degrees in American) outside so working on it in my non insulated garage was a PITA and can no longer feel my limbs.

Just wanted to send a big thank you to everyone who helped me with this. I couldn't have done it without you guys. Fooger, Ftjandra, Magnamx-5 and especially Travis over at Boundary for the amazing quick responses and eagerness to help. If I forgot someone sorry!
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Old 12-25-2013, 01:38 AM   #55
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First off, sorry to resurrect such an old thread. After scouring the internet, this is the closest thing I could find to the problem I am having with my 99.

Basic rundown: I was drifting my car at an event (Turbo 99, Stock motor) about a month ago and late in the day I began to lose oil pressure. I had never really read up on the stock gauge (which was a big mistake). What was happening was that when I pulled in to the pit and let the car idle, the gauge would go to zero. Under ANY throttle it would kick back into regular position. At the time I figured it was an electrical issue, now I know the truth however....that I was most likely running low oil pressure for the rest of the event and the entire 3 hour drive home (yea yea I realize how stupid I am).

So once the car got back in my garage at home, it sat for a month. Then this past week I pulled it out of the garage and the gauge didn't budge, even under throttle. I made the mistake (like I said I feel like a dipshit now) of letting it get up to temp a couple of times and drove down the street to try and get the pressure to kick on (still thinking it was a malfunctioning gauge). After that failed I pulled it in, and replaced the pressure sensor. Nothing. Left the sensory out and started the car to see if the sensor was getting any oil. Nothing. Pulled the filter thinking maybe the filter was clogged. Nothing. No oil even getting to the filter. At this point I am beginning to realize what a colossal dumbass I am and basically just accepting the fact that my motor is toast. That is when I found this thread.

I drained the oil and sifted through it for metal shavings. Although It looks very metallic, I only found a few large shavings (2 mm shavings). Here is a video. You can really see how metallic it looks at the end. Sorry for the vertical filming. I am also attaching a pic of the shavings I found.

Once I found this thread I decided it is most likely the oil pressure relief valve. Blows. So basically I am wondering a couple of things about my situation:

1) How badly damaged is my motor most likely Time for rebuild? (Engine has 118k miles on it)

2) I have heard of putting 3 quarts oil, 1 quart tranny fluid in a motor to try and get gunk out. Would there be any hope whatsoever that this would work for releasing the relief valve?

3) Where do you buy a new stopper, spring, and cotter pin for the valve? I have looked around and cant seem to find them anywhere. At least not specifically for a 99 miata.

4) Can I repair the relief valve just by pulling the pan or do I have to pull the crank pulley as well?

5) Would it be a better idea to just replace the entire pump?

Any help/opinions are appreciated.


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Old 12-25-2013, 11:19 AM   #56
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Where are you located? I have a few engines for sale in NC......I think it is time for a new one!
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Old 12-25-2013, 02:05 PM   #57
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I am located in Nashville at the moment but I am about to move to Atlanta. Is it really THAT bad though? I knew I definitely did some damage but I figured it wasn't enough to justify another motor. New bearings maybe. Where in NC are you located?
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Old 12-25-2013, 02:10 PM   #58
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I am near Hickory. In my opinion you definitely need bearings. And with all the crap that went through the engine I would say a complete rebuild. NOT just a hone and rings/bearings because you have bearing material all through the oil ports and in every crevice of the engine. Just my
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Old 12-26-2013, 12:13 AM   #59
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Is the plastic dipstick handle showing signs of having melted at the bottom, inside the dipstick tube?
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Old 12-26-2013, 04:53 AM   #60
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Is the plastic dipstick handle showing signs of having melted at the bottom, inside the dipstick tube?
No. Don't believe so. It is slightly discolored. It's sorta orange instead of yellow. But that seems to be because of getting oil on it. It doesn't look misshapen or melted to me.
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