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Old 08-09-2013, 01:07 PM   #1
SlimJim8804
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Default Impreza oil light flicker?

Looking for input here, I'll try to give the most detailed explanation possible, and let users decide if this is a legitimate concern or a bout of automotive hypochondria.

Rundown:
2010MY Impreza 2.5i 5MT
42~ thou miles
Oil used: castrol syntec 5-30 / OEM Subaru filter. Last oil change I performed was 1200 miles ago. Oil level is perfect. No leaks, smells or consumption observed between OC's.

This is a close family members car. Perfectly maintained from new by my own hands. Oil changed early and often, OEM filters 90% of the time. Oil level always perfect. Always quality synth oils meeting recommended grade. I drive the car/look it over etc at least once weekly to assure everything is in order. I'm under the car monthly regardless for peace of mind.

Here's what has occurred:
When I started the car cold the other day, I noticed the oil light flickered after the engine started for ~1 second (at most).
-no engine noises accompany this
-at a hot/warm start light goes off immediately.
-once again, perfect oil level. No leaks. Filter is perfectly intact, no signs of damage.

I've consistently operated this car over the 3+ year course of ownership, and this is the first instance I have seen this. I likely would have noticed it had it been occurring at a time in the past. I have never observed this activity in any of my past subarus, including my 12 wrx with higher mileage in all my years of automotive ownership.
EXCEPT after i change the oil.

I'll also add, after i saw it i took it for a long drive to insure the oil was at least up to temp and idled for a while, staring at the cluster. No flickering at hot idle like other users have reported with pickup-tube failures.

-there is no conspicuous damage, contamination or obvious causes for the sensor to be grounding (or partially grounding out). I have personally seen dim/flickering oil lights on a old WRX after powerwashing the bay.
-DOES not occur on a hot warm start. Goes out immediately.
-If you cold start the car, it will briefly flicker. If you let it run shortly, turn it off and start it again, it will act "normal" with no flickering. (This is why I feel like it could be a faulty anti drain back valve in the filter itself.)
-charging system is in top shape. Battery is recently new. Cranks same speed as ever.
-idle is the same, no change in noise or drivability (that I can notice, I do feel like I have a pretty trained ear for automotive noises and I'm intimately familiar with this car)

Now, i'm curious if i'm overreacting or one of these hypothetical scenarios has taken place:

-beginning of a cracked oil pickup tube? (Does it happen on these)
-bad ADBV on oil filter?
-other oil delivery related issue

Game plan is either to grab and oil psi gauge after work, or i'll have a reputable handy friend help me out and do a psi check.

I'll post a video shortly of the instance I spoke of. Ive witnessed it a few times, was not an isolated instance.

Please offer advice suggestions, also if any 08-11 impreza 2.5i owners would like to video a cold start as grounds for comparison, id really appreciate it.
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Last edited by SlimJim8804; 08-13-2013 at 10:46 AM.
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Old 08-09-2013, 01:10 PM   #2
SlimJim8804
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Default

<a href="http://s1073.photobucket.com/albums/w389/slimjim8804/?action=view&current=D658CD94-A1CD-4CB1-A4E7-594055D018E7-711-000000A045422E41_zpseb1beda5.mp4" target="_blank"><img src="http://i1073.photobucket.com/albums/w389/slimjim8804/D658CD94-A1CD-4CB1-A4E7-594055D018E7-711-000000A045422E41_zpseb1beda5.mp4" border="0" alt="Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos" /></a>


Cold start video. ^
Let me know if this is viewable as I'm posting this from my mobile.

Also:
What is a reasonable oil pressure reading I should expect on a healthy engine hot/cold?
I know the FSM says min ~14 psi, but I'm under the impression that is unreasonably low. Also, I only found this information in context to turbo models. Do the expected pressures remain the same?

If so would: ~80-100 psi stone cold, 25-30 psi hot pressures at idle should be what I'm looking to see? (plus the old "rule of thumb" 10psi per 1000 RPM)?

Also, what size is the sending unit? 24MM? The sending unit threads are 1/8 BSPT correct?

Thanks in advance.

Last edited by SlimJim8804; 08-09-2013 at 01:33 PM.
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Old 08-09-2013, 01:41 PM   #3
jbulls93
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Default

A couple possibilities (I didn't read much of the OP):

There's a common issue where moisture gets on the sending unit from the block and causes the light to partially illuminate and/or flicker. Maybe this is your issue? Check the area where the stock sensor is for water. The stock sensor does not indicate low pressure until a pretty absurdly low pressure, in which case damage would already be known to you.

Also, early signs of a cracked oil pickup include flickering oil lights on ocassion, but I don't think n/a Subaru's often have pickup related failures.

Good luck.

Edit: helps to read OPs, sounds like you probably have covered these bases. Is the car still under warantee?
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Old 08-09-2013, 01:43 PM   #4
SlimJim8804
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jbulls93 View Post
A couple possibilities (I didn't read much of the OP):

There's a common issue where moisture gets on the sending unit from the block and causes the light to partially illuminate and/or flicker. Maybe this is your issue? Check the area where the stock sensor is for water. The stock sensor does not indicate low pressure until a pretty absurdly low pressure, in which case damage would already be known to you.

Also, early signs of a cracked oil pickup include flickering oil lights on ocassion, but I don't think n/a Subaru's often have pickup related failures.

Good luck.

Edit: helps to read OPs, sounds like you probably have covered these bases. Is the car still under warantee?
The power train warranty, yes.
5 yrs 50K IIRC.
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Old 08-09-2013, 01:50 PM   #5
jbulls93
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Maybe take it in to the dealer, chances are they will claim they can't replicate it but it would be wise to at least have the report/complaint in their system in case you have some sort of oil pickup anomaly.
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Old 08-09-2013, 02:06 PM   #6
SlimJim8804
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Swirl Rally Bleu

Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by jbulls93 View Post
Maybe take it in to the dealer, chances are they will claim they can't replicate it but it would be wise to at least have the report/complaint in their system in case you have some sort of oil pickup anomaly.
I hate dealers. That is a good idea however in the event (knocks on wood) of a failure of that type.
My plan as of now is to check oil pressure, document my readings and compare, change oil filter? (to eliminate possibility of bad ADBV) and look into the sensor grounding out.

I'm not too too concerned as there is no new engine noise even at a cold start. I figure with a flicker i'd at least catch a hint of valvetrain noise if it is a dry start.

Last edited by SlimJim8804; 08-09-2013 at 02:17 PM.
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