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Old 10-14-2016, 06:30 PM   #1
tus00637
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Post The dreaded low oil psi problem at 160,xxx

Just wanted to share my experience on our 2005 Suburban LT 4x4 5.3L engine oil pressure problems. Actually up to about 2 months ago pressure had been pretty normal running 30ps at idle and 45 psi at normal driving speeds. Its kinda funny but just a coincidence though I believe that I noticed it after my wife took it to Valvoline Quick Lube place. This Suburban has seen alot of starts and city driving besides highway miles.

I've always changed the oil and filter every 3000 miles in the past but she "tried to help me out this time" I had been using 10W-30 high mileage Castrol GTX for quite some time with an AC/Delco PF46 filter. They used 5W-30 Valvoline with their filter. Did the tech do something wrong? Hell who knows but I replaced the oil and filter the next week as oil pressure was acting weird. It seemed to return to normal and I even had my mechanic replace the oil psi sending unit. (2005 does not have a screen). Everything seemed in normal range again but she drives it not me so who knows.

Well 4 weeks ago the 4L60 tranny lost 3 and 4th gear clutches suddenly after she got off the highway or tranny was starting to slip and she didn't realize it. So my mechanic put a rebuilt tranny in it for $1800 and it works great. The oil pressure issue was still bothering me as it started to get worse with idle oil pressure dropping below 20 psi and setting off low oil pressure message. I asked her about it and she said it had been doing it off and on for about 2 weeks. She could hear lifters ticking when this occured and engine was sounding funny. I work out of town so I'm always not around to jump right on an issue but told her to let me know always.
Well I've read the many oil pressure & usage problem of the 5.3 LS1 GM engines and knew I could try the oil pump and pickup tube O-ring replacement first. But I asked myself the question what if the engine has some internal issues and with 160,xxx miles how much more life will I get out of it without further engine problems. Oil consumption has been 1 qt plus between changes for a long time so not real bad there. It has the original crappy design left side valve cover on it still. My mechanic drove it and we talked long and hard about it. I told him I wanted to keep the vehicle another 4 yrs at least as it has no rust and is in excellent mechanical condition other than the motor. We only paid $18,700 cash for a 3 yr old Suburban with 33,000 miles cause nobody wanted them when gas was $3.85/gallon. This belonged to a doctor's wife and it came loaded with options. (sunroof, DVD player,heated seats, etc)

We decided that the Jasper Engines 5.3L rebuilt long block with oil pan & timing cover for $2500 was the best way to go for her to have a reliable vehicle still. Only breakdown she ever had was the transmission. He's an authorized installer and they have a 3yr/100,000 warranty on the motor. On their website they talk about how they correct all the "issues" with the 5.3 LS1 engines during the rebuild process. So Monday it will be getting the motor installed and I'll give a follow up on how things turned out in a few weeks. It will be getting a new water pump, radiator hoses, belts, plugs, starter and new design left side valve cover too. I figure total cost around $4000. This will put my overall maintenance cost to $11000 for 8yrs of ownership. Still the total cost without gas costs at $29700 is still way below the $50000-$60000 of what a new one would have cost if we would have purchased new.
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Old 10-20-2016, 08:28 PM   #2
j cAT
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Re: The dreaded low oil psi problem at 160,xxx

replace the oil pump O ring . use 5-30 wt dexos GM spec mobil 1 synthetic oil.

transmission must have dexronVI transmission fluid ,,,,,,,, NOT dexron III.

these new vehicles are very expensive to own because they have major issues .

a 2005 is a pre GM bankruptcy vehicle made with longer lasting materials.
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Old 10-24-2016, 11:38 AM   #3
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Smile Re: The dreaded low oil psi problem at 160,xxx

jcat, if the engine had lower miles I probably would have gone that route but I was also worried if the low oil psi had already done some damage. Those were 159775 hard miles on that motor. Jasper engine is in and running great with 45-65psi of oil pressure. Total cost of parts and labor which also included new water pump, starter, hoses, belts, plugs, wires and updated left side valve cover was $4938.00. Intake manifold and throttle body were also cleaned at this time.

The transmission was done by my shop also and their tranny guy is very good. He used to own a shop and had a totally rebuilt spare 4L60 for it that he had rebuilt himself. The total price on that job was $1900 parts and labor.
So I'm hoping I can get at least another 4-5 yrs of good service out of the Suburban to keep the wife happy. lol yeah right!

No way I can afford the $70-80,000 cost of a new Suburban.
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Old 06-06-2018, 06:17 AM   #4
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Just an update on the 2005 Suburban LT 4x4. The Jasper engine we had installed by my repair shop runs great still with 28xxx miles on the motor. Runs strong, uses no oil and gas mileage is still the same 12/13 city and 17/18 highway. Couldn't be happier with the Jasper 3yr/100K warranty motor. I think replacing the motor instead of just trying to fix the low oil pressure problem at 160K was the way to go. The motor would probably be shot by now or nickling/diming us to death.
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Old 06-06-2018, 09:08 AM   #5
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Re: The dreaded low oil psi problem at 160,xxx

Thanks for the update. Hopefully your reman engine lasts well beyond that warranty. With a fresh drivetrain, your nickels and dimes can go toward maintaining the rest of the truck.
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