Oil Pressure check with a drill

Wayne Waldrep

Before I post a pic, do you have one of yours?
15 Year Member
Apr 14, 2003
Cuba, AL
Ok....I've deleted and started over 3 times on this so here goes. Please watch the 29 second vid I'm attaching. It's just one I found on YouTube. I'll explain the reasons I'm asking later if needed but for now, do yall think this is a legit way to check an "extra" engine that supposedly has low oil pressure before spending time and effort swapping it into a car....namely my car.

PS....here are some questions/answers I don't even want to fool with for my own reasons. This should save a lot of back and forth. :)
-just put it in the car and try it (I'm too old and achy to "just do it" anymore)
-buy this $1200 gizmo and check it (ummm....no)
-call the original owner you got it from (impossible)
-how low was the pressure, with what gauge, for how long, how many miles, etc..(no clue and can't get the clue)

Here's the vid:
View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cI9TdhXY0Xc
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John Dirks Jr

there is enough sticking out to grab on to
5 Year Member
Jun 28, 2013
I would want an engine to be at operating temperature before judging what kind of oil pressure it can maintain.

A high mileage engine with uniform bearing wear can survive on and on as long as there is oil volume getting to the bearing journals. So the in this case it could give continued reliable service even with low oil pressure.

On the other hand, a lower mileage engine with even one bad bearing or journal can have the same low pressure, and ready to blow at any time.

So concluding that pressure is low may or may not be a real issue depending on various things, including what you expect to get out of an engine.


If you're the village idiot what's that make me?
15 Year Member
Nov 29, 1999
FOR a fresh engine on a stand this is fine . Just to make sure you have no leaks. Your bearings aren’t dry and it holds pressure .

To check the health of an engine oil pressure wise that’s old you want it at operating temp running as the oil breaks down and thins will show you the worn bearings and loose tolerances . Of course unless someone dumped 2050 in to cover it up

CarMichael Angelo

clearly, I’ve got something going on in that hole
SN Certified Technician
Nov 29, 1999
Birmingham, al
If you're trying to determine the health of the engine outside of the car...( on a stand)

1. That drill oil pressure test ( to determine if it makes oil pressure)
2. Make a leak-down tester...(and do the test)
3. If it has the oil filter on it from the last time the engine was run,...cut it open and look at the filter ( a messy procedure)
4. Flip the engine, remove the pan, look at each of the bearings.

One way or the other, you're gonna have to do one or all of the above if you want to know if the engine is okay before you put it in and find out the hard way that it wasn't.
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Wayne Waldrep

Before I post a pic, do you have one of yours?
15 Year Member
Apr 14, 2003
Cuba, AL
Ok so here's what I'm trying to do. In Oct. 2013 I bought a complete engine from a guy in Ohio. I freight shipped it down here. He built a Factory Five cobra and bought a complete car to use as his donor car as you do with any FF build. I talked to him on the phone and email and I still have all the emails. I did not take notes on the phone call as I do now so I don't remember all the details. Here's what I do remember. The car was a 1990 mustang. The only thing I remember about the miles is that it was a little over 100k. He said the engine ran good but it had low oil pressure. My comment to him was, “I'll just put main bearings and rod bearings in it then.” His comment in return was “I don't even think I'd mess with mains...new rod bearings should be all it needs.” The only reason I'm including those comments is, that is the only info I have on the low oil deal. My thoughts naturally were...was this low oil discovered with the factory gauge in the 90 mustang? I'm almost positive he would have checked it with a mechanical gauge to verify. He seemed like a picky person and was building a very nice Cobra so he obviously was mechanically inclined. You never know though. Other things he told me about the engine....the long block has never been apart......he took the stock upper and lower intake off and put another intake on then decided to sell it so the stock intake is just sitting on top hand tight. I haven't even taken that off. I've literally not touched this engine other than to put it in my storage area. It's been just sitting there.

So why am I fooling with this? My '88 GT is the foxbody I've owned since new. Since the day I bought it, it has used a quart of oil between oil changes (3000 miles most of its life). I pulled the original engine at 248k. It was running just fine but I just “had” to have a fancy engine from a very big name engine builder. The engine was awesome. And yes...it also used the same bit of oil between changes. I have to admit I was disappointed in that considering I spent almost $10k on the thing. No regrets though because I had money to do it then and that was my one splurge. When I lost job, etc, I was forced to sell the whole drivetrain out of the car. It sat with no engine/trans for a while. Also at that time, I had a '92 Feature Convertible. I built a stock engine for it since I really didn't want to modify it. The old fella that owned it since new had mostly let it sit there so the original engine was leaky and dripping and making a mess everywhere. So much so that it was ruining the clutch. It only had 88k miles on it. So I pulled that engine and did something different. I knew a local guy that was a long-time certified Ford mechanic and also had a foxbody that was nasty fast at the track. He did lots of work for other mustang guys around and was a very nice dude. He also had an engine building business on the side complete with his own machine shop. So I thought what the heck...let's give him a try. I bought all the parts (not internal engine) and took the engine to him. My instructions were to build me the most solid stock engine he could. I couldn't care less about power. I wanted to drive and forget it. He ended up having to bore the block .030 over and put new pistons in. I paid the extra because I wanted it done totally right. I have no way of knowing every single process he did because I trusted him and just let him build it. I picked up the engine as a long block. He did put the lower intake on to button it up and also the oil pan, front cover, and water pump. Almost complete I guess.

Before my next comments, I'll say I got my money's worth out of the engine technically. It has never been right like I was hoping. I had the car on the lift for the engine install and checked everything. From day one it had a tick in the bottom end. The 'vert drove great and all with the engine but it never felt exactly right. And the sad part??? Yep...oil consumption. So when I went to sell the '92 vert, I had just built that engine and was letting the car go stupid cheap. I wasn't about to give up a freshly built engine no matter how disappointed I was with it. So I bought a bone stock engine from a kid that was swapping to a 351w. I actually drove his car to the shop and pulled a perfectly good engine out and bought it from him. I put this engine in the vert and sold it. The new engine I had built went in the '88 GT. This engine now has around 130k miles on it. I'd have to look at my charts to know exactly. It runs fine. The bottom end tick or slight knock is still there. Here's the crux of the deal. This engine started out using the typical quart between changes (again 3000 miles back then). It slowly progressed to now. I changed the oil last month. I log date, miles, and what I did on everything....even adding coolant and how much. My oil light from HELL came on this time with 750 miles since the fresh oil change. I added 1.5 quarts. If you remember my thread about the list of things I hate about my car the #1 priority was the oil leak from the front seal. Well, I fixed that also last month and I have zero oil leaking. I also did the new drain plug washers/gaskets so now I'm getting zero oily drain plugs. I've been putting the car up and checking it religiously for any sign of leaks from the front seal/drain plug leaks. There is absolutely nothing leaking anywhere under my car. My spot I part in is completely spot-free. Here's the other thing. It doesn't smoke. My mustang buddy said, “it must be just smoking a little and you can't see it so that's where the oil is going.” Ummmm....I might buy that if it were using just a touch of oil. A quart and a half every 1000 miles is not a touch. Bottom line....I should see an oil spot under the car, oil all over the bottom of the car, or a significant amount of smoke. Or at least some oil residue around the tailpipes. But not a single one of those applies. Oil can't just magically disappear. The engine can't just “burn” it internally...not that much oil. So where's the oil going??

I'm so tired of adding oil I'm thinking about giving that extra engine a try. That's my dilemma. I'm trying very hard to not park this car for good and drive some cheap 4 cyl import. It's getting harder and harder. I can't afford to put the engine in just to try it. Even that costs a certain amount of money. I hate not having the money to do the obvious solutions which is why I'm trying to use this engine that I already have.

Gallon of diesel fuel and a match?

Thoughts on the extra engine now?

General karthief

wonder how much it would cost to ship you a pair
Mod Dude
Aug 25, 2016
polk county florida
I seem to have extraordinary luck with used engines.
here is what I would do, stick a new oil pump in it with some fresh gaskets, stick it in the car and run with it.
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