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post #1 of 18 (permalink) Old 02-01-2005, 08:57 PM Thread Starter
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Idea for vent for oil press. switch connector

Some recent threads have gotten me thinking (TSB No. 08-36-99 - Engine Oil Pressure Light - ON/Flickers). Whether it's really needed or not, it's ridiculous to have to pay $16 for the vent. Though I've never seen this part, is it possible that we could fashion one by cutting the tip off of a small hypodermic needle?

Anyone got photos of the part, and the connector after it is installed?
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post #2 of 18 (permalink) Old 02-02-2005, 11:08 AM
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I have done the TSB myself on my 01 trep 2.7. Its not hard and after doing it I have had no oil light probs whatsoever. But, I had to swap out my oil switch also because it was leaking. This "vent" is nothing more than a wire, yes a wire. Its a wire about the same gauge as the wire that plugs into the pressure switch. The plug for the switch is actually designed for two wires, one is already there, the other "port" has a plastic plug (or sealing dart as DC calls it) in it. Simply push out the plug/dart and separate the two halves of the connector, snap in the "vent" (it has a metal terminal on the end) and snap the connector back together. This "vent" is a wire about 18 inches long and is inside of a plastic wire loom. The top end is taped shut but if you look inside, you will see that the top of the wire is bent over inside. It connects to nothing. The only thing I can figure is that the copper wire inside must act like a heat sink to help take heat away from the switch. If you can get your hands on the wire terminal so it will snap into the connector, then you sure as hell could make one. I bought it because I didn't know it was just a wire. But like I said, I installed mine Thanksgiving weekend, both new switch and vent, and haven't had the oil light come on yet (except when you first turn the key on, like it should). I spent about an hour doing the job, partly because I had to walk to the part store to get a socket big enough to fit the switch (1 1/16" i think), and then some time to degrease underneath. You can do the vent from up top, but you will have to get underneath to replace the switch (if you need to). Very easy fix. Hope this helps.
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post #3 of 18 (permalink) Old 02-02-2005, 12:18 PM Thread Starter
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The wire just keeps pressure from building up inside the connector and throwing the pressure switch switch-point off if the switch starts leaking oil into the connector. The teeny-tiny spaces between the vent wire and its insulation is enough to bleed off any pressure that might otherwise build up.

Thanks for your reply - I didn't realize it was literally a wire, but I understood its purpose, and it all makes sense now.

It's even simpler than I thought. $16 for a 10-cent piece of wire with terminal on it? Ridiculous. They should charge $2-3 - no more than that.


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Last edited by peva; 02-02-2005 at 12:22 PM.
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post #4 of 18 (permalink) Old 02-02-2005, 02:30 PM
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Yeah I hear you. Seriously though, it would only be a few bucks to make one. The terminal on the end might be hard to come by but a length of wire and a loom to protect it should only be a couple bucks. I didn't realize it was an actual wire so I ordered it anyway. I figured it would be a piece of tubing. But trust me, its a wire, copper and all!!!
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post #5 of 18 (permalink) Old 02-02-2005, 02:39 PM
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C'mon guys...it's a WIRE.....solid metal...not a hollow tube or anything. It acts as a resistor to correct the reading that the switch is giving. It doesn't "vent" anything. No "teeny-tiny spaces between the vent wire and its insulation" to bleed anything off. It's a wire. Simple as that.
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post #6 of 18 (permalink) Old 02-02-2005, 07:07 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by In2Deep
C'mon guys...it's a WIRE.....solid metal...not a hollow tube or anything. It acts as a resistor to correct the reading that the switch is giving...
That's impossible. Please tell me how a wire can change *anything* electrically if only one end is not connected to enything. Fact is it can't. Also, I doubt it's solid metal - probably twisted strands like every other wire on cars - there's your teeny-tiny spaces for venting.

Besides, the switch is just that - a switch. At any given moment it is either open (extremely high resistance) or closed (extremely low resistance). The computer does not take its reading from a varying resistance (other than it's input going from pretty much infinite ohms to pretty much 0 ohms).

The TSB has you install it into an unused cavity in the connector. The other end is taped up out of the way - not connected to anything. It is a do-nothing wire, electrically speaking.

It provides a vent if the switch starts seeping to prevent any presure buildup in the connector from throwing off the switch point. That's why the TSB calls it a "wire/terminal/vent".


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Last edited by peva; 02-13-2005 at 10:12 AM.
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post #7 of 18 (permalink) Old 02-02-2005, 07:32 PM
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EDIT....nevermind. You haven't even SEEN one of these yet....
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post #8 of 18 (permalink) Old 02-02-2005, 08:00 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by In2Deep
EDIT....nevermind. You haven't even SEEN one of these yet....
And therefore what? The laws of physics changed that would make an unconnected wire act as a resistor by my not having seen it?

Again:
(1) How does a wire with one end not attached to anything (free end is not electrically attached to anything) "act as a resistor".*
(2) Assuming there is an answer to (1) other than "it doesn't", what is this resistor doing, and to what circuit?
(3) Assuming there is a valid answer to (2), how does this resistance change the switching action of a mechanical pressure switch?
(4) Why does the TSB specifically call this wire a "vent" if it doesn't act as a - ummm - vent?

*Actually, I am looking at a brand new pressure switch that I have sitting here ready to put in when the weather warms up, and there is only one terminal on the pressure switch itself (body goes to engine ground) and it connects to the original single factory wire, but the connector body is a 2-cavity one, and this added wire/vent does not electrically connect to anything inside the connector, so this wire/vent actually has *neither* end electrically connected to anything, which makes the concept of it acting as a resistor doubly meaningless.

Seriously - I'm not trying to be a smart , but these are questions that must be answered to give credibility to your statements that this wire acts as a resistor to correct the reading of a mechanical contact closure and that the wire doesn't act as a vent when the TSB calls it a vent.


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Last edited by peva; 02-02-2005 at 08:40 PM.
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post #9 of 18 (permalink) Old 02-13-2005, 09:13 AM Thread Starter
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To go along with my explanation about the unused cavity, below is the schematic of the oil pressure switch wiring. There are two cavities in the connector. Only the one cavity used by the circuit is shown. The unused cavity is where the wire/vent gets installed. It electrically connects to nothing. While hopefully preventing any water from getting into the connector, it vents any pressure within the connector/pressure switch air pocket due to switch seepage or temperature changes so that pressure doesn't feed back into the switch and shift its switch point. It does nothing electrically.



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Last edited by peva; 02-13-2005 at 10:17 AM.
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post #10 of 18 (permalink) Old 02-14-2005, 12:36 PM
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Peva's right In2Deep. I have not only seen but installed both the vent wire and a new switch (mine was leaking). The "vent" wire connects to nothing and does nothing electrically whatsoever. It just sits there on both ends. And you can take it from someone who studied electrical engineering for a couple years. As I said before, this "vent" wire, if anything, might act as a heat sink to draw heat, and thus pressure, away from the switch. Look at an audio amplifier. See the fins on it, those are heat sinks to help radiate heat from the components inside. Its my theory that this vent wire performs the same function. The diagram Peva posted is 100% correct. This circuit is just an on/off switch which is turned on by lack of oil pressure and turned off by enough oil pressure. That's it, nothing complicated, no resistors, just a power source, a light, wire and switch. And let it be known (if not already) heat and pressure usually go together. A rise in temperature typically rises the pressure as well, and vise versa.
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post #11 of 18 (permalink) Old 02-14-2005, 05:43 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by froggy81500
Peva's right In2Deep. I have not only seen but installed both the vent wire and a new switch (mine was leaking). The "vent" wire connects to nothing and does nothing electrically whatsoever. It just sits there on both ends. And you can take it from someone who studied electrical engineering for a couple years. As I said before, this "vent" wire, if anything, might act as a heat sink to draw heat, and thus pressure, away from the switch...
I was with you until the heat sink statement. I can't imagine that that wire has any useable effect as a heat sink. The small heat conduction capability of the wire compared to the amount of heat coming off the engine in that area is like Bambi vs. Godzilla. But you're right on the electrical and the venting part - thanks!

Last edited by peva; 02-14-2005 at 07:51 PM.
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post #12 of 18 (permalink) Old 02-14-2005, 06:24 PM
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Ok fine. My apologies then. I'm no EE, and all the information I've received on this issue has come from the mouths of three different local 5-Star service managers. Of course we all know how reliable their information...or lack of...can be. Thanks for the explanation and the diagrams...
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post #13 of 18 (permalink) Old 02-14-2005, 07:31 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by In2Deep
Ok fine. My apologies then. I'm no EE, and all the information I've received on this issue has come from the mouths of three different local 5-Star service managers. Of course we all know how reliable their information...or lack of...can be. Thanks for the explanation and the diagrams...
No problem - and you're very welcome.
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post #14 of 18 (permalink) Old 02-14-2005, 09:04 PM
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Peva, not to beat a dead horse but... I can't figure how a wire, average everyday wire, could be used as a vent. Before I got the part, I figured it was tubing, that I could see as a vent. And you're probably right that a piece of wire as a heat sink seems a little far fetched but since I can't imagine pressure from escaping through it the next possibility would be for heat to escape. One of these days, I'm gonna find to top end of the vent and after a long drive, I'm gonna see if its hot or not, and if its not even warm, then I guess its one of those unsolved mysteries!!!
Oh and In2Deep, didn't mean to offend or piss you off, if I did. Sorry, just trying to educate you on some of the basics. Keep in mind that electricity needs a complete path to work. A wire not connected on one end doesn't finish the circuit. And you might have been right about the resistor theory if we were dealing with an oil pressure sensor, that fed a pressure gauge. In that case, fluctuations in oil pressure would cause fluctuations in the electrical signal feeding the gauge. If it weren't reading right, then I could see where a resistor might be needed to correct the gauge.
Just a bit more than my 2 cents here.
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post #15 of 18 (permalink) Old 02-15-2005, 06:43 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by froggy81500
Peva, not to beat a dead horse but... I can't figure how a wire, average everyday wire, could be used as a vent. Before I got the part, I figured it was tubing, that I could see as a vent...
Keep in mind that we're not talking huge volumes of air that have to be moved rapidly to equalize the pressure. We're talking very small volumes of air that have to be moved to equalize pressure and it has lots of time to do so (especially in the case of switch seepage).

Also, an open tube would be at risk of letting moisture in. I'm not saying it's the best design in the world - in fact , I see it as a bandaid solution which is not nearly as elegant as it would be if this were a vent that was designed into the connector interface before production started. If you think about being the engineer or team that had to bandaid this solution and what you were trying to accomplish, it's probably about as good as you could do - the goal being to provide a means to bleed a very small amount of air in or out while preventing intrusion of moisture.

The length of the wire is probably designed to contain significantly more volume of air in the interstices of the wire strands than would be moved in and out on one extreme temperature change so that if there were any moisture in air being pulled in, it would not make it into the connector cavity, and such moisture would be baked out by normal engine heat before similar subsequent movement of air thru the wire - hopefully nothing but relatively dry air ever made it into the connector cavity.

Notice that the TSB has you point the wire up in the installed final position, and the wire also has a bend in the end (so the tip is pointing downward relatively high up to avoid direct water splashes). Just a way of creating an inverted trap and reducing the likelihood of raw water ever making its way into the wire. :silly:


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