Guest Blog: Oil pressure issues? Consider the filter

June 20, 2024
David Ross of ALLDATA goes over the importance of the right oil filter.

The proper match of oil filter to engine application is more important than it has ever been. Today's engines are designed with very tight tolerances: two-stage oil pumps and high flow lubrication systems. The oil pressure was increased to accommodate these tighter tolerances.

Beginning in 2012, oil pumps began to regulate main gallery feedback instead of pump-out pressure. This means that the oil pump now does not begin to regulate until pressure is built up to the main gallery. This change reduces the amount of time it takes to provide oil to the engine bearing and lifters during extreme cold start conditions. As a result, the oil filter specifications of both the production oil filter and the service oil filter were also improved to meet these new engine requirements.

However, since there are many older versions of the same powerplant on the road, it is easy to assume that the older replacement oil filters will work on the newer engines. The use of oil filters with an internal bypass valve opening pressure of 15 psi (100 kPa) or less allows debris to circulate in the engine, causing damage to bearings and other tight tolerances areas, which may result in premature engine failure.

Using GM as an example, main gallery feedback oil pump control systems are present on the following engine families, which use spin-on oil filters: Small Gas Engine (SGE), Large Gas Engine (LGE), High Feature (HFV6) Gen2 and Small Block Gen5 gasoline engines. These engines with the main gallery feedback oil pump control systems are factory-built with ACDelco oil filters.

Important: The PF64 and PF63 are commonly confused by many in the automobile service industry as an ACDelco PF48 and/or PF48E, because both oil filters have a similar appearance and are very close in oil can size. However, these oil filters are not the same size and also have different, internal bypass valve opening pressure specifications (PF48/PF48E = 15 psi (100 kPa), PF64/PF63 = 22 psi (150 kPa).
Note: Any aftermarket filter must also have an internal bypass valve opening pressure specification, element integrity, filtration performance, media particle trap specification and burst strength that is equivalent to the ACDelco PF64/PF63 filters. 
GM affected engines: 2012 to 2024, (by engine RPO code)
L3A, L83, L86, L8B, L8T, L96, LC8, LCV, LE2, LEA, LF3, LF4, LFR, LFV, LFX, LGW, LGX, LHN. LKW, LLT, LT1, LT4, LTG, LV1, LV3, LV7, LYXO
Here are three real-life examples that ALLDATA Tech-Assist diagnostic agents documented with this issue:
  • 2013 Chevy Truck Silverado 1500 4WD V8-5.3L:
    • After engine repairs, the shop changed the oil and filter. On cold engine start, engine oil pressure rose to almost 40psi, then lost pressure as the engine warmed up. Checking oil pressure with mechanical gauges showed pressure before the oil filter was 75psi and after oil pressure was 12psi.
      The technician was struggling with the issue and replaced multiple new engine parts. The technician then noticed the oil filter that had been installed had no markings or labels on it.
    • Replaced with the correct OE oil filter and oil pressure concerns were corrected.
  • 2010 Chevy Truck Silverado 1500 4WD V8-5.3L
    • Code P0521 (Engine Oil Pressure Sensor/Switch Circuit Range/Performance) setting, no engine noise.
    • The technician checked oil pressure before and after the oil filter and found 55psi before and 26 psi after.
    • Tech-Assist directed technician to GM TSB #17-NA-157. After installing the correct OE oil filter, the pressure never went below 35psi and code did not return.
  • 2012 GMC Truck Yukon 4WD V8-5.3L
    • Code P0521 (Engine Oil Pressure Sensor/Switch Circuit Range/Performance) setting. Replacement motor. The customer was told by another shop that it had a faulty engine oil pump.
    • Directed customer to GM TSB #17-NA-157 and installed the correct OE oil filter, which fixed the code.
Situations like these emphasize the importance of having access to OE-accurate information so you can check the precise specifications of the car in front of you and select the right oil filter the first time.



About the Author

David Ross

David Ross is a team lead at ALLDATA Elk Grove.

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