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Understanding Your Oil System and Gauges
 
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Pelican Technical Article:

Understanding Your Oil System and Gauges

Steve Vernon

Time:

30 minutes30 mins

Tab:

$0

Talent:

**

Tools:

Brain

Applicable Models:

Porsche 993 Carrera (1995-98)
Porsche 993 Carrera 4 (1995-98)
Porsche 993 Carrera 4S (1996-98)
Porsche 993 Carrera S (1998)
Porsche 993 Targa (1996-98)
Porsche 993 Turbo (1996-97)

Parts Required:

Rag

Hot Tip:

Learn this about your car before driving

Performance Gain:

Knowledge

Complementary Modification:

Oil Change

As you are probably aware, the 993 motor is cooled by air and oil--circulated via a dry sump system. Unlike most engines where the oil used to cool and lubricate the motor is picked up directly from the bottom of the engine case (wet sump system), the 993 motor uses a dry sump system. The oil supplied to the oil pump is pulled from a separate tank away from the motor; this helps eliminate the possibility of oil starvation due to oil moving around in the bottom of the motor under hard corning, braking or acceleration. With a separate tank there is always a constant supply of oil to the pump.

This article will explain the various gauges, their functions and what to look for when reading them. It will also teach you the proper way to check the level of the oil.

There is no water or water radiators in the 993 motor.
Figure 1

There is no water or water radiators in the 993 motor. Since the motor is not only lubricated by the oil but also in part cooled by it, the oil system in the vehicle is of the utmost importance. That is why there are three gauges just for the oil; the oil pressure gauge (blue arrow), the oil temperature gauge (yellow arrow) and the oil level gauge (red arrow).

The oil pressure gauge (red arrow) will fluctuate while the motor is running and this is normal.
Figure 2

The oil pressure gauge (red arrow) will fluctuate while the motor is running and this is normal. The pressure will vary depending on the temperature of the oil along with the RPM of the motor. The gauge should be at zero with the engine off and on cold morning starts it is not uncommon for it to reach 5 on start-up while the oil is cold. With the oil at normal operating temperatures at 3500 RPM the gauge should be showing around 3. Fluctuations are normal while the RPM change but if at any time while the motor is running the gauge drops to zero stop the motor immediately after it is safe to do so! Do NOT run the motor with the gauge showing zero

The temperature gauge is your way of knowing the temperature of the motor.
Figure 3

The temperature gauge is your way of knowing the temperature of the motor. There is no water temperature gauge because there is no water so this gauge lets you know how "hot" or "cold" the motor is. Normal operating temperature is between the two middle hash marks (yellow arrows). While the oil is warming up it is considered good practice to keep the revs under 3500 until it clears the second line on the gauge (red arrow). While it is perfectly alright to operate the car while the temperature is above or below the two middle marks, do not run the motor for any length of time with the gauge in the red (blue arrow). It is not considered a good idea to let the car idle to warm it up; it can take a very long time to warm up the engine at just idle. After you start the motor it is fine to drive the car under approximately 3500RPM until it starts to warm up.

The oil level gauge (red arrow) tells you how much oil is in the reservoir tank which supplies the oil for the dry sump system.
Figure 4

The oil level gauge (red arrow) tells you how much oil is in the reservoir tank which supplies the oil for the dry sump system. This gauge can be very confusing to a new owner as the gauge can show in the red while you are driving the car. This does not mean you are out of oil. To properly check the oil level you should drive the car until it is warmed up (in between the two middle marks this opens up the thermostat and gets the oil flowing through the complete system), then park the car on level ground and let it idle for a minute, the needle should now be in the white area. If you check the oil level with the motor off or not up to operating temperature you run the risk of over filling the oil and doing damage to the system. There is more than 11 liters of oil circulating through the motor. Overfilling it will cause problems. Make sure you check it the correct way.

While the oil level gauge is a perfectly fine way to monitor the level, I like to check the level at least once a week with the dipstick.
Figure 5

While the oil level gauge is a perfectly fine way to monitor the level, I like to check the level at least once a week with the dipstick. This eliminates the possibility of the gauge or sender being faulty as the dipstick actually sits in the oil in the sump tank. To properly check the oil level with the dipstick, you should drive the car until it is warmed up (in between the two middle marks. This opens up the thermostat and gets the oil flowing through the complete system). Then park the car on level ground and let it idle for a minute, set the parking brake and open the rear deck lid. The dipstick is on the right side of the motor up towards the deck lid hinge. Pull the dipstick out (red arrow), wipe it and reinsert it.

Pull it out again.
Figure 6

Pull it out again. The level should be between the twisted part on the dipstick (red arrows). The range from the bottom of the twisted part to the top is 1.5 liters. Add oil .5 liter at a time as needed and never over fill it. This is also a good time to check that the dipstick and gauge match.

The central warning light (red arrow) is there to alert you to look at all of the other warning lights and instruments.
Figure 7

The central warning light (red arrow) is there to alert you to look at all of the other warning lights and instruments. It does not mean there is a specific problem with the oil, but the oil gauges should be checked along with the others. It may be something as simple as you are low on windshield washer fluid or gas. If it is not something of urgent importance, you can push the exclamation point switch on the center console and the light will shut off.

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