'01 Dakota Low Oil Pressure at idle - New engine needed?

I have a 2001 Dodge Dakota with a 3.9 V6, and 58,000 miles.
Recently, when stopped at a stop light, the oil pressure needle drops to the bottom. It happens consistently. In fact anytime the engine is
at full operating temperature, and the engine is idling, the oil pressure drops to 0.
I took it to my mechanic last week. He took the sending unit off, and installed a manual oil pressure gauge. The pressure at idle was indeed 0 PSI. At higher RPM's, he said the pressure would rise to around 40-50 PSI. His diagnosis: The engine needs to be rebuild.
Has anyone else had any experience with this situation? I would like to at least get some more opinions, as it seems premature to have to rebuild an engine at 58,000 miles. Are there any alternatives to rebuilding the engine?
Thanks for any help in advance, Brant
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Brant wrote:

Has your engine oil level increased without explanation?
I'm wondering if your engine oil may be severely diluted with gasoline?
Rick
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The engine oil level has not increased.
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Brant wrote:

oil and see what happens.
--
.boB
On Order: 2006 FXDI, Red.
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Right, some people have said I would be able to get by for a while with a thicker oil, but sooner than later, I'll need to overhaul the engine.
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around 100K. I switched to 20w50 and the oil pressure problem was no longer an issue. I drove it for another 100k plus and never had an engine problem. I replaced it at 206K just as PM with a remanufactured engine. The new engine, which had a new oil pump with it, always had a little lower oil pressure than the old one. After about 35K the oil pressure got a little worse and then later on it would drop to zero when I stoped. If I would put it in neutral the pressure would rise. I changed back to Castrol 20W50 and have never had any more pressure problems.
You really don'r need much pressure when at idle and I do believe oil was flowing as I never heard the tappits making any noise. I have almost 70K on the new engine. The old iron head harleys behave the same way. I have a theory that the gear pumps get a little wear and just don't pump as well at lower RPMs.
I really wouldn't worry about it unless changing the oil doesn't help. If TL chimes in go with whatever he says, he's the expert in here.
beekeep
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beekeep
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Brant, I heard this same thing here a few months ago. It was something off the wall wrong. Maybe something about an oil filter!? I'll ask my wrench friends to see if they remember. You burning any oil? 15-50 oil in a roller cam engine in cold weather?? A friend replaced the oil pump in a 350 chevy doing this same thing and that fixed his problem. Mark31
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58,000 is extremely early for a major overhaul. Is the exhaust clear?
Cheap things to check or do: (RamMan's shadetree ideas) 1) drain your oil & check for the presence of gasoline (as someone else suggested) 2) if gas is in the oil, pull all the plugs and run a compression check     (minimum labor chg, shouldn't be over 1 hr labor) 3) if compression check is bad, pony up the bucks for an o'haul 4) if no gas in the oil, pull the pan & replace the oil pump
Kneejerk guess most likely problem is #4, but BeeKeep's suggestion of 20W50 oil may work just as well.
If 20W50 oil solves or improves it, might be good time to consider trade. Right now is absolutely the best time of the year to make your best deal. Every dealer is really anxious to turn their inventory. Your mileage is also low enough that you might want to consider a lease.
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Isn't the engine still covered under the warranty? I thought Dodge had a 5 year 60K powertrain warranty.
If so, I would rag the dealer. If not, I would dump the truck.
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Clinton Jensen wrote:

model year. I bought my 01 Ram just before the 7/70 went into effect.
Bob
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Brant, The problem is that all Chrysler products appear to have small volume oil pumps. This is compounded by the lack of high volume pumps in the after market. Low oil pressure at idle is not a problem. No oil pressure at idle could be a problem. Please also remember that oil pressure is effort not flow. Your question really is "Do you have flow at the front of the engine at idle?". Changing to a higher viscosity oil would compound the problem. Ideally, the pressure sensor should be located at the most distant point within the oil gallery, but they never are. I would locate a high volume pump and change the old one out. It is cheap insurance. Steve

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