Oil Sending Unit... 1989 Aerostar

I have a 1989 Ford Aerostar that has an oil drip at the sending unit seal. Only can be seen under pressure, shut the car off, and it's not there, but
you can wipe the drip clean, and it comes back... the sending unit is right above the drain plug, correct?
Is there a specized tool I need to pull it and replace it? I guess I'd have to drain the pan first? (do it at my next oil change) I don't want to break it off or something. also, how does that wire connect? does it pull straight off, or what?
As of late, my oil pressure on the idiot gauge shows it a bit lower than I would like... still in the normal range, but I have never seen it this low... Do Oil Pumps fail gradually, or do they either work or not work? Is the lack of a good seal for the sending unit maybe causing the gauge to be lower than it should be?
Also as of late, during the first 5 mins of driving, esp when it's cold, I get tappets now. These go away within 5 mins, but wondered if that is damaging anything? Would a new Oil Pump cure the cold tapets? or does it hurt anything?
Thanks again, Bob
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On a 1989 the oil pressure might be dropping quicker due to wear and tear on the cylinder walls and/or piston rings.
Matt
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As of late, my oil pressure on the idiot gauge shows it a bit lower than I would like... still in the normal range, but I have never seen it this low... Do Oil Pumps fail gradually, or do they either work or not work? Is the lack of a good seal for the sending unit maybe causing the gauge to be lower than it should be? Also as of late, during the first 5 mins of driving, esp when it's cold, I get tappets now. These go away within 5 mins, but wondered if that is damaging anything? Would a new Oil Pump cure the cold tappets? or does it hurt anything? Thanks again, Bob ===========hi bob - i've have seen this happen on the 3.0 areostar engines. it has happened as early as 60k. it had a blockage at the sump pickup screen caused by the casting sand when the engine block was made. we had to drop the pan - which was clean as could be. the sump screen was plugged with this real fine oil soaked sand that you use when you are casting metal parts. almost like a silt feeling. cleaned and rinsed screen and put back together and no more problems for 5 years when the van was sold.
~ curtis
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wrote:

In the oil pan? That is an oil level warning switch - and they sometimes leak. If it is in the block it is the oil pressure sensor - and again they are known to leak. Not hard to replace with the proper socket - and can be done with a vice grips in a pinch.

The sender may be your problem. When you pull the sender, connect a master guage to check the actual pressure.

Are you SURE it is tappets? Both my 89 and 90 had piston slap when cold. I lived with it on the 89 - but made Ford replace the engine under warranty on the 90. The replacement engine was still quiet at 240,000Km +
If you have low oil pressure, worn bearings are more likely than a bad pump.
If you have noisy tappets it is more likely due to contamination/gum/varnish in the tappets than low oil pressure.
My opinion? Run a GOOD engine flush at next change, and add Bardahl 2 or Lucas oil stabilizer with quality oil. I always used 10W40 in cold weather and 20W50 in the summer on both of my 3.0 Aerostars. Changed every 3000 Miles (5000 Km) or 3 months

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