How to Unstop an Oil Pump Pickup Tube Without Taking the Oil Pan Off

by Jack Hathcoat

Oil pump pickup tubes are not easy to replace. The oil pan must be removed, and a new oil pump and pickup tube installed. Chances are very good that if the oil pressure has dropped due to a clogged pickup tube screen, the pump is damaged and should be replaced along with new crankshaft bearings as well. There is a procedure, though, that may help if the damage is not too severe.

1

Drain the engine oil into a drain pan and remove the oil filter. Replace the drain plug and pour 1 gallon of Berryman B-12 Chemtool or a similar product into the engine oil fill. Do not crank the engine. Let the product sit in the oil pan for 2 days before draining.

2

Drain the solvent out of the oil pan. Replace the drain plug and fill the oil pan with solvent once again. Allow it to sit for 2 additional days and drain the product. Inspect it as it flows out of the oil pan. If it is a dark sludge, the process will need to be repeated. Rub the discharge between two fingers and feel for carbon grit. If there is grit present, it will clog the screen. Repeat the process until there is no sludge or carbon grit in the discharge.

3

Drain the flush agent one more time making sure it is free of sludge and carbon. Remove the oil fill cap and let the engine sit overnight with no drain plug or oil cap installed. This will allow the engine to air out.

4

Install the oil drain plug, a new oil filter and add engine oil. Disconnect the engine computer fuse, or disable the engine so that it will not start. Crank the engine for 15 to 20 second intervals several times, allowing the starter to cool between each crank. This will prime the oil pump so the engine will not have a dry start.

5

Start the engine and pay close attention to the oil pressure. Listen carefully and make sure there are no engine knocks or rattles. If there is noise, the engine requires further repair.

Tip

  • check Remove the valve covers and inspect the valves and covers for sludge buildup. Normally this occurs when the oil screen is contaminated.

Warning

  • close Berryman B-12 Chemtool and similar products are very volatile and highly flammable. Use extreme caution while using these products. Do not use an engine flush that requires the vehicle to run. The engine bearings cannot endure this process.

Items you will need

About the Author

Jack Hathcoat has been a technical writer since 1974. His work includes instruction manuals, lesson plans, technical brochures and service bulletins for the U.S. military, aerospace industries and research companies. Hathcoat is an accredited technical instructor through Kent State University and certified in automotive service excellence.

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