Reports from automobile review and complaints websites concern the low oil pressure and engine noise occurring in a 302 engine. These engine problems are being attributed to only a few faults with the 302. Determining whether the the cause of these engine problems are major or minor is done through troubleshooting.
The main cause of low oil pressure in the 302 engine is the failure of the oil pump. The oil pump pushes oil through the engine so all the moving parts can be lubricated. The low pressure develops because the oil pump is not pushing oil through the engine and the oil sensors are recording low pressure. The oil begins to settle at the bottom of the 302, and engine noise develops. A check engine light illuminates on the instrument panel when the oil pump fails and the oil pressure gauge falls below the acceptable parameters.
If the oil filter becomes clogged, low oil pressure will develop in the 302 engine. Foreign particles and debris are filtered out of the engine oil as it circulates throughout the engine. Once too much debris builds up in the filter, oil cannot flow freely through the device. This causes the oil pressure to go down and engine noise to be created. A oil filter problem is separate from the oil pump problem, but can show the same symptoms because oil is still not getting pushed through the engine.
Once low oil pressure develops, the pistons on the crank are not being lubricated properly. Lack of lubrication in the piston and crank creates engine noise, such as a knocking noise. The pistons begin to wear prematurely and overheat, creating a buildup of heat inside the cylinders. This heat warps the cylinders and the 302 engine locks up. Piston noise can sound like a loud knock or popping once the warp begins to develop. The piston noise develops over time and begins as a light tapping sound. The automobile owner must take the vehicle into a qualified technician once this noise begins to prevent further damage to the engine. Once the loud knocking or popping noise begins, the engine needs to be rebuilt or replaced.
A gasket leak also causes low oil pressure and engine noise in a 302. The gaskets on the head and crank case prevent oil from leaking out from the engine. Once one of these gaskets become damaged, oil leaks out and the oil level becomes low, causing the oil pressure to fall. The 302 begins to make a rubbing or grinding sound under normal operating conditions. The automobile owner can easily determine if a gasket has blown because oil will shoot out of the head and into the engine compartment. Oil is seen under the hood, on the fender wells and an oil puddle will develop on the pavement under the engine after the vehicle has set in one place for a period of time.