Or, how I learned to quit worrying and love my specialty socket.
This will be an article on how to change the oil pressure switch (sending unit) on a 2006 5.7 (in this case on my magnum, but it should roughly translate to all 5.7’s I’d expect.) First things first, go buy this socket and wait until it is in your hand before you touch the car. Obviously you’ll need a new oil pressure switch, and I took this opportunity to change out my aging alternator, thermostat, and coolant recovery tank, because I needed to pull the alternator anyways, and getting at that meant pulling the upper rad hose anyhow.
If you’re reading this, then your coolant recovery tank is probably that nasty ass orange rusty coolant color, so go buy a replacement at rockauto. Seriously, they’re dirt cheap, and swapping them is as simple as draining the coolant, popping two bolts and two hoses. Or hey, if you want, come by my place, and I’ll charge you a lowly 150 to do it, plus supplies.
So, you’ve got your rock auto boxes in hand, your trusty oil pressure switch socket in your pocket, and you’re ready to start. Great! After making sure the car is cool, pop the ‘rad’ cap on the coolant overflow reservoir, then get under the front bumper of the car, find the petcock for the radiator, and then slide your coolant catching device under it. Once you have your coolant catcher in place (seriously, coolant is an ecological disaster, don’t be a fuckwit) then open up the petcock and let the river run free. once a little coolant has drained out, make sure you pop the little bleeder on the top of the water pump in order to be able to burp it later.
Coolant drained? Sweet! Double-check that you’ve disconnected your battery, release tension on your belt, pull it, and then it’s time to pull the alternator (1 wire is held on at the rear with a nut, the other is held by a clip) 3 bolts and some lower back pain later, you should be able to at least move the alternator out of the way, replace if you need to. It’s better to do it now, before you’re stranded at Harris Teeter during the next run on fucking toilet paper or something. This is also a good time to take a short break, go inside, buy a bidet that just bolts onto your toilet, and not have to rush after 3000 trees worth of toilet paper to cram into your durango.
So, now that the alternator is out (and a fresh one is ready to go in) pop that upper rad hose and stuff your coolant passages, then contort your face arms and fingers until you’re able to reach down and find the big fat oil pressure switch. Now make sure you get the right thing, because I, being the colossal fuckup that I am, failed to grab the right dude the first time. See my haynes manual says the oil pressure switch is low on the oil filter housing, yadda yadda, so I grabbed the lowest sensor on the oil filter housing and freaked out because it wasn’t the same as my replacement (to be fair, it was dark, and I was stressed) so my wife and I hammered the diesel jeep up to autozone as fast as it could carry us, only to realize that it was the oil temperature switch I had in my hand. And to make things better/worse for myself, I went ahead and blew the 50 bucks for a replacement at autozone, because why not. Don’t be like me.
So now, you’ve looked at my beautiful graphic, and you know what the right sensor is, right? Cool. It’s got a locking tab on it, just like a bunch of the other connectors. Simply slide the red tab over to unlock it, and then reverse to lock it.
Alright, connector is freed, and you’re ready to pull that thing out, lets roll! I ended up using a 1 1/8 deep socket to remove the factory piece, but the replacement only fit my 1 1/16th (don’t you just love SAE?). The really good news though, is that it only sort of fit 1 1/16th, and the common design for sockets doesn’t allow enough space for the giant ass connector this thing uses. This is where I ended up spending 3 days accomplishing nothing, waiting for my specialty socket to arrive through the mail. But if you listened to me, you’ll already have your specialty socket in your pocket, and you can just thread that guy right in by hand, and slip your socket over it and crank it on.
After this you need to reconnect your alternator, I’d recommend having a friend help you with that. 3 bolts in, boom, reconnect your wires, good to go. Hook your belt back up, making sure everything is lined up properly, and then it’s time to replace that upper rad hose and thermostat with the shiny new ones you definitely have waiting for you, right? Fill your coolant, reconnect your battery, bleed the air out of the cooling system, and hope that your oil pressure light doesn’t come on again.