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As I was arriving home yesterday, I noticed the oil pressure light flickering on (unfortunately, I have no idea how long it had been happening ;-( but it went-off if I kicked-up the RPM. Oil level at ‘Full’ mark; no valve lifter chatter; no ‘hot’ engine or oil smell/smoke; temp normal. Checked it this morning (-15°C), started flickering on as engine started to warm-up; no valve lifter chatter.
Oil & filter changed every 5,000 km; last oil change approx. 2,500 km (5W30); hasn’t been driven much in last year because of pandemic; 190,000 km on vehicle; front-end (timing chains, sprockets, guides, etc.) brand-new at 160,000 km; wire to pressure sender appears OK; oil pressure light comes on when ignition is in ‘On’ position before starting.
From everything I’ve read in the shop manual and the ‘2G Vitara’ forum (thanks everyone!), removing the oil pan, strainer & pump is VERY complicated & WAY beyond my ability (no garage, I work outside on gravel).
Sooo... once it warms up to 0°C I’m going to a) install a new pressure switch (yes, they either work or don’t – but they’re cheap); b) change the oil & filter again, and before draining; c) do a ‘rough’ pump-check (see if oil squirts-out the threaded oil filter pipe when I briefly crank it over – as suggested in this forum).
Q1: How do I asses if the pump is working adequately with the ‘oil-filter-squirt-test’ i.e. what behavior affirms a working oil pump? Should a HUGE stream of oil shoot-out?
Q2: Can J20 oil pumps wear-down so that their output drops, or do they simply work or not work? I’ve had the exact same model Vitara since fall 2000 (#1: 330,000 km, #2 299,000 km, both dealer maintained) and #3 this one – and never had an oil pump go south.
Q3: IF it's unlikely it’s the pump, what else can I do/explore/troubleshoot... w/o removing the oil pan, strainer & pump? E.g. “MAYBE the oil pressure relief valve fouled w/junk” is mentioned in the forum, but I haven’t found that (yet) in my manual or the exploded parts diagrams.
Q4: If the oil pan has to be removed (to clean the oil strainer & replace the pump), approx. how long (hours) does it usually take a repair shop to do the job? [We no longer have Suzuki dealers here].
Q5: In the exploded parts diagram, there is no sign of an oil pan gasket, and the shop manual just uses a sealant on the pan. Gaskets are available – is one a good idea?
All opinions/recommendations greatly appreciated.
Thanks!
 

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