What would cause me to have no oil pressure at all and make the engine knock tick and howl?

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I can see you have an approx. 17 year old car and these problems might popup in a Mercury.

 

There can be many reasons for why your car is experiencing high oil pressure. It might be something as simple as a bad pressure valve.

It can be malfunctioning oil pump, which is restricting the oil's flow and causing high oil pressure. Clogged oil passages, poor oil quality, and a bad filter can all cause high pressure.

 

You will need to start by looking at the very basics to understand what the real problem is.

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