2001 Ranger - Engine Knock / Oil Pressure Gauge / Engine Light
I have a 2001 Ford Ranger, 4 cylinder, 2.5L, Standard Cab, basic model, 85k miles.
First of all my engine is making a knocking sound at both low and high RPM. (it's harder to hear at high RPM, but still there).
Occasionally my oil pressure gauge will drop all the way down to nothing for a few seconds and as a result the engine light will come on at the same time. Then the oil pressure will pop back up to the middle where it normally is (and the light goes off). This was happening at random times no matter what until I changed my oil and filter. After the oil change, it only seems to happen right when I start up in the morning for a couple seconds. Once the pickup is warm, it doesn't happen anymore.
However, the pickup has a noticeable issue with just how it runs and feels. It's not as smooth as it normally is. Hard to explain, but it almost feels like it's skipping a beat occasionally both while at idle and while driving on the freeway. It still runs and I haven't completely broken down at all (yet).
I may be wrong about this last part but I also get the feeling it is idling lower than it used to. It never dies, but almost feels like it wants to sometimes.
1. Does anyone have any ideas as to what the problem might be based on my description?
2. If you have any suggestions or think you know what the issue is for sure, could you provide some estimates for what you would expect the repair labor and parts to cost? I would like to get an idea ahead of time to try to avoid being overcharged.
3. Also if you think you know the problem, would it be something you think the average joe could repair or should it be left to a professional? I'm handy, just not a car buff obviously.
Any responses or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.