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Prime considerations

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When I was a lad, my old dad always used to say, "Change your oil regularly, son, and you'll rarely have any engine problems." Good advice indeed at a time when the statistic that 90% of all engine wear takes place in the first few seconds of engine life wasn't even invented. So every 2500 or 3000 miles, I forget which, I would dutifully warm the engine of my ten-year-old Triumph TR4 and drain the oil, allowing at least 30 minutes for as much of it as possible to drip into...

Dry sumps - the alternative

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We live in a world of choice, or so our politicians would have us believe. But when it comes to engine oil systems for racing, is there anything other than a dry sump that can do the job? I would argue not, but despite that there are still authorising bodies or rule setters out there who insist on banning the systems, even though the alternatives are far inferior and these days probably no cheaper. In the 1960s, a dry sump was totally unheard of outside the top echelons of the sport. At...

A load of hot air

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It has often been said that I talk an awful lot of hot air. This comment, I hasten to add, is one more frequently voiced from members of my immediate family but this month, somehow and when associated with lube oil systems, the phase has much more of a resounding ring. This month therefore, I want to talk about the scavenge pump in a dry sump system and how big does it really need to be? The answer, as you might expect, is not that simple but let us look at what we are asking the scavenge...

The Oil Filter

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Of all the components in a typical oil system, the function and hence usefulness of the oil filter in a modern racing engine must surely be one for review. Designed to separate the larger particles which somehow accumulate in the oil and prevent them from returning back into the engine, there is little doubt that in most roadgoing vehicles some kind of filter may be necessary. In a racing engine however, which is put together under the cleanest of conditions and then assembled into the...

Low oil pressure, sir?

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Rather like the blood circulating around our bodies, the lubricating oil in an engine is fairly critical to its well being. For most of the time we don't give it a second thought but it is only when things go wrong that people start paying attention. And for most of these the first thing they will notice is a reduction in oil pressure. Low or no oil pressure at all is a common enough problem and while the obvious (to some) culprit might be the oil pump, in 999 cases out of 1000 this...