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Race Oil Systems: Preventing Setbacks

Any racer who spends the time, money and intellectual resources to put an engine together should prioritize the oiling system. Our contacts came up with several common challenges related to these systems, and offered helpful advice and direction, too.

By Nick Gagala

Any racer who spends the time, money and intellectual resources to put an engine together should prioritize the oiling unit.

“Why risk the investment or cut down on the potential of a built engine by not using the proper oiling system?” said Thor Schroeder of Guilford, Connecticut-based Moroso. “We recommend that a person should not just look at an oiling option that takes care of the situation at hand, but the person should think long-term about what they are going to do with the car and what they expect out of it.”

With that in mind, we asked our contacts to list some of the more common challenges racers face with respect to their oiling systems. They were kind enough to provide several examples, while also offering some helpful advice and direction.

Finding the right placement for oil coolers topped the list for Gary Johnson of Fluidyne in Mooresville, North Carolina. “The cooler has to be positioned where it gets enough airflow to perform as designed, but not located where it will block the cooling air to the radiator,” he advised.

The inability to recognize an engine’s oil requirements poses another potential stumbling block, according to Michael Morten of Peterson Fluid Systems in Henderson, Colorado. “We find that quite a few engine shops don’t use an oil flow meter on their dynos, so they don’t know the actual oil requirements the engine has,” he explained. “Knowing exactly what the engine needs and not oversupplying it can help keep the oil cooler and find some extra horsepower through less drag by the oil pump.”

TJ Grimes of Baker Engineering (Pro/Cam) in Nunica, Michigan, cited oil control as a top concern. “Aeration and high oil temps plague many racers, especially as the setups require lower crankshaft centerline heights in relation to the chassis,” he said.

In addition to ordering the wrong pan, “you would be amazed at what some of these super high-end shops forget because they have another guy assembling it,” added Ken Sink of Milodon, Simi Valley, California. “And like our pickup, you have to make sure they are 1/4 inch to 3/8 inch off the bottom of the pan. If you go more than that, they’ll cavitate. That’s with any pan. People forget to check that before they put the pan on. It’s real simple to do. It takes you a couple of minutes, but it is something that every pan should be checked [for].”

Zac Beals of Setrab in Centerburg, Ohio, told us that racers may not be able to readily distinguish a true high-performance part from an eBay lookalike. “There is a real opportunity here for racers to make an easy, costly mistake, and then there is a real opportunity for high-performance retailers to prevent that mistake,” he said. “The advantage the high-performance retailer has over the online retailer is twofold: it’s a tactile advantage and it’s a trust advantage.

“The high-performance retailer has a responsibility to sell the best part he can,” Beals continued. “To attempt to compete on price with an online auctioneer is a mistake. The online auctioneer is finished with a transaction when the product changes hands. The relationship with the retailer is ongoing. Earn the customer’s trust by having the right part in stock, and by being able to explain the advantage of the right part.”

Race Oil Systems: Preventing Setbacks

Finding the right placement for oil coolers, recognizing an engine’s oil requirements, and choosing the correct part from a sea of online lookalikes are among common challenges racers face with respect to their oiling systems.



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