Lubricate your curiosity with this video explaining dry sump oil systems

Share
How a dry sump oiling system works GM / Hagerty

When thinking of high-power engines, lubrication often takes a backseat to valve angles, turbochargers, and cam specs. Yet dry sump oil systems free up horsepower and keep engines alive through grueling conditions better than a standard wet sump setup. To show how this seemingly magic setup works, Papadakis Racing created a video to show the ins and outs of a dry sump system.

The main difference between the wet and dry sump systems is where the oil is stored. With a wet sump, the oil pan under the engine holds all the oil and a pickup is submerged in the oil to supply the single oil pump. A dry sump system relies on a separate holding tank and two oil pumps. The first pump pulls the oil from the crankcase and pushes it to a remote holding tank or reservoir. A second pump sends pressurized oil from the tank to the oil galleys in the engine.

If this sounds like a bunch of extra work and just another pump to fail, you are missing out on a few key benefits. The first is packaging. A dry sump system hugs the bottom of the engine block more tightly, allowing easier fitment of a large engine into a small chassis while keeping the center of gravity low. The second is horsepower. If the oil sloshes enough that the crankshaft has to cut through the heavy fluid, that is lost power. A dry sump also prevents the oil pickup from ever sucking air and starving the bearings for a moment—which can cause catastrophic failure.

In this video, Stephan Papadakis takes a pump apart and explains each of the parts and how they interact. From the toothed belt that drives the pump to the design of the oil pan, take a look inside and get a better understanding of this high-tech system. It might be just what your next engine build needs.

  • 1
  • /
  • 3
Share
Read next Up next: What’s the best way to build your project car?