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Hot Rods 331 Hemi oil starvation

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Mullet5, Nov 9, 2018.

  1. Mullet5
    Joined: Nov 9, 2018
    Posts: 3


    Long time listener, first time caller...

    I am working on a 1954 Chrysler New Yorker Carrera Panamericana race car. It has a warmed over 331, Hot Heads aluminum heads, etc.

    The engine will starve for oil fairly easily under heavy braking and/or left turns. It requires fairly heavy braking, the kind you are unlikely to do on the street, but common on the track... Standing on the brakes from 100+ mph for a couple seconds as you approach a corner. But the starvation in a left turn can be accomplished by driving in circles semi-quickly in a parking lot. Not even tire-squealing fast, but definitely faster than your mother would approve of.

    Here's what I know so far: it has a Titan Engineering oil pump, which is sitting about 1/4" off the bottom of the pan. It is running a steel pan with a forward baffle, and a ~1qt reservoir on the right side of the pan with a flapper door, and a little pocket built in to the left side to clear the Titan pump. The pan holds about 10 quarts. The oil pressure is great (60-80 psi, rpm dependent, of course) until it starves. Mechanical oil pressure gauge plumbed into the back of the valley. Dipstick is set to the correct depth.

    I was SURE it was over-oiling the heads/not draining back, so yesterday I pulled one spark plug tube from each head and ran it at 3,500 rpm for several minutes. No dice. It looked perfect in there, not over-oiling, not pooling.

    Could this by an anomaly caused by the location of the oil pressure sender, like it is in some sort of low pressure galley? Perhaps the engine isn't starving, but rather the gauge is?

    Any thoughts appreciated, as I am running thin on new ideas here.

    And because everything is more fun with pictures, here's a few of the car Chrysler1.jpg Chrysler2.jpg Chrysler3.jpg
    Deuces and chryslerfan55 like this.
  2. Awesome car. I run a 331 in my Willys and have never had that problem. Sounds like your pan is more complicated than it needs to be? If it is starving under those accelerations it can only mean that the oil pickup is being uncovered buy sloshing oil. If it were me and this was a street car, I would switch to a stock oil pan. Then make sure there is enough oil in the pan that any normal acceleration could not move the oil enough to uncover the pickup. One saving grace is that hydrodynamic lubrication does not need the bearings flooded with pressured oil 100% of the time. The rheology of the oil film in the bearing does the lubing, all the pump does is supply oil to the bearing. Pump pressure has nothing to do with the efficacy of the lubrication beyond supplying the oil. With modern oils, an engine can run quite a while (several seconds at least) without pump pressure before damage begins. There was some oil company that ran TV ads many years ago with a car using their oil with no oil in the pan and the car driving for many miles. As long as the oil doesn't squeeze out of the clearance and doesn't overheat, the bearing will do just fine.
    chryslerfan55 likes this.
  3. foolthrottle
    Joined: Oct 14, 2005
    Posts: 932


    After spinning a bearing at LasVegas speedway with my 1955 331 an old hemi racer having heard the car go by with the open exhaust sound reverberating off the low concrete wall, the old guy told me he could hear the metallic rod knock sound in his hearing aids, he also said when racing he used an extra quart of oil in the engine and more if there was a remote filter and lines. That oil pan sounds nightmarish.
  4. foolthrottle
    Joined: Oct 14, 2005
    Posts: 932


    I remember your car from twenty years ago in Mexico, it had a great sound.
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  5. tubman
    Joined: May 16, 2007
    Posts: 3,893


    When I originally put the '54 Hemi in my dirt car (pictured in my avatar) and took it to the track, all of the old racers there told me that for (at least dirt track) racing, a hemi needed lots of extra oil capacity. It was pretty universal from them so I heeded their advice. I bought an extended sump kit for a SBC (they don't make them for Hemi's), and proceeded to modify the oil pan. I also added an oil cooler and a dual filter setup. When I filled it up with oil the first time, it took 14 quarts of Mobil 1 15/50!

    I don't know if it's the reason, but I have run the car for twenty years with no problems. Part of that may be due to the fact that I have it rev-limited to 5500 RPM. The only downside is that I have to start the car about 15 minutes before each race to be able to get the temperature up to normal. The engine has 12.5/1 pistons, an Engle roller cam and two large base 2GC's and other mods and performs quite well. Changing oil every year is a little expensive.
    HemiDeuce likes this.
  6. starting the car and watching the oil level in the head doesn't replicate real driving conditions. there is no load on the engine. the titan pump is usually found on nitro dragsters. it puts out huge volume. on the race engines restrictors are placed in the oil feed passages cutting the oil off to the valve train. the rockers are pre oiled before each pass. the early hemi always had small oil returns. they were fine with a stock pump as the valve train required very little oil. with a lot of oil being pumped upstairs it only takes the slightest amount of blow by to create positive pressure coming from the crank case. that's what you cant reproduce with no load. oil cant run down a hole that has positive pressure going up it. I had a similar problem with the titan pump. the solution for me was adding return lines running from the lowest rearward corner of the valve cover to the oil pan. i ran one on each side. the lines were a number 8an. if your not racing this engine removing the titan might be the answer along with a stock pan.
    classiccarjack and David Gersic like this.
  7. Good point. It is very easy to use too much pressure and too much volume in a non-all-out oiling system. High pressure does nothing for a street/strip engine but use power and load oil on the top end. You only need the pressure and volume required to flood the bearings with oil. Bigger is definitely not always better.
  8. sunbeam
    Joined: Oct 22, 2010
    Posts: 3,819


  9. Kerrynzl
    Joined: Jun 20, 2010
    Posts: 2,284


    Cheapest quick fix is a large capacity oil accumulator plumbed into the main oil gallery.
    The best fix [apart from dry sump] is to build a Road Racing oil-pan.

    On a RR oil-pan you need a Diamond shaped baffle around the pickup with 4 trap doors.
    The diamond shaped baffle needs 4 partitions off the corners to the edges of the oil-pan, and the baffle needs a 45 deg fold on the top edge [folded towards the pickup] to prevent splashing out.

    If it has a "rear sump" add another baffle across the front of the sump with 2 trap doors [1 each side of the partition] And fold the top edge back 45 deg to stop oil splashing over during hard braking

    The reason for a diamond shape vs square is whatever direction the G forces are applied [ forward/ aft/ left/ or right] there is 2 doors opening to supply oil to the pickup and a V shape behind the pickup trapping oil.

    It doesn't matter where the oil pressure sender is in the gallery ,it equalizes everywhere.
    With loose clearances you need High Volume, and tight clearances your need High Pressure

    And if you want to see what is going on in an oilpan , fill one with water and go for a test drive with your girlfriend holding onto it [And slam the brakes on]:D
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2018
    HemiDeuce likes this.
  10. Kerrynzl
    Joined: Jun 20, 2010
    Posts: 2,284


    Here is some pictures of what I'm trying to explain. [stolen from the web]

    If you don't sort this problem out, you'll need to pull the engine eventually. So you might as well sort out the oil-pan now


    oil pan.jpg
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2018
    classiccarjack and G-son like this.
  11. G-son
    Joined: Dec 19, 2012
    Posts: 476

    from Sweden

    There can be quite a lot of oil clinging to the crank in a large engine (and by most standards, old american car engines are large), some use scrapers (sheet metal just next to the crank, on the side that rotates upwards) to scrape that oil off the crank. It helps returning the oil to the sump meaning there's more oil in it with the engine running, without increasing the oil level (that worsens the problem of oil splashing on the crank). A scraper also increases power slightly.
  12. classiccarjack
    Joined: Jun 30, 2009
    Posts: 1,178


    Where do you reside? Have you ever been to San Diego? Hmmm... That car looks familiar... Or maybe I worked on one similar to it.

    Sent from my Moto Z (2) using The H.A.M.B. mobile app
  13. Mullet5
    Joined: Nov 9, 2018
    Posts: 3


    Great ideas, thanks to all!

    This car is raced on road courses, hence the baffled oil pan with extra capacity and trap door, and the Titan pump.

    I found the issue! I removed the bottom half of the Titan pump, and the o-rings that should seal the two halves were missing! So it was drawing oil from about half way up the pump, making it super easy to starve the pump. O-rings ordered, will get it going later this week...
    Blues4U and G-son like this.
  14. 73RR
    Joined: Jan 29, 2007
    Posts: 6,165


    Keep us posted on the results.

    gimpyshotrods likes this.
  15. Blues4U
    Joined: Oct 1, 2015
    Posts: 3,156

    from So Cal

    I'm curious, what road courses, & when. I'd love to see it.
  16. Mullet5
    Joined: Nov 9, 2018
    Posts: 3


    Mostly Laguna Seca, Sonoma Raceway, and Thunderhill. It is run with CSRG and a variety of track day organizations. It has run in the Carrera Panamericana three or four times, we may do that again one day when the 1949 Lincoln is up to snuff.
    Blues4U and gimpyshotrods like this.

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