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pressure luber

By Jeff Smith / Photos: Jeff Smith

The only bucket the local OSH store had In stock was a 5-gallon variety with a secure lid. We stuck a Car Craft license plate on it to make it official.

Late-model engines such as ^^^the GM Gen lll/IV, Ford Mod ~ motors, and the late-model Mopar Hemi have become the new darlings of horsepower seekers. These engines have strong cylinder blocks, excellent heads, and durable valve-trains. They also are significantly different from the muscle car-era small- and big-block engines. None of these engines use a distributor, preferring instead to rely on the much more accurate distributorless ignition systems

(DIS). These engines also now drive the oil pump directly off the crankshaft. While this improves pump efficiency and reduces load on the camshaft. It also eliminates the time-honored technique of using a dummy distributor drive to pressure-lube a new engine before it starts for the first time. Since pressure-lublng a new engine is such a good idea, we had to find a new way to accomplish this.

In our discussions with retired GM engineer Don Webb, he suggested building a sealed unit that could be quickly and inexpensively built and easily used as often as necessary. The idea employs a simple sealed plastic bucket to house an oil pump driven with a '/?-lnch electric drill motor connecting the pump outlet to the engine with a high-pressure AN line. For a return, we added a hose between the oil pan and the bucket. As a sealed unit, this tool can be used as many times as necessary and is also easy to store and reuse.

We found most of the pieces needed to construct this backyard pressure luber laying around the shop. The only items we had to purchase were a bucket, a lid, and a metric 12mm bolt from the local hardware store, along with a specific metric fitting from Orme Bros, to adapt the pressure line to the Gen III engine. This fitting can also be reused and should be kept with the tool. While this specific story is designed around a GM Gen lll/IV engine, all it would take are specific fittings for a Ford Mod and Mopar Hemi to make this pressure luber a universal item for all late-model engines. We have about four hours into designing and building this tool, but you could probably build it in less time. There are also a couple of upgrades we would make based on what we've learned. The biggest thing we would change is to use a smaller, 2-gallon bucket rather than our 5-gallon prototype. The hardware store was out of 2-gallon buckets and we didn't want to wait. For about $50.00 worth of fittings and a little fab work, you could build one for yourself. So what are you waiting for?

Next, we rounded up a couple of pieces of round aluminum plate that fit flush on both sides of the lid. We then used a metal hole saw kit to drill two 1-inch holes in the lid for the pressure output and the return lines. We also drilled a pair of 'A-inch mounting holes to secure the oil pump to the lid. Finally we positioned three more 'A-inch holes to attach the aluminum plates to the lid.

Our Project Boat Anchor small-block Chevy engine contributed its original oil pump to the cause. Of course, you could use any oil pump that can be bolted to the lid of the container. We tapped the discharge hole for 'A-inch pipe thread and ' installed a 'A pipe to -6 steel AN fitting in the outlet and then thoroughly cleaned the pump. This will be the dis-charge side of the system.

1 he only odd component needed to make this pressure luber work is this 16 x 1.5mm fitting that threads into the block just above the oil filter. This connects the -6 high-pressure hose from the oil pump to the engine's main oil galley. We bought this fitting from Orme Bros, locally, but we found a similar Earl's fitting at Summit Racing.

We cut and trimmed the original oil pump pickup tube and lengthened it with 'A-inch rubber hose to place the pickup at the bottom of the reservoir. The return line is also -6 AN, using a bulkhead fitting attached to the lid with a short length of stainless tubing.

You will also need some kind of rubber O-ring or Stat-O-Seal to prevent it from leaking, since this is not pipe thread. After the engine is prelubed, the original factory plug can be reinstalled.

We then drilled the blind end of the factory aluminum fitting with a V»-inch bit and used a '/.-inch pipe tap to adapt an oil pressure fitting to monitor the oil pressure. This can also be used on the engine for an aftermarket gauge once the engine is in the car. That oil pressure gauge is absolutely ancient, .sn t it?

We drilled a common 12mm coarse thread bolt with a Vic-inch drill bit and tapped the hole with ■A-inch pipe threads to use an Earl's 'A pipe to -6 male AN fitting to return oi I to the reservoir. We also could have used a rubber hose and some brass fittings that woul d have been less expensive, but it wouldn't have looked as cool.

We had to use a 90-degree forged-style fitting for the high-pressure entry into the engine to clear the oil pressure adapter that also required slight filing to clear the 90-degree AN fitting. Also, there's no way to get a socket or wrench in there to tighten the adapter fitting into the engine, but we tightened it by using the 90-degree fitting.

It took a couple of minutes to pump oil throughout the entire engine using this system. Make sure there is oil coming out of every pushrod to ensure the entire engine has been lubed properly. We took a shot of oil in the chest from a pushrod the second time we fired up the preluber, so it might be wise to leave the valve cover on and check that all 16 pushrods have oil. Once the engine is fully lubed, remove all the fittings, top off the oil level in the engine, and the job is done. Place the fittings with the pressure luber and use a -6 male tee to connect the two lines so they don't leak or get dirty. Cover this tool up to keep dirt off the lid and it will always be ready for the next engine. END

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