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The most frequent call we get at work is people with oil pressure problems. The funny thing is, it's never the pump itself. Come to think of it, in all my years of building engines, I've never seen a pump that didn't work. Of course you have the ones that break off and fall into the pan. Or the ones that have the cup plug work its way out and shoot the relief spring out. The impeller that we use is a standard volume, 1.100" wide. It's the same one that is in the Moroso dry sump pumps found on our 825" Pro Stock engines. We have measured over 17 gal/min flow in these engines. It is plenty big for any engine.

The #1 problem we see is when the wrong lifters are used, or they are installed backwards. When they are in backwards, the small oil hole in the lifter side directly connects with the main oil galley. When this happens, all the oil will be pumped up the pushrods to the top end, and run the pan dry. I'll try to put some pictures up. We have a client that bought one of our pumps, and had almost no oil pressure. We sent him another pump, same result. This is when we built out pump dyno, so we could make sure they were working properly when we sent them out. We free flow them, then close the pump exit with a ball valve, then open it back up a little so that it holds about 40 lbs. Dead headed, they're always 75-80 lbs. Anyway, after working with the man for many days, we find out that he rebuilt the engine at the same time he bought the pump. It had good oil pressure bebore the rebuild. When he assembled the engine, he got mixed up and installed the lifters backwards.

We also had a guy with our pump that had low pressure using an Eliminator block. Some of these blocks take the oil pressure at the back, like a stock block. The problem was that the lifter lines were restricted with a small orifice, as they should be, except the oil pressure was taken at the end of this restricted line. When he moved the pressure gauge line to the front, by the oil filter, it was fine.

We are seeing another problem, where the pickup bolts to the pump. Often times, the pickup leaks here, sucks in air, and makes the oil real foamy. Most of the pickups have a thin flange, 3/16", and if a thick gasket was ever used on it, it warps and leaks when a new gasket is installed with a new pump.

Last week, a guy called with low pressure, and found his new A-460 block had a low spot between the 2 pump mounting holes. It was .007" low between the studs and was freely flowing oil out from under the pump.

Since we're in the oil pump business now, and have sold over 300 pumps, we are seeing lots of problems that can cause confusion. Every day we have at least 1 caller with a pressure problem. As new problems come up, I'll discuss them here. Kaase
 

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Even though this is a Big Chevy engine I'm thinking that this info would apply to any engine.

I have a customer's engine on the dyno right now. It's a 582 inch Chevy for a jet boat application. The oil pan can only be 8 inches deep in order to fit into the boat. While working on the engine I've tested it with two of the customer's oil pans. I'm using a stock volume Melling M77 pump on the engine and it holds about 70lbs hot at 3000rpm.

The first pan is a rear sump that kicks out on each side, has a screen baffle and a small scraper on the "up" side. This pan had been run on the engine before because I could see where the rods had hit in several areas (4.500 stroke Manley steel rod). Anyway I fixed the interference issues and tested the pan. It took about 7 quarts of oil in the pan to keep the pressure up at 6000rpm. In my opinion this pan is a horrible design with a shallow section under the front 1/2 of the engine.

Next we ran another pan that he had, a Milodon "boat" pan with a full length sump. While this design is probably not all that spectacular we found 20 horsepower and about 20lbs/ft torque after making the switch. Torque peak is at about 4500rpm, horsepower 5500rpm.

We are going to try a different set of cylinder heads on the engine next but until they get here we'd like to spend some more time fiddling with the oil pan. I'd like to use the Milodon as the basis for a more effective design. What would possibly be the most effective mod to reduce losses and to improve oil control with a pan of this design? Right now it has a solid baffle with several louvers under each rod throw. I'm thinking of cutting out those areas and replacing it with some directional screen at least over toward the "up" side and away from the sump. The baffle also has a slot opening down to the sump on the "down" side. It has about 3/4 of an inch lip that stands straight up from the baffle. I did bend it over slightly in the direction of rotation to make the slot more like a funnel, I don't know if that helps or hurts.

I'm looking for more power if we can find it and or better oil control.

Thanks.
 

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Even though this is a Big Chevy engine I'm thinking that this info would apply to any engine.

I have a customer's engine on the dyno right now. It's a 582 inch Chevy for a jet boat application. The oil pan can only be 8 inches deep in order to fit into the boat. While working on the engine I've tested it with two of the customer's oil pans. I'm using a stock volume Melling M77 pump on the engine and it holds about 70lbs hot at 3000rpm.

The first pan is a rear sump that kicks out on each side, has a screen baffle and a small scraper on the "up" side. This pan had been run on the engine before because I could see where the rods had hit in several areas (4.500 stroke Manley steel rod). Anyway I fixed the interference issues and tested the pan. It took about 7 quarts of oil in the pan to keep the pressure up at 6000rpm. In my opinion this pan is a horrible design with a shallow section under the front 1/2 of the engine.

Next we ran another pan that he had, a Milodon "boat" pan with a full length sump. While this design is probably not all that spectacular we found 20 horsepower and about 20lbs/ft torque after making the switch. Torque peak is at about 4500rpm, horsepower 5500rpm.

We are going to try a different set of cylinder heads on the engine next but until they get here we'd like to spend some more time fiddling with the oil pan. I'd like to use the Milodon as the basis for a more effective design. What would possibly be the most effective mod to reduce losses and to improve oil control with a pan of this design? Right now it has a solid baffle with several louvers under each rod throw. I'm thinking of cutting out those areas and replacing it with some directional screen at least over toward the "up" side and away from the sump. The baffle also has a slot opening down to the sump on the "down" side. It has about 3/4 of an inch lip that stands straight up from the baffle. I did bend it over slightly in the direction of rotation to make the slot more like a funnel, I don't know if that helps or hurts.

I'm looking for more power if we can find it and or better oil control.

Thanks.
At my son's shop Precision Craft Marine, we work on many jet boats and v-drives. We our -selves are Ford guys and race our boat in the brackets. But, most of our customers are Chev. owners, so we have a lot of experiance with those engines.

If the jet boat is a lake/pleasure boat, we also use the Milodon pan. These jet boats can turn on a dime, and some can turn within their own length. The Chev. has the advantage of rear oil pump/pickup location, and we strive to keep the pan baffled so the pickup never gets uncovered in the turns. In these cases we never worry about the " horsepower thing".
However, if its a straight line race boat, we approach the pan baffles in the same way as a drag car.
 

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This pan was absolutely horrendous on this customer's previous 454 engine in this same boat. It would drop oil pressure when the engine was run above 4700rpm. It was replaced with a stock 4 quart Chevelle pan and run for years like that without failure, problem cured. But he kept the Milodon pan sitting on the shelf and now it's a perfect piece to use as the basis of a pan for this engine. Getting the oil out of the assembly on this engine seems to be the problem and a real shortcoming of the Chevy design. The crankcase/pan rail is very narrow for an engine with a 4.500 stroke.
 

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Hi Jon, just thought I'd write to you as I have a mutual friend..

I know you are probably quite busy, but just thought I would write to you and mention him to you. I am in Albuquerque, NM and he is a former direct family/ personal friend of Dyno Dons, and I believe you also know each other, though maybe not that well. My friends name is Rich Gilkerson, he is from Baltimore, MD and now lives out here. He is a Mercury enthusiast (really a nut), and has a 69 Mercury Cougar XR7 351 auto. I will tell him to get on here and creat a profile, though this site does seem to be more just about Fords.

Patrick
 

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Oil pumps

The most frequent call we get at work is people with oil pressure problems. The funny thing is, it's never the pump itself. Come to think of it, in all my years of building engines, I've never seen a pump that didn't work. Of course you have the ones that break off and fall into the pan. Or the ones that have the cup plug work its way out and shoot the relief spring out. The impeller that we use is a standard volume, 1.100" wide. It's the same one that is in the Moroso dry sump pumps found on our 825" Pro Stock engines. We have measured over 17 gal/min flow in these engines. It is plenty big for any engine.

The #1 problem we see is when the wrong lifters are used, or they are installed backwards. When they are in backwards, the small oil hole in the lifter side directly connects with the main oil galley. When this happens, all the oil will be pumped up the pushrods to the top end, and run the pan dry. I'll try to put some pictures up. We have a client that bought one of our pumps, and had almost no oil pressure. We sent him another pump, same result. This is when we built out pump dyno, so we could make sure they were working properly when we sent them out. We free flow them, then close the pump exit with a ball valve, then open it back up a little so that it holds about 40 lbs. Dead headed, they're always 75-80 lbs. Anyway, after working with the man for many days, we find out that he rebuilt the engine at the same time he bought the pump. It had good oil pressure bebore the rebuild. When he assembled the engine, he got mixed up and installed the lifters backwards.

We also had a guy with our pump that had low pressure using an Eliminator block. Some of these blocks take the oil pressure at the back, like a stock block. The problem was that the lifter lines were restricted with a small orifice, as they should be, except the oil pressure was taken at the end of this restricted line. When he moved the pressure gauge line to the front, by the oil filter, it was fine.

We are seeing another problem, where the pickup bolts to the pump. Often times, the pickup leaks here, sucks in air, and makes the oil real foamy. Most of the pickups have a thin flange, 3/16", and if a thick gasket was ever used on it, it warps and leaks when a new gasket is installed with a new pump.

Last week, a guy called with low pressure, and found his new A-460 block had a low spot between the 2 pump mounting holes. It was .007" low between the studs and was freely flowing oil out from under the pump.

Since we're in the oil pump business now, and have sold over 300 pumps, we are seeing lots of problems that can cause confusion. Every day we have at least 1 caller with a pressure problem. As new problems come up, I'll discuss them here. Kaase
Wow, we went from oil pumps and lifters being installed backwards to oil pans, I think. Jon, I'm still trying to figure out how someone can install a lifter backwards? Rollers are pretty much idiot proof with the cross bars, and flat tappets. There's only one way to install them. I can see where some of these guys might get a little confused and actually restrict the main oil gally rather than the lifters at the rear of the block, but how do you install a lifter backwards? Also, I've been thinking about modifying the pump relief spring passage by removing the factory soft plug, tapping it and re-installing a screw in plug. What do you think, and have you tried it?
 

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new owner of a 79'Ford 4x4 van w/460 BB question

Hi, I'm new here so I'll give you some background info. and then ask my question. I just bought a 1979 Ford E250 4x4 van (Quadra van) with a 460 big block. I am selling my Dogde truck and Chevy truck to pay for it. The van is equiped for camping and has 66,000 original miles. There was someone here today looking at my Dodge Powerwagon and when I told him about the van and it having a 460 BB he told me those engines were junk-he said they had oil pressure problems due to a poorly designed oiling system. This is the first I ever heard anything bad about these engines- Is there any truth to what he said? I will be driving the van home in a few weeks- a 800 mile trip- is there anything I should be mingfull of ? Anyone else out there own or ever have owned one of these Quadra Vans? Thank you for any advice- it is greatly appreciated. -Jim (ruralcarrier4x4)
 

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IMO,it sounds like that guy doesn't know what he's talking about.But just for saftey sake i would check everything out on the van.I would check cooling system,oil pressure and compression to make sure it's up for a 800 mile drive.

Later Mark.
 

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Oil pressure by Mr. Kaase

Dear mr Kaase.I read your artical on oil pressure and haveing the rockers on backwards ? I installed my Ford performance roller rockers and was not aware of a left or right side. Did I mess up??? The kit did not mintion a inside or outside a right or a left. I have not started it yet .Do I need to take the valve covers off and check or did you mean OEM rockers?? Thank you very for the great info.
 

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Dear mr Kaase.I read your artical on oil pressure and haveing the rockers on backwards ? I installed my Ford performance roller rockers and was not aware of a left or right side. Did I mess up??? The kit did not mintion a inside or outside a right or a left. I have not started it yet .Do I need to take the valve covers off and check or did you mean OEM rockers?? Thank you very for the great info.
Robert,

Please reread the article. I believe Jon said putting the roller lifters in backwards, not the roller rockers.

Hope this helps,
 

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G'day mate,mark from Aussie Heads and Race Engines,I've come across a surging oil problem
with a BBC in a 125mph ski race boat super class,it would drop of pressure for a few seconds under full revs,but not consistently,wet sump,about 4.5 gallon capacity,oil cooled,custom made,already fitted when it come in.Had restrictors fitted,around 80psi at 6200rpm.I decided with custom sump,someone has to of made a custom pickup,so out come the motor and off with sump,pickup was custom but found the inlet was open no shroud with a sheet box perforated screen,I found this design to actually cause vortexing
and sucking air from above oil level,made a new screen SHROUDED and problem solved..the things you find
 

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Strangeness

I have a recently re-rebuilt Ford 460. It's not stock and it has been rebuilt by 2 different party's. I bought a '71 Century boat that had been ground up restored. The engine, I am told, was original but was modified and bored out during the rebuild. Here are some of the highlights:
KB pistons
hydraulic lifters
roller cam and rockers
Melling hv oil pump
Milodon oil pan
holley 650 dp
etc,etc.

You get the jist of it...

Anyway, I bought this boat, which is by the way, a Berkley jet. Everything is right. New or restored as new. Engine starts right up, runs fine, sounds phenomenal. This owner says to me that, as a winter project he was going to put in Smith Bros. .020 oil restricting push rods because he didn't like the oil pressure at certain engine loads, but he was not too worried about it since he and I would not be using the boat for racing or anything. Just a family fun boat.

I took the boat home and then out a week later. Put it in the water, started it right up and idled out to the lake via a long channel. Took about 15 min to get out. I brought the boat up to plane, not hard mind you just easy until I got the feel for it. I gave it the beans for a few seconds at a time, everything sounded great, nothing unusual. I was going about 30 mph (out of 60) Then was suddenly I heard the engine banging and I brought it down and shut it off. I waited then restarted and there it was, dreaded piston rod clunking. Got towed in.

Yanked the engine tore it down and the machinist told me that it was probably due to crap in the passageways that caused an oiling failure to the crank in certain areas. The engine had maybe 15 hours on it.
He rebuilt the motor replacing the oil pump, bearings, magnafluxed it, the whole nine yards. Anything he didn't like he redid.

Put the engine back in. Everything is as it was, starts right up, sounds great, BUT this is where the curve comes in...

The engine sounds and responds as if there is nothing wrong. No hesitations or anything. At exactly 3100 rpm the oil pressure drops like a rock to 20 psi or sometimes a little lower (15). The normal idle pressure is 80 cold, 70 hot. We are monitoring via electric pressure gauge in the dash AND have switched to a screw in mechanical to confirm the reading, same. The sender is at the rear of the engine. As soon as you bring the throttle to 3000 or below, the oil pressure returns to 70-80 psi instantly. We have tried overfilling the oil to see if somehow we are sucking the pan dry or sucking air, nothing changes.

Now to see if it may be angle of the boat causing dry pan we have ramped up the throttle fast, then very slow, with the bow up (coming up to plane). With the boat level and on plane. Slow or fast throttle ramp up, the result is the same every time.

Now, since the original owner had suggested the oil restricting rods may help the situation I got a set and installed them. Took it out and got some interesting results. When the engine is cold it was holding, that is, until the engine warmed up a little, then down it went! But this time it doesn't recover quickly as it did before. It takes a few seconds (3-5) and sometimes you have to bring it all the way down to idle for it to recover. Also, the replacement rods made a very predictable problem, unpredictable! Once it went up to almost 4000 rpm before it dropped. Other times it was dropping at 2800 rpm. Also the pressure recovery was now flaky as well.


I, and my mechanic, have been scouring the web trying to find a solution to this issue. While a stock 460, when having oiling issues always points to oil pump or tube, a modified engine can have all sorts of issues. Most say when you change from flat solid cam, lifters, to roller, you have too much lift and it lets oil run unrestricted briefly in some positions. Almost everyone agrees that you need some type of restriction up top to solve low oil pressure problems. At this point I am out of ideas. If we have to pull the engine again to recheck the pump/pickup situation some have suggested to dump the Milodan pan and use an Armando's pan. I have tried many things chasing this problem and I truly think what ever is the problem now was the ORIGINAL reason for the engine puke the first time!

I'll be happy to purchase one of these pans if I know it will solve the problem, but I don't wanna throw away 500 bucks to find out it didn't.
And yes the oil pump was changed from the first rebuild.

Your opinions would be appreciated.
 

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460 oil pressure issues (flat tappet cam)

I run a 460 set up for truck pulling. The class i pull in requires flat tappet camshaft only. I had run the engine for two seasons without issue. I decided to upgrade to a larger camshaft in an attempt to gain some power.
After i replaced the cam and lifters i started having oil pressure issues near the end of a pull. Long story short the 10 quart pan was running dry after 20 plus seconds at 7500 rpm. The answer was simple. The crane lifters i had previously ran had oil restriction built into them. The comp lifters i installed did not. The oil was pumped into the valve covers and now no oil psi. I installed a new set of crane lifters on the comp cam and problem solved.
My machine shop says they have never heard of such a thing.
 

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I have a 96 f250 with a 460 engine. i am having low oil pressure problems whenever i get into high idle or on a heavy pull. i was having this problem last year and i installed a twin filter and oil cooler and it took care of the problem. now i am having the problem again. i noticed when the filters get used the pressure drops 5 psi, i just swap filters and its good to go. my pressure drops to 20 psi. i go thru filters between 2,000 and 10,000 miles, but always change both at 10,000. oil was burnt some before the cooler was added and not having that problem anymore. oil is clean and fresh still at 8000 miles. i typicaly change every 3000 but if everything is going good and dont have time it gets extended.
 

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If the lifter bores had bushings installed , that would interfere with the oil pressure from the rear of the block? If I have good oil pressure at the front of the block does this mean I can run the engine safely?
 

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Oil Pressure Issues

I have a recently re-rebuilt Ford 460. It's not stock and it has been rebuilt by 2 different party's. I bought a '71 Century boat that had been ground up restored. The engine, I am told, was original but was modified and bored out during the rebuild. Here are some of the highlights:
KB pistons
hydraulic lifters
roller cam and rockers
Melling hv oil pump
Milodon oil pan
holley 650 dp
etc,etc.

You get the jist of it...

Anyway, I bought this boat, which is by the way, a Berkley jet. Everything is right. New or restored as new. Engine starts right up, runs fine, sounds phenomenal. This owner says to me that, as a winter project he was going to put in Smith Bros. .020 oil restricting push rods because he didn't like the oil pressure at certain engine loads, but he was not too worried about it since he and I would not be using the boat for racing or anything. Just a family fun boat.

I took the boat home and then out a week later. Put it in the water, started it right up and idled out to the lake via a long channel. Took about 15 min to get out. I brought the boat up to plane, not hard mind you just easy until I got the feel for it. I gave it the beans for a few seconds at a time, everything sounded great, nothing unusual. I was going about 30 mph (out of 60) Then was suddenly I heard the engine banging and I brought it down and shut it off. I waited then restarted and there it was, dreaded piston rod clunking. Got towed in.

Yanked the engine tore it down and the machinist told me that it was probably due to crap in the passageways that caused an oiling failure to the crank in certain areas. The engine had maybe 15 hours on it.
He rebuilt the motor replacing the oil pump, bearings, magnafluxed it, the whole nine yards. Anything he didn't like he redid.

Put the engine back in. Everything is as it was, starts right up, sounds great, BUT this is where the curve comes in...

The engine sounds and responds as if there is nothing wrong. No hesitations or anything. At exactly 3100 rpm the oil pressure drops like a rock to 20 psi or sometimes a little lower (15). The normal idle pressure is 80 cold, 70 hot. We are monitoring via electric pressure gauge in the dash AND have switched to a screw in mechanical to confirm the reading, same. The sender is at the rear of the engine. As soon as you bring the throttle to 3000 or below, the oil pressure returns to 70-80 psi instantly. We have tried overfilling the oil to see if somehow we are sucking the pan dry or sucking air, nothing changes.

Now to see if it may be angle of the boat causing dry pan we have ramped up the throttle fast, then very slow, with the bow up (coming up to plane). With the boat level and on plane. Slow or fast throttle ramp up, the result is the same every time.

Now, since the original owner had suggested the oil restricting rods may help the situation I got a set and installed them. Took it out and got some interesting results. When the engine is cold it was holding, that is, until the engine warmed up a little, then down it went! But this time it doesn't recover quickly as it did before. It takes a few seconds (3-5) and sometimes you have to bring it all the way down to idle for it to recover. Also, the replacement rods made a very predictable problem, unpredictable! Once it went up to almost 4000 rpm before it dropped. Other times it was dropping at 2800 rpm. Also the pressure recovery was now flaky as well.


I, and my mechanic, have been scouring the web trying to find a solution to this issue. While a stock 460, when having oiling issues always points to oil pump or tube, a modified engine can have all sorts of issues. Most say when you change from flat solid cam, lifters, to roller, you have too much lift and it lets oil run unrestricted briefly in some positions. Almost everyone agrees that you need some type of restriction up top to solve low oil pressure problems. At this point I am out of ideas. If we have to pull the engine again to recheck the pump/pickup situation some have suggested to dump the Milodan pan and use an Armando's pan. I have tried many things chasing this problem and I truly think what ever is the problem now was the ORIGINAL reason for the engine puke the first time!

I'll be happy to purchase one of these pans if I know it will solve the problem, but I don't wanna throw away 500 bucks to find out it didn't.
And yes the oil pump was changed from the first rebuild.

Your opinions would be appreciated.


I could be wrong but it sounds like a couple of things:

1) Oil pressure relief spring is not stiff enough and along the relief piston to open. When the RMP returns to normal, the piston closes and oil pressure returns.

2) Oil Pump gear cavitation. There was an issue with some oil pumps on BBC's where the gears would cavitate under high pressure and drop oil pressure. Relief bypasses were machined into the cap and body of the oil pump to balance out the pressures.
 
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