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Choosing the right type of oil for your car is all very well, but that’s not to say that’s as far as you need to go in terms of keeping your tuned classic Ford healthy. Here are four essential oil system upgrades.

Track, race and drag cars have to withstand additional stresses and that has an affect on the oil. If you imagine a car cornering hard, the oil in the sump will act the same as if you’re trying to run whilst carrying a bucket of water. It doesn’t stay put, and instead will move around under cornering, acceleration and braking forces. This can have disastrous results – if the oil moves to the side of the sump, the pick-up pipe can’t supply oil to the rest of the engine. It’s known as oil starvation and it spells disaster, but there are ways around it.

What is an oil cooler?

This is a common upgrade that’s fitted to a range of regular performance cars, and is highly advisable if you drive the car hard or it’s tuned. In a similar way that the car’s radiator keeps the water cool, an oil cooler does what it says on the tin – it keeps the car’s oil cool. By feeding the oil through a core that is mounted in an area where airflow is high, the oil’s temperature can be reduced. Oil is only effective up to a certain limit, and if the car’s used on track then the oil temperatures can soon go above the level at which it remains effective. An oil cooler keeps the temperature of the oil to a reasonable limit so that it can still perform as intended.

oil system upgrades

What is a dry sump?

Dry sumps offer the ultimate in oil supply and management, but are normally restricted to high-end race and track cars. Instead of having the oil in the sump as you would expect, it’s housed in a remote tank that feeds a constant supply, no matter what the car happens to be doing at the time. A crank-driven pump provides the pressure, so it’s normally directly attributable to engine speed. Larger volumes of oil can be used and an additional advantage is that the engine can be mounted lower in the car as there isn’t a big sump bolted to the bottom – this helps the car’s centre of gravity and improves handling.

What is an uprated oil pump?

Your car’s standard oil pump will be designed to supply oil for a standard engine. But start factoring in tuning and it’s no surprise that standard oil pumps can start to struggle. Large-rotor oil pumps are available for a wide selection of cars, and as you might guess from the name, they flow more oil than standard. Fitting one is a strong recommendation if you’re running high rpms or big power.

oil system upgrades

What is a baffled sump?

A baffled sump is designed to keep oil where it’s supposed to be – in the middle of the sump. Additional metalwork in the sump acts as a barrier to stop the oil from trying to ‘climb’ the sides of the sump, providing a constant supply for the scavenge or pick-up pipe to supply the rest of the engine.

Words Glenn Rowswell

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