A Crash Course In Dry Sump Oil Pumps With Moroso

With the exception of a few factory equipped applications, once the performance capabilities of an engine begins pushing the boundaries of their wet sump oiling system they often have no choice but to convert to a dry sump system. Whether it’s too fast of an engine speed or an oil pickup unable to cope with extended periods of high g-forces, the risk of oil starvation related engine damage will be always be present any time you want to have a little fun.

The advantages to using a high quality dry sump oiling system go as far as increasing oil capacity by having the ability to install an external reservoir with a greater oil capacity than a wet sump pan, a stronger vacuum in the crankcase (improved piston ring seal), and the vast number of high quality dry sump oil pump options available — from companies like Moroso — that can be fully customized to suit your engine’s needs.

We had the opportunity to talk to Thor Schroeder, Marketing Manager for Moroso Performance Products, to learn a little more about how exactly these pumps work and what the pumps major advantages are in both performance and adaptability.

Wet Sump Versus Dry Sump System

No matter how well designed the baffles or windage tray in your racing oil pan are, or how much oil your factory pump can flow, even the best designed and executed wet sump lubrication system has its limitations on a racetrack. In a scenario like this, the logical next step would be a dry sump system conversion — because anything else would just be a band-aid.

A Moroso wet sump oil pan (left) and a Moroso dry sump pan (right).

A dry sump oiling system is the safest and most dependable engine lubrication system available today. -Thor Schroeder, Moroso

“While converting to a dry sump oil system can definitely be a big commitment from an economic investment standpoint, where the cost of a multi-stage dry sump setup can easily surpass several thousand dollars, but the end result is a prime example of one of those components where you truly get what you pay for and, if implemented properly, will pay for itself in the long run,” says Schroeder. “In other words, a dry sump oiling system is the safest and most dependable engine lubrication system available today. It’s the most dependable way to save your expensive engine from oil starvation.”

“Horsepower gains are maximized because there is virtually no liquid oil in the pan and no internal oil pump, which then allows the windage tray or screen to actually run the full length of the oil pan,” explains Schroeder. “A dry sump system has numerous other advantages over a wet sump — including a remotely mounted oil tank to increase capacity and ease maintenance; the ability to easily add remote oil coolers as you see fit; they provide much more consistent oil pressure [that is also manually adjustable]; improved oil and vapor scavenging; and an oil pump you can more easily inspect as the belt or chain is ran externally off of the crankshaft.”

A Moroso five-stage Tri-Lobe dry sump oil pump on Dragzine’s small-tire drag racing project, “Evil 8.5.”

For a more in-depth look at the differences between a wet sump and dry sump oiling system, check out our article here.

What Is A Stage?

“The Stage of a dry sump oil pump is the section of a pump that pulls oil vapor out of the crankcase. Additional ports and scavenge sections can be implemented in a multi-stage setup to pull air and oil out of the valve covers and even the lifter valley,” states Schroeder. “Pulling air and oil vapor out of the engine reduces windage [air resistance] inside the crankcase and saves horsepower. It also allows for the use of a very shallow oil pan because the pan no longer has to function as a sump.”

“This is another advantage because the oil vapor siphoned out of the crankcase by the suction pump is then routed back into the externally mounted reservoir tank,” says Schroeder. “Within the tank the air and oil is separated and the liquid oil is collected at the bottom so that it can be fed back to the externally-mounted gear or belt driven oil pump. The tank provides a constant supply of oil so the pump never runs dry. The additional oil capacity provided by the tank also helps keep oil temperatures lower as well.”

Customizable Pumps

“Moroso’s Tri-Lobe dry sump pumps are our newest and most versatile line of dry sump pumps available today and also happens to be the highest performing dry pump line we have ever offered. These pumps were even designed so that they could more easily pass smaller foreign bodies without locking up the pump or destroying it,” states Schroeder. “We officially introduced this line in 2012, and each year since we have been developing new variations of this pump to meet the ever expanding needs of our customers. In the Moroso 2017 Performance Product Guide we introduced an external pump available in a single, two, three, four, five or six stage system that can also incorporate a fuel pump drive as an additional option.”

The pumps are offered with the option of three different mounting bracket configurations – the first being a driver’s side mount for a full body/door car; then a passenger’s side mount for a full body/door car; and a dragster-specific kit for the driver’s side of the engine.

As mentioned above, the Tri-Lobe series is available with or without a 3/8-inch hex fuel pump drive (with a 1:1 ratio), and also offers three different pressure section options. From the standard 0.900 pressure section; to a 1.200 section for oil pressure between 60 and 120 psi; or 1.800 for high boost, big displacement turbo builds with an oil pressure target of 130 to 150 psi.

We recently sent our six-stage Tri-Lobe dry sump pump (left), off of our "Evil 8.5" small-tire Fox Body Mustang dragster, back to Moroso to be converted into a five-stage system (right). An Aeromotive billet hex drive fuel pump tucks in nicely with the Moroso dry sump system and gear drive unit from Chris Alston’s Chassisworks (left).

For a closer look at Dragzine‘s project “Evil 8.5,” check out their project feature overview over on their site!

Why Moroso Stands Out

When it comes to aftermarket manufacturers, customer support can be hit or miss, possibly leaving you stranded. Whether it’s due to a company’s small size, a lack of customer service experience, or just a lack of empathy — it’s still far too common. So when we work with a manufacturer like Moroso, it’s hard not to take notice of their responsive and knowledgable support team.

“We also offer full rebuild services on all of the pumps that we sell, where we commonly have pumps come back for service to fix damage after a crash or catastrophic engine failure. Many times we are rebuilding some of our older — 10 to 15 year old — pumps right next to our current newest pumps,” explains Schroeder. “Since the Tri-Lobe design is so versatile, we have gotten back pumps from customers who wanted to incorporate a fuel pump drive to the back of the housing, or even adding or removing stages to adapt to a new build or racing class. Our dry sump pumps are now being used by the majority of the Street Outlaws’ dragsters, and we know how hard those cars get pushed.”

As featured on Discovery Channel’s Street Outlaws series; Justin “Big Chief” Shearer’s 1972 Pontiac LeMans “Crowmod” utilizes Moroso’s dry sump pump system.

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About the author

Kyle Kitchen

Born and raised in Southern California, Kyle has been a gearhead ever since seeing his first Mitsubishi Evo VIII in 2003. He is almost entirely self taught mechanically, and as an inexperienced enthusiast always worked on his own vehicles, regardless of the difficulty, just to learn how to do it himself. Prior to becoming a freelance writer for the company, Kyle started his automotive performance career with Power Automedia as a shop technician, where he gleaned intimate knowledge of LS platforms and drag racing builds; then later joining the editorial team as the Staff Writer for EngineLabs And Turnology. Today, Kyle is an experienced EFI calibrator; hot rod builder; and motorsports technician living in the San Jose area. Kyle is a track junkie with lots of seat time. You can usually find him racing his Mitsubishi Evo X in local time attack and road race events.
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