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Author: Subject: Zetec Engine Issues

posted on 31/7/22 at 08:19 AM Reply With Quote
Zetec Engine Issues

So guys after a bit of advice because I'm at the end of my tether. I keep getting engine failures due to low oil pressure. I have now had three successive failures all with the same symptoms. The only common denominator on engine 3 is the ERA sump. Could that be the issue? Bit of a review as follows (thanks to those who take the time to read). I have now lost 3 engines. All with same symptoms. Car would start OK with 80 to 90 psi oil pressure. Hot would drop to 45 to 50, but in all cases pressure continued to drop. Investigation of first engine showed massive wear on all bearing surfaces and bores. Put it down to contamination from original build (block was vapour blasted, but meticulously cleaned before re-assembly). Then bought a brand new crate engine. Only parts transferred over from original engine were remote filter, oil lines (used new cooler) and ERA sump. Same thing happened again. Wondered if oil lines were restricting oil flow at high revs causing pressure relief valve to lift and short circuiting oil feed back to sump. Third engine purchased (low mileage out of focus). Removed oil cooler and fitted short oil filter as used by Westfields (can't fit original oil filter on my layout because of steering column clash). Re-used ERA sump and pick up. Checked clearance to underside of sump pan - 9mm. Thought issues were sorted, but on driving to Northampton Motorsport recently for a rolling road session had exact same issues. Started at 80 to 90 psi, dropped to 30 to 45 psi at temp. Oil pressure continued to drop until hardly registering on gauge and oil pressure light came on. Stopped and got recovered home. The only common denominator on the third engine is the ERA sump. I am at a total loss here and massively frustrated. I must be missing something simple, but can't for the life of me see what. Spoken to loads of 'experts' since this has been going on, but nothing has resolved issues. Tiger Racing say ERA sump is not recommended for race use, but I have only used on roads at legal speeds so far, so engines have not been worked hard. I am using bike carbs and a Megajolt MAP ecu. Tiger Racing reckon thats the issue and that the engine is running too lean causing the oil to boil. Plugs look OK and I'm not seeing excessive water temps (90 to 100degC). I'm using about4.5 litres of oil in the sump. Any help gratefully appreciated as I can't keep throwing money at the effing thing.
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posted on 31/7/22 at 09:03 AM Reply With Quote
Do you think your oil pick tube is good,particularly if itís been modified.
Mind be worth checking clearance to sump and integrity of the pipe to the pump,maybe as everything heats up itís opening a
Gap and losing supply to pump.
Had that problem on a pinto but shut it down before there was any significant wear,caused by burst diaphragm in mechanical fuel pump.Oil was being massively diluted.
Yours is a zetec so probably independant pump.

Roof and doors pah ! who needs 'em.......well not March/April or parts of October

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posted on 31/7/22 at 09:06 AM Reply With Quote
Not fsmiliar with the ERA sump but a quick Google threw up a few results.

Does the pressure continue to drop at idle or just when driving?

Has your sump got the baffle plate fitted? That comes up in a few of the search results and could cause issues when driving/cornering.

Have you checked the pickup pipe height? Either too high/low could cause issues, probably when revving stationary and not just driving and probably both more an issue when cold and oil not flowing as freely.

How high is your oil level at 4.5lt? Too high and the crank could whip the oil to a froth and cause issues. Again constant reving would be enough to initiate. Even with a shortened sump you should still be looking at the same oil level (ish) on the dipstick.

Personally, I very much doubt the weak mixture theory. Do you have an oil temp gauge?

"A witty saying proves nothing" Voltaire

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posted on 31/7/22 at 05:05 PM Reply With Quote
I would bin the sump. Raceline if you can get one and afford it or a Neil Dunne f2 sump if not. Both tried and tested.
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posted on 31/7/22 at 05:51 PM Reply With Quote
I have bought a Neil Dunne sump, so engine now will be fitted with heat. It will eradicate any issues sump related.
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posted on 1/8/22 at 08:52 AM Reply With Quote
That must be really frustrating!

What I don't understand is if the engine has oil pressure to start with then how can it wear to the point it has no oil pressure?

The oil pickup and pump must be getting pressurised oil to the light and gauge senders, so does that mean there is a blockage or flow issue after that point?

Being as you have had three do the same can't be an issue in the block.

"I am using bike carbs and a Megajolt MAP ecu. Tiger Racing reckon thats the issue and that the engine is running too lean causing the oil to boil."

With respect sound like Tiger Racing are talking nutsack and wouldn't trust a word they say if this is their diagnosis.

What carbs are you running? I've got loads of spare jets that fit Mikunis if you want some to drill out.

My Zetec setup is also bike carbs and MJ with a home chopped sump / pick up which has been bomb proof so nothing wrong with your basic approach.


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posted on 5/8/22 at 11:17 AM Reply With Quote
My sympathies on what must be a frustrating and expensive(!) issue.

Would it be worth temporarily fitting other oil pressure gauges around the lines/oil cooler etc. so you can get an idea where there is pressure drop?
(I'm not sure of the practicalities of that but it's probably cheaper than burning through engines!).

Good luck- let us know how you get on.



"The fight is won or lost far away from witnesses, behind the lines, in the gym and out there on the road, long before I dance under those lights." - Muhammad Ali

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