Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Sector111 Baffled Oil Pan

As many of you know, engine oil starvation is a real problem for track driven Lotus Elise/Exige. In high 'g' turns, the oil can stand vertically in the stock oil pan starving the pick up and as a result, the rest of the engine. We have been working with a local oil pan specialist to develop a high quality baffled pan that will put the issue to rest.

Project Nirvana has been on our lift for some time to dial in our pan. After several tests, we finally have the first article on the car and onto the road. Oil isolation is a key objective with the pan. We spent significant time insuring the size of the oil isolation area and pick up location. The first picture shows the engine without the stock oil pan. You can see the stock pick up in this shot.
The second picture shows us test fitting a 'skeleton' of the pan to confirm clearance and dimensional fit. This shot gives you a peak inside at the trap door openings that help contain oil close to the pick up. Essentially you create a cavity within the pan that isolates the oil even in high 'g' situations.

Though our pan has more oil capacity than stock, this was of lesser concern as stock cars have plenty of capacity thanks to remote oil coolers. Based on our experience quality of the fabrication and features became a higher priority of us. We want a solution that fixes oil starvation first, is fabricated to a high standard and fits correctly without additional machining. You can see that the welds are beautiful and can be found inside and out with our solution. Additionally we use high quality/performance drain plugs with 0-rings. Our pan mated to the engine beautifully.

We identified a few additional changes that will be incorporated into the final pan. We are now testing ours and will plan to release it as soon as we are complete.

I've been driving Nirvana for a few days and so far no leaks....

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