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dculberson MegaDork
1/3/22 5:42 p.m.
TED_fiestaHP said:

   For the fuel cell, first check the rules for where it will be run, for just autocross might be able to use almost anything, but check the rules first.

     For SCCA racing, the cheaper ones won't be OK.   So check all the rules for possible future uses, a cheaper cell will cost more if it has to be replaced with another one later.

  Depending on your planned use, might be able to use a smaller cell, which would be cheaper and easier to get into the car.

What Ted said. Those RCI cans are more like aluminum boxes than proper fuel cells; I believe they don't have a rubber bladder and they're not SFI certified. SFI fuel cells are required in some racing, but not all. Check into it when you're looking at what you plan to run. Unfortunately the rated fuel cells are much more expensive than the RCI cheapies.

Apexcarver UltimaDork
1/3/22 7:27 p.m.

I recently got a cell for my f500, granted it's a custom shape for my chassis (KBS mk7), but it was something like $1045. It's the single most expensive part of my car. Additionally, ethanol eats them, even if it's the now normal pump gas with 10-15%. If you use ethanol free gas, figure for about a 10year lifespan.

Also, fire system, scca recently upped the requirements for fire system recerts. Figure a couple hundred every 2-3 years.


This is for club racing or hill climb.

Cost of going racing.



TurnerX19 UltraDork
1/3/22 11:38 p.m.

You do not need a dip stick in that engine. The oil lives in the oil tank, not the engine. Likely 10 to 12 quarts of it, and you check it with the engine running, as it will bleed down into the sump when the engine is shut off for any amount of time.

AMiataCalledSteve New Reader
1/4/22 2:04 p.m.

Welp, the transmission in my truck just popped so there goes ~ 3 Steves out of my automotive budget...

NY Nick
NY Nick GRM+ Memberand HalfDork
1/4/22 3:23 p.m.

That sucks, not sure how far west you are but I can heartily recommend Davis Garage in Chesterfield, SC (Just south of the NC Border about an hour east of Charlotte). He is a great Transmission guy (and a super person).

AMiataCalledSteve New Reader
1/4/22 4:37 p.m.

In reply to NY Nick :

Thanks, a little too far west for that but I do appreciate the suggestion. It's at a local transmission shop now and probably will be for a good while. Fortunately I have been strategically diversifying my driveway over the last few years (by which I mean owning as many cars as I can squeeze in the driveway) so my daily life won't be too affected while it gets repaired.

AMiataCalledSteve New Reader
1/6/22 11:52 a.m.

So, back to the fuel cell. Removing the rear window is a two-person job, and this week has been a busy one for me as well as most of the people I know who would be willing to come help work on the car. The window is held in place by hex-head fasteners with rusty nuts on the inside of the window flange, so one person has to crawl through the roll bar behind the seats to hold the nuts with a wrench while the other tries to turn the corroded fasteners without stripping the head (we were only mildly successful on that front). My dad and I had tried to tackle the job briefly at the beginning of the week, but we stripped a bolt and decided to call it a night as it was already late.  Miracle_Max visited yesterday evening and between the two of us we managed to remove the fasteners relatively quickly and without too much bolt strippage. We didn't remove all the fasteners, just enough to bend the acrylic out of the way.

I foolishly had neglected to remove the fuel cap before we began this process, and it came back to bite me at the end. The cap was hitting the welded body reinforcement bars below the window and it was in a tough place to access now. With a little more wrangling, Max was just barely able to reach in and remove the cap. With the final obstacle out of the way, the fuel cell came out easily.

A lot of gunk had worked its way below the fuel cell during the car's long stay outside. I'll clean all that out and repaint the hole before install a new one.

onemanarmy Reader
1/6/22 12:09 p.m.

Looking forward to hearing this thing run!

APEowner GRM+ Memberand SuperDork
1/6/22 1:01 p.m.
TurnerX19 said:

You do not need a dip stick in that engine. The oil lives in the oil tank, not the engine. Likely 10 to 12 quarts of it, and you check it with the engine running, as it will bleed down into the sump when the engine is shut off for any amount of time.

I don't see an oil pump on that car.  I suspect that at some point in its storied past the dry sump system was removed and an engine was thrown together with random parts so that it would move under its own power and make race car noises.

AMiataCalledSteve New Reader
1/6/22 1:39 p.m.

In reply to APEowner :

I think this is accurate, it seems to be a pretty odd mish-mash. I traced the oil lines back when I bought it and I seem to remember it going oil pan -> external, belt driven oil pump -> oil filter -> back to pan. That was a long time ago, so I'll try to double check again tonight.

Wally (Forum Supporter)
Wally (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
1/6/22 2:42 p.m.

Taking the side windows out makes removing/installing the rear window easier for one person. 

AMiataCalledSteve New Reader
1/6/22 9:58 p.m.

Alright, it's time to address the oiling situation. It turns out I misremembered the oil path earlier. For starters, here's a more current view of the engine bay:

The fuel lines are disconnected from the fuel pump, but other than that everything is where it should (?) be.

Both the oil pan and the oil pump have input and output lines that start and end at their same respective places. The oil filter lines attach to a filter relocation kit mounted on the passenger side of the engine near the firewall:

You can see the output and return lines originate and terminate at the same fitting. So the oil goes block -> filter -> block. Also, i believe that's the oil pressure sender next to the filter. Apologies for the blurry photo.

The oil pump is located on the driver side of the engine and is driven by an accessory belt:

There are two lines that lead from the driver side of the oil pan that lead to the underside of the pump:

(Ignore the spiderwebs)

So it would seem that the oil is drawn from the pan and then pumped right back into the pan. So no dry sump system and and no external tank to measure oil levels. It seems like a weird setup for sure. If anyone has any thoughts I'd love to hear them.

I'm no engine builder. I understand them well enough and feel confident working on them, but it's the one regret that I have from my time taking automotive tech classes at the local community college that I didn't get a chance to take the engine course before I had to leave for college. There's a lot of little details that I'm sure I'm missing, and race engines (or at least race-appearing) are very much out of my previous experience. I'm using this car as a learning tool, so please bear with me if I miss something that seems blindingly obvious to y'all.

TED_fiestaHP HalfDork
1/7/22 10:48 a.m.

  Looks like you have most of the dry sump system, sump and pump, but odd there is no external tank.

       That pump will try to pull all the oil out of the sump, so odd that the oil would just go back to the sump.  The oil tank might not be cheap, but best solution might be to add a oil tank and set it up as a proper dry sump.  The dray sump pan won't really have a area to hold much oil, so if not running a true dry sump system, would be better to replace the pan with a pan that would hold some oil.

    Would be great if you could get to a club race where you could see some similar cars, like a SCCA race.  Most would be happy to share info and show details about their cars.  

      You might be able to find used parts, you would want to make up new AN hose, but the tank and all the fittings don't need to be new.

APEowner GRM+ Memberand SuperDork
1/7/22 11:27 a.m.

That's a weird setup.  Are there no hoses on the top side of the pump?  The oil pump has two sections the scavenging section and the pressure section.  The pressure section has an inlet, typically on the bottom, and an outlet, typically on the top.  The scavenging section has multiple stages, each with an inlet, again typically on the bottom and a single outlet, typically on the top.

4 stage are plumbing schematic

Let's think about the pressure section first.  On a traditional system it draws the oil out of the tank and pumps it into the block.  It's often plumbed into the block where the oil filter goes on a wet sump system but it could go into the oil galley somewhere else in the block as well.  I see two issues with the way it's plumbed in this car.

  1. There's not enough oil in a dry sump pan to provide un-aerated oil to the pressure pump
  2. There doesn't appear to be an oil line on the output side of the pump going anywhere

On the scavenge side what's supposed to happen is that oil, and air, is pulled from multiple places in the engine (typically the pan and the valve covers but sometime other locations) and pumped to the tank where it's de-aerated and the oil settles to the bottom of the tanks so that there's always a supply of oil for the pressure pump.

In this car there doesn't seem to be an outlet line on the pump and, there's no tank so I don't know what's going on there.

The remote oil filter is plumbed like a traditional wet sump remote mount filter.  You could do that with a wet sump if you were pressurizing the system from another location.

My best guess from what I can see in the photos and from the description is that the external pump is just for show and that it doesn't actually have any pump gears in it and that this car has a traditional wet sump pump in it with a modified pickup.



Kendall_Jones Dork
1/7/22 11:43 a.m.

That oil system is weird for sure.  If its a dry sump pan then that means theres no "wet" sump for the oil to sit.  No oil cooler either?  Looks like your current oil capacity is like 3 quarts(!)


For the fuel cell - see if you can work on getting the oval cover off.  They are sometimes bonded in, but there should be a cork gasket.  In the tank should be a flexible bladder that you can pull out and inspect.  I'm surprised the can itself does not pull apart, they usually have a flat top that is separate from the bottom half.


EDIT  - what he said! ^

AMiataCalledSteve New Reader
1/7/22 11:53 a.m.

In reply to APEowner :

Thanks for the very helpful and informed answer. I know very little about dry sump oil systems so that diagram is really helpful. But yes, I suspect you're right. The fourth picture of my earlier post shows the top of the oil pump and as you can see there are no hoses attached to the top side. The pan seems like it has the space and volume to accommodate a traditional pump, so I assume that is what is actually oiling the engine. The oil gauge does show pressure if you crank the engine, so there's a functional pump in there somewhere!

This tracks with my earlier hypothesis that this is a cammed-up truck motor that they bolted in here and that it is probably mostly stock internally. But I'll try to jack the car up later this weekend to take a closer look and make sure I'm not missing anything.

AMiataCalledSteve New Reader
1/7/22 11:59 a.m.

Here's a shot of the pan from the other side. I'll try to get a better picture of the pan in the future to compare its size to other pans. It looks to be custom fabricated to me.

Kendall_Jones Dork
1/7/22 1:27 p.m.

The fact that it sits lower than the bellhousing means its probably a wet sump & has some oil capacity.  Weird setup for sure.  Like others said, it was probably thrown together to give rides / make noise.

APEowner GRM+ Memberand SuperDork
1/7/22 3:11 p.m.
AMiataCalledSteve said:

Here's a shot of the pan from the other side. I'll try to get a better picture of the pan in the future to compare its size to other pans. It looks to be custom fabricated to me.

That does look like a wet sump depth pan.  The drain plug is a clue as well.

I'd be uncomfortable with using that engine for anything other than moving the car around without tearing it apart and figuring out what it really is. 

TED_fiestaHP HalfDork
1/7/22 7:46 p.m.

  Looks like you would need a tank and a new pan, a dry sump pan won;t have a sump to hold oil.   The dry sump system pulls all the oil out of the pan, and the pump pulls oil from the tank.   That way regardless of cornering forces the pump will have a good source of oil from the bottom of the tank.

  What is in the car must have worked, but seems like it would be a good idea to set it up as a proper dry sump system.


     Looks like a fun project, the tricky part will be sorting out what was done right and what should be updated.  Even if it does have some truck engine, with everything set up correctly it should be great fun.

Mr_Asa GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
1/7/22 8:24 p.m.
AMiataCalledSteve said:

Speaking of replacing the fuel cell, anyone have any recommendations? I was looking at something along the lines of one of these: https://www.jegs.com/i/RCI/821/2172A/10002/-1

The current cell is 33 1/2" W x 17" D x 15 1/4" H. The trunk opening is about 13".

I seem to remember that jgrewe has something in the double digit gallon range?  I think he said it was sent to him by mistake or some guy he was doing stuff ordered it for a project and never picked it up?  I'd send him a PM

Wally (Forum Supporter)
Wally (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
1/7/22 10:20 p.m.

I'm guessing they just cobbled something together to get it to move around, as that's kind of a worst of both worlds system. It wouldn't be hard to follow APE's diagram to put a proper system together. The tank should either mount behind the driver's seat or the left front wheel depending on the chassis.  Take the tank apart and clean it when you get it, and I'd avoid a used oil cooler.  I've watch people kill engines saving a few dollars. 

jgrewe HalfDork
1/8/22 4:55 p.m.

Mr Asa suggested I check in.  If you are going to do any wheel to wheel racing you will need one of the more expensive cells.  The Jegs unit won't cut it.  You could use it for track days etc but that is it.

The dimensions you gave put that cell you removed at about 32 gals. The bladder I have is an ATL 22gal, I think it is an MB122B. I built a cage for a guy a few years ago and had him buy it for me.  I promptly forgot I had it and ordered a whole new cell for the car a year or so later.  I also have a new fill plate for it too. My plan was to just fold up my own metal can to match the hole and mount in the car. I would take half a Steve for the NIB bladder(with foam), top plate and I think I even have a duck foot pick-up somewhere.

psteav (Forum Supporter)
psteav (Forum Supporter) Dork
1/11/22 8:32 p.m.
jgrewe said:

I would take half a Steve for the NIB bladder(with foam), top plate and I think I even have a duck foot pick-up somewhere.

Let it be known from this day forth...the Steve is the official new monetary unit of the GRM board.

Also, this thread is bad-ass from top to bottom.

AMiataCalledSteve New Reader
1/12/22 11:53 a.m.

In reply to jgrewe :

I've been away from the forum for a few days, forgive me. That's a tempting offer, thank you. However, given my complete lack of track experience, I really only expect to use this for autocross and track days for some time. For now I'm thinking I'll just get something that fits and lets the car move under its own power, if I switch to racing later on I'm OK with spending the money for an upgrade when I cross that bridge.

That and my fabrication skills are beginner-level so making a new box would be a project all on its own haha

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