Reciprocating Engine Lubrication Systems – Wet-Sump Lubrication System Operation

in Lubrication and Cooling Systems

A simple form of a wet-sump system is shown in Figure 6-16. The system consists of a sump or pan in which the oil supply is contained. The oil supply is limited by the sump (oil pan) capacity. The level (quantity) of oil is indicated or measured by a vertical rod that protrudes into the oil from an elevated hole on top of the crankcase. In the bottom of the sump (oil pan) is a screen strainer having a suitable mesh, or series of openings, to strain undesirable particles from the oil and yet pass sufficient quantity to the inlet or (suction) side of the oil pressure pump. Figure 6-17 shows a typical oil sump that has the intake tube running through it. This preheats the fuel-air mixture before it enters the cylinders.

Figure 6-16. Basic wet-sump oil system.

Figure 6-16. Basic wet-sump oil system.

Figure 6-17. Wet-sump system’s sump with intake tube running through it.

Figure 6-17. Wet-sump system’s sump with intake tube running through it.

The rotation of the pump, which is driven by the engine, causes the oil to pass around the outside of the gears. [Figure 6-6] This develops a pressure in the crankshaft oiling system (drilled passage holes). The variation in the speed of the pump from idling to full-throttle operating range of the engine and the fluctuation of oil viscosity because of temperature changes are compensated by the tension on the relief valve spring. The pump is designed to create a greater pressure than required to compensate for wear of the bearings or thinning out of oil. The parts oiled by pressure throw a lubricating spray into the cylinder and piston assemblies. After lubricating the various units it sprays, the oil drains back into the sump and the cycle is repeated. The system is not readily adaptable to inverted flying since the entire oil supply floods the engine.

Figure 6-6. Engine oil pump and associated units.

Figure 6-6. Engine oil pump and associated units. [Click image to enlarge]

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