Turbine Lubrication System Components – Oil Pump

in Lubrication and Cooling Systems

The oil pump is designed to supply oil under pressure to the parts of the engine that require lubrication, then circulate the oil through coolers as needed, and return the oil to the oil tank. Many oil pumps consist of not only a pressure supply element, but also scavenge elements, such as in a dry-sump system. However, there are some oil pumps that serve a single function; that is, they either supply or scavenge the oil. These pump elements can be located separate from each other and driven by different shafts from the engine. The numbers of pumping elements (two gears that pump oil), pressure and scavenge, depend largely on the type and model of the engine. Several scavenge oil pump elements can be used to accommodate the larger capacity of oil and air mix. The scavenge elements have a greater pumping capacity than the pressure element to prevent oil from collecting in the bearing sumps of the engine.

The pumps may be one of several types, each type having certain advantages and limitations. The two most common oil pumps are the gear and gerotor, with the gear-type being the most commonly used. Each of these pumps has several possible configurations.


The gear-type oil pump has only two elements: one for pressure oil and one for scavenging. [Figure 6-32] However, some types of pumps may have several elements: one or more elements for pressure and two or more for scavenging. The clearances between the gear teeth and the sides of the pump wall and plate are critical to maintain the correct output of the pump.

Figure 6-32. Cutaway view of gear oil pump.

Figure 6-32. Cutaway view of gear oil pump.

A regulating (relief) valve in the discharge side of the pump limits the output pressure of the pump by bypassing oil to the pump inlet when the outlet pressure exceeds a predetermined limit. [Figure 6-32] The regulating valve can be adjusted, if needed, to bring the oil pressure within limits. Also shown is the shaft shear section that causes the shaft to shear if the pump gears should seize up and not turn.

The gerotor pump, like the gear pump, usually contains a single element for oil pressure and several elements for scavenging oil. Each of the elements, pressure and scavenge, is almost identical in shape; however, the capacity of the elements can be controlled by varying the size of the gerotor elements. For example, the pressure element may have a pumping capacity of 3.1 gallon per minute (gpm) as compared to 4.25 gpm capacity for the scavenge elements. Consequently, the pressure element is smaller since the elements are all driven by a common shaft. The pressure is determined by engine rpm with a minimum pressure at idling speed and maximum pressure at intermediate and maximum engine speeds.

Figure 6-33. Typical gerotor pumping elements.

Figure 6-33. Typical gerotor pumping elements.

A typical set of gerotor pumping elements is shown in Figure 6-33. Each set of gerotors is separated by a steel plate, making each set an individual pumping unit consisting of an inner and an outer element. The small star-shaped inner element has external lobes that fit within and are matched with the outer element that has internal lobes. The small element fits on and is keyed to the pump shaft and acts as a drive for the outer free-turning element. The outer element fits within a steel plate having an eccentric bore. In one engine model, the oil pump has four elements: one for oil feed and three for scavenge. In some other models, pumps have six elements: one for feed and five for scavenge. In each case, the oil flows as long as the engine shaft is turning.