Engine Oil Pump

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Oil Pump
Oil Pump

The oil pump is the device in a vehicle's engine,which is responsible for circulating oil throughout the engine. Any parts in the engine that get too hot or are experiencing excessive amounts of friction will have their life spans greatly reduced. This pressurized oil may also be used as a hydraulic fluid to power small actuators. There are many different types of oil pumps which include gear pumps, trochoid pumps, vane pumps, and plunger pumps. To avoid the need for priming, these pumps are mounted submerged or around the oil level in the sump. Oil is sucked up from the oil pan and through the pickup tube were it is pressurized before being sent into the engine. Since most of the oil is stored at the bottom part of the engine in the oil pan when the engine is off, the filter will house a small amount of oil that is used to lube and cool the top parts of the engine at start-up.

Mechanical pumps are usually used for the oil pump because it is simple and provides unmatched reliability. These mechanical pumps are driven by mechanical gear-trains from the crankshaft and sometimes the camshaft or distributor shaft. Having a reduced pump speed is beneficial which is why attaching the pump to the camshaft or distributor shaft is preferred if the engines setup allows for it. It is rare to have pumps driven by belts or gears because if they fail, the engine can be starved of oil which can cause catastrophic failure.

The oil pressure that is generated by most of these pumps is around 10 psi per every 1000 revolutions per minute, peaking at around 55-65 psi in some parts of the system. Pressure near the crankshaft journal and bearing may reach a few hundred psi which shows how much the pressure of the oil will vary in specific parts of the engine. Monitoring the oil pressure gauge inside the vehicle to ensure that the oil is at the proper pressure is important to do whenever the engine is on. Low oil pressure is often caused by things such as a faulty oil pump, a clogged oil pickup screen, excessive wear on high mileage engines, or simply low oil volume. Loss of oil pressure over time is somewhat normal in an engine because as parts start to wear down, the gaps in between get bigger which allows more oil into the area. Oil pressures in high performance engines that rev higher will be much higher than a regular vehicle that has the ability to rev up to only about 5 to 6 thousand rpm. High performance engines that don’t have high enough oil pressure can find air pockets trapped in the oil which can cause excessive wear to the engine.

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