Engine Windage Trays, Baffles & Scrapers
A windage tray is most commonly seen as a stamped piece of sheet metal that is mounted in between the crankshaft and the oil pan. On slow revving engines, there is little to no benefit of using one. High rpm vehicles that use a windage tray will actually gain up to a few horsepower. When the crankshaft is rotating at extremely high speeds, a horizontal vortex of swirling air is generated. The oil in the engine that was pumped up high and residual from the crank assembly is draining back to the oil pan gets caught in this vortex and is spinning too. It is estimated that anywhere from 1 to 3 quarts of oil can be caught up in this vortex. The weight of this oil will create a small load on the crankshaft which will rob a little of its horsepower. The job of a windage tray is to act like a scraper and remove the oil from the vortex which will allow it to drain back to the oil pan. The windage tray does not actually touch the crankshaft, but it is close enough to skim the oil off.
Oil baffles are designed to keep oil from splashing around while a vehicle is making sharp turns or is driving aggressively. The most common place to find these baffles is in the oil pan were allot of the oil that the engine uses is stored. These baffles are placed in a way that will keep the oil towards the center of the pan were the oil pump pickup tube is. Without these baffles, the pickup tube may suck up air instead of oil which would cause the oil pressure to drop dramatically. A low oil pressure will cause lubrication issues for the engine and will greatly increase the chance for excess wear to occur. These baffles are most commonly used in race cars and in high performance vehicles that are more likely to take high speed turns and drive erratically. Oil baffles are usually made out of steel or some kind of other metal that can stand up to the high temperatures of the engine oil. Since the design of baffles is so simple, they can be installed fairly easily and don’t come with the need to adjust other components nearby to accommodate for them.
Oil scraper rings are located on the pistons and are designed to scrape the excess oil off the cylinder walls on the down stroke of each piston. This process is done to remove excess oil from the combustion chamber in normal operating conditions experienced in the engine. If an oil scraper ring was not installed on the pistons, the engine would be constantly burning off oil which would require constant topping off of oil to maintain a proper level that won’t damage the engine. Many of these scraper rings will have channels which will help with the draining of the oil being scraped off.
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