View Full Version : Oil pressure issue with new ERL 434ci engine.


Snyper
05-03-2012, 07:13 PM
Im going to make a new thread so I can explain a little better what the issues are.

Running a melling HV pump with red spring installed.

Upon initial start up the rear barbell was left out of the block. I had about 45-60 seconds of turning the engine over with the starter then about 30 seconds or so with the engine running to which I was only getting 10psi of oil and no oil to the lifters or top of the engine.

Installed the barbell (and running 10w/40) car started up and immediately had 50psi of oil pressure. Once the car got up to operating temp the oil sat around 18psi of oil at 900rpm idle.(big cam) By 1200 rpms oil pressure is at around 30 and by 2,000 rpms oil pressure at 40. Now with the 10/40 I noticed that while getting on it from 2k to about 6 oil pressure only climbed about 5psi and leveled off around 45psi.

Switched to 20w50. Cold start up oil pressure is around 55-60 and when I rev the engine it shoots to about 80psi. Once the car warms up...18psi of idle and does the exactly same thing as with the 10/40. 40psi by 2k and settles to a max of about 45psi by 6500rpms.

One thing I notice is that cruising at around 3krpm the oil pressure is around 40..and if I apply load to the gas pedal the oil pressure dips about 2psi and stays there till I let off the gas (say from 3-3300) and then it shoots back up about 2-3psi.

I cut open my first and second oil filter and didnt notice anything out of the ordinary. I did however see only 1 extremely tiny chome/copper looking flake and that was it. The first oil change was grey sludge and the second oil change had the bronze dust in it which is normal on the first few oil changes.

I was getting a little bit of blowby out of the valve covers for the first 20 miles or so but it is completely gone now. I also notice I have a pretty bad leak coming from what it looks like could be my rear main seal. When I installed the barbell I didn't RTV the back cover upon putting it back on which is probably responsible for the leak.


Anyone have any input as to what is causing these issues? My first thought would be bearing material...but im reading o-rings could have similar symptoms.

koolrayz
05-04-2012, 10:01 AM
I read the other posts and didn't ever see that the build sheet posted for bearing clearances. I will tell you that when I picked up the last motor I had built from Kurt Urban he told me not to be worried if the oil pressure was low (as in 20psi idle).
He stated the clearances were set loose and that it is a non issue. I dont know if you have a problem or not but I would hate to see you waste a bunch of money on something that isn't a problem.

Che70velle
05-04-2012, 10:21 AM
30 seconds of running initially, was at idle? If so I'd personally not be worried about anything. The material in your filter is normal for a fresh engine. Relax and enjoy. Definitely fix that leak!

87silverbullet
05-04-2012, 10:24 AM
If you think those pressures are low, then you don't want to see what a GM service manual says about the minimum psi per 1000 rpm increments

Snyper
05-04-2012, 10:28 AM
My concern isn't the idle pressure it's the fact that it climbs to 40 by 2k then from there only goes up 5psi.


I had to modify the bracket on my pickup tube to get it to sit properly in the pan and the 2 bolt flange that bolts it to the oil pump isn't welded to the pickup. It's free. It's possible that the pickup tube is in the oil pump at a very slight angle. Could this cause that even if the o ring is in correct?

Che70velle
05-04-2012, 10:41 AM
Your fine! If you had a problem it would show at idle, not so much at high rpm. Over clearanced bearings or worn bearings will show VERY low pressure at idle. Your at 55-60 cold and 18-20 warm at idle. That's normal. The flakes in your filter are normal. I've been there. I used to run Peterson 400 series take apart filters, and I remember driving as fast as I could to my engine builder, with flakes in my filter, only to have him laugh at me. Fresh engines do that. Most people have no idea, because they never open their filters.

Snyper
05-04-2012, 10:46 AM
So you're saying only a 5psi increase is normal?

Che70velle
05-04-2012, 11:21 AM
You've got 45 psi at 6000 rpm. You do not have a problem. The clearances were probably not setup at "race specs"...there is a difference. Some like tighter, some like less. Can you put an oil temp gauge in? If not, drive the car for 30 minutes, and then try to shoot the pan with an ir temp gun. This will not be as accurate as a gauge but will give you an idea of where your oil temp is.
200 to 230 would be normal. Bearing issues would show much higher temps.
I honestly think your fine, though. Really.

S10xGN
05-04-2012, 07:35 PM
My concern isn't the idle pressure it's the fact that it climbs to 40 by 2k then from there only goes up 5psi.


I had to modify the bracket on my pickup tube to get it to sit properly in the pan and the 2 bolt flange that bolts it to the oil pump isn't welded to the pickup. It's free. It's possible that the pickup tube is in the oil pump at a very slight angle. Could this cause that even if the o ring is in correct?

Could well be that your current pump's flow is maxxed out because the bearing clearances are leaking it all by from that point upward. Maybe installing a pump with more flow output will give you the peace-of-mind you're looking for...

Old Geezer
05-04-2012, 07:52 PM
My concern isn't the idle pressure it's the fact that it climbs to 40 by 2k then from there only goes up 5psi.


I had to modify the bracket on my pickup tube to get it to sit properly in the pan and the 2 bolt flange that bolts it to the oil pump isn't welded to the pickup. It's free. It's possible that the pickup tube is in the oil pump at a very slight angle. Could this cause that even if the o ring is in correct?

Issues I found on my LQ4. Went to put the pan on, [LH8], new pickup. Had to do a bit of modifying to make the pickup fit in the pump. I added a second bolt w/ a home made collar.
As for psi.....My stock, ported LQ, [05 H2], pump holds those same pressures..
The original, H2 pan/pickup had the loose collar on the tube.

Snyper
05-05-2012, 04:39 PM
Looks like the bearings were bad the whole time.........

http://i41.photobucket.com/albums/e266/Transam6383/dd7c043b.jpg

http://i41.photobucket.com/albums/e266/Transam6383/fbed3298.jpg

http://i41.photobucket.com/albums/e266/Transam6383/47db2758.jpg

GTO1_OHIO
05-05-2012, 04:48 PM
Sending these pics to ERL?

Snyper
05-05-2012, 04:51 PM
Yes. What bothers me is oil pressure was low from day one. What would of caused the thrust bearing to go? My car is a 6 speed.

Che70velle
05-05-2012, 05:52 PM
That's amazing! 30 seconds? Wow. I've had this conversation over in the manual tranny section, but if you have an adjustable hydraulic throw out bearing that is set up incorrectly, meaning that it set up tight, it will cook a thrust bearing. Not saying that is what happened here, but it's definately possible. My machinist has a $3500 crankshaft that he uses for a doorstop, that got cooked due to throw out bearing being set up wrong. Seen others also. I'd definately consult ERL.

Snyper
05-05-2012, 05:56 PM
Stock throw out bearing. I was told by McLeod that I need at least .050" of play between the TOB being completely open and the clutch fingers. I have .080"

Che70velle
05-05-2012, 05:59 PM
Sounds like a build issue to me. Sorry man.

Che70velle
05-05-2012, 06:05 PM
Not trying to pour salt in your wounds here, but hopefully this thread will teach all who read this that it is absolutely imperative that you prelube your new engines! Yes it's a pain, but so worth it.

KILLERARMY
05-05-2012, 07:12 PM
This crap make me very very uneasy about my ERL motor (If and when I get it).

jasond26
05-06-2012, 12:29 AM
oil starvation.

Gray86hatch
05-06-2012, 06:50 AM
The 30 seconds with little to no oil pressure is not what killed it. It the miles after you had some. The thrust got killed because the bearing was dead. They need oil, Path of least resistance.

Prelube is a must. You really need more oil pump and also need to make sure the pump is installed correctly. Sounds like you may have some pan issues also.

Hope you didn't kill the main caps with heat like mine did.

Tim

Snyper
05-06-2012, 09:36 AM
The 30 seconds with little to no oil pressure is not what killed it. It the miles after you had some. The thrust got killed because the bearing was dead. They need oil, Path of least resistance.

Prelube is a must. You really need more oil pump and also need to make sure the pump is installed correctly. Sounds like you may have some pan issues also.

Hope you didn't kill the main caps with heat like mine did.

Tim

The oil pump and seal were both installed correctly and the pump was the one recommended by ERL and sold to me by them. And my last motor was prelubed by turning the engine over with no spark plugs in it until I saw oil coming out of the pushrods and it worked fine. I also rechecked (before taking the caps off) the pickup to pan clearance and I had just under 1/2" which tells me that definately wasn't the problem. To be honest the pump did a pretty good job even holding that much pressure with the bearings in the condition that they were in. The oil pressure never changed from the day I started the engine(with the barbell in) which leads me to believe it was the 30 seconds and not the miles after. If driving it is what killed it I would of seen an oil pressure change. If you read my first post in my build you can see where I said I put the barbell in and got 50psi immediatly with 10w40. The day I took my car apart I had 60psi on startup with the 20w50...which indicates that there was no more damage being done. I emailed them the pictures and I will report back on what they say. To be honest, I would like them to pay for new bearings and new headgaskets and id cover the labor having my machineshop redo the block. It is going to cost me about 500$ in labor to have everything fixed so if the parts are paid for I will be okay with it.

Gray86hatch
05-06-2012, 09:51 AM
You had oil pressure because you had 20-50 in it. that is thick stuff. If you would have had 10-40 in it it would have been a different story.

If you didn't take the pump appart to center it to the hub it was wrong. 1/2" is too much pickup clearance.

Rolling the engine over to get oil pressure is asking for problems. you can make a preoiler really cheap that you put air pressure to and it pushes the oil thru the engine.

Honnestly I would look very very close at the pump pick up tube and pan that you are running. If things are not prefect you will have more problems.
The pump needs to be inspected now with all the trash in the oil anyway.

Tim

Gray86hatch
05-06-2012, 09:54 AM
this is the stuff I am using.

http://www.schumannsdynamicperformance.com/oil-pumps/chevrolet-ls1-lsx.html

Snyper
05-06-2012, 10:04 AM
You had oil pressure because you had 20-50 in it. that is thick stuff. If you would have had 10-40 in it it would have been a different story.

If you didn't take the pump appart to center it to the hub it was wrong. 1/2" is too much pickup clearance.

Rolling the engine over to get oil pressure is asking for problems. you can make a preoiler really cheap that you put air pressure to and it pushes the oil thru the engine.

Honnestly I would look very very close at the pump pick up tube and pan that you are running. If things are not prefect you will have more problems.
The pump needs to be inspected now with all the trash in the oil anyway.

Tim

Okay well not centering the pump and the .5" of clearance isn't what caused this issue. Im starting to think you are looking for whatever reason you can(and haven't found any) to say this was user error. Even 1/2" away from the bottom theres no chance of oil starvation because of the pans design..unless I was running very low on oil..and oil level is something I check at least 2 times a week to make sure it is exactly where its supposed to be. I usually overfill the pan by 1/2 quart as an even further preventative measures. I've never had this issue with the previous 3 setups I had. This is the same pan I made 733whp on 2 years ago..on my stock engine...and the same last year. Never had an issue with the pickup and pan. The pickup tube is fairly large.

Also, with the pump being the wrong one..if that was the case why would they recommend it? I would of spend the extra money for a different oil pump if thats what they suggested. Clearly the pump was doing its job and had it not of been for the wiped out bearings the oil pressure would of beem fine. And you are right about the thicker oil and higher pressures..that was the point I was trying to make. If driving the car caused these issues then I would of seen a higher oil pressure in the beginning. I ran the 10w40 on startup..changed the oil and the oil pressures remained the same from when I had 0 miles on the motor till I took it apart leading me to believe that the oil pressure issue was there from day one.

On the first actual startup I let the car go all the way to operating temp and thats when I noticed the 15-18psi on the 10w. I shut it down changed the oil as I usually do, Let the car warm up to operating temp again and at that point it was around 22-24psi..and after a 5 mile drive it was down to 18psi...which is where it remained the whole time.

Pro Level
05-06-2012, 03:39 PM
No Barbell, No Oil to Mains !

Snyper
05-06-2012, 03:43 PM
Im hoping my cam and cam bearings aren't wiped out as well. Before this i've never even known of there being a barbell plug in the back of the block. I sent my engine out with it and got it back without it. Every time Ive had my engines done id send the block with out them and get them back with them installed and never had the issue before. =(

Pro Level
05-06-2012, 04:31 PM
Im hoping my cam and cam bearings aren't wiped out as well. Before this i've never even known of there being a barbell plug in the back of the block. I sent my engine out with it and got it back without it. Every time Ive had my engines done id send the block with out them and get them back with them installed and never had the issue before. =(

You'll have to check everything, and from the looks of those main bearings, your crank is gonna need polishing or regrind. As far as the barbell, some people supply them and some people don't. It sounds like you bought a short block with no covers, so it was probably the end users responsibility to install it. I think had you pre-lubed engine first externally, you would have caught pressure problem on the gauge. And you could've diagnosed and fixed it(Barbell) before you ever put heat in the engine. All it takes is a few seconds of metal to metal contact between the journal and bearing, and theres no coming back! And as far as the blow-by you had, it wasnt , it was the bearings getting hot and cooking the oil as it passed by. Hence the smoke out the valve covers. Luckily you took that thing out. Had you listened to a couple of these posters given you the thumbs up you'd probably be in worse shape.

Snyper
05-06-2012, 04:37 PM
I sent them my block to resleeve with the plug installed. They send me back my resleeved block with the plug missing which is why I didn't catch it..or even think to look for it. And I knew better than to keep driving it. The mellings pump would work just fine on a factory LS2 block. Just the sleeves were upgraded, not the oiling system..so to say the pump isn't enough is just wrong. The crank will need to be polished..it really didnt look too bad. Even the thrust surface has very minor surfacing markings.

KILLERARMY
05-06-2012, 05:09 PM
If when i get my motor from ERL Performance,what do i need have check before the motor is placed in the car.I don"t want any type of crap pop up like this.

Pro Level
05-06-2012, 05:17 PM
I sent them my block to resleeve with the plug installed. They send me back my resleeved block with the plug missing which is why I didn't catch it..or even think to look for it. And I knew better than to keep driving it. The mellings pump would work just fine on a factory LS2 block. Just the sleeves were upgraded, not the oiling system..so to say the pump isn't enough is just wrong. The crank will need to be polished..it really didnt look too bad. Even the thrust surface has very minor surfacing markings.

So did you assemble your own engine or did ERL assemble it ?

NemeSS
05-06-2012, 07:00 PM
dam.
sorry to hear. did you do anything to pre lube the motor before firing it?
:(

Snyper
05-06-2012, 07:25 PM
dam.
sorry to hear. did you do anything to pre lube the motor before firing it?
:(

Yes, I've had 4 motors built in the past 8 years and ive always unhooked the coils and the injectors and turned the motor over usually seeing oil coming out of pushrods within 30 seconds. This time I saw no oil but figured(and was told) it was because I didn't soak the lifters and they needed to fill up. I was also told by Seth at ERL that using that method would be fine. I was even told by him letting the engine run for 30 seconds that way shouldn't of caused any damage that these motors can take a beating.

Slowhawk
05-06-2012, 08:02 PM
The bearings were probly shot from the first startup. It happens and we've seen it a few times.Between dry cranking it(no barbell) and then starting with no barbell I would probly point to that as the cause.

FYI- We ussually prime the engine on the stand before install - pour oil into the oil pickup while turning the motor by hand. Then just fire it in the vehicle. Haven't had an issue doing this.

Snyper
05-07-2012, 01:08 PM
Well I emailed ERL this morning and waiting on a response. If they will provide me with new headgaskets and bearings I will gladly pay my guy to rebuilt thus putting any future "warranty" issues on him. I feel as though its fair enough. I will have to shell out another 500$ in labor though.

Snyper
05-07-2012, 05:21 PM
Update. Finally got a response back from ERL and they have agreed to provide me with new bearings and new head gaskets. Needless to say despite the fact that my motor is toast and is going to cost me money I am more than happy with the agreement. I will still have to spend about 500$ in labor which to me is justified since I didn't check for the plug, regardless of if I knew about it or not, before putting it together.

Tirefire
05-08-2012, 07:22 PM
I received my AES 390 long block a while back and did everything these guys on this forum say to (e.g. center my pump, check for clearance on my pick-up and bottom of my oil tray etc.) Well, when I went to prime my engine while on the engine stand with a starter I did not get any oil pressure. What I did then was fill the shit out of it with oil and then tried again, which finally did the job. Now that I'm finally getting my stuff (Lonnies double pump system, 80 ib injectors and Aster bracket) I hope I dont have any issues when I fire up my engine for the first time!! I've invested so much money at this point that I'd probably drive off a cliff. Also I don't understand some of these people who say you should'nt crank your engine to prime your engine if that's what we've been told by our engine builders???? I hope all ends well for you bro!!

crainholio
05-08-2012, 08:16 PM
FYI- We ussually prime the engine on the stand before install - pour oil into the oil pickup while turning the motor by hand.

If you can turn the crank by hand fast enough to build oil pressure, I'm leaving my wife and marrying you. :swing:

S10xGN
05-08-2012, 08:47 PM
If you can turn the crank by hand fast enough to build oil pressure, I'm leaving my wife and marrying you. :swing:

Crain, you are sooooo screwed! See post #1 here (http://ls1tech.com/forums/generation-iv-internal-engine/1114791-how-check-oil-pressure-engine-stand.html)... :wavey:

Che70velle
05-08-2012, 08:56 PM
...can't wait to see how this turns out. Boy is your wife gonna be pissed.

crainholio
05-09-2012, 05:43 AM
Crain, you are sooooo screwed! See post #1 here (http://ls1tech.com/forums/generation-iv-internal-engine/1114791-how-check-oil-pressure-engine-stand.html)... :wavey:

Ha ha! I had no idea it was possible with such slow crank rotation. I'll be sticking w/ the wife though... :jest:

Jimbo1367
05-09-2012, 08:55 AM
Snyper

So was the rear cover on the engine when you got it?

Pro Level
05-10-2012, 01:26 AM
^^^^What he asked !

c5z16z
05-10-2012, 03:08 AM
was the rear cover on????
>>>>>>>>>:guns:

BillyBob750
05-10-2012, 10:00 AM
Glad to hear they took care of you on parts as you requested. Hope to have mine back from them within the next week or so.

mkent93
03-30-2013, 09:02 AM
Hey, OP, any update on this? What sort of machine work was required to repair the block and crank?
I have a big cube sleeved LS3 and I've had this exact same oil pressure issue, including the same pressure range when varying viscous properties of the oil. Additionally, after driving about 2500 miles, I've found the copper metallic particles in my oil along with a few small slivers of silver. The rods weren't knocking nor was the engine making any unexpected noises, but I'm certainly tearing it down to find the source of the problem. This is my first LSX teardown, and first engine I've had fail. I'm hoping I caught it early enough that only a cam and a polish on the crank is needed along with all new bearings...perhaps this is wishful thinking.