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Is there an advantage to different oil levels in my engine?

Answer

The results showed that at the lower rpm the reduced oil level did show a trend of increasing the power but below 4000rpm. The min values on the bar chart show that 14–16oz of oil produced the best output. This could be due to increased heat at levels below this. The upper rpm range was very similar and do to inconsistencies of the testing equipment and engine a power advantage could not be concluded.

Thoughts for the 3500rpm point showing a bigger power advantage over the higher rpm is because of the oil level in the sump being higher at this speed. At the higher engine speeds, the sumps oil level is reduced as the oil is flung against the walls and other components reducing the amount of oil the cam gear and rod/crank are exposed to.

* Initial thoughts on windage power consumption are that it increases as rpm is increased (but most documentation is not on splash lube oil system).

Overall Summary

Overall the test results were very consistent and very little if any advantage could be seen from the different levels. At most .1hp could be gained at different points by running an oil level below that of a safe level. Track testing has shown 16oz to be reliable, and should be the recommended minimum race level for our engines. The power advantage of the lower level is seen at this point, and reliability is not compromised.

* Note: During the 8oz test the piston stuck in the bore while running at the 3500rpm set point. 10oz proved to be the low level threshold that the engine will tolerate.

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