A dry sump pump system facilitates the cleaner and more efficient circulation of oil within an engine and helps it perform efficiently. This article will explain the process and why it differs from wet pump technology. It will also explain how to spec a dry sump system to support its functionality. Delivering on these actions is crucial for maintaining optimal engine performance.

Difference between Wet and Dry Sump Pump systems

These systems differ fundamentally. Wet and dry sumps are embedded into different vehicle types. Wet systems are favoured in vehicles designed for highway use. Conversely, those kitted out with dry pumps tend to be associated with motor racing. Pump type also influences inspection activity. Indeed, how to spec a dry sump system differs substantially from conducting checks on wet pumps.

The wet pump design offers users a traditional oil pan and dipstick combination. Oil storage is located and pushed to the pump from this space. Operationally, the system works by acquiring oil through a pick-up tube, squeezing it into the stock oil pump before directing it towards the engine using accumulated pressure.

This presents problems for competitive race-cars. In racing, oil proficiency comes under intense scrutiny from cornering speeds. In these circumstances, a wet pump allows oil to escape the oil pick-up tube’s reach, as oil ‘crawls’ up the pan’s sides. This decreases pressure and horse power but increases oil aeration, subsequently compromising performance.

A dry system’s purpose is to ensure oil is held in one isolated tank. Dry pumps power two processes. However, the number of ‘stages’ involved is dependent on pump specification. There is a minimum of two stages and a maximum of six. One stage has the same purpose, with the remaining ones combining to offer a separate function.

The first stage drives oil pressure, achieved by supplying oil from the tank’s base, before delivering oil through a filter towards the engine. The other stages allude to the ‘scavenging’ of oil. This relates to removing oil from the dry sump pan and returning oil and air to the tank’s top. This results in the removal of additional, unwanted air from the crankcase. To sustain this, operators need to spec the dry pump system consistently.

The output of this process is a reduction in viscous drag. Also, because of the pump’s shallower pan, the chassis can sit deeper, which increases horsepower capability.

How to spec a Dry Sump System

Users should routinely inspect the system and, as referenced, learn how to spec the dry pump system for performance opportunities appropriately. Some helpful considerations:

  • Maintain correct oil pressure: Use a pressure regulator to drive efficiency. This will help deliver desirable oil levels to the engine.
  • Support pump speeds: By deploying a damper, users can control harmonics and provide a serpentine driver for the alternator. In turn, this permits users to attach pulleys to the pump’s HTC drive, acquiring favourable pump speeds.
  • Regulate oil filtering and cooling: Add-on filters help protect purity, and an adjacent cooler supports oil performance. In this case, a thermostatically-sensitive valve directs oil on either two pathways: directly to the engine at a suitable temperature or into a cooling device to address.
  • Understand the system’s optimum oil capacity: Pour 6-8 quarts of oil into the tank, power up the engine, add more oil until the tank is two-thirds full, and you’re hitting 4,000RPM. This should be the oil target level.


By reviewing the inner functions of a dry sump pump system in this way, we can acknowledge its key advantages. However, it’s vital to protect these benefits by understanding how to spec your dry pump system appropriately.

For further advice, please contact us today on 01775 723052, email admin@nbe.co.uk, or complete your details on our contact form.

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