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Thread: question: checking oil level when oil cooler sits higher than the short block ? S1

  1. #1
    Senior Member bellwilliam's Avatar
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    Default question: checking oil level when oil cooler sits higher than the short block ? S1

    probably a dumb question, but I can't get my head around it.

    some of you know, I've just built my S1 Miata, 220whp turbo Miata for w2w. cooling is #1 priority in a turbo car (especially Miata), so I install it where old coolant overflow bottle was (behind passenger headlight), and install a vent right over the hood.
    Yesterday was first race day, I feel pretty smug when max oil temp was 235F in a 10 lap race (all within a second, so no soft pedaling), max water temp of 205F.

    But the more I thought about it. more it bugged me that oil cooler sits high. reason:

    - when engine is off and warm. oil thermostat is open. do all the oil just flows down to the oil pan ? if so, when I check the dipstick, let's say it is at "full" mark.
    - once I fire up the engine, thermostat opens up, oil is now pumped through the oil cooler (let's say it holds 2 quart), does that mean my car is now 2 quart low ?

    btw, first sticker I put on the car is "Trackhq" sticker...... so I deserve dumb question if this is one.



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    BMW Master bawareca's Avatar
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    Looks like i did this installation, although i will use 2 clamps of the same type, vs 2 different
    Om a serious note, from what i can see on this picture the intake/outlet side of the cooler is higher than the bottom, and if this is correct the oil will not flow out of the cooler back to the oil pan.
    But if your oil goes only to 235F you need more boost
    Oh, and nice looking car too
    Last edited by bawareca; 09-11-2017 at 08:37 PM.

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    Senior Member bellwilliam's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bawareca View Post
    from what i can see on this picture the intake/outlet side of the cooler is higher than the bottom, and if this is correct the oil will not flow out of the cooler back to the oil pan.
    ??? what do you mean by "intake/outlet" side of the cooler is higher than the bottom ? if oil thermostat is open, why won't oil flow down towards the pan. currently oil cooler sits as high as the head.
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    oil volume should be stock factory amount plus volume of cooler and lines. Where that shows up on the dipstick is the new max line. Drain out 1 qt and get the new min line. This way it does not matter if oil drains or does not drain out of the cooler after shut down and sitting.

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    BMW Master bawareca's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bellwilliam View Post
    ??? what do you mean by "intake/outlet" side of the cooler is higher than the bottom ? if oil thermostat is open, why won't oil flow down towards the pan. currently oil cooler sits as high as the head.
    As I said, I cannot get a real picture of the position of the cooler from your picture. If it is parallel to the ground you must say so. Even in this case it will be hard for the oil to flow out of it. The oil must flow thru the filter and the oil pump or flow thru the oil galley and the bearings.

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    Senior Member bellwilliam's Avatar
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    here it is.


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    William, in my S2000 it'd been my experience that the oil cooler and lines (has aftermarket cooler) don't drain back to the pan very much, if at all after shutdown.

    -Dean
    Last edited by dc2696; 09-12-2017 at 04:33 AM.
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    Senior Member bellwilliam's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dc2696 View Post
    William, in my S2000 it'd been my experience that the oil cooler and lines (has aftermarket cooler) don't drain back to the pan very much, if at all after shutdown.

    -Dean
    Dean: does your oil cooler sit high ?
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    Member dc2696's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bellwilliam View Post
    Dean: does your oil cooler sit high ?
    Mine runs vertically in front of the radiator mounted to the rad support so not as high as yours but I can't see yours draining unless you had a way to vent the inlet line. After the initial startup/circulation of the cooler if you topped off your oil level the cooler/lines should stay liquid full and the sump level should be run at the normal level.
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    No idea how oil coolers work on a Miata but on my LS3 the anti drain back valve in the filter keeps the oil cooler full at all times. My cooler is higher than the pan and adapter. I get to verify this operation overy oil change when I remove the filter as I get an extra quart out the the filter housing.
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    Quote Originally Posted by bellwilliam View Post
    here it is.


    In these pics the lines appear to be higher than the cooler. So unless they are capable of syphoning the cooler, I don't see how it could drain, the oil won't flow uphill.
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    Senior Member bellwilliam's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sprinkles View Post
    In these pics the lines appear to be higher than the cooler. So unless they are capable of syphoning the cooler, I don't see how it could drain, the oil won't flow uphill.
    ?? why won't it siphon ? just before shutting down engine, oil pump is working, oil is circulating... so when oil pump stops (engine stops), oil will just keep flowing....
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    BMW Master bawareca's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bellwilliam View Post
    ?? why won't it siphon ? just before shutting down engine, oil pump is working, oil is circulating... so when oil pump stops (engine stops), oil will just keep flowing....
    No matter what we are telling you, you are convinced the oil will leak out of the cooler. So be it

  14. #14
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    It won't drain back the way your lines are positioned. It won't siphon.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bellwilliam View Post
    ?? why won't it siphon ? just before shutting down engine, oil pump is working, oil is circulating... so when oil pump stops (engine stops), oil will just keep flowing....
    It's easy enough to verify, just undo the front lower hose. If you are correct, no oil should come out of the cooler.

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    The big oil cooler we are putting in Bullet holds 0.875 quarts of oil. Each of the lines holds approximately 0.15 quarts. Allowing some for error and whatnot (I am lazy and guessing on the average line length), I figure the whole system holds 1.25 quarts tops.

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