Thursday, April 3, 2008

How to prime the oil pump (with the timing belt already installed)

This Post will look different from my other posts. I basically copied/pasted it from a VFAQ writeup that I made for DSMtuners.


A lot of people ask if and how they should prime the oil pump after a fresh rebuild before they fire up the engine. I highly recommend priming the oil pump. Every manual I've seen states to do this. So do all the engine builders I've talked to. While it is a known method to spin up the oil pump gears with a drill, a lot of people receive their rebuilt engine from the builder with the timing components already installed. With the timing belt on you cannot spin up the oil pump gears. So here is an alternative method suggested to me by RRE.

Tools and supplies needed:
- Wrench set
- Pliars
- 1qt/1gal/5qt bottle of oil of your choice
- Oil hand pump (attaches to the opening of the 1qt/5qt/1gal oil bottle). You can find these in different sizes at auto parts stores for $5-$10. They don't fit every bottle type perfectly, but that's nothing a little duct tape can't solve
- 2-3 ft of properly sized hose/tubing (Should come with the pump. If not, you can find some at Home Depot.)

1. Remove the fitting from the intake manifold that the brake booster hose attaches to

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Here is the fitting removed:

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2. Attach the fitting to the oil filter housing in place of the oil pressure sending unit (the big thing hanging off the bottom).

With the pressure sending unit:

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With the brake booster fitting installed:

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3. Attach the hose from the oil bottle pump to the fitting on the oil filter housing.

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4. Start pumping. After a while it will get harder to pump. Your engine will start making some funny breathing noises too. =) Keep going until you can see oil coming out of the rocker arm when you look through the oil cap opening. NOTE: If you have the turbo oil feed going from the oil filter housing like I do, then this should send oil to your turbo. Either way, continue reading below for further instructions.

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To complete the process, you want to crank the engine w/o fuel or spark to allow the primed pump to build pressure in the entire system. To do this:

1. Remove the MPI fuse

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2. Remove the fuse for the fuel pump (location varies depending on setup)
3. Remove spark plugs from the engine (PLUGS, not just the wires). This allows air to escape from the cylinders while cranking. Now turn the key to "start" and crank the engine over until the oil light goes out and you start to see oil pressure on the gauge. This should get oil into all the other necessary places with minimal work/stress being put on the engine internals.

That's it!


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