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Wet sump = oil drains to and remains in the sump until the oil pump collects it and pumps it round the oil ways.

Dry sump= oil drains to the sump, a scavenge pump picks it up, puts it to a reservoir , the oil pump then pumps it via the oil ways.

Dry sump is less susceptible to oil sloshing around the sump, starving the oil pump of the supply, and so the engine not having sufficient oil pressure to lubricate it. Baffles in the wet sump systems normally deal with this, racers etc would often go for dry sump because the harder you corner, brake etc the more the oil moves, the greater the risk of destroying an engine due to lack of lubrication.

Having said that, the reason Lotus opted for a dry sump set-up was issues with the early ali block designs meant the stresses of a turbo car may be too much. They worked on strengthening the block, successfully, and then reverted to the cheaper wet sump set-up. Wet sump does have some advantages as well, 2 oil pumps (in series) means if one fails you loose lubrication, so you're more open to mechanical failure, it's also less components so lighter for that (although the oil reserve may be greater for a wet sump so negate that).


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Lotus had a good number of warranty returns on the dry sump cars as the procedure for checking oil levels is quite complex for your average man in the street as I understand it. That's another reason why they discontinued it.

88 Esprit NA, 89 Esprit Turbo SE, Evora, Evora S, Evora IPS, Evora S IPS, Evora S IPS SR, Evora 400, Elise S1, Elise S1 111s, Evora GT410 Sport

Evora NA

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