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Small Block Chevy Oil & Lubrication Systems
The Chevy smallblock lubrication system is very reliable and presents no design defects to worry
about. Just keep everything clean. Change the oil and filter on a regular basis, and it will provide good
service for more than one hundred thousand miles. If the recommended main and rod bearing and
rod side clearances are maintained, a stock volume oil pump is all that is required. A high-volume or
high-pressure pump or an oil pump from a bigblock Chevy are not needed in most street applications.
These other pumps take additional horsepower to run and add more strain on the cam/distributor
drive gears and drive shaft. Checking the operating clearances on the stock oil pump and optimizing
them if necessary, will ensure adequate oil pressure. The clearance between the pump gears and the
pump gear cover should be .002" to .0025". If there is more clearance, take a sheet of 400-grit
sandpaper and some oil, then move the main pump body in a figure-8 motion over the wet sandpaper
to remove material until the clearance is correct. If there is less than the minimum clearance, you can
sand the pump gears. Remember to Loctite the pump cover bolts when you put the pump back
Stock small block oil pump Oil pump drive shafts compared
The stock standard volume smallblock oil
pump will give excellent service in most
applications. Make sure that the pickup screen
you use fits the depth of the oil pan and that
the pickup tube is welded or bolted to the
pump body.
The oil pump drive shaft on the left fits any
Gen. I smallblock except the 400. The 400
shaft on the right is necked down in the center
portion to clear the wider main caps found on
the 400.
Oil pump pressure relief spring
You can increase the operating oil
pressure in a standard volume oil
pump by changing the pressure relief
spring to the Z-28 302 spring offered
under (PN-3848911, color-coded
white). With this high-pressure spring,
there is no need for washer shims or
carb jets. Operating pressures will be
65 to 70 pounds.
Two different oil pump intermediate drive shafts have been used in Gen. I blocks. All Gen. I blocks
except the 400 use a drive shaft that is 53⁄4" long overall and is the same shaft diameter its entire
length up to where the plastic or metal coupling sleeve attaches. The 400-style shaft is the same
length, but the diameter is necked down in a portion of the shaft to clear the wider journal 400 main
caps. The oil pump drive shaft for a Chevy bigblock is longer (61⁄2" overall) and is not
interchangeable. Gen. II engines that have a front-mounted OptiSpark distributor use an oil pump
drive shaft stub, which connects the gear on the rear of the cam to the oil pump. If you have a Gen. II
long-block and elect to use a Bowtie four-barrel carburetor aluminum intake and a rear-mounted
distributor, you must change the oil pump stub drive shaft to the conventional intermediate drive shaft
found on Gen. I motors.

Have the oil pump screen and pickup tube welded to the pump body. Remove the pump’s pressure
bypass spring in the pump before you do any welding to prevent heat damage to the spring. There
are some aftermarket pickup screens and tubes that will bolt to the pump and give positive retention
of the pickup instead of welding.

Make sure that you prime the oil pump before you install it. Squirt some oil into the pump or stick the
pickup down into some oil and turn the pump shaft by hand to coat the pump gears. This ensures that
the pump will move oil as soon as the new motor is turned over the first time you start it. It’s also a
good practice to use a priming tool on an assembled motor, before it is started for the first time. Oil
can then be pumped throughout the engine.
Continue to use the priming tool until you see oil come out of all of the rocker arm oiling holes.
Check that there is 1⁄4" to 3⁄8" clearance between the lowest point of the pickup screen and the
bottom of the oil pan.

Generally, the rule of thumb for oil pressure is 10 pounds of pressure for every 1,000 rpm. For
example, you should have 40 pounds of hot oil pressure at 4,000 rpm, 50 pounds at 5,000 rpm and
60 pounds at 6,000 rpm. Chevrolet makes a high-pressure relief spring (PN-3848911). It is color
coded white and will provide a maximum of approximately 70 pounds of oil pressure. This spring is
used in high-performance oil pump (PN-3848907). You can add this spring to a stock standard
volume oil pump for increased line pressure.
(PN-3848907) is a standard volume oil pump with Z-28 pressure relief spring.

(PN-3848911) is a pressure relief spring; Z-28; 70psi.

(PN-3855152) oil pump pickup screen and tube is used with (PN-465220) Z-28 oil pan and standard
volume Z-28 pump.

(PN-10046007) is an oil pump mounting bolt.

(PN-3998287) is an oil pump / distributor drive shaft, use with plastic retainer / connector
(PN-3764554 or 10105879)
If you do use a high-volume or high-pressure oil pump, use a pump drive shaft that has a metal
coupler instead of using the stock plastic coupler. The LS1 Gen. III 350 uses a front-mounted gerotor
oil pump that is driven by a gear on the crank snout. A long pickup tube is routed from the pump to
the pickup screen in the Gen. III cast aluminum pan.
Oil Pans
First make sure that whichever oil pan you intend to use will fit inside your engine compartment
without hitting the front suspension crossmembers. Also determine on which side of the engine the
dipstick will go. It must match the dipstick location in the block and the oil pan. If you mistakenly put an
oil pan with a passenger side dipstick location on to a block with a driver’s side dipstick location, you
can develop an oil leak. Check these things before you build the engine and certainly before you
install the engine into the vehicle.

Over the years, two-piece rear main oil seal pans used two different thicknesses of seals between the
front oil pan surface and the timing chain cover. Here’s how to tell which front pan gasket to use. On
engines from 1955 to ’74, a 1⁄4" thin gasket was used; and from 1975 to ’85, a 3⁄8" thick gasket was
used. Take the oil pan you’re going to use and place a straightedge across the pan rails over the
front gasket half-moon opening. Measure the distance from the seal surface to the bottom of the
straightedge. If the distance is 21⁄4" use the 1⁄4" thin seal. If the distance is 23⁄8", use the 3⁄8" thick
seal. You can use a two-piece seal oil pan with a thick gasket on a block that originally used a thin
gasket and pan, if you must. Just make sure you use the appropriate front pan seal and that the pan
has the dipstick location that matches the block and location that you need.
A Moroso deep sump oil pan
A Moroso deep sump oil pan. Note
the trap door baffle to keep oil
around the oil pump pickup screen
and the curved portion of the pan
rail to accommodate a driver’s side
dipstick and tube.
Also, make sure that you use a pan for a two-piece rear main oil seal with a block that has the
two-piece rear seal. Likewise, a one-piece rear main seal block and crank requires an oil pan suited
for this application. Chevy and some aftermarket suppliers do make adapters to mount a two-piece
seal crank into a one-piece seal block and use the appropriate pan. Make sure you figure this all out
and make your parts selection before you build the motor.
Moroso deep sump oil pan
Make sure that the type of pan
you have chosen will fit in the
engine compartment of your
vehicle. This type of deep sump
pan oil fits most vehicle
(PN-359942) is a 5-quart oil pan with trap door baffles and a bigger sump. It was used on Gen. I
engines in Corvettes with a two-piece rear oil seal block; driver’s side dipstick position. This pan will fit
pre-’86 Corvettes, but may not fit your application due to crossmember clearance problems with the
larger sump.

(PN-360866) is a Corvette 4-quart Gen. I oil pan with a driver’s side dipstick and is used with two-
piece rear main oil seals.

(PN-465220) is a 1969 Z-28 Camaro oil pan with better baffling, for use with two-piece rear seals. This
pan has a 4-quart capacity and a driver’s side dipstick for use with Gen. I blocks.
(PN-465221) is the standard production Gen. I 4-quart oil pan. Chevy windage trays will not fit this
pan. It is used with two-piece rear seals and has a driver’s side dipstick location.

(PN-10055765) is a 1986 and newer Corvette 5-quart Gen. I and II pan for use with one-piece rear
main seals. It has a passenger side dipstick location.

(PN-10066039) is a 4-quart pan for two-piece rear seals and is used on the Gen. I Goodwrench
350/190hp, 350/285hp crate motors. It will clear and fit most front crossmembers
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This has been a sample page from

Chevrolet Small Block Parts Interchange Manual Chevrolet Small Block
Parts Interchange Manual
by Ed Staffel
Beginning with the earliest small block and carrying through the
very latest "Gen III" models, CHEVROLET SMALL BLOCK PARTS
INTERCHANGE MANUAL provides complete factory parts
interchange information, allowing the hot rodder to custom-build
his own high performance version of the famous Chevy "Mouse"
motor from off-the-shelf parts. Includes factory numbers, casting
marks, production histories, suppliers, component performance
capabilities, etc.

Temporarily Out of Stock - More On their way!

This is a great book and one that any
enthusiast will love!
View Sample Pages
Engine Blocks
2) Crankshafts
3) Oil & Lubrication System
4) Timing Chains & Covers
5) Cylinder Heads
6) Intake Manifolds
7) Ignition Systems
8) Gaskets
9) Exhaust Manifolds
Condition: NEW
8.5 x 11-inches
144 Pages
300 B/W Photos
Item: SA55P
Price: $22.95
Click here to buy now!

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