View Full Version : Swing Pickup oil pan and pickup sale $1495 / free shipping

Dan Cragin
05-05-2014, 08:09 PM
I am sure many of you have heard to horror stories about oil starvation on the Gen 3 engines, particulary when used on the track.

SPT is having a limited sale on Gen 3 competition oil pans and pickup assemblys. The articulating oil pickup swings to the oil location under high lateral g maneuvers and provides consistent oil pressure during track use. The kit includes pickup assembly and replacement oil pan. These kits are modified Gen 4 units to fit the Gen 3 car. Frequently priced close to 2k. SPT has 10 units priced at:

$1495.00 including shipping

Here is some information I posted a while back, that explains the oil starvation issue and how to correct it on 1996-2006 Vipers.

Can I damage my engine if I track my car?

Over the years I have seen some Viper engine failures at the track and understand why many owners might have second thoughts about using their cars in a track environment.

First off, everyone should have a chance to see what the Dodge Viper can do on a road course in a controlled environment. With lots of torque and some of the widest performance tires available
in the market today you will never see the limits of your car on the street. Track time makes you a better driver and gives you new respect for your car.

The Viper has gone through 4 generations of change from 1992-2010. Although the car has changed dramatically it’s basic design has remained the same. A big displacement pushrod engine, six speeds and a race inspired suspension. The Viper excels in its simple, old school race design, but in that it falls behind most exotic cars in engine lubrication. Without getting technical here is how it works.

The engine we love is what we call a “wet sump” engine, common to most all passenger cars and trucks. The sump is where the engine stores it’s oil supply, in our cars it’s the oil pan that sits below the engine. Oil is used to lubricate the engine and cool it. The Viper has a large oil capacity from 9-11 quarts depending on the year model. This lubrication system is simple and compact; the oil is drawn from the oil pan by the oil pump and is supplied to the load bearing components in the engine.

Many exotic cars like the Ford GT, ZR 1 Corvette, Ferrari etc, use a “dry sump” engine. This engine keeps its oil supply separate from the engine in a tank located above the crankcase of the engine. Oil is pumped directly from the tank to the load bearing components of the engine and scavenged back to the oil tank by a separate suction pump. The reason this is done is to keep the oil cooler, to reduce losses of power from the crankshaft contacting the oil and to keep the oil supply from moving around during high cornering and accelerating G Forces. In a “wet sump engine” like the Viper the oil in the sump (oil pan) can move away from the oil pickup in the pan under hard cornering and acceleration and under certain situations starve the engine from lubrication. Now understand, this can only happen in very extreme conditions and there are ways to prevent it.

When I first started taking Vipers to the race track back in 1993-1995, we never had any lubrication related problems. We heard that high G loads and lower than full oil levels could cause oil starvation on the track, but never saw this happen. We ran slicks and modified our engines and had no issues. The Gen 1 Vipers had a big oil pan, shrouded oil pickup and the oil stayed where it needed to be.

When the Gen 2 Viper came out we started to see some issues. Turn 9 at Willow Springs flat out in a GTS with a pro-driver a piston rod let go. The changes to the new Viper made it faster than ever, but the diet Dodge put the Viper on reduced the oil capacity and size of the oil pickup in the pan, that combined with more power, lighter and better suspension and new sticky Michelin tires, the increased G-Loads achieved forced the oil right out of the pan. A market opened up for modified oil pans that used baffles to keep the oil around the oil pickup, and in 1999 The Viper received a deeper oil pan and increased oil capacity. The hard-core racers went to dry sump systems.

While the Gen 3 Viper was just coming out I had the opportunity to be involved in a new car, the Viper Competition Coupe. Tommy Archer had done all the initial testing of the Car and it was fast I was puzzled to find that the oil pan was very simple with very little to keep the oil in place. There were no oiling issues during Tommy’s testing. Before the release of the new Comp Coupe several novice club racers were allowed to test this new car. After a few laps several drivers came in with complaints of loss of oil pressure in the corners. The final diagnosis was that Tommy was such a smooth driver he never upset the oil in the pan, but the novice drivers high-speed turn in technique did. Immediately a new oil pan and “swing oil pickup” were designed to correct this.
This became a “must do” for all the serious Gen 3 club racers as well.

In 2005 I had the opportunity to be the crew chief on a new type of racing for Mopar “Drifting”. We campaigned a Viper race car with an exceptional driver, Samuel Hubinette. We used the latest swinging oil pan and a special lubricant. After a few sessions we lost an engine- oil starvation. The extreme sliding forces of drifting just disturbed the oil too much. We did not have a budget for a dry sump, so we asked the advice of a top Dodge engineer. Just overfill it with oil! We placed 2nd overall that year.

With the advent of the Gen 4 Viper the best of the wet sump systems was created, utilizing a swing oil pump pickup special pan and oiling system, these types of failures have almost been eliminated.

For all you novice drivers, these lubrication issues should never arise if you keep your engine full of oil, use stock tires and do not drive over 8/10ths. For those of you that are competitive or run racing tires, modified oil pans are mandatory. You should also slightly overfill your oil level as well.

05-05-2014, 09:24 PM
Great post Dan! Thanks for sharing your knowledge and experience with us here. While I understand the basics of wet sump vs. dry sump, I feel a hell of a lot smarter after studying your post above.

05-05-2014, 09:31 PM
Dan, as always a very thorough write-up and explanation of the problems with the Gen 3 engine under heavy track use. I completely agree, this is a must have item on any Gen 3 engine. Thanks for spelling it out.

Dan Cragin
05-05-2014, 10:16 PM
If you ever plan on tracking your Gen 3, this is a must. Its one of those upgrades many owners dont invest in until its too late. Its not a problem until its a problem, then its really expensive.

Hope some folks will take advantage of this pricing while it lasts.


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