Project Olds Canton Accumulator System Install - Pressure Situation
Project Olds' Oil Pressure Issues Get Fixed With A Canton Accumulator System.
From the December, 2010 issue of Popular Hot Rodding
By Stephen Kim
Photography by Robert McGaffin, Steven Rupp
Losing oil pressure isn't usually a situation that evokes the warm fuzzies, but we can't help ourselves. As promised, Project Olds has been subjected to chronic lateral abuse since its completion, and we're proud to have driven the car hard enough to leave its oil pump pickup gasping for a drink from time to time. The problem first surfaced while running laps at Road America, when the oil pressure abruptly dipped below 20 psi under hard braking. Then it happened again on the autocross, as the pressure momentarily plummeted to 10 psi. Although there's undeniable heroism involved with manhandling a behemoth A-body through a sea of cones and apexes, there's a big difference between pride and stupidity. To address the situation, we plumbed in an accumulator system from Canton Racing Products, then hit the track once again to test it out.
When it comes to selecting...
When it comes to selecting an Accusump, a larger capacity unit provides extra protection. The biggest Accusump we could fit in our '65 Cutlass was Canton's 2-quart unit, which has a 4.25-inch diameter and measures 12 inches long. It features an aluminum housing and a double-sealed billet piston for durability and leak-free performance.
Maintaining steady oil pressure in a car that turns, stops, and accelerates vigorously is an inherently difficult proposition. Extreme lateral and longitudinal loads cause oil to orbit around the pump pickup in violent arcs instead of being sucked up by it. Furthermore, dropped ride heights severely compromise the ability to design oil pans with sufficiently deep sumps. Baffles, trap doors, and kicked-out sumps help to a certain degree, but they can only do so much.
For race cars and people who have money oozing out of their orifices, the ultimate solution is a dry sump oiling system in which oil is stored in an auxiliary tank as opposed to the pan. Unfortunately, the $2,000 it costs to rig a dry sump system makes them extremely cost prohibitive. For weekend warriors, the most practical alternative is plumbing an accumulator into a traditional wet sump oiling system. "Lots of racers use an accumulator as an alternative to converting to a dry sump system with great success," says Mike Zeranski Jr. of Canton. "Oftentimes, our Accusump system can bridge the gap between the performance of a wet sump and a dry sump system given the demands of road racing and autocrossing. By extending the limits of a wet sump system, a dry sump system is only necessary in all-out race cars where cost isn't as big of an issue."
Oil enters and exits the Accusump...
Oil enters and exits the Accusump out of a single 1/2-inch port. Before mounting the Accusump to the car, Randy Johnson of D&Z Customs screwed the accumulator valve into the Accusump's inlet/outlet port. The valve is essentially an electric solenoid that opens and closes based on signals it receives from a pressure sending unit.
For a total of $682-which covers the cost of the Canton Accusump, remote oil filter mount, hoses, filter adapter, and fittings-we were able to ensure that our 461ci big-block Olds never starves for oil again. While that's hardly chump change these days, it's cheap insurance for an $8,500 motor at a fraction of the cost of a dry sump conversion. At the end of the day, the risk of filling up the oil pan with what used to be your bearings and crank journals just isn't worth it. Worse yet, what's the point in going racing if the fear of mechanical failure prevents you from wringing a car out for all its worth? Special thanks go out to Randy Johnson of D&Z Customs (www.DandZCustoms.com), who knocked out the install in one afternoon.
Keep it Flowing
Accumulator systems are remarkably simple yet effective gizmos. As its name implies, an accumulator is a hydraulic cylinder that stores a reserve supply of oil, then discharges it back into the engine when oil pressure drops below a predetermined level. Since they tap into the engine's oil supply system, accumulators don't require a separate pump. Canton's Accusump unit features an internal piston that separates oil on one side from pressurized air on the other side. When the engine is running, oil pressure entering the Accusump squeezes the piston farther into the cylinder bore until both sides of the piston reach a state of equilibrium. Anytime oil pressure drops-whether during hard cornering, braking, or acceleration-the pressure differential between the oil and air side of the Accusump forces the piston to push oil out of the cylinder and into the oil galleys. Depending on engine displacement and rpm, the Accusump can provide a 15- to 60-second supply of oil. Once oil pressure inside the motor stabilizes, the engine forces oil back inside the Accusump once again in preparation for the next time it's needed.
Canton's Accusump is offered in 1-, 2-, and 3-quart capacities, and with a variety of manual and electric accumulator valves. Per Canton's recommendation, we ordered up a 20- to 25-psi valve that automatically discharges oil out of the Accusump when pressure dips below 25 psi, and recharges the reservoir once oil pressure stabilizes back to 25 psi. Also available are manual valves in addition to electric valves that operate in the 35- to 40-, and 55- to 60-psi range.
|WHERE THE MONEY WENT
|Canton oil accumulator
|Remote oil filter mount
|Oil filter adapter
|Pressure control valve
|-10AN hose (10 feet)
|-10AN hose end (4)
|-10AN to 1/2-inch NPT male fitting (6)
|-10AN 90-degree hose end
|Brass 1/2-inch NPT male elbow
|Brass 1/2-inch NPT coupler
To minimize the length of...
To minimize the length of hose to and from the Accusump, it should be mounted as close to the motor as possible. On Project Olds, the perfect location turned out to be right in front of the passenger-side wheelwell, behind the headlight. The Accusump was secured in place using a pair of brackets and clamps supplied with the kit.
For engines without an unused...
For engines without an unused oil pressure port on the block-which was the case with our big-block Olds-Canton offers a sandwich adapter that can be screwed onto the oil filter boss. Due to space constraints, this wasn't an option, so we elected to run a remote oil filter mount instead. The remote mount acts as a distribution point by channeling oil from the block into and out of the Accusump. Johnson mounted it on the inner fender, next to the alternator.
When transitioning from NPT...
When transitioning from NPT to -AN passages in an oil system, it's not a bad idea to use an -AN fitting that's 1/8-inch larger than its NPT counterpart. Therefore, we stepped all the 1/2 NPT ports in the Accusump system up to -10AN using adapter fittings.
The second piece of the remote...
The second piece of the remote filter mount puzzle is an oil filter adapter that attaches to the block. By screwing to the block's filter boss in place of the oil filter, it features an outlet port that feeds oil to the filter, and an inlet port that sends oil back to the main galley after it's been pressurized by the Accusump.
The oil filter adapter rotates...
The oil filter adapter rotates 360 degrees, which makes it easy to clock the fittings in the appropriate direction. Johnson positioned the fittings pointing rearward so that the oil lines could be routed upward along the firewall, then forward to the remote-mounted filter.
The oil lines were bolted...
The oil lines were bolted to the passenger-side inner fender, away from the headers and suspension, using a couple of cushioned Adel clamps. A nice side benefit of the remote-mount oil filter setup is that it allows moving it away from the headers for cooler oil temps.
|PROJECT OLDS THE COST SO FAR
|'65 Olds Cutlass
|DSE four-link suspension
|DSE front suspension
|Baer front and rear brakes
|DSE brake booster
|DSE steering kit
|Strange S60 rearend
|SAM 461 big-block
|Hurst five-speed trans
|Custom Hooker exhaust
|Canton Accusump system
To connect the remote oil...
To connect the remote oil filter mount to the Accusump, we used a pair of 90-degree -10AN fittings and a short stub of hose. To ensure a tight, leak-free fit, Teflon tape was applied liberally to all the threads.
With all the plumbing complete,...
With all the plumbing complete, wiring up the electric Accusump valve proved very straightforward. After removing the green cover to expose the valve solenoid, the first step was connecting one of its terminals to the sending unit with 16-gauge wire, and the other terminal to the chassis ground. Next, the remaining terminal on the pressure switch was attached to a toggle switch. Finally, the other terminal on the toggle switch was connected to the ignition lead.
The toggle switch for the...
The toggle switch for the electric Accusump valve was mounted in the slot formerly occupied by the factory cigarette lighter. The electric valve automatically closes when the motor is shut off to maintain pressure inside the Accusump. Otherwise, the pressure would drop back down to zero. By keeping the Accusump pressurized after shutdown, the driver can open up the valve with the toggle switch, thereby pre-lubing the motor, before firing it back up.
The Accusump adds 2 quarts...
The Accusump adds 2 quarts of capacity to the oiling system, so common sense says that it takes an extra 2 quarts of oil to fill it up. In practice, the Accusump-equipped big-block required slightly more than 2 quarts to account for the volume of the oil lines. The final step before giving everything a test run is pre-charging the Accusump with pressurized air. This involves filling up the air side of the Accusump to 60 psi to make sure that the piston is fully extended, then checking for leaks. The pressure should then be bled down to 7-10 psi using the Schrader valve. After starting the engine, the pressure gauge on the air side of the Accusump should be the same as the pressure reading on the oil pressure gauge.
Success! To give everything...
Success! To give everything a whirl, we drove Project Olds to the Motorstate Challenge in Benton Harbor, Michigan, for a few heated rounds of autocrossing. As Canton predicted, the oil pressure never dropped below 20 psi. The icing on the cake was winning First Place in the Under 200 (treadwear) Tire class. Like we said, Project Olds is legit.