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Oil pressure probs - Vaux 2.0 XE


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Over the winter we replaced my 8v 1600 with the XE and we've had problems with the oil pressure leading to the engine seazing last week.


From the outset when there was plenty of oil in (checked with caterham how to recalibrate the dipstick) it spat alot out of the breether into the bottle, but when the car got warm it started sounding tappetty. Having just had the carbs rejetted with settings for the 40's found on this site, it was revving freely to 7000 and all the signs were good. Whilst the engine was a second hand exchange and Mart job, it seemed solid with no fuming or other signs that it was tired. The only miles it did were easy road miles so it's not a surge issue.


She's now going to go in for a rebuild, but I want to make sure that we cover all bases before we run it again.

Can anyone shed any light on the problem and suggest solutions to consider?


I don't just want to throw money at it for the sake of it but at the end of the day if it has to be a dry sump then so be it. I am aware however that many of you run the XE on a wet sump.


Help from the Vaux fraternity would be much appreciated.

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gary, assuming you fitted caterham wet sump, and foam baffle, I have heard reports of this breaking down and blocking oilways, checked mine last week ok. after 23k miles road use, think you best hope for more info from more tech guys if this not your problem. it was just a thought.
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did you have an oil pressure gauge on? was it ever getting up to 5 bar?

1 of 2 main problems can happen - oil pump failed, cant help eh, and the pressure relief valve can stick either in or out leading to again no oil pressure

SBD sell both steel pump gear and nylon relief valves to prevent these happening

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Yes, what was the oil pressure gauge showing, when running at say 3000 rpm, should be 4 bar-ish and when ticking over at 900 rpm when hot, should be just under 2 bar.

Some people seem to have more problems with oil spitting out into the breather bottle than I have seen on mine. I wonder if this problem results from high crankcase pressure, the result perhaps of blow-past the rings. (might be talking rubbish here) It seems to occur on perfectly healthy engines too.

The pressure relief valve has caused problems. Take it out and see if it looks worn, should be absolutely smooth and shiney. If not before refitting polish it up.

I would imagine that if the oil pump fails it makes a pretty horrible noise, perhaps someone who has suffered this can confirm.

What oil were you using?

What sump was fitted. could the oil pick up have been touching the bottom and not allowing oil to be drawn up.

Dry sumping, whilst highly desireable, should not be essential for road use if everything else is okay.

Just a few thoughts which may help but there are certainly many on this forum with far more knowledge than me.


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KR - Yes it was the Caterham wet sump. Foam baffle in very good nick as had only done 8k miles in the 8 valver.


16v - didn't drive it myself but my brother (he's the mechanic) said that the pressure was OK at first but dropped off when it got warm - don't know exact figs but he is doing marathon this weekend so not around to ask. Pretty sure the oil pump is OK - thanks for the SBD info.


StewartG - Brother suspected blow-past rings may have been the problem - when the engine is out we can have a better look. Will also look at pressure relief valve. We were running 15-50 I believe. I seem to recall the oil pick up was a bit fiddly when fitting the sump but thought it was OK - another place to look - thanks.


For information, the car will be mostly for track/sprint use.

Thanks guys for the input. If anyone else has further thoughts then these would be appreciated, as the engine will be coming out in a week or so.



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