Pontiac V-8: Oil System Guide (2023)

The oil in any engine is its lifeblood. Internal components rely on a thin film of oil to prevent metal-to-metal contact that could otherwise result in significant damage. The oil pump must be able to supply these components with an adequate amount of oil and with sufficient pressure. The oil must be filtered, of suitable viscosity and contain a sufficient level of anti-wear additives for maximum engine protection. How much of each is required depends on the particular combination.

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Pontiac V-8: Oil System Guide (2)

The oil pump in a Pontiac V-8 is a simple design, connected to the camshaft by a long rod, and the camshaft drives them as a unit. Factory oil pumps were rarely problematic and worked reliably in production engines for 100,000 miles or more.


The quality of modern specific conventional oil is about the best it has ever been. It provides excellent component protection and flows well at all temperatures. However, most off-the-shelf oils are designed for modern production engines and do not always contain sufficient levels of desirable anti-wear additives critical to the vintage Pontiac V-8, especially those with flat-tappet camshafts. Because of that, I simply do not recommend conventional oil with modern specifications for high performance use.

Many major oil manufacturers produce high-quality synthetic oil that is readily available at local auto parts stores, including Valvoline and Mobil 1. Synthetic oil generally flows and protects better than conventional oil, especially at high temperatures. Modern-spec synthetic oil is suitable if you run a roller camshaft in your Pontiac. Other oils marketed as "race" oil and/or recommended only for "off-road use" generally have increased levels of all desirable additives and are an excellent choice regardless of camshaft type. Read the label carefully to determine its intended use.

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Modern oil grades are excellent, but those approved for passenger car applications rarely contain sufficient levels of desirable anti-wear additives needed for flat-tap applications. If your Pontiac is equipped with a roller camshaft, Mobil 1 Full Synthetic is an excellent choice, providing excellent lubrication and component protection.

Pontiac V-8: Oil System Guide (4)

Many professional engine builders consider Brad Penn Penn Grade Racing Oil to be among the very best available today for high performance use. It is a partial synthetic that contains high levels of desirable additives and offers excellent protection at all performance levels. It is ideal if your Pontiac is equipped with a flat-tappet camera. Check local machine shops or speed shops for availability. It can also be purchased through mail order sources.

Heavy duty oils designed for use in diesel engines such as Rotella T and Delo 400 are other options. Heavy duty oils contain high levels of anti-wear additive and are excellent choices compatible with gasoline engines. However, they are designed for relatively low RPM operation, and foaming at high RPM is sometimes reported. Diesel oil is a suitable oil that provides plenty of protection for a typical high-performance Pontiac V-8 running up to 6,000 rpm, regardless of camshaft choice.

I feel the best oils available for any Pontiac V-8 are produced by Brad Penn and Joe Gibbs. Specially designed for high performance applications, these race oils contain high levels of all desirable additives and are compatible with flat cams. Available in a wide range of viscosities, both companies offer 30-weight break-in oil that is highly concentrated and ideal for flat-tappet camshaft break-in. Both brands can usually be purchased from local machine shops, speed shops or via mail order companies. Expect to spend $8 to $10 per

Oil viscosity

Pontiac originally specified 20- or 30-weight oil for its V-8s depending on the season. When multi-viscosity oils became available, Pontiac revised its recommendation to include 10W-30 oil for year-round use.

While modern 10W-30 oil can provide adequate lubrication, heavier oil is often the choice of many professional Pontiac engine builders. That's because the bearing distances in most modern Pontiac builds are a bit looser than what Pontiac originally specified for production engines. In general, 15W-50 and 20W-50 provide adequate oil pressure and protection. They are also slightly thicker and better resist being squeezed from between the contact surfaces under heavy load.

Additives for oil

(Video) How to Install an Oil Pump on a Pontiac 400 - Pontiac V8 Rebuild

Many companies produce engine oil additives designed to provide additional protection against wear. Whether specially formulated for flat tappet camshaft break-in or long-term use, they are simply added to the crankcase and supplement the existing oil. If you use a flat-tappet camshaft in your Pontiac, additives such as GM's Engine Oil Supplement (EOS) can prevent premature failure often related to additive levels in modern-spec oil. Your camshaft manufacturer or engine builders can recommend one.

Pontiac V-8: Oil System Guide (5)

Many manufacturers offer separate additives to complement regular motor oil. Most increase the amount of anti-wear additives in the oil and/or improve lubricity. An additive is not always necessary if the oil chosen is adequately formulated for the application, but it does not hurt. I regularly use GM's Engine Oil Supplement in my own engines. It is highly concentrated and readily available from dealer parts departments.

Oil pump

The Pontiac V-8 uses a positive displacement oil pump to pressurize the lubrication system and distribute oil throughout the engine. Low performance applications got an oil pump regulated to 40 psi, while higher performance engines generally got a 60 psi pump. A limited number of applications received an 80-psi unit. The basic design works adequately for its intended applications, but its biggest weakness is its ball-type bypass valve. If dirt gets trapped between the check ball and the seat, it can result in low oil at idle pressure.

Melling produces several different oil pumps for the Pontiac V-8. In addition to 60- and 80-psi pumps in its base line, Melling offers the same pressure ratings in its Melling Select line; a higher end line that is assembled to tighter tolerances and may require less preparation for high performance applications.

Pontiac V-8: Oil System Guide (6)

When using an out-of-box oil pump in any rebuild, I strongly recommend completely disassembling the unit and carefully inspecting for any metallic particles or debris that may prevent the control ball from fully seating during normal operation. Small burrs can be removed with a file or stone. A major problem should be pointed out to your machinist for a professional opinion. Once the oil pump is completely clean, it can be carefully reassembled, the pickup installed and pressed into service. There's no reason why it shouldn't work reliably in engines running up to 6,000rpm.

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The Pontiac oil pump is relatively simple. Its molded body houses two spur gears that draw in, pressurize and spread oil throughout the engine. A ball-type pressure relief valve regulates oil pressure to 40-, 60-, or 80-psi depending on the unit and engine build. The stock oil pump is suitable for engines that produce 600 hp or 6,000 rpm or possibly more.

Pontiac V-8: Oil System Guide (8)

Most aftermarket oil pump pickup assemblies are retained by a bolt that prevents it from loosening during normal operation. If you use an oil tank and pickup unit in your build, I highly recommend using a spot weld to permanently connect the two. Only a small tack is needed and as long as it is applied quickly it should not weaken or damage the cast housing.

Pontiac V-8: Oil System Guide (9)

Melling manufactures two stock replaced Pontiac oil pumps. Each is available in 50- or 70-psi varieties, which generally produce 60 and 80 psi, respectively, with normal production bearing tolerances. The stock pump (left) is built to exact OE specifications. The Select Performance pump (right) has tighter tolerances and billet gears to improve performance and reliability, especially at high engine speed.

Pontiac V-8: Oil System Guide (10)

(Video) Pontiac V8 Rebuild, Part 10: How to Rebuild and Install your oil pump.

In a Pontiac V-8, the camshaft drives the distributor, which in turn drives the oil pump. A long, hardened steel rod connects the distributor and oil pump shafts, and the lugs on its slotted ends are always under load. It is always a good idea to use a new shaft during construction. The Melling IS-54A is a high-quality stock replacement that retails for about $10.

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The Pro-Series oil pump from Butler Performance may be the best OE type Pontiac pump available today. It begins life as a standard Melling unit that Butler designs and adds a thick base plate to maximize performance and reliability in applications producing 1,000 hp or more. It is wet-flowed and pressure-tested before shipping, reducing the chance of oil pressure-related problems on immediate start-up.

Pontiac V-8: Oil System Guide (12)

The internal gear surfaces of the Butler Performance Pro-Series oil pump are diamond coated for improved consistency. The drive shaft is micro-polished and positive lubrication is added to reduce friction and wear. The check ball in the bypass valve and its sealing surface are also designed for maximum pressure consistency.

Pontiac V-8: Oil System Guide (13)

A hole is added to the driven gear to exhaust trapped air, leading to cavitation. It is a condition where trapped air pockets collapse during operation, creating irregular shock loads that cause component fatigue and failure. A groove machined into the bottom plate works with the modified gear to further reduce the risk of cavitation.

In my opinion, the best oil pump available today is from Butler Performance (BP). Its Pro-Series pump starts life as a typical 80-psi Melling unit, but is completely disassembled, reworked, drawn and reassembled. During the reworking process, lubrication grooves are added to certain areas and the idler bore is honed and a relief hole is added to the idler to prevent oil cavitation; a condition where trapped air pockets collapse, causing irregular shock loads that can prematurely fatigue components.

During reassembly, BP adds a very thick base plate to prevent pressure loss associated with distortion. The pump is then pressure and volume tested to ensure it delivers 70 to 80 psi and can flow as much as 8 to 10 gpm more than an unmodified 60- or 80-psi unit. Delivered in ready-to-run condition, no additional preparation steps are required and you can be sure that it will provide immediate oil pressure on start-up, saving time and effort compared to preparing a typical unit.

Priced at less than $200, the Pro-Series pump provides the reliability and consistency required for maximum performance applications. It is ideal for most Pontiac builds producing 550 hp or more, and is very capable of providing adequate lubrication for engines producing 1,000 to 1,200 hp, or possibly even more. Specialty gerotor or billet dry sump oil pumps may be required for applications beyond 1,200 hp. However, they are expensive and are generally a custom setup. I recommended contacting Butler Performance for more information on the oil pump if you feel your particular engine requires lubrication in addition to its Pro-Series pump.

Oil pressure requirements

Oil pressure provides a constant flow of oil to the bearings, and generally speaking, 10 psi of oil pressure for every 1,000 rpm is the minimum required for reliable operation. Ideal hot-idle oil pressure should be between 30 and 40 psi when using an oil viscosity of 30W or higher. The pressure should rise rapidly as the engine speed increases and should fill between 60 and 80 psi in any high performance application.

An oil pump with a pressure regulator setting of 60 psi is generally sufficient for most applications. Some argue that higher pressures than that do little more than create parasitic drag that reduces horsepower. With slightly larger bearing distances typically associated with modern high-performance designs, an oil pump with an 80-psi regulator setting may be a better choice, as it only generates 70 to 75 psi in the engine.

Pontiac V-8: Oil System Guide (14)

The Pontiac oil pumps available today use the same cast body, while the length and tension of the bypass valve spring regulates the pressure. The shorter spring gives about 60 psi and the longer spring gives about 80 psi. Installing a 0.060-inch spacer between the spring and cap is a common modification in applications where a small pressure increase is needed.

Oil pump pressure can be a consideration when using a very aggressive hydraulic roller camshaft in a high performance build. The high pressure valve springs required to effectively maintain valve train stability can cause the hydraulic internals of the roller lifter to bleed down too quickly, resulting in a significant loss of performance. In these cases, the 60 psi associated with a typical oil pump may not be enough. Additional oil pressure may be required to keep the hydraulic lifters operating properly.

(Video) How to Prime your GM LS Engine Oil Pump by Melling

Oil filter

An oil filter is designed to remove and collect small particles and debris suspended in oil as it circulates throughout the engine. AC supplied Pontiac with its oil filters for its V-8s. It is a high quality design that is quite large and offered excellent filtration and flow. AC Delco has since taken over production, and its number-PF24 filter is a modern replacement for the Pontiac V-8. It's not commonly stocked at local auto parts shelves, but it's something that can be ordered in and arrive within a day.

I have found that the Pontiac spec filter sold by NAPA in its Gold line is manufactured by Wix. The Number-1258 is a high quality filter that I have often replaced the AC Delco PF-24 with no problems. Mobil 1 also produces high-quality oil filters, and its M1-203 is considered a stock replacement for the Pontiac V-8.

Pontiac V-8: Oil System Guide (15)

The PF24 oil filter from AC Delco is a stock replacement specifically designed for the Pontiac V-8. It is a high quality unit that offers excellent filtration and can generally withstand high oil pressure levels. It can be ordered through most local parts stores if it is not already on the shelf.

Any of these filters would be an excellent choice for your Pontiac V-8. A remote filter unit can be used if a larger filter capacity than stock is required or if exhaust piping prevents the use of an appropriately sized filter. I recommend that you discuss remote filter options with your builder.

It usually consists of a remote mount, flange adapter and the necessary high-pressure hoses.

Oil filter housing

Pontiac included an internal bypass in its oil filter housing designed to allow pressurized oil to bypass the filter should there ever be an impedance to flow. It prevents bearing and shaft damage that can occur due to lack of oil flow if the filter ever fails. Fearful of unfiltered oil circulating through their engine, many hobbyists block the bypass by inserting a pipe plug into the passage to force 100 percent of the oil through the filter. However, I don't see unfiltered oil as a critical issue, especially if the bypass works as intended.

Pontiac V-8: Oil System Guide (16)

The bypass operates on a pressure differential and if there is a momentary pressure loss of the oil coming out of the filter, the bypass allows a little bit to slip past to adequately lubricate the bearings. With regular oil changes and quality filtration, the oil is unlikely to be dirty enough to cause significant damage. I'd rather have unfiltered oil flowing through my engine than no oil at all.

Pontiac V-8: Oil System Guide (17)

The bypass in the stock oil filter housing allows for continuous oil circulation if the filter flow drops drastically or stops. Performance enthusiasts commonly block the bypass and force all the oil through the filter, preventing the chance of circulating unfiltered oil. Strong arguments can be made for either case, but I prefer to leave it functional as I believe no oil flow is a greater risk to the engine than unfiltered oil.

Pontiac V-8: Oil System Guide (18)

APE and KRE reproduce the Pontiac oil filter housing. The unit from APE includes a stock type bypass, while the unit from KRE is left as cast and non-functional. Both are distributed by many companies for less than $75.

If a filter problem ever occurs, teardown is still likely in the immediate future, and if the bearings are doing their intended job, the foreign particles suspended in the unfiltered oil should penetrate the bearing as opposed to cutting the shaft surfaces . It can leave the components in good, reusable condition as opposed to being severely damaged if no oil flow occurs.

I recommend simply taking apart the oil filter housing, cleaning it thoroughly and then reassembling it. However, you can certainly pressurize the housing with an appropriately sized pipe plug if you are concerned about the risk of unfiltered oil circulating in your engine. There are several companies that reproduce factory oil filter housings. Some contain a factory type bypass and others are cast closed.

(Video) How to prime a Pontiac engine 350 400 428 455 for new start up MUST SEE GOOD INFO.

Oil pan

A typical Pontiac oil pan has a large sump at the rear that the oil flows into and the pump draws from. In race-type applications, the very best pan prevents the oil from climbing up the rear wall and capping the pump under very hard acceleration. Curing this may require a wider or deeper sump to increase capacity. Professional Pontiac engine builders have their favorites and they are usually custom units. You can discuss this with your Pontiac engine builder if you feel a drag racing oil pan is required.

There are also a few readily available aftermarket oil pans ideal for high performance use. Canton's Road Race oil pan for GTO and Firebird models uses an internal baffle and trap doors to keep the sump full during hard braking, acceleration and hard cornering. The wider than stock design increases the pan's capacity to 7 liters or more. It fits really well and works as intended. The inner baffle will need to be drilled if you plan to use the factory oil dipstick, so a test fit may be necessary. It retails for around $300.

Milodon produces a few different oil pans for popular Pontiac applications and they seem popular with hobbyists. Its low-profile bowl includes a kick-out feature that increases oil capacity and has internal baffles that help keep the pickup submerged in oil during rough maneuvers. Those I have spoken to report excellent fit and function. It requires the use of a specific oil pump pickup that Milodon offers. Expect to spend around $300 for one of the deals.

Pontiac V-8: Oil System Guide (19)

Canton makes several oil pans for the Pontiac V-8, ranging from stock replacements to high-performance street/strip units with extra capacity. Expect high-quality construction and excellent fit and finish. It even offers variants compatible with most popular Pontiac models. Its Road Race unit (shown) includes trap doors and an integrated baffle that doubles as a wind tray.

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Removing the removable baffle reveals the trap door system that makes the Canton Road Race oil pan so effective. The doors are designed and positioned to allow easy oil flow toward the oil pump pickup during acceleration and prevent it from flowing away during hard cornering or braking. It works with a specific pickup unit that Canton sells separately.

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Milodon manufactures Pontiac oil pans ranging from a replacement type to a racing unit complete with trap doors. Its low-profile oil pan fits and functions like an original, but offers extra capacity with a unique kick-out feature. It is a very popular unit that fits most Pontiac models. Because it is about 1 inch deeper than a stock unit, a specific pickup is necessary.

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If you plan to use the factory dipstick in your Pontiac, make sure it and its hoses are compatible with the windshield and oil pan if you purchase aftermarket parts. The factory tray also retained the lower dipstick tube. If you are using it or a Tomahawk replacement and your original pipe is missing, a high quality replacement is available from Pontiac suppliers.

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Pontiac eliminated the windshield on its V-8s in the mid-1970s. The lower dipstick tube was retained by a bracket that simply bolted to the number 3 main bearing cap in these applications. If you are using an aftermarket windshield in your particular build, a pipe like this may be an option that allows the use of the original dipstick. You can purchase a replacement from many Pontiac suppliers.

A dry sump oil system removes oil that collects in the sump and moves it to an external container where it is circulated through the engine by an external oil pump. Although not practical for every application, a dry sump system offers a few distinct advantages in maximum performance engines, including increased lubrication system capacity and potentially greater engine performance, since it essentially eliminates the windage of a typical wet sump engine.

(Video) Butler Performance Pro Oil Pump vs Standard, tear down and install. Pontiac Short Block, part 8

The main disadvantage of a dry sump setup is the cost. I am not aware of any company currently mass producing complete dry sump kits for the Pontiac V-8. This means modifying certain components for other brands to fit or re-manufacturing others, and this can add to the cost of an already expensive system. If you feel that a dry sump oil system may be something your Pontiac requires, your engine builder can recommend the best components for you. However, expect to spend several thousand dollars to convert your Pontiac V-8 to dry sump.

Written by Rocky Rotella and published with permission from CarTechBooks

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Pontiac V-8: Oil System Guide (25)


What is the oil pressure at idle on a 455 Pontiac? ›

Generally 11-12 psi per 1000 rpm is fine. You don't need much pressure at idle because cylinder pressure is also very low. I normally wouldn't recommend the high volume pump, but I think you need it, and to make sure oil pump gear end clearance is set properly and not too large.

Is a Pontiac 400 and a 455 the same block? ›

He advises, "With the exception of the mid- to late-1970s PN 500557 casting, we consider all Pontiac 400 blocks functionally identical. The 455 blocks from 1970 to 1976 are also functionally identical.

What is the oil pressure for a Pontiac V8? ›

Actual pressure could be higher or lower depending upon the particular engine and where the oil pressure reading is taken.” When dealing with a typical Pontiac V-8 and production-bearing clearances, pressure at the gauge is usually 60 and 80 psi, respectively.

What is the rarest Pontiac engine? ›

Overall T37 production came in at near 36,000, of which 5,802 were V8s. But of the V8s, only 54 had the 455 H.O. engine making your car the rarest of all.

What should a v8 oil pressure be at idle? ›

The minimum oil pressure at idle is only 5 psi (34.5 kpa). The minimum oil pressure at 2000 engine rpms is 35 psi (241 kpa). Both of these pressures are using a mechanical oil pressure gauge that can measure the low 5 psi readings.

Is 70 oil pressure too high? ›

The ideal oil pressure varies depending on the car brand and model, but generally, the ideal oil pressure is between 25-65 PSI.

How much HP can a Pontiac 455 handle? ›

All The Torque

The original 1970 Pontiac 455 'big block' V8 was good for between 360 and 370 horsepower and 500 lb-ft of torque.

What is the best Pontiac engine ever made? ›

One of the best ones was the Pontiac 400. Sure, they made 428s and 455s, but the 400 was their go-to muscle car engine for Firebirds and GTOs. To get a 400-inch engine, Pontiac started with their proven 389-inch mill and knocked it out to a 4.12-inch bore with a 3.75-inch stroke.

What was the most powerful Pontiac engine? ›

In 1969, it produced 370 horsepower in GTO trim and 345 horsepower in the smaller Firebird, making it the most powerful Pontiac pony car for decades. Muscle car aficionados will argue that, like many claimed horsepower figures in the heart of the muscle car era, it was underrated.

Is 75 PSI oil pressure too high? ›

Every engine and vehicle has its own specific ideal operating range when it comes to oil pressure, but it's usually somewhere between 25 and 65 psi when the oil has been warmed up. High oil pressure, as the name suggests, is when an obstruction or other issue causes the pressure needed to move oil around to rise.

What oil PSI is too low? ›

In general, if the pressure is below 20 PSI or under the normal range on the gauge it requires your immediate attention. This is also the case when your oil pressure light is coming on. Not diagnosing and treating the problem could lead to serious damage and high repair costs.

What is normal oil pump pressure? ›

The oil pressure generated in most engines should be about 10 psi per every 1000 revolutions per minute (rpm), peaking around 55-65 psi. Local pressure (at the crankshaft journal and bearing) is far higher than the 50, 60 psi &c. set by the pump's relief valve, and will reach hundreds of psi.

What is Pontiac's version of a Corvette? ›

Banshee (XP-833)

How long can a v8 run without oil pressure? ›

The presence of oil and its distribution is absolutely crucial to an engines continued operation. Engines can work without oil, but the effect is so damaging they are only capable of running for less than 30 minutes until failing - and in most cases, it's a lot quicker than that.

What causes low oil pressure in a v8? ›

Too High or Low Viscosity

Viscosity that is too high may produce greater resistance from the oil being pumped, leading to a lack of lubrication in the system and consequently lower pressure.

Should my oil pressure go up when I accelerate? ›

Hi There, This is completely normal for the oil pressure to increase when accelerating. The oil pressure inside the motor increases as the motor works harder. Your oil pressure switch reads this change in pressure and relays this to the oil pressure gauge.

Why is my oil gauge stuck on 80? ›

This is a common sign of a failing oil pressure sensor. This is a small unit in the engine block that reads oil pressure inside the motor and relays this information to the vehicle's computer as well as the oil pressure gauge.

Does oil pressure change with RPM? ›

The faster the motor spins, (RPM, revolutions per minute) the faster the oil pump spins creating higher oil pressure.

What is the fastest Pontiac engine? ›

1 Pontiac G8 GXP - 175 MPH - 0-60 MPH In 4.6 Sec

It uses a 6.2-liter V8 engine that produces the most horsepower that a Pontiac engine ever produced, 415hp, giving it a 0-60mph time of 4.6 seconds.

What is the max rpm for olds 455? ›

Basically, these engines are intended to run at 5,500 rpm and below.

Did Pontiac ever make a big block? ›

Pontiac differed from other GM Divisions and most other manufacturers in producing only a single small block V8, rather than adding a larger big block to its line-up. The external dimensions of all their V8s, from 326–455 cu in (5.3–7.5 L) were the same.

Why did GM not sell Pontiac? ›

Amid the financial crisis, General Motors needed a government bailout. Congress agreed but required the company to restructure its business and cut costs. In the end, GM decided to eliminate several brands, including Pontiac. The last car to wear the arrowhead badge was a G6, which ended production in early 2010.

Why did GM get rid of Pontiac? ›

The decision to dissolve Pontiac was made primarily due to the increasing threat of a bankruptcy filing if the June 1 deadline could not be met. On April 27, 2009, GM announced that Pontiac would be dropped and that all of its remaining models would be phased out by the end of 2010.

Is a Pontiac 455 a big block? ›

That's right, the 455 was not a big block because Pontiac never had a big block. Or a small block. Throughout its entire existence, Pontiac only ever manufactured a single V8 engine family!

How much horsepower does a 455 V8 have? ›

The 455 offered between 310 and 400 hp, but it was the 500 lb-ft of torque that really made it a star. Most notably it was used in the iconic Olds 442 muscle car, but it also found its way into the family-friendly Delta 88 and several luxury sedans.

What is the most powerful natural V8 engine ever made? ›

Chevrolet Corvette C8 Z06

For that price, you get a new 5.5L naturally aspirated V8 that generates a whopping 670 horsepower making it the most powerful V8 engine ever fitted to a production car.

What is the fastest GM motor? ›

The Big Block V-8 reaches peak power at 6,600 rpm and revs to a recommended maximum of 7,000 rpm.
Chevrolet Performance ZZ632/1000.
Chevrolet Performance ZZ632/1000
Compression Ratio12.0:1
Power1,004 hp @ 6600 rpm
Torque876 lb-ft @ 5600 rpm
Maximum Recommended Engine Speed7,000 rpm
8 more rows
Oct 20, 2021

How do I increase oil pressure? ›

Read on.
  1. Change Your Oil. Sometimes the problem is as simple as oil that's too dirty. ...
  2. Upgrade To A Lifetime Oil Filter. The oil filter plays a key role in maintaining oil pressure. ...
  3. Clean Out The Oil Pan. ...
  4. Check The Oil Pump. ...
  5. Check The Engine.

Why does my oil gauge go down when I stop? ›

The oil pressure gauge will usually drop when a few things could be happening. Either the motor is in fact low on oil, the oil pump could be failing or the oil pressure sending unit is not working properly and may be producing a faulty reading.

Is oil pressure higher when cold? ›

Since engine oil viscosity changes in cold temperatures, so can your engine's oil pressure. Colder temperatures can actually increase oil pressure, but the churning oil in the engine may create air bubbles. Thicker oil may hold onto those air bubbles longer, making the oil pressure gauge read a lower value.

What is the best oil pressure for a race engine? ›

But most high performance (or race) engines require 50-60 psi or more for proper lubrication. There's an old racing rule of thumb that still applies here: Approximately 10 psi of oil pressure is needed for every 1,000 rpm. As a result, a 7,500 rpm engine will mandate approximately 75 psi of oil pressure.

What are signs of low oil pressure? ›

Symptoms of Low Engine Oil Pressure
  • Oil Warning Light. If the oil pressure drops below an appropriate level, your sensor may activate your oil warning light on the dashboard. ...
  • Diminishing Engine Performance. ...
  • Burning Oil Smell. ...
  • Engine Noise. ...
  • Engine Overheating. ...
  • Low Engine Oil. ...
  • Incorrect Oil Viscosity. ...
  • Bad Oil Pump.
Sep 10, 2021

Should oil pressure drop at idle? ›

Low oil pressure at idle only, will most often mean that the engine is low on oil. As more power is applied to the engine via acceleration, the pressure builds up inside the engine. Thereby causing the pressure to read as "normal". High oil temperature can cause low oil pressure.

What is the correct oil pressure PSI? ›

Normal engine oil pressure is between 25 and 65 PSI. While the ideal oil pressure can change depending on the make and model of your car, the general rule is that oil pressure should be above 25 and below 65 PSI (pounds per square inch).

Will too much oil cause high oil pressure? ›

Overfilling also increases oil pressure, putting more stress on seals and gaskets that keep oil from leaking out of the engine or going places it shouldn't on the inside. Over time, the added stress accelerates wear on those seals and gaskets.

Can too much oil cause low oil pressure? ›

When too much oil is in the engine, the crankshaft's rotation whips the oil up, mixing air into it. It causes the oil to be bubbly or frothy, and the oil pump pickup tube can't draw oil in properly. The result can be low oil pressure – kind of ironic, isn't it?

What is the rarest Pontiac? ›

The Pontiac GTO is a proud member of the glorious Muscle Car era, and collectors are always looking for the rarest and most incredible examples.

When was Pontiac at its peak? ›

At the end of the '60s, Pontiac had reached its peak, with over 900,000 annual sales in 1968.

What v8 engines did Pontiac make? ›

"These pioneers of the Pontiac V-8 deserve to have their names remembered, for their work formed the basis for all of the Pontiac V-8 engines of the musclecar era and beyond, including the 389, 421, 326, 400, 428, and 455."

What is the Pontiac muscle car called? ›

The Pontiac GTO is credited as the first muscle car, and it inspired a whole generation of fast American vehicles. Its star faded over the years, but it remains an automotive icon. Aug. 19, 2022, at 3:38 p.m.

What does Pontiacs GTO stand for? ›

This ritual is summarized by the three most famous letters ever worn by an automobile: "GTO" stands for "Gran Turismo Omologato," which, loosely translated from the Italian, means homologated (recognized for competition) grand-touring car. Advertisement - Continue Reading Below.

What car did Corvette copy? ›

It's no secret that Chevrolet looked closely at the Ferrari 458 Italia while developing the latest Corvette Z06. Prototypes of the high-powered 'Vette were spotted testing alongside the Ferrari, and engineers admitted to taking apart the 458's engine to learn its secrets.

What Pontiac has a supercharged? ›

The key to the Pontiac Grand Prix's makeover was the GTP model. Leveraging a supercharged V6 and an aerodynamic design that was completely unlike its Chevrolet and Buick platform-mates, the Grand Prix GTP proved that the GM division that had once invented the GTO still had a little gas left in the tank.

What Pontiac was in Nascar? ›

Richard Petty's 200th NASCAR Victory Car

His attendance was indicative of the sport's popularity at the time. Petty's custom-built 1984 Pontiac is a Generation 3 race car, a regulation vehicle for the NASCAR circuit from 1981 to 1991.

What is normal oil PSI at idle? ›

As mentioned before, a normal oil pressure PSI at idle is between 20-30 PSI.

What is a typical operating pressure of an oil pump at idle? ›

The ideal oil pressure for most engines at idle is between 20 and 30 pounds per square inch (psi).

What is normal running oil pressure? ›

Normal engine oil pressure is between 25 and 65 PSI. While the ideal oil pressure can change depending on the make and model of your car, the general rule is that oil pressure should be above 25 and below 65 PSI (pounds per square inch).

When engine is hot How high should oil pressure be at idle? ›

Every engine and vehicle has its own specific ideal operating range when it comes to oil pressure, but it's usually somewhere between 25 and 65 psi when the oil has been warmed up. High oil pressure, as the name suggests, is when an obstruction or other issue causes the pressure needed to move oil around to rise.

What is bad oil pressure PSI? ›

Oil pressure is measured in PSI and the perfect amount of oil pressure varies depending on what brand and model car you own. In general, if the pressure is below 20 PSI or under the normal range on the gauge it requires your immediate attention.

How do I increase the oil pressure at idle? ›

Read on.
  1. Change Your Oil. Sometimes the problem is as simple as oil that's too dirty. ...
  2. Upgrade To A Lifetime Oil Filter. The oil filter plays a key role in maintaining oil pressure. ...
  3. Clean Out The Oil Pan. ...
  4. Check The Oil Pump. ...
  5. Check The Engine.

Is 20 pounds of oil pressure good at idle? ›

To ensure your car engine operates with the best performance. Automakers recommend that the oil pressure should always be above 20 PSI (pounds per square inch) when idling.

Where should my oil pressure gauge be while driving? ›

Under normal conditions your oil pressure gauge should settle at the midpoint of the pressure meter. A high oil pressure reading could be a sign of a relief valve issue or blockage in the oil delivery lines.

Should my oil pressure fluctuate while driving? ›

This is normal operation for your oil pressure. The faster the motor spins, (RPM, revolutions per minute) the faster the oil pump spins creating higher oil pressure. Keep in mind, most gauges aren't accurate.

Will too much oil cause low oil pressure? ›

When too much oil is in the engine, the crankshaft's rotation whips the oil up, mixing air into it. It causes the oil to be bubbly or frothy, and the oil pump pickup tube can't draw oil in properly. The result can be low oil pressure – kind of ironic, isn't it?

Is oil pressure higher when engine is cold? ›

Since engine oil viscosity changes in cold temperatures, so can your engine's oil pressure. Colder temperatures can actually increase oil pressure, but the churning oil in the engine may create air bubbles. Thicker oil may hold onto those air bubbles longer, making the oil pressure gauge read a lower value.

Is it OK for oil pressure to drop at idle? ›

Low oil pressure at idle only, will most often mean that the engine is low on oil. As more power is applied to the engine via acceleration, the pressure builds up inside the engine. Thereby causing the pressure to read as "normal". High oil temperature can cause low oil pressure.


1. How To Prime an Engine And Oil Pump
2. how to install a Pontiac v8 oil pump pick up with out the installation tool easily
(Paul Long)
3. Pontiac V8 Rebuild, Part 15: How to install your Valley Pan, with RTV.
(Fast Monty's Garage)
4. Everything you need to know about a dry sump oiling system.
(EFI University)
5. GM LS Oil Pump installation tips from Melling Performance Parts
(Melling Engine Parts)
6. How a Car Engine Works


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