Project 350Z- Increasing Oil Capacity with Jim Wolf Technology

by Mike Kojima

We have been working on getting more power out of Project 350Z's VQ35DE engine in our latest series of articles.  With success coming bit by bit, we decided that we had to give the oiling system a little help.  Some 350Z's with highly modified suspension and sticky tires have suffered from engine oiling issues when driven on the track hard.  The oil had simply sloshed away from the pickup under hard cornering allowing the oil pump to suck air.  Since engine bearings are made of soft metal and depend on a hydrodynamic layer of pressurized oil to prevent damage, any interruption of oil pressure caused damage very quickly.

Since our car sees a lot of track and drift use we decided to take some time to do a little precautionary mod to help prevent this from happening.  Jim Wolf Technology produces a very straight forward pan spacer that simply spaces the oil pan and oil pump pickup downwards.  This gives the engine another quart of oil capacity and puts over an inch more oil on top of the pickup making it a lot less likely to suck air.

With the spacer in place, the pan is still well protected by the engine crossmember and under chassis braces so you don't have to worry about damaging the pan on lowered cars.  This is a very easy to install and simple mod that, although it doesn't give power, does give greater peace of mind.

Want to read more about our Project 350Z?

The Jim Wolf Technology pan spacer is just that, an aluminum spacer that goes between the engine's aluminum upper pan and the stamped steel lower pan.  Another spacer also lower the oil pump pick up deeper into the newly deepened pan.
The first step is to remove the pan.  Howard Watanabe of Technosquare uses this handy Snap-On tool that you hammer in place, then tap around the pan perimeter.  The tool cuts the old sealer quickly and easily without damaging the pan.  Screwdrivers and putty knives often damage the pan rails and make re-sealing the pan a pain in the ass.
The tool makes short work of the sealer and the pan is off in no time.
Nissan puts a decent windage tray in the VQ35DE.  A windage tray is the louvered piece of sheet metal over the engine's main caps.  Its job is to strip the spinning cloud of oil from around the crank.  This helps oil return to the pan but also serves to increase power and reduce oil temperatures.
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Dusty Duster
Dusty Dusterlink
Thursday, April 10, 2014 6:08 AM
That is a very trick piece! Great idea!
Thursday, April 10, 2014 6:41 AM
What kind of Permatex sealant did you use?
Thursday, April 10, 2014 6:51 AM
I don't see it on this unit, but I think someone sells a spacer with a bung for turbo oil return lines. Just planning for the future ;-)
Pablo Mazlumian
Pablo Mazlumianlink
Thursday, April 10, 2014 7:57 AM
This is a brilliant upgrade, way to go JWT. Reminds me of what they should have developed for the Porsche 951 to replace the fat, leaky oil pan gasket you could torque so little, especially under boost with a little blow-by. What a nightmare that became.
Mike Kojima
Mike Kojimalink
Thursday, April 10, 2014 9:10 AM
Permatex Import grey
Thursday, April 10, 2014 12:48 PM
How does the Motul stack up against Redline or Amsoil racing synthetics? Same thing, more/less expensive? Are there penalties for running a racing oil on the street? I know you've mentioned that racing bearings are harder and don't allow foreign material to embed itself as well. I imagine racing oils have fewer detergents, anything else?
Thursday, April 10, 2014 1:48 PM
What is the purpose of the 2 large hunks of material on the inner perimeter? I see nothing that they mate up to on either the block or pan. Are they there just to get the added capacity to exactly 1 qt?

Any plans to ditch the oil-to-water oil cooler/heater? I would think anything to take some burden off the cooling system would help.
Thursday, April 10, 2014 3:36 PM
Warming the oil for street driving helps longevity. The quicker it reaches 200-220, the less engine wear you get.
Mike Kojima
Mike Kojimalink
Thursday, April 10, 2014 8:53 PM
The spacer is too low for a turbo oil drain, it could smoke.
Friday, April 11, 2014 5:35 AM
Mike what do you and Howard use for cleaning solution in your parts cleaner?
Being in California have you found anything that is EPA compliant AND effective?
Friday, April 11, 2014 5:42 AM
Also Permatex Import grey is the stuff!

I've heard techs swear That Toyota Fipg (Fat Pig), or Honda Bond is the better than other sealers, But I really wonder who packages it for them?
Friday, April 11, 2014 7:08 AM
I'll swear to that too, my 4AG oil pans never sealed right until I threw down on the FIPG. Worth every penny.
Mike Kojima
Mike Kojimalink
Friday, April 11, 2014 8:37 AM
We are an R&D shop so we can use solvent. Threebond probably makes the Toyota stuff.
Saturday, April 12, 2014 6:05 AM
I always hear people speak of solvent, but what is solvent really?
Saturday, April 12, 2014 6:15 AM
Mike, can you elaborate?

Would you feel comfortable leaving it in the cleaning tank in an attached garage of a house? (lid or cover over it when not in use.)
Mike Kojima
Mike Kojimalink
Saturday, April 12, 2014 10:27 AM
A solvent is a petroleum distillate, pretty close to kerosene. It is in a solvent tank, look at the pictures. In a professional solvent tank it is safe to have an a garage but use common sense like don't install it next to your furnace. Actually now that I think about it, that is our eco safe tank shown with safety clean water based stuff, we have two different ones. The newest water based cleaner are actually getting pretty good. The first gen cleaners are worthless.
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