ARM­STRONG RACE EN­GI­NEER­ING: EV­ERY­THING DRY SUMP

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De­sign­ing and build­ing dry sumps has been what Arm­strong Race En­gi­neer­ing, bet­ter known as A.R.E. has been do­ing for more than 40 years. The sci­ence and en­gi­neer­ing in­volved has been the main pas­sion for founder/ owner Gary Arm­strong.

“In the be­gin­ning ev­ery­thing ex­cept F1, Indy, and a few oth­ers used fab­ri­cated stock steel sumps. ARE recog­nised the ad­van­tages of us­ing a cast alu­minium part for its strength, seal­ing, and re­sis­tance to vi­bra­tion fa­tigue,”says Arm­strong. “I was a For­mula Ford racer, but soon de­cided I was a bet­ter en­gi­neer than a driver. I was un­happy with the dry sumps avail­able for my en­gines, so started de­sign­ing and mak­ing dry sump sys­tems my­self.

“I started from scratch to de­sign a pan that took ad­van­tage of the cen­trifu­gal force of the oil leav­ing the crank­shaft, bet­ter trap it, and thus make a more ef­fi­cient scav­eng­ing sys­tem. This pa­ram­e­ter has al­ways been more im­por­tant than the ease of us­ing a mod­i­fied stock sump.”

ARE’S new­est ver­sion of dry sumps are called ‘flu­idic’. The vis­cous drag of the oil in the crank­case, when elim­i­nated to a great per­cent­age, in­creases the en­gine horse­power by an amaz­ing amount. This is aided by a de­sign that ‘makes avail­able’ the oil to the scav­enge pumps, al­low­ing them to also work more ef­fi­ciently. It’s a true ‘sys­tem’ al­low­ing all the dry sump com­po­nents to work in con­cert.

The dry sump oil pumps are not al­lowed to be ‘sim­ple’ pumps ei­ther. From the much-needed pack­ag­ing and mount­ing of the pumps, to pay­ing great at­ten­tion to the fluid dy­nam­ics in­volved, ev­ery unit has a pur­pose. Only the best al­loys, gear/ro­tor de­sign, bear­ings/seals and of course flow ef­fi­cien­cies can be per­mit­ted in to­day’s highly so­phis­ti­cated racing en­gines. To­day’s su­per CNCS and CAD/ CAM pro­grams can re­sult in highly re­li­able, yet very pow­er­ful ‘hearts’ to the racing en­gine.

When the FIA’S global spec ju­nior racing cat­e­gory, For­mula 4, made its de­but in the United States, it was sig­nif­i­cant that the ARE was cho­sen to sup­ply specif­i­cally de­vel­oped dry sump sys­tems for Honda’s K20 en­gine ( left). More than 130 units have been sup­plied now as the se­ries heads into its sec­ond sea­son.

“The ex­pand­ing prod­uct line of ARE dry sumps has pre­sented the need for a smaller ver­sion of dry sump pumps we call the ‘mini mite’,” says Arm­strong. “This pump started with a con­tract to build a very small, very high (rel­a­tively) RPM pump for one of the top ech­e­lons of racing, Indy­car. The RPM needed to run this pump re­sulted in a very in­no­va­tive de­sign of pump, par­tic­u­larly in the ‘anti cav­i­ta­tion’ fea­tures of the pump cav­i­ties and pock­ets. Now this Mini ver­sion pump is head­ing for the smaller, higher RPM en­gines such as cy­cle en­gines, still re­quir­ing dry sumps to stay alive.

“A new and ever ex­pand­ing prod­uct in our sta­ble is the Spin­tric air/oil sep­a­ra­tor. This unit, be­ing to­tally pas­sive, sim­ply con­nects in-line on the scav­enge oil re­turn from the pump to the tank, and elim­i­nates up to 70 per cent of the air in the oil on the way to the reser­voir. The ad­di­tional air is then sent back to the top or ‘air gap’ in the top to your tank to be sent to at­mos­phere with your vents.”

For more in­for­ma­tion visit www.spin­tric.com.

ARE sumps are used in US F4 ARE has been de­sign­ing sys­tems for more than 40 years

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