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Phase 3 Sump Chop

The bottom section of the phase 3 Zetec engine is made from steel, so it is possible to shorten it yourself without the need to spend a lot of money on a cast alloy sump as you do with the series 1/2 Zetec engines.

The bottom steel section is angled when its mounted which on its own makes it quite difficult to cut level. However the alloy middle section does have a flat base, so the solution is to remove the steel section, the pickup pipe, and then the alloy section. Remove any of the old sealant from the mating faces and rejoin the steel and ally sections together, then place them upside down on a bench or board.

The easiest way to make the cut and ensure it is level across the whole sump is to make a frame to mount an angle grinder. The bottom of the cutting disc on the angle grinder wants to be 150 mm (6") from the surface of the bench or board. The angle grinder jig is mounted solidly to the board and the sump is moved around the board ensuring it is perfectly flat to the board at all times.

This can be seen in the following picture:

Sump and angle grinder jig on bench
Sump and angle grinder jig on bench

This cuts down both sides and across the flywheel end of the sump, but cannot manage to cut the front end due to the sump being too shallow at that point, so you will need to cut this with a hacksaw using the two sides as a reference for the height.

The sump should then look like this:

Chopped sump
Chopped sump

To regain some capacity and make the base of the sump flat, you want to build on the shallower part of the sump at the front by welding one some extra steel. This can be trimmed to the same height as the rest of the sump using your angle grinder as above. It is then imperative to drill some holes around 15-20mm (½ - ¾") in the original base that is left to allow oil to drain into the front section of the sump. Don't forget to also cut a couple of notches out to allow oil to move out of that section when the base is welded on.

You will also want to drill a hole in the deeper steel side of the sump and weld in the original sump plug mounting boss. This should be as near to the new sump base as possible. You should now have something looking like:

Sump with built up section
Sump with built up section

You can then trim a piece of steel to match the shape of the base and weld that on. Finally, add a couple of extra baffles with some holes to allow oil to flow. This should end up looking something like the following pictures:

Sump with baffles, side view
Sump with baffles, side view

Sump with baffles, end view
Sump with baffles, end view

Sump with baffles, bottom view
Sump with baffles, bottom view

You will also need to shorten the oil pickup pipe. If you have a Focus engine, this will be plastic. However, the one from the Phase 3 Mondeo engine is steel and fits fine with a small amount of fettling to the ally section. The Mondeo pickup pipe has Ford Finis code 1072034.

Sump with plastic Focus oil pickup pipe
Sump with plastic Focus oil pickup pipe

The pickup pipe wants to be around 50-55mm (2 to 2 ¼") from the mounting bracket to the bottom of the pickup. Whilst you're trimming it, you also want to make sure that the base now sits parallel to the mounting face as the new sump base is a different angle to the original one. You can see the picture of the jig we used to mount it here:

Oil pickup pipe in jig
Oil pickup pipe in jig

The diagram below (not to scale as original picture was slightly on an angle) shows the specific dimensions of my pickup pipe which was modified for a 150mm high chopped sump:

Diagram showing chopped pickup pipe dimensions
Chopped pickup pipe dimensions

The picture of the fettling needed on the ally section is here:

Fettling needed on ally section
Fettling needed on ally section

Finally, you need to clean up the surfaces, then paint the outside of the steel section with a suitable primer and heat resistant surface paint.

Questions and Answers

Q: Do I also need to shorten the dipstick?
A: No, the dipstick does not require any modification.

Q: How much oil should I use with the modified sump?
A: It depends entirely upon how much extra capacity you have added back by building up the other sections. However, the simple rule of thumb is to fill with oil to the top mark on the dipstick. If you fill above the top mark, the bottom of the crank will start splashing into the oil in the sump, causing cavitation (small air bubbles to form), which reduces the lubrication and cooling abilities of the oil.


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