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Changing Oil in a Dry Sump C7

Technically Speaking

James Berry Nov 29, 2017
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Q: Hello, my name is Joel. I recently purchased my first Corvette, a C7 Stingray. This may be my first Corvette but it will definitely not be my last. What a magnificent car.

When it comes to my car I don’t like to take any chances so I like to do as much of the maintenance as I can myself. So, naturally, I change my own oil. My Stingray has a dry-sump system. Do you think that changing the oil in a dry-sump system is something I can do? Also, can you tell me what the advantage is of having a dry-sump oiling system on my Corvette?

Thanks,

Joel

A: Joel, let’s start by looking at the difference between a wet-sump oiling system and a dry-sump oiling system on your Corvette.

Wet-Sump Oiling System
Under normal driving conditions a traditional wet-sump system works fine. In fact, a wet-sump system has been used for the internal combustion engine since its inception.

In the wet-sump system the oil sits in the oil pan, which is basically a reservoir. When the engine is running, the oil pump draws oil from the engine oil pan and distributes it through the oil galleries to all the parts of the engine that need to be lubricated. The oil then returns back to the oil pan where the process starts over again.

The disadvantage of the wet-sump system is when it comes to performance driving. During high-performance driving in high g-force situations, such as hard cornering, braking or accelerating, gravity can cause the oil to slosh to one section of the oil pan where the oil pump cannot pull from and cause low oil pressure and a lack of oil volume. As we all know, oil starvation—or cavitation—will cause engine damage.

Dry-Sump Oiling System
A dry-sump system stores the oil in an external reservoir away from the engine. An external oil pump pulls the oil from the bottom of the reservoir, sends it through the engine and it is then pumped back into the external reservoir. There is no possibility for oil starvation, even in high g-force situations.

So, as you can see, the biggest advantage to a dry-sump system is that you will never have to worry about oil starvation, or cavitation.

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Changing the Oil in a Dry-Sump System on Your Stingray
Open the hood and remove the oil filler cap.

Safely raise the vehicle. (Refer to the Lifting and Jacking instructions for your vehicle in the owner’s manual.)

03 C7 Oil Change Dry Sump 3/3

Locate the two oil pan drain plugs.

Remove both oil pan drain plugs and drain the engine oil into an appropriate container. The drain plug on the front of the pan drains the external reservoir and hoses. The drain plug near the oil filter drains about a quart of residual oil from the pan.

Remove the engine oil filter from the engine block. Before installing the new oil filter, ensure that the old oil filter gasket has been removed and is not stuck to the engine block.

Fill the new oil filter with oil and lube the gasket with a thin film of engine oil.

Install the oil filter to the engine block and tighten to 22 ft-lb.

Install both oil pan drain plugs. Tighten the oil pan drain plugs to 18 ft-lb.

Lower the vehicle and add 8 quarts of oil to the dry-sump tank and install the oil filler cap. DO NOT use any engine oil additives in Corvette engines.

How to Check the Oil Level in a Dry-Sump System on Your Stingray Normally, the engine oil pan does not store any oil but if the vehicle has been parked for an extended period without the engine being started, oil can leach back into the oil pan, reducing the amount of oil held in the dry-sump tank. So make sure to follow the correct procedure when checking the oil level.

Make sure the vehicle is on level ground.

To obtain an accurate engine oil level reading you must warm up the engine to at least 175 F (80 C). A cold oil level in the dry-sump tank may not indicate the correct amount of oil in the system.

Once the engine is warm, turn off the engine.

Before checking the oil you must wait at least 5 minutes (but not more than 20 minutes) to allow oil to settle in the engine.

Remove the level indicator from the external engine oil tank and clean it with a lint-free cloth. Re-insert the level indicator into the external oil tank, pushing it all the way in until it stops.

Remove the level indicator from the oil tank and read the level on the cross-hatched area. Oil levels that fall in the cross-hatched area are normal.

Avoid overfilling the dry-sump system. Overfilling can result in damage to the engine and emissions system components due to over-pressurization of the system.

Joel, I hope this answers your question, now get under that Stingray and get dirty. Vette

Photos by James Berry

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