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Priming Oil Pumps.

On some engines the oil-pump is mounted above the sump oil level and is not self-priming. If the pump and oil-galleries are empty of oil, either because of draining down or just after an engine rebuild, the pump may be unable to draw oil up unless it is `primed' first. At best, it would take a long time to do so. The manual may recommend packing the oil-pump with petroleum jelly, to give it something to "work on" but some recommend the `drill method':

From Riccy Smith (riccys@mail.ncn.com), 10/'95, re Rover 3.5L V8:

Assemble the pump with a little engine oil, then finish assembling the engine. Leave the distributor out. When you're ready to fire the engine, stick your finger in #1 spark plug hole and spin the crank to firing position, TDC for #1. (check the harmonic)

Cut the handle off one of your longest flat blade screwdrivers. Chuck the screwdriver shaft into your hand drill and wave the assembly in a threatening manner at the engine. Fill the engine sump with oil till the dipstick reads full. Stuff that homegrown oil-pump priming tool down the distributor hole, slip the screwdriver head into the pump shaft slot and spin it till you burn up the drill motor (or until your oil pressure gauge in the dash shows full pressure). The drill will spin very easily for a long time, then it will slow down and you'll have to lean on it to keep it from popping out. This is when the oil is actually pumping and pressurizing the system.

Your engine is now ready to fire immediately. Drop in the distributor with the rotor pointing at #1 on the cap, line up the points/electronic trigger/etc to the firing position, and start the engine on the first twist. (always very gratifying...)

- use at own risk, of course.

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