20R – no oil pressure


We have been rebuilding our first ChumpCar. It is a 1975 Toyota Celica. The car belongs to our team mechanic. He has found he has cancer so we have all pitched in to build it for him to race at Daytona.

When we got the freshly rebuilt engine in the car, we found it would not make any oil pressure. We tried priming the oil pump and every other thing we could think of. It simply would not build oil pressure.

After studying the oil flow diagrams, I noticed there was a galley plug in the bottom of the engine. I had noticed that the front and rear plugs were pulled by the machine shop. Of course the builder had replaced those. I called him and asked about the lower one. No one could remember putting that one back.


I really did not want to pull the engine back out just to check to see if the plug was missing.

My first check was to run a wire down the passage from the oil filter to the bottom of the engine on a spare block. I then did the same on the engine in the car. The one in the car would go an extra inch or so.

My next step was to see if I could get the oil pan off with the engine still in the car. There is very little clearance between the oil pan and the cross member.

I began by seeing if I could access all the bolts. I got most by using a short 12mm socket on a wobble extension.
The two right above the cross member I got using a wobble socket.

I had to remove the two engine to transmission braces to get to the back four bolts.

Next, I disconnected the steering rod from the pitman arm and the idler allowing it to drop. I then removed the four bolts holding the motor mounts in place.

I set a jack under the front pulley and began to slowly lift the engine. I had to raise it a couple of inches to get the pan to clear the oil pick up.

With the pan off I could easily see that the lower galley plug was missing.


I pulled the one from the spare block and transferred it to the engine in the car. Then I had to figure out how to get the pan and gasket back on.

It would have been easier to just glue the gasket to the pan but I used a trick I have learned on the Jeeps. I threaded long wire ties through the pan holes into the gasket. I put one on each of the four sides. I then lifted the pan into place and put on the two nuts for the two studs. I then carefully slid the wire ties out while inserting bolts into the holes that were opened up.

Once the pan bolts were snug, I set the engine back in place and reattached the motor mounts. I then reinstalled the engine to transmission braces and the steering rod.

After refilling with oil, I tentatively turned the engine over. I was very happy to see the oil pressure gauge start to move. We were back on schedule with our Daytona Build.