Melling Engine Parts swells Ford’s modular engine lineup
Performance products are about pushing the boundaries. The effects of higher engine speeds and increased power output require turning not only to stronger internal components, but also unorthodox and revolutionary designs. That’s true, even in something as simple as an oil pump. No one recognizes it better than the people of fusion engine parts
In 2003, Melling partnered with Roush Industries under contract with Ford Motor Company. The two companies had been called upon to fix some “glitches” that Ford encountered with its supercharged 5.4-litre four-valve engine. Intended for installation in the upcoming 2005-2006 Ford GT supercar, this project paved the way for what many consider to be the pinnacle of dry sump oil pump engineering.
Not only would this later be recognized as the first domestic OE (Original Equipment) dry sump oil pump of its type, but a cornerstone from which Melling Engine Parts could continue to build a performance-oriented Ford portfolio. Today, Melling offers 20 oil pumps for the latest model Ford Modular V8 engines11 of which are of a stock replacement configuration, with the remaining nine being purely performance oriented.
But before Melling could outfit vehicles like the Ford GT 3.5-litre twin-turbo V6 and the supercharged 2020 Mustang GT500 5.2-liter Predator engine with its oil circulation systems, a serious technical examination had to be implemented first.
Pushing Ford’s factory engines further
Always seeking to push the boundaries of OE quality engines and the lack of performance of original equipment oil pump designs, Melling has devoted countless hours of research to studying lubrication issues in engines. What the Melling engineers discovered was that each time the manufacturers chose to streamline production by applying the same oil pumps at all levels.
For example, Ford used the oil pump from the 5.0 liter Coyote engine in the 2020 Mustang GT500 5.2-liter Predator engine. Sure, the stock Coyote oil pump did a solid job at first, but as Ford engineers started hitting higher rpms consistently during testing, all sorts of oil-related fiascos arose. are unrolled.
The volume and pressure were far too low to keep the snake’s supercharged fangs filled with adequate amounts of venom. So Ford turned once again to Melling Engine Parts, with high hopes that the solution would be simple and affordable.
Design solutions of this magnitude rarely materialize from scratch, and so Ford and Melling set about reviewing notes from past projects and entertaining new design arguments. It wouldn’t be until Melling began to examine a series of notes left behind by Melling’s experiences with the first Ford GT project nearly two decades prior, that anything substantial would come to light.
Needless to say, the solution was anything but inexpensive, as the level of development of the GT500’s oil pump necessitated the development of a completely bespoke unit. This was done to meet the requirements put in place by Ford Performancebecause the last thing Ford wanted was an underperforming flagship.
And so a prototype nested spring set was designed for the oil pump unit of the GT500. This made the GT500’s lubrication system specific to the 5.2-liter Predator engine, and that engine alone.
The lubrication solution both automakers had been so desperately looking for had finally been found. And with the Predator engine now safely producing 760 horsepower and 626 pound-feet of torque, a new contract between Melling and Ford was struck. Further proof that failure is little more than a stepping stone to success when seen at its best.
When we spoke with Melling’s Vice President of Aftermarket Products, Mike Osterhaus, about this particular project, he had quite a bit to say about it. Biggest takeaway? Osterhaus confirmed that to alleviate the GT500’s 5.2-liter lubrication issues, Melling did not use any carry-over parts from the Coyote pump to accomplish the 130-psi high-pressure relief setting.
A little creativity Wile E. Coyote
The success of these highly visible programs has resulted in the development and production of other major contracts, all focused on oil pumps and all aimed at improving longevity, durability and outright performance.
Have you ever seen a brand new Melling Performance pump up close and wondered why the hell it looked so dark? Both bone-based and hardcore engine variants in Ford’s range have long benefited from Melling’s proprietary hard-coat anodized finish, running the length of its aluminum pump housings, and intended to improve resistance to wear, additional steps like these have proven to be very beneficial.
With the relationship between Melling and Ford becoming all the stronger, further development of a spin-off of dry sump pump ingenuity was implemented. And this time around, neither company was focusing on high-performance prototypes.
Press Fit Cup Plugs? ! Ouch!
When Ford introduced its first 5.0-liter Coyote engine pack in 2011, cup caps were used to retain the pressure relief valve and the spring in the oil pump.
Melling did not follow in Ford’s footsteps and instead opted to create Coyote pumps with threaded retainers. This increased costs, but also ensured that a cup cap failure resulting in a complete loss of engine oil pressure would never occur. It’s something that surely nags a few Ford engineers, even to this day.
“Based on our experience and lessons learned on previous OE oil pump projects, we decided not to follow Ford’s change in 2010 to reduce the cost of their oil pumps, we decided to replace the caps used to retain the pressure relief valve by threaded versions,” said Mike Osterhaus, vice president of aftermarket engine products, Melling Engine Parts.
Melling’s improved pump design not only eliminates the risk of a clog leak, but also results in greater oil flow to the engine components inside. This reduction in leakage has a positive effect on oil wind around the front of the crankshaft.
Melling Billet Rotor Sets
The problems associated with oil pump rotor failure began with Ford Modular engine owners leaning toward the aftermarket. However, the use of high-revving aftermarket compressors was not the only cause of failures. Boss 6.2 liter naturally aspirated oil pumps have also been known to exhibit the same symptoms.
As a result, Melling now offers a range of performance oil pumps purpose-built and assembled with billet rotor assemblies cut from 4140 chromoly steel.
As it grew, Melling recognized the importance of supplying oil pumps to aftermarket, performance and original equipment customers in the automotive industry. But to do this, the Melling company had to grow and divide, as it sought to supply the following three aspects of the automotive market: original equipment, aftermarket and performance parts.
Ingenuity is a global effort at Melling
Over the decades, each division bearing the Melling name has found that customer diversity provides unique opportunities. All forms of internal combustion engines require lubrication solutions in one form or another. Nowhere is this more evident than in the OE segment. Customers of this caliber demand innovative, cost-effective products that can withstand daily abuse. Fortunately, Melling tends to rely heavily on its aftermarket customer base to provide the answers it seeks. Many of Melling’s most groundbreaking OE redesigns were born from successful customers pushing the boundaries of OE requirements and presenting a solution in the process.
Our development testing of the first 4.6 liter two-valve oil pump indicated the need for a stronger cover plate to retain the oil flow created by the pump. We chose cast iron as the material for better strength and coated the machined cover to eliminate the risk of seizing. Mike Osterhaus, Vice President of Aftermarket Engine Products, Melling Engine Parts
As the knowledge and experience gained in one aspect of the automotive market benefits the other two branches of the Melling brand, a cycle begins.
OE projects requiring advanced R&D testing to develop and validate new oil pump designs constitute the expansion of manufacturing capabilities and infrastructure. In turn, Melling’s efforts (and absolute dedication) to ISO compliance TS16949 standards applies not only to its OE programs, but also to all aspects of replacement and performance products.
The result is a zealous dedication to meeting the cleanliness demands of OE customers. If you ask any Melling employee, that remains the benchmark for every manufactured product that leaves the factory.
Oh, and as for all of us aftermarket enthusiasts, let’s just say we benefit the most from everything just mentioned.