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97 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hey All,

I've got a k20z3 in my EG (with some mods) and recently had some clatter from my timing chain. I discovered that the oil level was right between the two dots. Raising the oil level to the top dot, just a hair over .5qt extra, immediately resolved the issue. After doing some investigation, I discovered that the oil dipsticks for k20s aren't all the same length.

After asking around and reading through various sources (k-tuned, lots of civic forums, etc.) I came to the conclusion that my mods altered the required oil level.

On the bottom end, I have:
K-Mod oil pump (modified K20A2 pump)
K24 pan (11200-RAA-A00)

After topping the oil level up to the top dot, and draining the whole sump (just to be safe) I found that I had 4.5qt including what I was able to dump out of the filter. Since I didn't do the swap, so I don't know how much originally went in, but the block was torn down quite a bit since new cams and the pump went in so it was completely dry when it went in.

At the end of the day, as far as I can tell, the pan+oil pump setup I have changed the bottom of my block to K20A2/K20Z1 specs. That dipstick's range basically starts where mine ended:

What I'm a little lost on is how much oil is supposed to go in here. I see that the official Acura specs for a k20a2 say 5qt with a filter, then to check and add. Googling around, I see lots of people using 4.5 and saying it's right...and just as many people saying they use 5qt or more. In my case, I used a slightly oversized S2000 filter and went with the k20a2/k20z1 markings on the k-tuned dipstick and it took 5.5qt to get just under full.

Anyone have any reason to believe that I'm off base here? Does 5.5qt seem right for a k20 that doesn't have balance shafts with a steel pan and an s2000 filter? I can't see where things sit with the car on the ground, but the data I have is...

4qt leads to insufficient oil pressure and noise (stock filter)
4.5qt quiets noise (stock filter)
5qt is full on the stock dipstick (s2000 filter)

The engine this oil pan comes from specs 4.4qt, but also has balance shafts that would chip off a bit of total capacity. The S2000 filter is bigger, but can't be much more than a few ounces higher in capacity. I might be overthinking this a bit, but I don't want to do any damage from overfilling. I'm assuming the top mark of the k20a2/z1 dipstick represents the max oil level for an engine with no balance shafts and this deck/head height, so it seems like a safe bet.

If you made it this far, thank you and I'm sorry. 馃ぃ


97 Posts
Discussion Starter · #2 · (Edited)
FWIW, yes I'm sure the oil pressure wasn't low because the oil jet from the balance shafts wasn't removed. That's definitely right:
Motor vehicle Automotive exterior Auto part Nut Machine

I grabbed an oil sample to send to Blackstone to make sure nothing looks out of whack from the brief timing chain clatter incident.

Super Moderator
2002 DC5 Type S
1,373 Posts
K20a2 engine overhaul = 6.1 US qt
engine w/ filter = 5.0 US qt
engine w/o filter = 4.8 US qt
notes : aluminum oil pan

K20a3 engine overhaul = 5.6 US qt
engine w/ filter = 4.4 US qt
engine w/o filter = 4.2 US qt
notes : steel oil pan

Seem the aluminum oil pan holds an extra 0.5 US qt. by my math. The term overhaul is important to take into consideration. If you have swapped oil pumps, oil pans, completely drained the engine of all oil by the standards of basically the engine taking apart, that is considered an overhaul. The cylinder head coming off the block, overhaul status. Now the question to everyone is the same yet the answer varies from person to person on how to correctly start an engine from an overhaul.

Since oil can be drained and seal washers are $0.48 each, right before I crank the engine over I add oil through the valve cover for the valve train, camshafts, and rockers so the oil pump can send it's oil on the way up. Since I am using a oil filter relocation kit I will pre-fill the oil filter and oil supply and return lines the best i can. That is just how I do my recovery from overhaul.

97 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
This motor has been together and running for a few months as it sits. The 5.5qt to get to the top of the dipstick was after a drain/fill/filter change. I didn't install the cam or oil pump, but a competent shop did so I'm hoping they cranked it with no fuel initially to prime the pump. If they didn't, any damage there has already been done.

The k20a3 in your example has balance shafts like the k20z3, and I'm suspecting that is responsible for the capacity difference...maybe. Given that, to my knowledge at least, no engine has come with this combo of oil pump and pan from the factory, I'm gonna just assume the k20a2 dipstick that matches the pump has the right level.

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