The trap doors have a welded hinge to allow the flap to freely open and close to keep the oil pickup in the center chamber submerged. The front trap door has notches in the lower corners to clear the screws which hold down the mesh screen. Note, the screws are in place for demonstration purposes, and should be used on top of the Top Plate.
With the baffles in place, we installed the new Top Plate with additional holes above the front and rear chamber to improve the drain-back of the oil to the pan. This is crucial in keeping the oil level in the sump as high as possible to prevent oil starvation. Now our 10-quart baffled pan was ready for installation.
An often overlooked component is the windage tray, which was also redesigned in 2000 along with the higher capacity pan. The 00-02 windage tray is a significant improvement over the 96-99 tray due to a more open design which better promotes the oil draining back in to the pan. This is crucial for reducing oil starvation and possibly freeing up a few HPs since as the Chrysler engineers explained, oil is wound about the crank and does not drain back to the pan very well.
We removed the 8 nuts that held on the windage tray, and gently removed it from the engine.
With the windage tray removed, the Viper’s crank with massive counterweights is exposed. The crank is one of the heaviest parts of the engine and is held in place with by six four-bolt main caps.
We sat the stock 1997 windage tray in the original 8.5-quart pan for analysis. Notice the crank-scrapers on the windage tray, the tolerances between these and the crank is crucial, and therefore very important not to accidentally bend them.