Join Date: Aug 2018
Location: Central Virginia
This is always a good idea. Recip engines worth 6+ figures pretty much all use active pre-oilers before the crankshaft is turned.
The only reason vehicle engines don't generally have this is the cost/weight/complexity penalty exceeds the perceived value of the addition. Given that no engine in an Esprit is common, they certainly aren't getting commoner, and they generally have infrequent use patterns, I'd regard some sort of pre-lube method as a really good idea, especially as the engine probably didn't go through Toyota levels of lifecycle testing before it went into production, and might well be fragile in some modes.
A quick-and-dirty method is to wire up a fuel pump and ignition disable switch somewhere discreet and spin the engine over with the key until you see pressure on the gauge (you do have a working oil pressure gauge, right?) before turning on fuel and spark. This has the disadvantage of not actually pressurizing things before they start moving, so it's probably adequate for an engine that hasn't run for a few weeks, but not one that has been sitting for months. The longer it sits, the more oil drains out of the rubbing interfaces into the pan.
To really do it right, though, you need some kind of pre-oiler. The Accusump with solenoid valve is popular for this. They're not perfect, but they are off-the-shelf and designed for this sort of application. You'd still want the ignition/fuel cutout and a separate switch to engage the accusump valve so that you could pressurize the engine and then turn it over before firing it. Properly used, the only thing an accusump won't save you from is cylinder bore wear on a non-piston squirter engine. In that case, you'd want to pop spark plugs out first and shoot a little oil down the holes to oil the bores before turning it over if the engine has sat for months or longer. If you've removed the plugs it's a great idea to spin the engine over (no fuel or spark) with them out for a bit - you get much faster oil pump-up and higher oil pressure when not compressing air in the cylinders.