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Author Topic: Oil Pan Removal and Gasket Replacement  (Read 2266 times)

Offline weitrhino

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Oil Pan Removal and Gasket Replacement
« on: 04:54:42 PM / 23-Jul-19 »
An oil leak. They always suck and can be a bitch to locate. When my car started leaking last winter I figured it to be either the front main seal or the oil pan and ordered new gaskets for each. It turned out to be the pan seal.

I'd seen many times where it was said the only way to remove the pan was to raise the engine, and I can absolutely confirm it's true. I worried that would be a task too far and pondered just sending the car to a shop, but I'm notoriously cheap, so it leaked on some cardboard in the garage all spring and half the summer. Then the car wouldn't start at all so I went on a deep dive.

The starting issue turned out to be a failed starter solenoid on a starter I'd just replaced 8 months earlier. There were some red herrings along the way; a crack in the clutch relay, (did it get wet?) a previously replaced wire running to the clutch relay, failure to start after having driven through torrential rain, some kind of putty caked over the clutch switch and neutral switch connection on the transmission case..... All this made me think someone had been searching for this problem prior to me, and perhaps they were. The transmission and clutch came from an 87 parts car I once had and used to convert my 85 notch auto to a 5 speed. The bitch of it is when the car decided not to start I was at a terminal at DFW - in heavy traffic - as busy airports tend to have. I knew I could push start, but traffic was too heavy to attempt it and there was a bus 30 feet in front preventing me from a running start. Fortunately no cops came along to harass me. After about a half hour traffic cleared just enough I could push and jump in, fire it up, and drive all the way home.

But I digress. This thread is about changing the oil pan gasket.

I did a few other things during this job to make future life a bit easier but the real question is, "why must the engine be raised?" Well, take a look below.

That microphone looking thing is the oil pickup tube and it reaches down to the lowest level of the oil pan. See how it extends well below the crossmember? This pic is with the engine already raised by several inches, jacked upward from the front end of the bell housing. You have to remove a bolt and a nut on both engine mounts to free the engine. When you drop the pan you must reach inside and unbolt the pickup tube and remove it. That will finally allow the pan to slide forward and out.

Here's another look with the pickup tube removed. Take this opportunity to clean in spaces too much of a bitch to clean otherwise.

Toward the rear of the engine as well as in the front, be sure to remove any old gasket sealer which you can see as white-ish blobs.

You'll need sealer in 4 spots when installing the new gasket. I figured to place the new gasket on the pan then slide the pan into place and raise it up to the block. Nope. Every attempt to do this failed despite using sealer to hold the new gasket in place. The gasket was constantly dislodged from bumping against the crankshaft so I figured to stick the new gasket to the underside of the block. This proved the successful route.

There's a curved channel in the rear that the gasket fits into and I found if I pressed the gasket into that channel it would hold in that spot but still dangle from there. See the channel I'm talking about running vertically near the left side of the pic below.

The solution to the dangling gasket is pictured below; loosely installed pan bolts to temporarily hold the gasket in place while I maneuvered the pan. Once the pan is largely in position comes the bitchiest part of the job - reinstalling the pickup tube. Yes, the pan MUST be back in position before the tube is installed. It won't work by installing the tube and then trying to fit the pan into place. Trust me on this.

Don't do this!

Above you can see I also removed the oil pressure sending unit from just below the filter. Below, notice the bolts temporarily holding the new gasket in place.

Pro tips:

Remove the torsion bar for even easier access.

When you raise the engine be sure there's enough slack on your fuel lines, otherwise you'll need to pull them loose and plug them with a bolt.

When raising the engine remove ONLY the nut and bolt that appear missing in the illustration below.

« Last Edit: 12:11:46 PM / 28-Jul-19 by weitrhino »

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