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Oil Pan Gasket Replacement
By Tom Morr/
Printable version
Degree of DifficultyEasy
Estimated Time60 minutes
60 minutes
Repairing a leaking oil pan is one of the best ways to ensure your engine is receiving the oil it needs, and can sometimes be done in a matter of a few simple steps. For the lucky few, the source can be a loose oil-pan drain plug, a dipstick tube that's come unseated from the engine block, or an oil filter that's either not screwed down or has a cracked gasket.
How to Replace the Oil Pan Gasket
To trace an oil leak, begin by cleaning the engine with a degreaser, possibly at the self-service car wash. When external oil reappears, follow the trail to its highest point. Hopefully, the culprit will be one of the offenders listed above. If the evidence leads to the top of the oil pan, however, the solution will be more labor-intensive.
A service manual is a valuable resource when removing the oil pan. Other parts and brackets might need to be removed first to access the pan and its bolts, the locations of which are illustrated in the manual. Vehicle-specific procedures such as if the crankshaft needs to be rotated before the pan will come out will also be described in the manual. Also read the instructions that come with the replacement gasket to see what, if any, sealers and chemicals the job requires.
The steps here show oil-pan gasket replacement on a front-wheel-drive car. The job is somewhat straightforward, but can be messy. Be conscientious of a few potential pitfalls: Try not to bend the oil pan when removing it. Attempting to pry the pan loose with a screwdriver can bend the mounting surface. Tapping it with a mallet can actually crack the pan if all bolts aren't out. (Double-check the bolt count and locations in the manual if the pan doesn't release easily.) Once the oil pan is off the vehicle, check it for metal shavings to reveal other potential problems. Also clean all sludge out of the pan and inspect for cracks before reinstalling it.
Step 1 – Obtain the appropriate replacement gasket. Gasket materials vary depending on what types of metals they're intended to seal. Name-brand gaskets come with any necessary sealants.
Oil Pan Gasket
Step 2 – While the oil is draining, we removed the splash shield and bellhousing cover.
Remove the Splash Shield and the Bellhousing Cover
Step 3 – In front-wheel drive vehicles, the oil pan is often mated to the transaxle. Other accessories such as exhaust-manifold support and air-conditioning bracketry might need to be detached, too.
Oil Pans Mated to the Transaxle Require More Effort
Step 4 – A service manual helps identify all oil-pan bolt locations. Some might be obscured behind other parts.
Identify Oil Pan Bolt Locations
Step 5 – Removing the wheel-well-liner pieces eased access to the outboard passenger's side bolts on this vehicle.
Removing the Wheel Well Liner Pieces to Gain Access
Step 6 – Once all bolts are removed, the pan can be dropped. If necessary, tap it lightly with a mallet to break the seal.
Drop the Oil Pan When All Bolts Are Removed
Step 7 – Scrape off any gasket residue and clean all sealing surfaces thoroughly with a solvent. Also clean the inside of the oil pan and inspect it for cracks. Then install the new gasket per its instructions. This one uses regular grease to hold it in position.
Install the New Oil Pan Gasket
Step 8 – Use thread sealer, if specified, then torque the oil-pan bolts to spec in a spiral pattern, beginning in the center. Reattach any accessory brackets, refill the crankcase with oil, start the engine and inspect for leaks.
Torque the Oil Pan Bolts
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