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pulling the oil pan with the engine in the car

as an extension to the "barn find article" and the "rope seal patch trick article," which can be found towards the bottom of the list of blog articles. this post explains the process of pulling the pan to clean out the 60 years of sludge in your oil pan from lead contamination and deposits from crappy vintage oils, which can potentially plug your pickup.

on all nailhead powered factory cars, the pan can be pulled without pulling the engine. its typically a 3 hour job or so, depending on how much time is spent cleaning and straightening the oil pan if its damaged. (added time for rear main seal.) . this can even be done on the GS skylarks (those are a little more difficult and have to have the oil pump screen removed and installed while simultaniously removing and installing the pan.

start by unbolting the fan shroud, if equipped. unbolt the idler arm and let it hang and use a puller on the pitman arm to let it hang. not all cars need the pitman arm removed as well, but for the sake of making a generic article, im going to just suggest pulling it. remove all the engine mount bolts and loosen trans mount bolts. jack up oil pan via jack with a block of wood. lay a towel over the wood if concerned about scratching paint. stick blocks of wood in between engine mounts and frame to support engine in its raised position. i happen to have chunks of aluminum i stick in there. now the pan simply unbolts and drops down. the earlier cars have access holes in the frame cross member to access some of the hard to reach bolts. regardless, you will need a long extension and a half inch wobbly socket. if needed, a putty knife and a mallet will help break the seal. dont beat on the pan sump with a hammer. once pan is removed and cleaned, lay the pan edge on a steel work bench and hammer down the raised areas around the bolt holes, which can otherwise potentially split the gasket upon assembly. also look for damage to the pan rail from prying the pan off, and address it if necessary. nows a good time to change the oil pump if youve got a 62 to 66 OG original aluminum one. and/or at least check to see if the idle shaft hasnt slid out of the housing and is hitting the crank counterweight, which is extremely common. assess prior to removing the pan that the engine has good oil pressure, and if the rear main seal need attention... and nows a good time to check your bearing clearances with plastigage while you're in there. as far as sealer use, i put on latex gloves and generously rub in black silicone (i use permatex ultra black) into both sides of the new oil pan gasket prior to laying it on the pan and bolting it up. i don't care for the felpro ones which have slotted holes (and are cork.) i ONLY use a stubby handle quarter inch drive ratchet on any pan gasket. you can easily over tighten and ruin the gasket. after putting the car back together in the reverse of steps mentioned above, and running it, go back over the pan gasket once more with a quarter inch drive ratchet as gaskets shrink and the bolts will loosen. you should be good to go after that.


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