: WTF??? Have to pull the engine for oil pan gasket leak?



Sharp
04-05-10, 04:13 PM
This is on a 1999 STS, and I just found out that the engine needs to be pulled to fix the problem...

This is a ridiculous design!!! couple grand worth of labour in order to replace a $25 part that would take anyone 30 mins to do on another car:confused:

Any suggestions as to what to do for a leaking oil pan gasket? do you guys suggest changing anything else at the same time?

What about a oil treatment that may stop the leak???

anyone modify the subframe so that the sub frame can be bolted in and out making access to the oil pan possible?( i'm a metal fabricator so just thinking a little outside the box)

Just not sure what to do....my car is pristine, and i'll be lucky to get $5k on trade but it's also hard to justify the cost of such a fix, especially for such a minor problem(on any other car)

tateos
04-05-10, 04:22 PM
As I recall, and I could be wrong, but I think the problem is not so much the cradle, it's the cross-under exhaust pipe coming from the front/left bank of the engine that get's in the way. I think I did read that someone once cut that pipe, dropped the pan, and then re-installed the pipe or another replacement piece and welded it back up.

cl1986
04-05-10, 11:24 PM
if the oil pan is leaking, most likey the half case is also, engine has to come out, i dont see anyway someone could drop the pan without doing so, even with cutting the exhaust.

The fix is to throw away the silicon seal (while it worked for 10 years) and replace with gm rtv, which is in no way anything like regualr rtv, i think some people dont realize that, its more like a glue than an rtv.

I quoted people $1000 to do the job, it isnt really all that hard, one day to get motor on stand, day to seal it, day to put it back in. And there isnt much in parts cost either. Most shops quote between $2000 and $3000 which is just rediculous, and no special tools are required either.

And im not quite so sure than any "other" car you can just fix the oil pan on any fwd vehicle, maybe im wrong.

ewill3rd
04-06-10, 08:23 AM
I hate to say this but it has been that way since about 1992.
I am kind of surprised that in 18+ years of production that any of this kind of thing comes as a shock to someone.

I don't do them anymore but when I did I would use an engine support fixture and remove the transmission.
Remember there is a difference between a "leak" and "seepage".
I wouldn't waste time and money on a seeping one, but if it is dripping and hitting the floor I'd probably go after it.

Submariner409
04-06-10, 09:02 AM
...........and it's not a "gasket" - it's a formed silicone seal - sort of like an irregular O-ring.

Here's an example, but on a much smaller scale. Click to enlarge.

Also, remember that the oil pan is one seal, the halfcase has another: the halfcase with oil pan attached is actually the lower structural member of the block as well as being the main bearing cap (all 5 mains) as well as a stud girdle for the 4-stud mains.

There are no magic potions to pour into the oil. Don't try it. Your Northstar will hate you..........and make you pay for it........

Sharp
04-06-10, 01:54 PM
Guys thanks for the info, i'm just coming from other vehicles that are much easier to work on....

Does anyone have a link to a factory service manual or a write up on how to do this, i'm not afraid of digging into jobs like this and have done similar work on my Jeep however I would need to acquire an engine hoist and such tools....along with the time needed to do it.

Submariner409
04-06-10, 03:19 PM
The engine, transmission, and cradle, along with the steering rack and struts comes out the bottom - you lift the car off the drivetrain. Down in here there are several threads on drivetrain removal - pour a brew and start going back through old Northstar Performance threads..........

Look at www.alldatadiy.com and subscribe your car or try www.helminc.com for the GM Service Manual - $135, 2 huge volumes. Maybe eBay - cheaper.

Use the User CP, up in the blue bar, to update your login header with your location and car model/year/engine..... like mine ^^^. It sure makes diagnosis easier.

SeVEEyA
04-06-10, 05:16 PM
Can't believe you bought one of these without knowing about the half-case thing. I recently bought a '99 and made damn sure the seals had been re-done. Now just wondering how long that will last and sure hope the seller (Cad dealership) was telling the truth!

zonie77
04-06-10, 05:25 PM
This is the benefit of FWD...What!?!?!? it's not a benefit?

FWD packs everything in a small area. If it's not that is something ekse you can't get to. Not my favorite design unless it's snowing.

Sharp
04-06-10, 05:43 PM
Can't believe you bought one of these without knowing about the half-case thing. I recently bought a '99 and made damn sure the seals had been re-done. Now just wondering how long that will last and sure hope the seller (Cad dealership) was telling the truth!


I actually bought the car new.... and didn't hear of any of these issues back then...

Ranger
04-06-10, 06:16 PM
This is the benefit of FWD...What!?!?!? it's not a benefit?

FWD packs everything in a small area. If it's not that is something ekse you can't get to. Not my favorite design unless it's snowing.

Can I have an AMEN BROTHER!

Submariner409
04-06-10, 06:36 PM
:lildevil: Amen !!!


Even in 1960, ordering a 98 hp (!!!) 4-speed Corvair from Chevy Chase Chevrolet in Bethesda, MD, I had done a slew of homework at local dealerships and repair shops.

In 2005, looking for a late 2002 STS, I had done the same, although it was made easier by the Internet.

NEVER buy anything mechanical without knowing all the pro's and con's. Our instant gratification services make it simple....................If I were considering plopping down $46,000 to $55,000 (new Seville TS prices) I'd know a whole hell of a lot about the car before dynamiting a Money Market.

Even my 1992 FWD Taurus 3.8 LX was a PITA to work on - ever seen an engine that dumped every ounce of oil in the filter onto the starter motor during a routine oil change ? Wonderful engineering - the 3.0 was the same way.

zonie77
04-06-10, 07:20 PM
Even my 1992 FWD Taurus 3.8 LX was a PITA to work on - ever seen an engine that dumped every ounce of oil in the filter onto the starter motor during a routine oil change ? Wonderful engineering - the 3.0 was the same way.

Ugh! I almost forgot that. I'll have nightmares for a week now.:eek:

Destroyer
04-06-10, 09:06 PM
Holy crap. I was going to make a new post about mine. My oil pan actually has a crack in my '99 Eldorado and it is leaking. Not whole lot but a decent little puddle after being parked for a few days. I suspected it would not be an "easy" fix because nothing else on these cars seems to be. Ah well, just more oil I'll have to add on top of the normal oil consumption of these cars. Cadillac style all the way baby! :banghead:

Ranger
04-06-10, 10:16 PM
Oil pans don't just crack. It must have been bottomed out. Is the crack easy to access? Perhaps if you clean it up real good a little JB Weld will seal it if it is easy to get at.

Destroyer
04-07-10, 07:30 AM
Oil pans don't just crack. It must have been bottomed out. Is the crack easy to access? Perhaps if you clean it up real good a little JB Weld will seal it if it is easy to get at.It doesn't look bottomed out and I haven't yet seen the actual crack but the guy that sold to me said there was one and I am now seeing the puddle. There was also a new oil pan in the trunk but now I know why it's in the trunk and not already installed. :helpless:;)

Submariner409
04-07-10, 07:49 AM
Drain the oil, warm, with the car up on a lift. Determine the dimensions of the crack. Clean the crack and surrounding area several times with copious amounts of lacquer thinner. After a few cleanings, 10 minutes apart, there should be no more oil seepage from the crack. Now warm the crack with a 100W droplight held against it for 5 minutes. Clean it again, thoroughly. Apply a 1/2" wide band of 2-part epoxy designed and/or marketed for structural cracks or some such. Let the epoxy cure, then sand the entire band and pan outward for a half inch. Apply another coat of epoxy.

Destroyer
04-08-10, 07:32 AM
Drain the oil, warm, with the car up on a lift. Determine the dimensions of the crack. Clean the crack and surrounding area several times with copious amounts of lacquer thinner. After a few cleanings, 10 minutes apart, there should be no more oil seepage from the crack. Now warm the crack with a 100W droplight held against it for 5 minutes. Clean it again, thoroughly. Apply a 1/2" wide band of 2-part epoxy designed and/or marketed for structural cracks or some such. Let the epoxy cure, then sand the entire band and pan outward for a half inch. Apply another coat of epoxy.
Thanks for the help. I'll give it a shot and let you guys know how it turns out. Probably not for another week or two though. Thanks Sub.

Ranger
04-08-10, 01:02 PM
Before you apply the JB Weld (or whatever you use) be sure to scuff the surrounding area real good with a very coarse sand paper. Give that epoxy something to bite into.

Destroyer
04-09-10, 10:29 PM
Before you apply the JB Weld (or whatever you use) be sure to scuff the surrounding area real good with a very coarse sand paper. Give that epoxy something to bite into.
Will do!:thumbsup:

codewize
04-12-10, 11:46 PM
Honestly I think you're worrying to much. It probably takes less time to drop the cradle than it would to pull any other engine out the top.

It's sounds like a big deal but since the car was designed with this in mind it's not that big of a deal.

Now, agreeing with everyone else, How did you buy a car with that kind of damage and not know. Additionally how did you buy a FWD car and not know that's how it gets worked on?

Submariner409
04-13-10, 09:24 AM
Destroyer (in another thread) bought the car for peanuts and decided to give it and Northstar another try. He knew it would take some tinkering................

codewize
04-13-10, 09:30 PM
Is this his thread. Does he have 2 logins ?

Destroyer (in another thread) bought the car for peanuts and decided to give it and Northstar another try. He knew it would take some tinkering................

Destroyer
04-14-10, 11:05 PM
Is this his thread. Does he have 2 logins ?I'm confused but I only have 1 login. Can you imagine 2 of me?:eek::alchi:

Submariner409
04-15-10, 08:40 AM
He's pulling my chain because you're not Sharp, the OP.

jjfahn
05-25-10, 05:43 PM
Nice. I have an '02 STS with the same problem. Where are you in SD? Got a son in Aberdeen, I could shack up with him and you could fix mine. These A-holes in the Cities want $2000 for the labor alone. They told me to sell it. Had been working fine ('cept for catylitic converter, ignore the 'check engine light). Anyway, just a thought. I need a good mechanic in the western suburbs of Minneapolis, if anyone knows of any.