: Northstar oilpan

03-26-05, 04:17 PM
Just a little rant. I did my first oil change today, and am a little p.o.'d. Whoever designed the oilpan (if this is you BBOB, I apoligize) is a moron. The drain plug is completely horizontal. Upon seeing this, I adjusted my catch container, as I could forsee the oil, shooting past it. I removed the plug, and the oil shot out, what seemed like a foot and a half. it missed the container, and about a 1/2 pint landed on the driveway. Luckily, my driveway is getting replaced next week, so I will not have to live with the old oil stains. Every oilpan I have had, has had a vertical, or at 45 degree angle, drain plug. These make sense, as the oil will drain either straight down, or at a slight angle. Now, for the next oil change, I will have to be prepared, and figure something else out. I guess it is a small price to pay, for such a great automobile. But, it could have been designed, better. Rant over.


03-26-05, 06:47 PM
Foot and a half! Yikes! Mine never goes more than 3 or 4 inches.

03-26-05, 06:48 PM

i got around to looking at it a few days ago and i was actually doubtful of whether or not that was even the oil pan...it IS designed kind of, um, dumb :yup:


03-26-05, 07:13 PM
That's just about enough force to drive it up your sleeve to your armpit.

03-26-05, 08:44 PM
It almost sounds as though the crankcase is pressurized. Is that even possible?

03-26-05, 09:58 PM

The engine wasn't under any pressure. I had the car up on the ramps, and the drain pan under the drain plug. I am going to guess, that the drain pan was about 8-10 inches below the plug. I usually adjust the drain pan, so the center, is under the plug, as this will catch the main stream, and the drips that come out. I figured I might have to change my thinking, and moved the pan a little rearward, but not enough. I guess the force of 7 quarts, coming out of a horizontally positioned drain, having to drop 8-10 inches, makes for quite a distance. It took me by surprise, but I was able to move the pan pretty quickly, so most of the oil made it in there okay. I will set the pan up on a block the next time, so there is maybe 3-4 inches to fall, and less chance of it missing the pan. It is a very strange design, one I have never seen before.


03-26-05, 10:53 PM
I didn't find the pan's plug to be a problem, and I think it's a good design. Not in defense of automotive engineers, but the way I see it, the logic behind the design is to protect against undercarriage damage. If you look at the overall design of the undercarriage, it's designed to deflect (skim over) objects that may be in the road. If the plug were set up as you would perfer, it would be a sitting duck, waiting to catch that large dump truck brake drum, lying in the middle of the road, something you have to straddle because you are in bumper to bumper traffic and don't have a switch lane option. In other words, the design you would perfer would make it eaiser for the pan to rip open, giving the object an area to catch, whereas the design limits the possiblity of pan damage in one of those bad deals.

When you mention the oil shooting 18," I was suprized! But when I read about the ramps, it became clear. The car was designed for oil changes with the car sitting level, not proped up on ramps, and when the car has its oil changed while sitting level, the oil only shoots out 2 or 3 inches at best.

Aren't the ramps a little overkill for an oil change? I just weasel under the car as it sits. Yes, I have to stretch some, and I use a 1/2" ratchet to give me a more mo-jo, but it's one heck of a lot less work than going though setting up ramps.

Trust me! The n/s is one of the better designed engines with resepect to easy oil changes.

03-27-05, 12:58 AM
The oil drain plug is on the side of the pan in a horizontal arrangement to protect it from damage. The Northstar pan is fairly deep and sits fairly "close to the road". Putting the oil drain plug on the bottom of the pan in a vertical alignment would expose it to damage from hitting the road or other debris. Now THAT would be a moronic design.....LOL

Really now....is that oil drain plug design THAT bad....??? LOL LOL Why not just get a larger drain pan....or , when you unscrew the plug next time, hold it in the stream of oil at the oil pan so as to throttle the flow to keep it in the pan until the bulk of the oil has drained. I often do that on several engines to control the oil flow during draining so as to "hit the pan".

03-27-05, 02:41 AM
yeah...i guess that makes sense...

ill buy it :thumbsup:

03-27-05, 10:45 AM

You must be a very thin individual, to get under the car, without raising it. There ain't no way I could do that. A little too much baby fat still. :D The ramps that I use, are quite low, so the car isn't very high off of the ground. The drain pan that I use, has a 12" mouth to it. The oil missed by several inches. After thinking about it more, the oil probably only shot out of the pan by maybe 12", not 18. I had the back edge of the pan set up right under the drain. So that probably left about 9-10 inches of available pan. It missed by about 2-3 inches.


I can understand why the pan would be designed this way. It makes sense. I was just ranting, because it is a "foreign" design to me. Over the past 21 years, I have owned alot of cars and trucks. In that 21 years, I have performed every oil change, on every vehicle, except for one time. So, since every oil pan I have drained, has had a vertical, or diagonal drain plug set-up, you can understand where I am coming from. It took me by surprise is all. Believe me, I am already over it. And, I have a game plan for the next change.