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Old 08-02-2016, 11:51 PM   #1
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Default Drilling the pan for oil drain - a picture story

I was snapping these photos for my instruction manual and thought they would be useful to put into the public domain. I am drilling this pan for use with my Trackspeed EFR kit on a car with A/C.

My line kit is sized to drill this location whether or not you are drilling the pan in the car.



When selecting a spot to drill, you need to leave clearance between the socket and the A/C compressor bracket, as well as clearance so you can still get a wrench on the oil pan bolt.



Here's a photo which I think is neat. It clearly shows how much room you are playing with in this area around the oil pan pickup. The pickup is bolted to the pump here, and the pump is bolted into the pan, just like it would be in the car, but the MBSP and block are out of the way so you can clearly see what's going on. When drilling this far forward, there's actually a surprising amount of room - far more than I was expecting there to be.



Still, it's better to err on the side of caution. The pan is only 4mm thick, so 1/4" of flute is all you need on the end of the drillbit to get the job done. The coolest idea I've ever heard is to cut a piece of PVC pipe down and use it as a sleeve over your drill bit. As you drill in, the PVC will butt up between your drill and the pan, stopping the drill from going too far in. This is way more sturdy than the electric tape method that I've used in the past.



Further back on the pan, things get very scary. You really don't want to drill the pan on the car anywhere behind the A/C compressor, even if you had the option to do so.



Pretty basic stuff for most of us, but I figured those images were worth their own thread for ease of searchability.
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Old 08-02-2016, 11:57 PM   #2
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Very cool pics, especially the first one.

I've used the tape method occasionally in a pinch, but this is one area in which a drill collar is a sound investment. They're quite cheap, and especially helpful in situations where you're drilling at an odd angle and perhaps not at your best.

I'll admit that I'd never thought of the PVC idea.
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Old 08-03-2016, 12:09 AM   #3
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I'll admit that I'd never thought of the PVC idea.
Nor had I - I shamelessly swiped it from someone who mentioned it in a thread here several months ago.
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Old 08-03-2016, 12:19 AM   #4
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The only piece of advice I have here is not to try to step up the drill size gradually when doing this. Doing it in the car you kind of have to go in at an angle, and if you go up progressively in size, then the eventual hole winds up higher than you wanted it to be, won't clear the AC bracket, and you'll wind up having to take it off the car.

--Ian
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Old 08-03-2016, 12:28 AM   #5
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I like heater hose for the drill stop. easy to cut and usually handy.
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Old 08-03-2016, 01:01 AM   #6
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Excellent write up, and agreed the pvc idea is very smart
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Old 08-03-2016, 01:02 AM   #7
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I like heater hose for the drill stop. easy to cut and usually handy.
Great idea.
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Old 08-03-2016, 01:14 AM   #8
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Behind the AC compressor is a very scary place to drill. I actually left a mark on my oil pickup tube when I drilled my pan. Had to go change my pants after that one. I would not recommend that spot with the pan on the engine.
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Old 08-03-2016, 10:33 PM   #9
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Is there a more ideal location with no AC?

Higher up?
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Old 08-03-2016, 11:11 PM   #10
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Is there a more ideal location with no AC?

Higher up?
Yep. Without AC, you would want the same spot, just higher up.
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Old 08-04-2016, 09:33 AM   #11
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Andrew, could you provide measurements for the hole center, as taken from a straight edge placed against the front of the pan and the bottom of the pan? I assume the various years' pans are different--was this an NA?
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Old 08-04-2016, 03:15 PM   #12
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Andrew, could you provide measurements for the hole center, as taken from a straight edge placed against the front of the pan and the bottom of the pan? I assume the various years' pans are different--was this an NA?
No That will encourage people to drill into the pan blind instead of taking time to check their own clearances on their own cars. I don't know if there are differences between the AC bracket on a '94 vs an '01, for instance, and I can't assume that everyone will have a low-profile drill like I have. IOW, you need to use a little critical thinking to make sure that you are putting the hole in a good spot for your particular setup (car + available tools).

This was a VVT pan, which is slightly different due to the length of the flange on the MBSP. The 99 pans have a stepped flange that the 94-99 windage tray drops into. The difference is small enough to not matter in this particular instance (although the seals are different for each).
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Old 08-04-2016, 04:09 PM   #13
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Great thread and pics. I'll need to drill my pan soon and that oil pickup tube pic is a nice reminder to not be stupid.
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Old 08-09-2016, 12:57 PM   #14
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Another thing to remember as people thumb through this thread. Be sure to have your tap T-handle close by, want to give clearance for that as well. Removing the AC belt and compressor bolts can give a good bit more room as well.

Awesome thread!
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Old 08-09-2016, 01:32 PM   #15
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Another thing to remember as people thumb through this thread. Be sure to have your tap T-handle close by, want to give clearance for that as well.
Regarding that...

It's typically much easier to employ a 3/8" socket wrench handle plus whatever 12-point socket fits the tap you're using. Requires much less clearance, and it would be rather difficult to turn a tap of the size we're typically using with a conventional T-handle in that space.
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Old 08-09-2016, 02:40 PM   #16
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Regarding that...

It's typically much easier to employ a 3/8" socket wrench handle plus whatever 12-point socket fits the tap you're using. Requires much less clearance, and it would be rather difficult to turn a tap of the size we're typically using with a conventional T-handle in that space.
This. There is no way you're getting a T-handle into the space provided. I use a 3/8" socket wrench and a 16mm 12-point socket for my 3/8" NPT tap.
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Old 08-09-2016, 02:44 PM   #17
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Anyone want to post a picture of the drill they use to drill the pan on a NB with AC? I still have not figured how to get in there.
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Old 08-09-2016, 03:03 PM   #18
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Anyone want to post a picture of the drill they use to drill the pan on a NB with AC? I still have not figured how to get in there.
I've only drilled a few pans, and none on an NB (so not sure if this is applicable), but I find it helpful to detach the steering rack from the chassis and the column, and just let it hang by the tie rods. This opens up some additional space to work in.
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Old 08-09-2016, 03:08 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe Perez View Post
I've only drilled a few pans, and none on an NB (so not sure if this is applicable), but I find it helpful to detach the steering rack from the chassis and the column, and just let it hang by the tie rods. This opens up some additional space to work in.
The drills I've used have mostly been drill-shaped:


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Old 08-09-2016, 03:16 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe Perez View Post
I've only drilled a few pans, and none on an NB (so not sure if this is applicable), but I find it helpful to detach the steering rack from the chassis and the column, and just let it hang by the tie rods. This opens up some additional space to work in.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe Perez View Post
The drills I've used have mostly been drill-shaped:
You got me there.

I have only tried to drill one NB pan so far. All the PS lines and such were in the way as far as I could tell. On the NB you have to pull the AC bracket to get to on of the bolts holding the steering rack on. So I am not sure if it is really feasible or not.
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