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Old 08-25-2009, 07:50 PM   #1
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Default Sealing oil pan

So my engine's out and I'm about to seal the oil pan, once I remove it from the stand and put the rear main seal on. What's everyone's (proven and effective) method for sealing the oil pan? This is NOT something I want to put all together and back in the car only to discover, "huh, I shoulda used a little more/less silicone."

Here's a quote from some instructions that came with my Felpro lower end gasket kit.

1. Attach and align end seals: apply quick drying adhesive sparingly and in several places on the engine casting. Mount seals on surface where adhesive was applied. Allow time for adhesive to set. Test for slippage with light pressure, if seals move, allow more time.

2. Create oil pan gasket by applying a continuous 1/8-3/16 bead of silicone sealer down then center of the oil pan flanges circling each hole.

IMPORTANT: do not apply sealer over the rubber end seals as it may cause seal to slip out of position.

3. When pan is in position on the engine, avoid wiping off the sealer. IMMEDIATELY PROCEED to the next step, as sealer normally sets up in 10-15 minutes. IMPORTANT: on engines which have a windage tray or oil pan reinforcement flanges between the oil pan and engine, apply a continuous 1/8-3/16 bead of silicone sealer to the side rails. IMMEDIATELY PROCEED to the next step, as sealer normally sets up in 10-15 minutes.

4. Reinstall oil pan to engine. Install cap screws, finger tight. Torque cap screws to OEM specs. Over torquing can distort pan and cause leakage.


So to me that sounds like you're supposed to use some light glue(wtf?) to attach the two half circle rubber gaskets to the oil pump and rear main seal bracket so they don't move, but don't use any silicone on top or below of either. Last time I did this, I used silicone above and below both seals. It did leak, however when I took the pan off both seals had somehow contracted visible damage. One pulled in half with a slight tug, one looked like the center had been stabbed with a knife. No idea how either were damaged like this, but I'm thinking a little extra silicone didn't do it. Thanks for the advice.
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Old 08-25-2009, 08:36 PM   #2
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I just used run of the mill blue RTV, coated the the surfaces with a layer thick enough that it pressed a little out when the bolts were tightened. Also used blue one the half circle end seals, and have no leaking yet after about 6-8k miles. Didn't know you weren't supposed to. No real method to my madness, I just do it like it looks like it should be done and cross my fingers. Usually works for me.
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Old 08-25-2009, 08:55 PM   #3
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- With rear main plate installed and oil pump installed, make sure the entire bottom mating surface of the block is clean. Use something strong like brake cleaner or acetone.
- Apply a continuous bead of permatex ultra grey all the way around bottom. Making sure to stay on the inside of all the oil pan bolt holes.
- Apply both rubber gaskets to the main seal plate and oil pump.
- Put a bead on top of each so that each end of the bead connects to the previous bead you laid.
- Next put on the windage tray.
- Apply another bead on the top edge of it on both sides. Again, making sure that each end of the bead makes contact with the original bead you laid down.
- Put on the oil pan.
- Bolt down bolts from the inside out to, I believe, 10FtLbs. Go over it a few times to make sure they are all to the correct tq.

Don't listen to the bs about not putting silicone on the rubber gaskets. If you use ultra grey it basically bonds to it like glue. It will create a nearly permanent seal.

If you make 100% sure that all surfaces are completely clean and dry by using an industrial cleaner I will guarantee that it will never leak from the pan edge. I mean NEVER. Also, it will be hard as hell to remove once dry even if you wanted to take it off.
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Old 08-25-2009, 09:04 PM   #4
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Alright sounds good! Neo, those instructions are great, did you write those or copy them from somewhere? The cleaning is the part I'm afraid of, I'm horrible about doing proper prep for anything. I never study, I never prime anything (the paints peeling off the tank of my beautiful bike ), and obviously this was leaking due to poor prep no doubt, the pan came off fairly easy. I remember when I first refreshed the engine with my dad, we looked for a couple hours for bolts we were missing it was cemented on there so good. And that was 12 years after it was put on there!
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Old 08-25-2009, 09:34 PM   #5
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That is written from experience.

Just take a can of brake cleaner and a paper towel. Spray some on the towel and wipe the surfaces. Keep wiping until no residue comes off on the towel and it is completely dry and oil free to the touch.

Then seal away.
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Old 08-25-2009, 10:51 PM   #6
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Done.

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Little ugly, but I'm confident this will seal. Thanks guys
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Old 08-25-2009, 11:14 PM   #7
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It always ends up ugly like that, don't worry about it.
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Old 08-26-2009, 03:46 PM   #8
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All that extra RTV must add 40 to 50 grams you don't need to haul around! Unless you mount the motor upside down I wouldn't worry about the looks. Of course Neo's gray or generic blue would have fit the colors of the car better!

Missed having you out there Monday. Needed a second turbo Miata beating up on the Porsches, the supercharged R8 and the 400lb guy in an Atom.
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Old 08-28-2009, 04:35 AM   #9
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FYI, you don't need to worry about missing the bolt holes. I went over the tops, just like the factory does (found blobs of factory RTV on the ends of all my oil pan bolts when I disassembled my '99). Just make sure it's a continuous string of sealant and you'll be fine.
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Old 08-28-2009, 02:48 PM   #10
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I used Ford's TA-29 silicone. This is the stuff we use to seal the oil pans on the Powerchickens. It contains an anti-foam agent in the silicone so it won't react with the oil and cause foaming. Plus the stuff is nasty, once you seal a pan with it, you will be lucky to ever get the pan off again, and it will never leak. I used this stuff on my turbo return fitting as well, and both my pan and fitting are dry as a bone.
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Old 08-29-2009, 03:24 PM   #11
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Pan's all sealed, as well as the valve cover now. I cut the front off to make timing belt changes and adjustments easier, and possible without removing the valve cover. In fact if I had cut the front off last time, I wouldn't of had to removed it at all this time. Which pisses me off, cause it was a bitch to come off, meaning I had sealed it really well, it showed no signs of leaking. Then with a new gasket and after a few hours of cutting and cleaning the valve cover and top of head, I was stupid and rushed the installation, running out of orange silicone part way. I switched to an old bottle of the grey rtv and barely finished sealing it, I don't trust it nearly as much as my pan or my last valve cover job, although at least its the "easier" one to redo.

I also paid $90 to have my newly lightened flywheel resurfaced and balanced, they had to grind away at the pressure plate a bit to get it to balance correctly, looks funny but I trust these guys explicitly. Once that's on, I just need to clean my starter and transmission gasket, and I'll be ready to bolt the transmission up put it all back in.

Last few questions though:
I really have spent a lot of time cleaning things like the oil pump and water pump so they don't look like ***, and I'll be able to spot a leak more easily. Next is the starter, would it be a horrible idea to wash this with a little soap and water? It'll easily have a few days at least to dry out, and beyond rust I can't see a huge issue with a little water, but can you guys?

I also have a dilemma about release and pilot bearings. I have the two that came with my SPEC clutch I just removed, they don't have a lot of street miles (20k?) but three years of 2-4 track days a summer on them, and were working great. Then I have the brand new bearings that came with the XTD clutch that I really don't want to use because of past experiences and others warnings, and new NAPA brand bearings, $16.xx for the pilot, $47.xx for the release. If you were on a really tight budget, and $63 was a fairly large amount of money to spend on two bearings, what would you do?
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