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Old 02-01-2010, 06:41 PM   #1
Slammin96
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1996 SC2
Default Oil Pan Gasket leak

To be blunt about it, I have a terrible oil leak. Through process of elimination I believe it is the oil pan gasket.

I have tried fixing it twice. I have gone through 2 bottles of hi-temp silicone to try and fix this problem.

This is no minor oil leak, and it seems to be coming from the same spot each time.

It appears to leak from the back side of the pan by the tranny, from the corner closest to the firewall.

I recently did the valve cover gasket, no leaks.

I did the inspection cover check for a rear main seal leak, flywheel was completely dry, just dust and dirt after letting the car run for almost 20 minutes.

The leak is absolutely horrendous. Im talking a solid stream of oil, almost a 3rd of a quart in 5 minutes. It literally looks like the car is peeing oil.

The 1st time i did the gasket, i used a healthy bead of hi-temp and didnt overtighten the bolts, just snugged them down. It leaked from the same spot.

2nd time, i used a huge bead of silicone, now it leaks even worse than before.

And yes, i let it fully cure for 24 hrs before i even put the oil in.

The pan is NOT BENT. Set it down on a flat surface (same process as checking the valve cover) no wobble at all.

I will attempt this fix one more time. Please, ill accept any advice/tips you have. If it doesnt work this last time, its getting a for-sale sign.

...
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Old 02-01-2010, 06:48 PM   #2
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Default Re: Oil Pan Gasket leak

Quote:
Originally Posted by Slammin96 View Post
To be blunt about it, I have a terrible oil leak. Through process of elimination I believe it is the oil pan gasket.

I have tried fixing it twice. I have gone through 2 bottles of hi-temp silicone to try and fix this problem..
That's your problem right there. The sealant is creating lumps between the surfaces that allows the adjacent area to leak. You should put a *thin* coat of sealant on the gasket. You don't want any bulk at all from the sealant or it will certainly leak. Just put a small amount on your fingers and rub it on the gasket just enough that it "paints" the gasket the color of the sealant. No more.

-Robert

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Old 02-01-2010, 06:54 PM   #3
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Default Re: Oil Pan Gasket leak

Any traces of oil must be removed on the sealing surfaces or the pan will leak. I use brake clean sprayed on a clean rag to wipe down and check for oil running down when your not looking.

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Old 02-01-2010, 07:04 PM   #4
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Default Re: Oil Pan Gasket leak

I cleaned the surfaces extremely well with brake-kleen before installing.

As far as I know, Saturns do not have an actual oil pan gasket, just RTV

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Old 02-01-2010, 07:50 PM   #5
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Default Re: Oil Pan Gasket leak

Clean the surfaces with acetone. RTV will absolutely not bond to the petroleum film that the latest low VOC brake cleaners leave. Put a very thin smear on the clean block and then keep your hands off of it. Then run the bead on the pan so that it is just above the surface. Be sure to run a ring around each bolt hole. Either do this when its cold or be fast as you have about 3 minutes at 72F to get the RTV on the pan and into contact with the block. Clean out all the bolt holes first as any RTV in the holes can result in a stripped bolt or broken block.

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Old 02-01-2010, 08:22 PM   #6
Tommie
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Default Re: Oil Pan Gasket leak

"RTV will absolutely not bond to the petroleum film that the latest low VOC brake cleaners leave."

This is true? Brake Clean leaves petroleum film as in oily film? I've never had a problem using brake cleaner to remove oil before.

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Old 02-01-2010, 08:25 PM   #7
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Default Re: Oil Pan Gasket leak

If you are sure there is no oil dripping down AFTER you have cleaned it before you put the pan on then you should be fine. If there is still a leak and it may be something else.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Slammin96 View Post
I cleaned the surfaces extremely well with brake-kleen before installing.

As far as I know, Saturns do not have an actual oil pan gasket, just RTV

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Old 02-01-2010, 08:45 PM   #8
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Default Re: Oil Pan Gasket leak

I highly doubt it could possibly be anything else.

Where else would such a high-volume leak be coming from? the valve cover does not leak. the rear main is not leaking.

OldNuc, should i simply put a medium sized bead in the groove of the oil pan and then seal it?

...
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Old 02-01-2010, 09:02 PM   #9
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Default Re: Oil Pan Gasket leak

The bead diameter of the extruded RTV should be 4.0mm. The dirty little secret is RTV bonds to itself just fine and after that it gets iffy. So, if you take your finger and wipe on the thinnest coat you can manage on each surface you are priming the it so to speak and your bonding bead will smash and bond to your primed wipes which should have bonded to the metal. Its not a function of how much RTV you use its a function of getting it to bond to the metal. That is why you clean the surfaces with acetone as it will never bond to oil.

After the pan is of and clean check it for flat and not twisted. the area surrounding the bolt holes tends to get distorted and prevent good contact. If you find this condition punch them back into shape.

The above is not in the book. It was acquired knowledge from waterproofing ECM masts.

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Old 02-01-2010, 09:19 PM   #10
Slammin96
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Default Re: Oil Pan Gasket leak

Would the oil pan gasket leaking cause so much oil to leak from one spot? it literally pees out.

...
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Old 02-01-2010, 09:30 PM   #11
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Default Re: Oil Pan Gasket leak

so is there or is there NOT .. an actual " gasket " for the oil pan ?? or is it ONLY rtv ?? i looked on advance auto's website and i cant find an oil pan gasket. thanks guys, scott

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Old 02-01-2010, 09:35 PM   #12
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1998 SC2
Default Re: Oil Pan Gasket leak

Something does not sound right here. There is an oil gallery that runs along the block behind the starter and there are gallery plugs threaded into it, one is behind the starter. And there is another one in the end of the gallery inside the bell housing. If the one inside the bell housing leaks the oil will not get on the flywheel but will issue forth from the bottom of the bell housing. Have you actually seen this leak or are just looking at the puddle on the ground when the engine is in the car?

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Old 02-01-2010, 09:38 PM   #13
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Default Re: Oil Pan Gasket leak

I've never seen a oil pan seal leak "piss" out quickly. The oil pan used RTV as far as I know.

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Old 02-01-2010, 09:45 PM   #14
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Default Re: Oil Pan Gasket leak

oil pan should leak all the time, not just when its running. if you have a leak with that much pressure behind it it is from an area of the engine with oil pressure. I'd clean the whole motor really really good and put the oil in to really see where its coming from.

...
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Old 02-02-2010, 08:43 AM   #15
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Default Re: Oil Pan Gasket leak

Go to the autoparts store and buy a can of gasket remover.

You spray the stuff on the oil pan gasket area and let it eat the old gasket material off, then scrap it off and clean the oil pan surface to bare clean metal, especially the recessed part (its like a notch around the pan gasket surface). The RTV needs that recess to fill.

Make sure the oil pan surface is flat (not the recess of course). Put the pan on a very flat, hard table and see if any part of the pan has a gap between it and the table. If so, fix it.

Now clean it off with acetone (don't use anything else).

The block surface, use a flat sharp gasket scraper and scrape all the old gasket material off to bare metal. Be carefully not to scratch up the block surgace.

Clean the block surface with acetone.

Put the pan bolts in a can and add something to clean then good.
If you have something like a gun bore cleaner set (get them for about $8 as Walmart) clean the threaded holes for the bolts.

Now you are ready to put it back together.

Use "UltraBlack RTV" and nothing else.

It really sticks good to clean surfaces and it will grab tightly, but still give you some working time for drying. Be prepared to work wuickly though.

Put the bead of RTV in the recessed notch of the oil pan (not on the block though) and also put some around each bolt hole. The RTV around each bolt hole is very important.

Now very carefully stick the pan in place and don't slide it around.

A useful trick is to get two threaded studs the same thread size as the bolts and put one on one end in one hole and the other on the other end in a hole. The studs will have no head on them and need not be tight. They are just for alignment. Push the pan over the twi studs (which will align the pan holes to block holes) and push tightly so the Ultra Black sticks. It will stick like glue and you should be able to tell this. Now put two bolts in to hold it in place and that start putting all the bolts in hand tight. Remove the studs and put those bolts in too.

Now once hand tight, torque the bolts down to specs. I would torque them all about half the torque first and then go back and torque them the rest of the way. If you prefer you can torque in smaller steps. They key is don't torque them all the way down the first time.

I strongly recommend the Ultra Black RTV. The gray dries too fast. The Ultra Blacks really sticks and yet dries fast enough, but not too fast.

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Old 02-05-2010, 09:16 AM   #16
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Default Re: Oil Pan Gasket leak

OldNuc - I cant poke my fat head up under the car far enough to see exactly where its coming from, its coming from the backside of the engine closest to the fire wall, and i can see freshly leaked oil right where the oil pan meets the block, but to be honest im not entirely sure where its coming from

...
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Old 02-05-2010, 10:05 AM   #17
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Default Re: Oil Pan Gasket leak

Try running your hand or a clean paper towel above the oil pan joint that you think the oil is coming from. If you find fresh oil up there, it may not be your oil pan sealing that is the problem.

Or you may be able to get a small mirror on a stick (duct tape, dowel rod and an old makeup compact, or one of those telescoping inspection mirror doodads)

I wouldn't expect to see that much oil coming from the oil sensor or the filter back there, but you never know. It might just be running down to the oil pan

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Old 02-05-2010, 10:18 AM   #18
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Default Re: Oil Pan Gasket leak

I just dont understand how it could be leaking so badly. i mean its almost a solid stream of oil just comin out..

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Old 02-05-2010, 10:43 AM   #19
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Default Re: Oil Pan Gasket leak

Quote:
Originally Posted by Slammin96 View Post
I just dont understand how it could be leaking so badly. i mean its almost a solid stream of oil just comin out..
There is a plug in the oil gallery right behind the starter. There is another one inside the bell housing. As much oil as you are loosing you need to find it. That may require removing the starter to look closely. Mirrors help.

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