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How to Change the M10 Oil Pan Gasket Without Removing the Engine

Original Author: Sam Schultz

Tools and parts you will need:

  • High-lift jack
  • Medium- to high-lift jack stands
  • 2 wheel chocks
  • 10mm, 13mm socket and box wrench, extension, ratchet, and a swivel makes life easier but is not required.
  • WD-40 or similar
  • razorblade (to scrape old gasket)
  • NEW paper oilpan gasket and ultra grey sealent (Paper gaskets wont seep like the cork ones do). They are available at any independent shop but will have to be orderd. I can get them if you can't.
  • A solid 6x6 timber to go across the shock towers and body molding (make it a longer then you need so it won't slip). You should be able to use a 4x4 too, but this depends on how much you trust the lumber and/or value your life.
  • Some scrap 2x4s about 8" long
  • A piece of chain and 2 strong bolts with nuts and 4 heavy washers
  • A can of brake cleaner


OK pull the car onto some nice, level concrete (safest materal to work on) and chock the rear wheels (and use your e-brake). Drain the oil. While its draining pull the nuts off the engine mounts.

Remove the distributor cap (mark were its suposed to line up) keep the wires attached. This prevents the cap from brakeing on the fire wall when lifting the engine. Connect the chain to the REAR pickup point with one of the long bolts.

Lift the car on the center lift point (front sub frame). set the jack stands and remove the 3 bolts holding the end of the down pipe to the center section of the exaust. If the sealing ring isn't cracked, it can be re-used. Now you can pivit the engine without damaging the exaust. Drop the car back down some so that you can lift the engine higher, more easily.

Take your high-lift jack and put the 2x4 on it. Line it up sidways on the oil pan, i.e., across so that it passes beyond the sides of the oil pan. this prevents damage to the oil pan when you lift on it. CAREFULLY lift the engine with the jack. WATCH that the fan does not damage the radiator. Your rad hoses should have enough flex in them so you dont have to remove them. On one of the 2 cars I have done this on I did pull the fan off as it was going to hit.

Depending on your jack you may have to stop and attach the chain up and over the 6x6, now siting across the shock towers & fenders, and run the chain to the front atachment point (install with 1 bolt the other being on the rear). Watch that you dont lift too far and damage the fire wall or slip off the oil pan. I always stop perodicly and adjust the chain on the 6x6 as a safety measure.

OK now that the engine is lifted and supported by the 6x6 you can jack the car back up and return it to the jack stands. Now it makes sence as to why I had you drop the car due to the angle on the engine doesnt it. At this point stop for a drink (preferably non-alchololic), while you are at it get me one too.

Next, undo all the 10mm oil-pan bolts. You will have to fenagle the pan down around the front subframe. If you have to you can drop the front subframe (17mm bolts) but dont let its weight be supported by the hardy disk (rubber disk on steering box).

Clean up the mating surfaces with the razorblade and wipe down with some brake cleaner on a rag. Clean the oil pan itself with the brake clean to get out any sludge and let dry. Also clean the bolts at this point as they are usualy nasty. This is also a good time to paint the oil pan (outside only!) if you are feeling so inclined.

I personaly dont like to mess with the oil pump or tube removal unless I have to, but if you are feeling ambitious you can take the time to check the oil pump, the torque on your crank nuts (sorry I dont have that spec), and even to check main and rod bearings. If you don't already know what this all means, make sure you research thoroughly before proceeding.

Once the pan is dry, take the ultra gray and put a fine line going aound the pan. then place the paper gasket on top of it (please make sure the holes line up). Next put a thin line of ultra gray on top of the gasket. You do not need to spreed the ultra gray out as when it meets the block this will happen naturaly and will fill in the holes better. The ultra gray keeps the gasket from sliding and fills in any imperfections in the metal.

Get the bolts ready and load one in the wrench. Lift and hold the pan with one hand in place and put the bolts in. Drop the engine in reverse order of how you lifted it, connect everything, change the oil filter and add the 20W50. Now that everyhting is done go for a test drive to the store and buy the beverage you were wanting this whole time. Enjoy an afternoon well spent!

Good luck! If you have any questions or comments about this or any article, please feel free to post them to the Message Board!

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