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My Technique For M10 Oil Pan Gasket Replacement

Benjamin A.R.

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What you need:

-a strong chain that you can cut to around 50-52 inches in length

-a 4x6 piece of wood (or bigger) cut to around 50+ inches in length

-x4: 2x4 pieces about 1 foot long

-a floor jack which has removable wheels, and doesn't lower when left in place for a while

-x2: grade 8 bolts that will fit through the links and 2 wrenches that fit the head and nut size

-x2: nuts and optionally, x4 washers for bolts

-10mm wrench, 10mm socket, 13mm wrench, 17mm wrench, ratchet, and swivel

-Permatex ultra black (or another suitable sealant for making gaskets)

-Now's a good time for an oil and filter change (I like amsoil 20w-50 with high zinc content.)

-safe place to work 


What you should know first:

   This is a guide for how to change your oil pan gasket on the 2002's standard engine, the m10. It seems like it would be straightforward, but it is not. The engine must be lifted significantly in order for the pan to clear and come out. There have been other guides on this topic, but I wanted to add mine to the mix for your benefit. I always like having multiple guides to gain information from when I'm doing something.  I do not recommend that you use this technique for lifting the engine unless you are able to keep the car level or almost level. (I.E., you don't have to jack up the car to gain access.) If this is your first time working under a car, look up safety guidelines and tips before attempting this project. Make sure you keep track of how things come apart and what goes where. Always use caution and sense. Standard disclaimers apply, I cannot be held responsible for anything you do.




   First, it is imperative that you have a safe place to work on your vehicle for longer than the time you anticipate this, or any, project will take. (Mine took an afternoon to disassemble and reassemble, but yours could take longer. Do it on a weekend so your sealant can cure right before you need your car.) Everyone's situation is different, but the new garage my dad and I built with a mechanic's pit, so I used it to change mine. This guide is written assuming that you have a similar situation. After you have your car in your safe work area, handbrake on, blocks behind the wheels, drain all the oil. Save it if you're reusing it. I'd just do the oil change though.


   Next, stack the four pieces of 2x4 in pairs just forward of the shock tops on the strongest part of the fender as shown. Remove the air cleaner so you don't smash it. Place the 4x6 across them and test it for wobbling. If it wobbles, shim either side until it is rock solid.




   Then, remove the wheels from your floor jack and place it on top of the 4x6 so that the cup of the jack is in a straight line with the front and rear lift points on the engine. The front lift point is underneath the top big radiator hoses as in the picture. (My hoses did not get in the way or get damaged while lifting.) The rear lift point is at the rear of the engine on top near the bell housing as pictured. Also make sure that the horizontal distance from the lift point on either side to the jack is about the same. If it is not adjust the wood to make the distances more equal. This will make sure that the engine doesn't tilt when you lift it off the motor mounts. (Remember, I did this without the transmission in the car. I'm sure it will tilt if you leave the trans in. If you do this with the transmission in, at the very least I recommend unbolting the guibo and trans mount to allow for play. Other guides have been written for while the trans is in, read those first.) 



Front lift point is under these two hoses, it's a big iron eyelet 



Front lift point (The shiny link is an extension of the chain, I factored it in for the correct chain length on this guide) 



Rear lift point, it's also a big iron eyelet


   Next, drape your chain across the jack's cup and place the ends near the lift points. Put the bolts through the end chain link and the lift point. I found it best if they are sandwiched together like this...

-From front of car to rear on both lift points: nut, washer, chain, lift point, washer, bolt head. Now lift the jack several pumps until the chain is nice and taught as pictured, but so you do not tear the rubber in the motor mounts!






   Now, unbolt the motor mounts. The passenger's side one on a LHD car is easy, take the top bolt off with your 13mm wrench and it's ready to be lifted off. The driver's side is a bit trickier, undo the 17mm nut and it should come apart. After the motor mounts are undone, the engine is ready for lifting, but not yet! Leave it on the mounts for now.



Driver's side mount is center frame, located under manifold on carbed cars.



Passenger's side mount is located under exhaust manifold.


   Then, get under the car. You will see the oil pan has little 10mm bolts around the whole lip. Take ALL of these off and don't lose them. There are 21 of them. Count them to make sure you got them all, then carefully pry the oil pan loose. This can take some wiggling and sometimes prying tools. Once the pan is loose, you will notice that it gets hung up by the separator inside the pan. 



Here we see the pan and some of the 10mm bolts around the lip.


   Next, get out from under the car and carefully begin to lift the engine with the jack until there is enough clearance to maneuver the pan out. Do this step with the utmost regard for safety. Jack only 1 or 2 pumps at a time. 


   Now, scrape the mating surfaces until they are spotless, I like to then rough mine up a bit with sandpaper to allow for the sealant to grip better, but this is optional. A good way to tell if they are clean enough is to rub a paper towel along the surface in sections. If the paper towel is dirty after a little rubbing, then the surface requires more cleaning. When you can run a paper towel around the entire surface and it is clean afterwards, you're definitely ready to reassemble. 


   Then, run a clean, even, thick bead of permatex around the rim of the pan. Bring it under the car and carefully bring it into place without messing up the bead. Oil tends to drip down from up above and get on the block mating surface, make sure this is dried up before putting the surfaces together! finger tighten every single one of the 10mm bolts until the ultra black JUST BARELY starts to squeeze out of the gap. This stuff has to sit for about 2-3 hours in mild Colorado late summer weather before it is ready to be torqued. I'm sure dry time will be different for you. Leave the oil drain plug out so that air can get inside the pan.


   So, now is the time to gently and slowly set the engine back on the mounts. Bolt them back up the way they came apart. undo the lift points and take the hardware, chain, wood, and any tools out of the engine bay. Check around for spare parts, curse loudly if you find any...assuming you don't though, come back to check on the state of the sealant every 30 minutes. (Dry time is hugely effected by climate.) When it feels fairly dry to the touch, you can try to torque a bolt to "firm wrist pressure." if the sealant flexes, but does not seep, you are ready to tighten the rest of the pan bolts. I worked in a crisscross pattern, then triple checked to make sure I didn't miss any of them. Give the sealant a full 24 hours to cure before putting the drain plug back in and refilling with your old oil or your new oil. Don't forget the new filter if you're doing a change!


Best of luck,














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  • 1 month later...

I am just about to attempt this and have a couple of questions. Sorry, I am good enough with a wrench to mostly fix things :-)


* So you use only Permatex, no gasket whatsoever? Is this better than using a gasket?

* What happens if you ever have to remove the pan again, will the Permatex allow for that?

* What is the life with the Permatex 'gasket'?

* This one I kind of already know, if your mounts are worn, replace them while you are there, but what if they are not in bad shape (mine aren't worn out but that are probably half past their life time). Replace them anyway?


Thank you for all the details and pictures. This makes things so much easier to understand.


John G.

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Yes, permatex "the right stuff"  only -- here is a link:  http://www.permatex.com/products-2/product-categories/gasketing/gasket-makers/permatex-the-right-stuff-gasket-maker-detail

to be clear, this is not the normal orange or black or blue silicone.  People get way to western with silicone and little bits end up all over the inside of the engine.

If you have to remove the pan, I would remove and reapply the gasket maker.  I can't speak to the life of the permatex gasket maker, but the link may have more info.

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-No gasket for me, I like it that way.

-It comes apart, just don't over tighten. If you do, use a razorblade to make it come apart enough to get a screwdriver in opposite sides of the piece you want to pry off. Use measured pressure to pop it loose. (DON'T jam the screwdriver all the way in, just to the edge of the lip. You might hurt parts) If it's really stuck together, you can carefully use a mallet

- It's really tough stuff, I used it on all my front timing cover stuff over a year agoish and it doesn't leak a drop. Even with the tough conditions my engine experiences.

-I wouldn't bother replacing mounts unless yours are damaged, but that's just me. They're pretty stout if they're in decent shape.  

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