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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So in the last month I have had the oil pan off 3 times now. The first was done by my mechanic who cleaned the surfaces with some sort of abrasive disc attached to a drill. He used silicone and I noticed it was leaking a few days later.

I then removed the pan myself 2 more times for a botched and then proper bearing replacement. Both times the thing still leaked. Each time I cleaned both mating surfaces with a rag and brake cleaner and then lightly buffed off anything that remained with a scotchbrite pad. I used Permatex 518 to seal it letting it cure for about 6 hours before adding oil.

The current leak is not massive but it is right over the timing cover so oil drips right onto the downpipe and turns to roiling smoke and stench. I find this inconvenient...

I thought I would loosen up all the bolts just a tad and retorque them to 20 ft lbs. being sure to alternately tighten them as symmetrically as possible. That extra 3lbs stripped out one of them so now I get to take the pan off again and helicoil it. Ugh...

I noticed some online parts vendors carry an oil sump gasket for late 90's 2.0 900s. Did a gasket come stock on some of these cars? I wonder if I can buy one and slap it on a 9-3 pan? I really think my mechanic might have cleaned the mating surfaces a bit too vigorously and now getting a seal with gasket maker may not be possible.

What do you guys think?
 

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Is the permatix 518 the anerobic red sealant? If so I wait 24 hrs to cure. Also it says to use an activator spray on one side. I never did that and never had a problem but maybe you want to try it?
 

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I know the general wisdom around here is the anaerobic permatex, but Napa lists a fel-pro gasket for my 9-3 and I'll probably do both.

But with pan gaskets it is important to use equal torque and move around the pan in a pattern that equally squishes on the gasket (when using a gasket, dunno how important it is with the permatex stuff)

FPG OS30811
 

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I used the 518 stuff without the activator. Some say the activator makes getting off the next time very difficult. I applied about an 1/8" bead to the pan. I went around ALL the metal. That means around the bolt holes, or any area that get's sealed to the block. I think I did the somewhat squiggly line thing too. I did NOT use any abrasives on the pan or block though. I just removed the old junk by hand and used a flat razor on anything that was stubborn. Unlike silicone where you're supposed to let it cure, then retighten, this stuff starts curing in the absence of air. So apply your bead to everything on the pan, carefully line it up without "smearing" it around, then with the other hand put bolts in all corners or do 3 bolts on opposing sides. Tighten just enough so the pan is securely against the block- about 1-2 ft/lbs. I tightened everything else right away to 1-2 as well. Then go back and tighten to spec. I didn't use a torque wrench. I just used my little ratchet and played by feel, going in an alternating pattern with the bolts. So far no leaks which was surprising. Stuff is better than than silicone.

If the mechanic went too aggressive in some spots, it's possible the pan might be off in some areas. It needs to be 100% even mating surface for the stuff to seal properly. Given that you've done it twice now, maybe bite the bullet and buy a used pan and use that instead to rule out any errors on the mechanic's end. Also, just to be sure, double-check the valve cover isn't leaking and dripping down the block giving the false impression it's the pan. I thought a I had a trans leak awhile back but it was the power steering line ;)
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks!

Thanks for all the helpful replies guys! Yes Permatex 518 is anaerobic. It does say it has a 24 hour cure time but almost any thread speaking of it says people have had no problems with much shorter times. I'll definatly go the more careful 24 hour route regardless next time... When I drop the pan the 3rd time...god it's a ****ty filthy job on ramps...

I think both times I did this I got some smearing. Maybe I'll completely remove the subframe next time. Last 2 times I removed everything but just loosened the back. I had a friend pry down the passenger side of the subframe while I inserted the pan.

I think I might just try the gasket AND the sealant next time. I think the gasket might make a better seal if the mating surfaces are not completely perfect since it will have some flex to it... Just a theory.

I am pretty sure the leak is from the pan since I just resealed the valve cover yesterday having found that the PCV breather nipple on the cover was leaking and brittle, which was causing cold idle problems. Replaced the nipple and Idle is good now and the edges on the valve cover are still clean! Just to be sure I will degrease the hell out of everything under the TB and then hose it off, go for a long drive, and check it again. If I can avoid messing with the pan again... I would seriously rather eat a bowl of cat vomit than do this again... Plus I would have to helicoil the hole I stripped on the right side of the pan - which is NOT leaking, but probably will if I did this over.

On a side note, my car received a PCV update in 2004 and I have not put on #6 yet. #6 comes with a new oil trap which looks identical to the one I have on there. If I can not replace the trap and keep using the old one, my life would become better. Does anyone know if the part number ever changed for the oil trap?

Do you think my gasket theory holds water? I'm gonna drive about with the flexipipe part of the downpipe seething with oil for a week or 2 yet and hope it all just burns away and stops sticking my head in the sand before starting on the pan again anyways!
 

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1. Just order the #6 update kit with the two supplemental hoses... check valve if you need it. Don't screw around with it... this motor is troublesome enough in the crank venting arena.

2. I think your mechanic screwed up big time. All you need to do is to scrap with a razor scraper/blade, taking care not to even scratch the surface. There is never an excuse for an abrasive sander.

The 518 is intended to be sqeezed out to a super thin coat that cures in the absense of air. If the parts are not perfect there will be air getting to it, and it will not cure. So, I'd go with the gasket and a thin coat of Permatex #2 or similar on each side to make up for the imperfections. Keep it thin, you don't want excess sealer leaking into the oil.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
1. Just order the #6 update kit with the two supplemental hoses... check valve if you need it. Don't screw around with it... this motor is troublesome enough in the crank venting arena.

Aye, I have it already. I was just trying to skimp on replacing the oil trap if it is the same part. I will replace the trap and also get the new 2 hoses. Mine work but they are a bit stretched at the contact points from age. My check valve is still fine.

2. I think your mechanic screwed up big time. All you need to do is to scrap with a razor scraper/blade, taking care not to even scratch the surface. There is never an excuse for an abrasive sander.

Yeah I am kinda peeved about this one. When he resealed the pan he used gobs silicone RTV which I found instantly clogging the sump again when I removed it. Also the pan leaked from his seal. Not sure if I should ask him to redo it since I have done it twice since. I did not bring it up last I spoke with him since I did not want to come across as a knowitall... Ha

The 518 is intended to be sqeezed out to a super thin coat that cures in the absense of air. If the parts are not perfect there will be air getting to it, and it will not cure. So, I'd go with the gasket and a thin coat of Permatex #2 or similar on each side to make up for the imperfections. Keep it thin, you don't want excess sealer leaking into the oil.
Gonna try this and hope it works!
 
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