(Easy) Oil pan removal (M20)

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Re: (Easy) Oil pan removal (M20)

Postby Forced_Firebird » Tue Sep 06, 2011 1:48 am

Thanks for the write-up!

I have done this job so many times. 6hrs from drive-in to exit from the shop using an engine support on an e30. Also have done them on e36, e46, Camaro v6, Camaro v8, Excursion v10, Merc Cougar, f150, Mazda Protege blah blah blah...

Damn wrenching for 18yrs, I'm old :(
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Re: (Easy) Oil pan removal (M20)

Postby vvurdsmyth » Tue Apr 22, 2014 12:03 am

When I got this '86 E30, the oil pan leaked quite badly and realized there must be some trick to getting it out; but to replace the casket, by feel I was able to remove the old, brittle gasket in pieces; I cut the front of new cork gasket on a top to bottom angle so to form a 'lap joint' so the pressure would maintain a seal.. smeared a bit of silicone gasket seal all around the oil pan so it would help keep the gasket in place (yah, all done by feel..); slipped the the new gasket on from back to front and put an extra smear of silicone seal on the lapped cut.. made sure the gasket was perfectly positioned and re-bolted the oil pan. So far no leaks or problems.
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Re: (Easy) Oil pan removal (M20)

Postby Yoshi » Tue Apr 22, 2014 12:14 am

I did that once. Leaked from the rear where it pinched the gasket :(
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Re: (Easy) Oil pan removal (M20)

Postby martinc98 » Mon Mar 23, 2015 7:19 pm

I just picked up an 86 325e for my son and found a pretty substantial oil leak...
Not sure if it's the oil pan or rear main seal... it seems to primarily lead out of the slot weep hole directly below the engine/transmission connection, which had me originally thinking it was RMS.
But, it's possible that it's leaking from the pan and just pooling in there? I haven't gotten the cover off that's at the back of the pan and front of the bell housing yet.. . waiting on torx sockets to get that off.

While I'm waiting, I'm assuming I will replace the pan gasket no matter what...and prepping for that.
Is there a trick to disconnect the wiring connector on the pan?
I assume it's the oil level sensor wiring - it's next to the ground cable on the driver side.
This thing's 30 years old and I don't want to snap one of these brittle connectors...
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Re: (Easy) Oil pan removal (M20)

Postby martinc98 » Mon Mar 23, 2015 7:25 pm

Here are pics of where it's primarily leaking from (seem like pan or RMS?), and the connector I'm afraid I'll break if I just yank...
Any advice?
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Re: (Easy) Oil pan removal (M20)

Postby Yoshi » Tue Mar 24, 2015 11:12 am

Can you get larger pictures? The oil level sensor just unclips from the top. Nothing really special about that. They are pretty hearty.

I can't really tell anything about where the oil is coming from based on these pictures. The general suggestion is to clean off the whole engine and go drive it around. Oil leaks are always from the highest point.

With that said, I don't think it's your oil pan or rear main seal. It hardly ever is in my experience. It's likely the "bitch tube" that goes between the oil pan and the intake manifold (drains from the head). The O rings die on those and it looks like the oil pan is leaking. It's that pipe between cylinders 3/4 that runt he length of the engine block. Pretty hard to miss.

Otherwise, it's likely a valve cover leak or cam seal leak.
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Re: (Easy) Oil pan removal (M20)

Postby martinc98 » Tue Mar 24, 2015 12:00 pm

thanks for the lead... I'll check that tube out... sure would be an easier fix..

This pic probably isn't much better...
I cleaned around, and ran tit... the oil seems to be dropping out of this slot (maybe 1 inch wide and 1/8 across) that is right at the seam where the transmission joins the engine. Between the transmission and that rear cover that's on the back of the pan and covers the flywheel. (I'll remove that as soon as I get the torx sockets...). IT seems lto be an intentional weep hole.
It's definitely does not appear to be running along the housing and just dripping off that point... it's coming out of the slot...

And after a long drive (like 30 plus minutes), it'll leak out maybe a 2" diameter puddle in just 60 seconds or so...
I assume it's just building up in there and takes a while to finally slow down to an occasional drip after an hour or so...

But I suppose it's flowing down and following seams to get there and is just so think that I'm not seeing it...
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Re: (Easy) Oil pan removal (M20)

Postby Yoshi » Tue Mar 24, 2015 1:11 pm

Yea. This spot is just the lowest part of the engine so that's where all the oil collects.

That plate on the engine side can be taken off. It's 4 10mm bolts and two torx sockets from the trans side. Then some stupid engine rubber shitty thing or something. I forget. It's been a while since I had an M20.

Anywho, you can easily take that oil pan cover thingy off to get a better idea where it's all coming from. Can still run the engine around. That thing is just there to keep gunk from getting into the clutch area.
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Re: (Easy) Oil pan removal (M20)

Postby M20_fever » Tue Mar 24, 2015 5:50 pm

Unless someone damaged the RMS while reinstalling the trans at some point in the past they almost never fail. If i had to guess I would say to check the valve cover at the fire wall. If this M20 is new to you then the first order of business should be replacing the timing belt/water pump/tensioner and adjusting the valves which requires removing the valve cover anyway.
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Re: (Easy) Oil pan removal (M20)

Postby martinc98 » Sun Mar 29, 2015 1:44 pm

Looks like I've messed up the oil pump...
I ended up dropping the oil pump out in order to clear the oil pan out.
I'd raised the engine an inch or two... not enough space... then lowered the cross-menber an inch or two and still couldn't get it out.
I was trying to avoid taking the steering rack off, so I removed the oil pump and let it drop into the pan.

I'm guessing I messed up getting the pump drive shaft back in correctly because I'm not getting oil pressure now.
I had a tough time getting the pump back in and the shaft in place correctly with the 2 inch gap I had to work with as I tried to install it and the pan together.

Sound about right?
Is it likely I need to replace the pump? Could I have damaged it?

When I took out the drive shaft, there are two plastic washers on either end... they were brittle from age and broke off.
I didn't replace the shaft at that point... so I'm guessing missing those plastic spacers/washers lead to this problem?
and might that have also damaged the pump itself, or do I just need a new shaft (and a better job of getting it all back together)?
could I have caused any other problems?

I guess this time I'll lower the steering rack more so that I can try and get the pan back on with the pump fully installed first..
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Re: (Easy) Oil pan removal (M20)

Postby M20_fever » Sun Mar 29, 2015 2:54 pm

Yeah you need those plastic bushings. Honestly if your going through the trouble of pulling the pan again I would replace the whole pump assembly. Why risk putting back a 20 year old pump?
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Re: (Easy) Oil pan removal (M20)

Postby Yoshi » Mon Mar 30, 2015 11:44 am

Yea what tony said. How do you know you're not getting oil pressure? I don't think cranking is enough to turn off the oil pressure light.
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Re: (Easy) Oil pan removal (M20)

Postby martinc98 » Mon Mar 30, 2015 12:10 pm

After finishing the oil pan gasket install, I started it up.
Noticed the oil indicator light on, and it didn't go out after revving it a little.
I shut it off, tested the oil pressure sender for continuity, etc to verify it was working.
Then I loosened the oil filter and saw that it didn't fill with oil...

So I figured it wasn't moving oil...

After removing the pan again (this time I moved the steering rack and cross-member further back and was able to remove with Oil Pump on) I found the oil pump screen clogged up, so I think that's the primary problem. But I'll replace that shaft also...

At least I'm getting better at taking the suspension apart...
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Re: (Easy) Oil pan removal (M20)

Postby M20_fever » Mon Mar 30, 2015 12:56 pm

Just to be sure, your talking about the oil light on the dash and not the one on the overhead check panel right?
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Re: (Easy) Oil pan removal (M20)

Postby martinc98 » Mon Mar 30, 2015 1:02 pm

Correct the one on the dash...
I believe the one overhead is oil level, while the one on the dash (right side of the idiot lights below the speedo) is for pressure.?

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