John’s Excellent Oil Pan Adventure - FFCars.com : Factory Five Racing Discussion Forum
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post #1 of 15 (permalink) Old 04-11-2019, 08:56 PM Thread Starter
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John’s Excellent Oil Pan Adventure

Almost everyone advises new owners to take their car to an autocross to find out how the car behaves. I decided to heed the recommendation, but was unsure if my stock setup could cope with the demands of an event. A couple of respected builders recommended that I change the stock oil pan to one more suited to racing. So I called Gordon Levy and purchased his Road/Race Pan setup.

Gordon provides a Champ oil pan (https://www.champpans.com/products/p/cp302lt-rr/), associated oil pickup, and dipstick/dipstick tube. The drain plugs and dipstick bungs are 1/2”-20. If you don’t have an oil temperature sensor, you’ll need to purchase a 1/2” NPT plug for the pan’s bung. You’ll also need an oil pan gasket; I chose the Fel-Pro OS 34508 R one-piece gasket based on lots of great reviews here and on the other forum.

PRO TIP #1: With the drain plugs in place, fill the pan with water & check for leaks (you’re gonna want that bung; otherwise you end up with a counter full of water!). On mine, the forward plug was fine, but the rear plug leaked at least a drop of water per minute. I switched out the crush washer for a fiber one, and the leak went away. My buddy Scott skipped this test, and he’s got an oil leak, which in light of my test, he thinks is probably at the drain plug.

PRO TIP #2: [EDIT: original text deleted, 'cuz it was bad information] New tip: With the dipstick in place, fill the pan with enough water to just reach the windage tray. Then add two quarts more. [This two quarts represents the oil that's in the upper engine at operating temperature. I chose 2 quarts based on this: http://garage.grumpysperformance.com...ge-tray-do.64/]. Check this level against your dipstick, and adjust accordingly. Neither Scott nor I did this test initially.

Removing the old pan was a piece of cake. A 3/8” socket for the smaller bolts, a 1/2” socket for the four bolts at the corners, and the pan pretty much drops straight down. I had to tilt the front of my stock pan down first so that the rear of the pan would clear the bump outs on the bell housing block off plate. Once the pan was out of the way, I could see the stock set up:

IMG_5486 by jhsitton, on Flickr

Removing the stock pick up was easy-peasy. Installing the new pickup proved a little more problematic.

I replaced the pickup bolts with Arp studs. The problem is, I tried to torque the studs into the oil pump, and promptly broke the cheap-a$$ pot metal. So now I had to replace the oil pump. The bolts into the block were secured with red loc-tite (the bolts for the pickup weren’t), so it took a bit of heat to get them loose. I went to Napa and bought a new pump (https://www.napaonline.com/en/p/SEP22441118); I did NOT replace the oil pump drive shaft as it was an Arp and had less than 700 miles on it. I re-used the Grade 6 oil pump bolts (with a light-to-moderate dose of red loc-tite) and torqued them to spec (23-38 foot-pounds; I chose 25).

Once the pump was in place I hand-tightened the studs and tried to fit the pickup onto the studs. No joy. The studs were just a hair too close together. So I drilled the pickup’s mounting holes 1/32” larger in diameter, & finally was able to set the new pickup into place. It was then that I noticed the main cap stud had to be moved.

IMG_5502 by jhsitton, on Flickr

A panicked call to a couple of friends revealed I “should” be able to swap the stud with the main cap bolt. I confirmed this with Mike Forte (who answered his cell on a Saturday afternoon…you don’t get customer service like this very often; thanks Mike!). So I broke out my breaker bar, swapped the stud & bolt, and torqued each to 65 foot-pounds. After that I was able to install the pickup (torquing the bolts to the oil pump to 25 foot-pounds and the nut on the main cap stud to 30 foot-pounds; I used a drop of red loc-tite on each).

IMG_5503 by jhsitton, on Flickr

I then dry fit the pan into place. It took some fiddling, but I was able to get the pan into place working around the bump outs on the bell housing block off plate.

PRO TIP #3: You do NOT need to remove the starter. If you do, you’ll figure out there’s no way to get the starter back into place with the oil pan installed. Ask me how I know.

Another test fit or two to verify the space between the bottom of the oil pickup and the oil pan (mine cleared with a little less than 7/16”) and to get my fitting process dialed and I was ready for the real thing.

I smeared a pea-sized drop of Permatex Ultra Black RTV onto the corners of the gasket (both engine side & pan side) and set the gasket into place. I was only able to use three of the Fel-Pro fitting studs due to the bell housing block off plate. For the fourth, I used a long 1/4” bolt with a nut screwed onto it about an inch. I slipped the pan onto the fitting studs & then the metal side supports. Finally I screwed all the bolts into place hand tight and let the RTV cure for an hour per the instructions.

I torqued the bolts to spec (10-12 foot-pounds for the 1/4” bolts, 15 foot pounds for the 3/8”) in three stages, working from the middle of the pan out to the ends & and swapping sides a la the pattern used to torque the intake. Getting to the bolts on the opposite side of the sump was a real pain; you absolutely need a flex drive socket and long extension.

At last the pan was in place.

IMG_5507 by jhsitton, on Flickr

The final step was to bend the dip stick tube to fit around the engine block. I used a piece of 3” PVC pipe to get the tube to curve smoothly. You’ll want the first curve to start right at the fitting to the oil pan, so either use a tube bender or a vise to hold the tube & PVC in place.

This project turned out to be a TON of work, mostly because I’ve never done it before. If you’re thinking about autocross or track days, I urge you to have your engine provider install a race-ready pan, or at least make the swap before the engine is in the car (& preferably before the bell housing is bolted on).


John


MK IV Roadster #8631
Ford 302, Holley Terminator EFI, T5z, 3.55 Rear End, IRS, 17” Halibrand Replicas (9” front, 10.5” rear), Nitto 555 G2’s (275/40ZR17 front, 315/35ZR17 rear), Fast Freddie’s Power Steering, F5 Wilwood Brakes, FFMetal’s Firewall Forward, Forte’s Hydraulic Clutch & Throttle Linkage

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Last edited by phileas_fogg; 04-15-2019 at 11:16 PM.
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post #2 of 15 (permalink) Old 04-11-2019, 09:01 PM Thread Starter
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Road Test

After letting the RTV cure for 24 hours, I filled the pan with oil. No leaks overnight, so today I took the car for a test drive. After returning from an hour-long run…I’ve got a leak at the rear.

I re-torqued the pan bolts, but I’m pretty sure I get to take the pan off and start over. I’m thinking I probably can’t re-use the brand-new Fel-Pro gasket.

And I’m guessing my problem is either not enough RTV in the back corners, or the gasket “hoops” are not straight in the channel. The gasket did seem a little loose; I assumed it was supposed to be that way.

Can anybody confirm?


John

EDIT: At least the oil pump & pickup worked. Pressure started at 65 psi, then dropped to 45-55 when cruising (36 psi at idle when warm).


MK IV Roadster #8631
Ford 302, Holley Terminator EFI, T5z, 3.55 Rear End, IRS, 17” Halibrand Replicas (9” front, 10.5” rear), Nitto 555 G2’s (275/40ZR17 front, 315/35ZR17 rear), Fast Freddie’s Power Steering, F5 Wilwood Brakes, FFMetal’s Firewall Forward, Forte’s Hydraulic Clutch & Throttle Linkage

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Last edited by phileas_fogg; 04-11-2019 at 09:07 PM.
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post #3 of 15 (permalink) Old 04-11-2019, 10:07 PM
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One quick comment. The oil pan literature shows to hold 8 qts INCLUDING filter. I never quite understood that since they have no way of knowing what size filter you are going to run. Anyway I set mine up with 7 qts in the pan. I'm sure Gordan can say for sure. Definitely don't want it overfull.
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post #4 of 15 (permalink) Old 04-11-2019, 11:04 PM
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THROW out the d-mn red loc-tite. You don't use that on internal engine parts. Would've thought that was obvious when you had a hard time getting the old pump bolts out.
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post #5 of 15 (permalink) Old 04-12-2019, 01:28 PM
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Be very careful with this oil pan. It cost me a new bottom end. I would lose oil pressure driving on the street. Let alone autoX.

This is not an 8 quart pan. When we took the engine apart we measured the volume up to the fill. It only hold 6 quarts to the fill line. If you put 8 quarts in you will be well above the windage tray.

I had filled the pan just like anyone would, how we have been taught all along. Check oil level with the engine off. I always ran it a little high. Under spirited braking with not-so-great brakes I would lose pressure down to ~5psi. I consulted Levy and Champ on this. My memory isnt the best but how I remember it Levy says to run it with 7.5 quarts (has to be above the windage tray at that level, creating other problems). And Champ said you need to check the engine with it RUNNING since the engine will hold "much more" oil when the engine is pumping oil. Whether you agree with this or not Im just giving you the info I got so you dont have to fork out $4k for a new lower end like I did. Just bolting this pan in will potentially cause more problems that it does good.

I had a fabricator modify the pan to resist oil flowing forward. And I added an accusump. If you want the pan to be your full solution for oil control I would tip toe into heavy braking and keep on eye on oil pressure.
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post #6 of 15 (permalink) Old 04-12-2019, 02:06 PM
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good explanation

This Pan came on my 347 from Levy, I put 8 quarts in it also...it pumped oil out the dipstick tube. So I went to 7 quarts, well above the full line on the dipstick, but OK now.

It was installed by Levy and leaked badly, I ended up using the same Felpro gasket you did and Black RTV on both sides...only one small leak after that. I checked the pan for flatness when I took it off and it was way off, almost 1/16" out of flat. It's steel and pretty rigid, hard to distort it flat when tightening the screws. Mine also leaked out the dipstick bung in the pan. My rear main seal leaked brand new also, and the water pump, and the valve covers...very disappointing. Water pump flange out of flat, valve covers out of flat also.

I track my car and I have noticed low pressure when braking hard after a long straight away..,now I understand why, thank You!
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post #7 of 15 (permalink) Old 04-12-2019, 11:10 PM
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After reading similar posts regarding oil pressure during an Autocross run I dedicated one run where I watched my oil pressure gauge more than the cones. I have a 7 qt front sump pan. My oil pressure did not fluctuate one bit.

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post #8 of 15 (permalink) Old 04-13-2019, 02:14 AM
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FWIW MOROSO 8QT pan for the FFR Cobra replica with a COYOTE motor. Believe they also have similar for other legacy engines.

This is a rear sump pan with trap doors to hold the oil at the pickup point. Also the low point of the pan at the rear is the drain plug.





Other bungs are for temperature & depth if you are measuring it. Total of 4 bungs one on each side including the drain.


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post #9 of 15 (permalink) Old 04-15-2019, 07:54 PM
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You wont want to hear this but you are going to redo that oil pan gasket. Here's the deal. In addition to the RTV you apply to the corners of the block where the main caps meet the block, you have to run a 1/4" bead down the pan rails but not the ends, completely encircling each bolt hole. Wait 10 to 15 minutes then put the pan up without smearing the RTV everywhere and let it sit overnight to cure. Blue RTV works great for this. Black is overkill and messy. I suggest a couple dry trial fits first to figure out how to wangle the pan around to get it up there without a lot of cussing and mess.
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post #10 of 15 (permalink) Old 04-15-2019, 11:26 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rich grsc View Post
THROW out the d-mn red loc-tite. You don't use that on internal engine parts. Would've thought that was obvious when you had a hard time getting the old pump bolts out.
Hey Rich,

Thanks for the input. Recognize that I'm completely new to engines, so if my engine builder (Forte) put red loc-tite on the oil pump bolts, I have no knowledge or experience to tell me otherwise (likewise, I have no knowledge or experience to do as you suggest). So I just duplicated what was originally put on my engine by a known, experienced builder.

Likewise, when I called Ford Tech Support, they suggested a drop or two of red loc-tite on the main cap stud. I extrapolated on my own to put a drop or two on the oil pump pickup studs (which may be the wrong call, but I figure it's easier to get out the heat gun rather than fix the damage from a nut that's worked it's way loose).

Either way, it's done & I'm not re-doing it unless I have to!


John

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post #11 of 15 (permalink) Old 04-23-2019, 12:18 PM Thread Starter
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Oil Pan Re-do

On Thursday I re-did my oil pan gasket. While the pan was out, I checked the oil level. This is the level with a little less than 6 1/2 quarts of oil:

IMG_5531 by jhsitton, on Flickr

Using Grumpy’s rule of thumb that ~2 quarts of oil is circulating in the engine, the 8 quart capacity recommended by Champ appears spot on. The dip stick, however, is still marked way low.

Back to the installation, this time, I followed Frank Messina’s instructions.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Frank Messina View Post
You wont want to hear this but you are going to redo that oil pan gasket. Here's the deal. In addition to the RTV you apply to the corners of the block where the main caps meet the block, you have to run a 1/4" bead down the pan rails but not the ends, completely encircling each bolt hole. Wait 10 to 15 minutes then put the pan up without smearing the RTV everywhere and let it sit overnight to cure. Blue RTV works great for this. Black is overkill and messy. I suggest a couple dry trial fits first to figure out how to wangle the pan around to get it up there without a lot of cussing and mess.
Frank
I applied the blue RTV as Frank directed to the engine side of the interface, let it set up a bit, and then secured the gasket to the engine by bolting the plates that go under the stock pan into place (hand tight; no torque). After letting the RTV set up for 15 minutes, I applied the blue RTV to the pan, unbolted the plates, and set the pan in place. Even though I’d practiced, there was still plenty of mess and cussing.

Once all the pan bolts were torqued, I let the pan sit for 36 hours and then filled it with oil. On Saturday, I took it for a drive, and…

No leaks! So this upgrade is complete. Thanks Frank!


John

NOTE: If I ever have to replace an oil pan gasket again, I’ll let the engine-side RTV set up for more like 30-60 minutes. At 15 minutes, the gasket still wanted to drop away from the block.

EDIT: While I had the pan out, I also measured the flange for flatness. In agreement with Richard Oben's findings, there was a slight rocker to each side of the pan; the center of each side was a little less than 1/16" lower than the same-side corners. So to my uneducated mind, that adds credence to Frank's recommendation to install the gasket with RTV rather than dry.

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Last edited by phileas_fogg; 04-24-2019 at 06:10 PM.
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post #12 of 15 (permalink) Old 04-23-2019, 08:21 PM
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Great news. Glad you got it sealed.
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Last edited by CraigS; 04-23-2019 at 08:26 PM.
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post #13 of 15 (permalink) Old 04-24-2019, 12:06 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks buddy. Next up: (re-) alignment!

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post #14 of 15 (permalink) Old 04-24-2019, 03:30 PM
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Great news, John. I have a gasket on the way so I'll be on my own adventure shortly. I've got this thread for reference so fingers crossed.
JR

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post #15 of 15 (permalink) Old 04-24-2019, 06:12 PM Thread Starter
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Good luck my friend!
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