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Old 02-06-2009, 09:46 AM
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Best oil pan sealant?

Just recently got my '70 Nova and her 383 moving, and she is p****** oil out of the front lip (by timing cover, where the gasket and oil pan meet) and back (near the rear main seal, can't really tell if it's from the seal itself, or if it's from the gasket). It is a 2-piece rear main, casting code 3970010. During installation, I used a 1-piece oil pan gasket from felpro, with a thick front lip, on my moroso oil pan, and read that using sealant is usually not necessary. I used some anyways in areas where I could see holes through when tightened down. I took her for her first test drive, and had oil coming out the rear (actually, just dripping off of the lip). When it had been run for a while, it would leak out the front, under the timing cover.

Last weekend, I semi-dropped the oil pan to where I could ring both the outside of the oil pan lips (on both the pan and the gasket, front and back) with some permatex #2, as that was what was recommended to me. I sealed her up nice and tight, let it cure for 24 hours, and then took it out for some test driving. She's still pissing oil like crazy, but same symptoms! But only from those two spots. I'm sure I have the right thickness gasket, as I have the thin one, and there is way too much clearance between the timing cover. I'm not sure where to go from here, other than I have to drop the transmission, etc. in order to get the oil pan off and check thoroughly.

My question is, what sealant should I use? I'm taking a wild guess here and saying that permatex #2 isn't right for this application, but who knows. It could be a bad oil pan. Thanks.

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Old 02-06-2009, 09:56 AM
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I'm thinking that the pan must be bent or something, as using that 1 piece gasket with a dab of sealer in the corners seems to be the preferred method........

Fixing it in the car is going to be a real pain.
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Old 02-06-2009, 09:57 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by poncho62
I'm thinking that the pan must be bent or something, as using that 1 piece gasket with a dab of sealer in the corners seems to be the preferred method........

Fixing it in the car is going to be a real pain.
Getting it out is an even bigger pain, as the headers aren't the best fit. I *think* I can get it out after I drop the tranny and the bellhousing, but I haven't been able to move it past the oil pump yet. We'll see. Maybe I didn't let it cure long enough? I couldn't find anything on the label that said the amount of time needed to cure.
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Old 02-06-2009, 09:59 AM
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Probably easier....and better just to pull the engine again....
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Old 02-06-2009, 10:23 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by poncho62
Probably easier....and better just to pull the engine again....
If I have to, I will. The motor mounts aren't the easiest to align up. It took me 6 hours to get the engine bolted up, but that was because of the headers hitting the steering pump. I managed to fit them in after some tweaks (BFH). I'm really trying to avoid having to pull the engine. But if I can't get the pan off with the tranny/bellhousing removed, then I will have to pull the engine.
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Old 02-06-2009, 11:02 AM
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If go to trouble of pulling the engine, you may want to try a different pan.
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Old 02-06-2009, 11:03 AM
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Has anyone else had sealing issues with permatex #2? My intake is glued on with that, and only a slight leak in the front, but that's it. What do you use?
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Old 02-06-2009, 11:59 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mrdreex
Just recently got my '70 Nova and her 383 moving, and she is p****** oil out of the front lip (by timing cover, where the gasket and oil pan meet) and back (near the rear main seal, can't really tell if it's from the seal itself, or if it's from the gasket). It is a 2-piece rear main, casting code 3970010. During installation, I used a 1-piece oil pan gasket from felpro, with a thick front lip, on my moroso oil pan, and read that using sealant is usually not necessary. I used some anyways in areas where I could see holes through when tightened down. I took her for her first test drive, and had oil coming out the rear (actually, just dripping off of the lip). When it had been run for a while, it would leak out the front, under the timing cover.

Last weekend, I semi-dropped the oil pan to where I could ring both the outside of the oil pan lips (on both the pan and the gasket, front and back) with some permatex #2, as that was what was recommended to me. I sealed her up nice and tight, let it cure for 24 hours, and then took it out for some test driving. She's still pissing oil like crazy, but same symptoms! But only from those two spots. I'm sure I have the right thickness gasket, as I have the thin one, and there is way too much clearance between the timing cover. I'm not sure where to go from here, other than I have to drop the transmission, etc. in order to get the oil pan off and check thoroughly.

My question is, what sealant should I use? I'm taking a wild guess here and saying that permatex #2 isn't right for this application, but who knows. It could be a bad oil pan. Thanks.
Hence the reason for the one piece rear seal. Chronic oil leaks from the 2 piece seal is why the EPA got all over GM and GM responded with the one piece seal.

Also, the one piece pan gasket does an excellent job, but once un-fastened it needs to be replaced.

Non hardening Permatex applied in the corners helps and it will help going over the radius's at each end. One needs to be careful that the gasket thickness over the ends of the engine is correct. If necessary these need to be shaved for best fit.

The sheet metal of the pan will dimple under the bolts, whenever found this needs to be hammered out. Fit as large and as thick a washer under the bolts as you can get in there. To help stop this, especially going into the corners though the pan should have reinforcement here, if it does it's good enough in this area, if it doesn't fabricate what's required to spread the bolt loads over more area.

RTV can be used in place of Permatex, but the surfaces need to be pristine clean, brake cleaner after getting them clean will take out embedded oil and solvent. Use as little RTV as possible as you don't want any excess in the pan.

Corners of the manifold are always a problem. The head and the intake don't expand and contract in equal amounts nor directions. No matter what you use here the junction will always ooze the issue is whether it's a lot or a little. Non hardening Permatex works about as good as anything will get, one of the big reasons for it's use is that the surfaces don't need to clean enough to eat off of. Again RTV, not my favorite but lots of guys use it, can be used when the area is super clean, you've got to get this stuff to bond to the metal, otherwise it will leak. As with the pan you don't want squeeze out in the oil so go conservative with the quantity. Try to get the seal by bonding not overwhelming the area with volume.

Bogie
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Old 02-06-2009, 12:07 PM
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I`m not sure if this is your issue or not but it`s worth looking into. Look on the passengers side of the balancer, you will see 2 holes one on top of the other, this is where the original motor mounts went. However, check to see if there is a bolt in the top hole, if there`s not it will leak oil as this threaded hole is drilled all the way to the fuel pump push rod and oil comes out after the oil pressure goes up. If there isn`t a bolt in the hole this is one place oil is coming from. Install a short bolt in the hole so it doesn`t make contact with the fuel pump rod. Have you checked the balancer for a ridge? If the balancer has a ridge where the seal has worn into the cast iron it`ll leak and will require a seal savor to repair. When you installed the balancer did you lube the seal? if not it`ll leak. The last thing that comes to mind is the pan is bent. Usually when a 1 piece seal is used there isn`t any leaking problems.
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Old 02-06-2009, 12:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oldbogie
Hence the reason for the one piece rear seal. Chronic oil leaks from the 2 piece seal is why the EPA got all over GM and GM responded with the one piece seal.

Also, the one piece pan gasket does an excellent job, but once un-fastened it needs to be replaced.

Non hardening Permatex applied in the corners helps and it will help going over the radius's at each end. One needs to be careful that the gasket thickness over the ends of the engine is correct. If necessary these need to be shaved for best fit.

The sheet metal of the pan will dimple under the bolts, whenever found this needs to be hammered out. Fit as large and as thick a washer under the bolts as you can get in there. To help stop this, especially going into the corners though the pan should have reinforcement here, if it does it's good enough in this area, if it doesn't fabricate what's required to spread the bolt loads over more area.

RTV can be used in place of Permatex, but the surfaces need to be pristine clean, brake cleaner after getting them clean will take out embedded oil and solvent. Use as little RTV as possible as you don't want any excess in the pan.

Corners of the manifold are always a problem. The head and the intake don't expand and contract in equal amounts nor directions. No matter what you use here the junction will always ooze the issue is whether it's a lot or a little. Non hardening Permatex works about as good as anything will get, one of the big reasons for it's use is that the surfaces don't need to clean enough to eat off of. Again RTV, not my favorite but lots of guys use it, can be used when the area is super clean, you've got to get this stuff to bond to the metal, otherwise it will leak. As with the pan you don't want squeeze out in the oil so go conservative with the quantity. Try to get the seal by bonding not overwhelming the area with volume.

Bogie

Thanks bogie, I will be looking for dimples in the pan. I have only taken it off/unbolted it once since I originally put it on. I don't use bolts, but rather studs. The nuts have a large diameter head, and I have alot of trouble fitting a wrench around to tighten it without hitting the side of the oil pan. I don't think I can fit any larger of washers underneath the nut that will make any difference. It may be time for a new pan.

As far as a new pan is concerned, what would you recommend? I have been thinking about getting a billet aluminum one that is fabricated - due to the nice and straight/flat rails that will evenly distribute the clamping force. Do you know someone that makes them at an affordable price?

Quote:
Originally Posted by DoubleVision
I`m not sure if this is your issue or not but it`s worth looking into. Look on the passengers side of the balancer, you will see 2 holes one on top of the other, this is where the original motor mounts went. However, check to see if there is a bolt in the top hole, if there`s not it will leak oil as this threaded hole is drilled all the way to the fuel pump push rod and oil comes out after the oil pressure goes up. If there isn`t a bolt in the hole this is one place oil is coming from. Install a short bolt in the hole so it doesn`t make contact with the fuel pump rod. Have you checked the balancer for a ridge? If the balancer has a ridge where the seal has worn into the cast iron it`ll leak and will require a seal savor to repair. When you installed the balancer did you lube the seal? if not it`ll leak. The last thing that comes to mind is the pan is bent. Usually when a 1 piece seal is used there isn`t any leaking problems.
I will look for the holes tonight. However, I think it is worthy to mention that everything in this engine is brand new (except for the block itself, of course). I cannot remember if I lubricated the front seal that goes on the crank snout (balancer seal), but I do know I do not see any oil on the crank/balancer snout. The leak is only coming (as far as the front is concerned) from the bottom portion (the gasket to oil pan mating surface, right smack in the middle) of the pan. I could see it dripping when the engine was running. Funny thing is it doesn't drip here when the motor is idling in my garage, only in the back. After running it up and down the street, it starts to drip in the front.

Thanks for the helpful insight!
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Old 02-06-2009, 09:28 PM
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I just got done looking at it tonight. DoubleVision, I see the two bolt holes, and the bottom one is plugged with a bolt. There was no indication of oil seeping out of either, as it was pretty dry. I also checked all oil pan bolts (studs) and only a couple were semi-loose. I tightened them down, started her up, and it still leaks.

I don't know exactly when this occured last time I drove her, but my voltage suddenly dropped from 14.5 to about 10.5 - 11, indicating no charging occurring. I checked all electrical connections to the alternator, including the voltage sensing wire, and re-connected everything for good measure. I haven't started her back up yet, but if I don't see 14+ volts on my gauge, I think I'm going to cry.
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Old 02-07-2009, 02:47 AM
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The top hole is supposed to have the bolt. I wouldn`t worry with the charging issue of yet, thats a easy fix. What kind if PCV system do you have on it?
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Old 02-07-2009, 08:30 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DoubleVision
The top hole is supposed to have the bolt. I wouldn`t worry with the charging issue of yet, thats a easy fix. What kind if PCV system do you have on it?
No PCV. I have two breathers, one on each valve cover. It's also worthy to note that I don't run a mechanical fuel pump. It's blocked off. I also checked for oil around there, but that seal is nice and clean.
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Old 02-07-2009, 04:27 PM
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It can be blocked off but if the hole is open by the balancer it will still leak.
I would swap it over to a PCV system. It`s possible even with 2 breathers that it`s not venting enough and letting pressure back up to the point oil is forced out by blow by gasses.
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Old 02-07-2009, 04:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DoubleVision
It can be blocked off but if the hole is open by the balancer it will still leak.
I would swap it over to a PCV system. It`s possible even with 2 breathers that it`s not venting enough and letting pressure back up to the point oil is forced out by blow by gasses.
I was wrong earlier. The bolt is on the top, my mistake. I managed to get the pan off today without yanking the engine. The only thing that was preventing the pan from coming off was the mid-plate for the bellhousing/scattershield and the pump/pickup. I managed to the get the pump off, and the pan came right off. I cleaned off all of the oil pan rails and mating surfaces where the gasket goes, and took off the last main bearing cap to look for a rear-main leak. It was just fine. I bought a new one-piece gasket (exact same one I had on before) and stuck some sealant along the edges. It's sitting under the car right now curing. I'm probably going to put the pan back on tomorrow.

The engine is brand spanking new. I've only taken it out to drive twice. There is alot of blowby right now, mainly because the rings haven't completely sealed yet. Could there still be enough pressure to be forcing oil out? I have a 7-quart capacity pan, but I have only put 5 quarts in it. I also have a Melling 55HV (high volume) oil pump. It's probably not needed, but it's what I had. On a cold startup (around 40-50 degrees F) it will idle at around 80-85 PSI oil pressure. It seems a bit high, but after it's warmed up and up to temperature, the oil pressure drops to around 55-60 at idle, and a tad over that when reved higher.

This engine is anything but a stock rebuild. It has a very large cam in it, solid roller, and is basicly a bracket car being run on the street. No power brakes or steering. Thanks for the help DV.
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