Engine - changing an oil pan gasket? | Ford Escort Owners Association (FEOA)

Engine changing an oil pan gasket?

Discussion in '2nd Gen 1991-1996 1.9L SOHC' started by Deej-one, Nov 28, 2017.

  1. Deej-one

    Deej-one FEOA Member

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    How difficult would it be to change one? Took my car to an independent mechanic to get the oil leak diagnosed and they said it was the oil pan gasket. Hard job to do DIY?

    Edit-'94 Tracer 1.9, 73k miles.
  2. FordMan59

    FordMan59 FEOA Member

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    I've changed the pan gasket on my '88 Pony and '94LX. It's not a hard job but is time consuming. As I remember removing some of the splash guards and the catalytic converter were the only things to remove other than the pan bolts. I suggest doing it when you have plenty of time and the car can be down as long as you need it to be. If you're going to do it you want to take your time and do it right. I don't usually get in any hurry when working on my cars and take a break whenever I want. From start to finish was probably about 4 hours.
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  3. denisond3

    denisond3 Moderator Staff Member

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    You will need a new pan gasket, and there are two kinds; the early version and the later one. Both found on 2nd gen Escorts. So be sure to mention the year of your Escort when you get the gasket.
    The Service manual only says to use sealant in four places; where the block meets the oil pan casting and where the rear main seal holder meets the block. I like to add a bead of my favorite Permatex product "Ultra Black" as well. I put it into the groove where the gasket will go, as well as the four places on the block mentioned above. I give it 24 hours to cure after the pan is back on.
    Having the pan off would be a good time to ensure the drain plug is okay, and that it has a new gasket under it.
    I have fixed up eight 2nd gen Escorts. I have replaced the oil pressure switch on about half of them - either because it was beginning to seep, or because I had good access to get the thing unscrewed and a new one screwed in. Another source of an oil leak can be an oil filter that isnt on tight enough, or had a bad rubber gasket. Its hard to tell with leaks, since the air blast from driving blows oil around all over underneath.
    The cat converter does have to be dropped down, and being unbolted entirely just makes it a little easier. When putting the pan back on, the instructions say to snug up the small pan bolts, then to install and snug up the two larger bolts running horizontally into the bell housing. You then torque up the pan bolts, finally tightening the two bolts going into the bell housing.
    I make sure to use lots of antiseize compound when reinstalling the nuts/bolts holding the cat converter and oxygen sensor on.
    I find the cat converter is easier to unbolt f I have remove the radiator fan and shroud first.
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  4. zzyzzx

    zzyzzx FEOA Member

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    Do you have a preferred brand and part number for this. There seems to be a lot of conflicting information about this on the parts sites. What I see on Rock Auto and local auto parts stores doesn't seem to match the manufacturer's websites.
  5. denisond3

    denisond3 Moderator Staff Member

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    I usually take off the old one, to make sure the new one I buy looks the same. What 'manufacturers website' would you be referring to?

    There are different oil pan gaskets. I forget what the years are, but the gasket on a 91 has different corners from the oil pan gasket on a 94 or later oil pan. I found this out when I used a block from a junkyard parts motor, which didnt match the year of the car I was working on. Its not a huge difference, but enough to be a nuisance.
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  6. Joey_Twowagons

    Joey_Twowagons FEOA Member

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    Interesting to hear about the different oil pan gaskets. So the difference is due to the cylinder block, and not the pan?
  7. denisond3

    denisond3 Moderator Staff Member

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    No, the difference is due to the route taken around the rim of the pan by the grove for the gasket; and the difference is only at the four corners. A different curlicue. The blocks are all just flat all the way around, except for the main seal castings of course.
  8. JamesGarfield

    JamesGarfield FEOA Donator

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    Hi Joey,

    Many of us here have done this oil pan gasket job. As they have posted, the job isn't super hard, just takes some time and patience. You can do this in one day... but allocating a weekend for the task is more comfortable (and allows more beer time :) ).

    As has been said you'll need a way to lift the car's front end about 10 inches or more. My personal preference is the steel ramps. You just drive up on 'em, set the brake, and they're safe and stable.

    You will need to drop the exhaust downpipe to get it out of the way. These exhaust bolts are likely to be rusted and stiff-- penetrating oil and patience here are your friends.

    Escort Catalytic Converter.jpg

    Once the downpipe is out of the way, it's just a matter of locating and loosening all the 10mm bolts holding the pan on. If the gasket has been leaking a lot, the pan should come off easily when the bolts are out.

    Clean everything up in the usual manner. I like to use acetone to degrease the mating surfaces, followed by a Very Light buffing with 600-grit sandpaper, just to rough up the mating surfaces a tiny bit and give the sealant a little more to grip on.

    Now comes that issue Denisond was mentioning, about the 2 different kinds of gasket Ford used. The difference is small, but critical:

    Escort New Gasket Misfit 2.jpg

    Once you've determined which gasket you need, installation is not difficult. The usual practice is to cover both sides of the gasket with a fine coat of RTV sealant, and bolt it up. You wanna make sure the sealant is amply applied around the two 'humps' at the front and rear bearing covers-- that's a common leakage point.

    Finally, when you're bolting the pan back in, follow what Denisond has said here-- leave all the vertical pan bolts in just finger tight, until after you put in and tighten those bolts that go into the bell housing. That's because the bell housing bolts fine-set the lateral position of the pan. After this, follow around and tighten the remaining bolts in the usual manner.

    Then replace your exhaust downpipe, and yer good to go.
    Last edited: Jul 23, 2019
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  9. marclar

    marclar Moderator Staff Member

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    i believe one pan is 91-93 and the other is 94-96.....

    or 91-92,.. 93-96
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  10. marclar

    marclar Moderator Staff Member

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    im about 91% sure the pan with the extra diversion in the gasket is 93 and up.
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  11. zzyzzx

    zzyzzx FEOA Member

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    Is this why there are two different oil pan drain bolts?
  12. Joey_Twowagons

    Joey_Twowagons FEOA Member

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    Thanks for the info guys, and the excellent pictures of the differences.

    I checked the Rockauto listings which says that the earlier gasket fits from 1985-93 and the later style from 1993 to 2004 CVH engines.

    The 1981 to 85 is another listing again, consisting of two cork rails plus two rubber end pieces. But maybe it could be upgraded to the later one piece style?

    I did replace my oil pan gasket once due to oil leaks. I had the car up on a hoist and finally found it was leaking at the oil pan, oil filter gasket, and the oil pump gasket!
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  13. marclar

    marclar Moderator Staff Member

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    i think the pickup tube is different depth on the 1st gen. i figured the change was around 93.
  14. marclar

    marclar Moderator Staff Member

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    i believe so. one is smaller diameter coarse threads and other is larger with finer threads.
  15. Joey_Twowagons

    Joey_Twowagons FEOA Member

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    "i believe so. one is smaller diameter coarse threads and other is larger with finer threads."

    What the heck was Mr. Ford thinking making changes like this?

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