Raising the Pan

Posted: May 6, 2013 in Uncategorized

Sunday was another busy day at the Kestenbaum homestead.  At 8AM I was under the car scraping, cleaning and prepping. I am still a little disheartened that I didn’t get the rear main cap removed to check the oil passageway while this whole area was exposed.  If it wasn’t for the time constraints this would have made a lot of sense to do.

The “rope seal” was already in oil and a working table was set up with muffins, coffee, and juice.  As noted last blog, Len Spinelli of the North Jersey Regional A was scheduled to come by to help me raise the oil pan.  Raising the pan is not such a simple task and is definitely not a task you want to take on solo.  Len has raised a couple of pans in his day.  At 9AM he rolled in with his beautiful oil-leak-free-roadster, some guide bolts, permatex blue gasket sealant, some extra bolts, and a whole lot of knowledge.

The first thing we did was figure out how to handle that spring that in most cars is attached to the bottom of the oil PUMP.  Apparently, in some early 1929s the spring sits in a cup in the oil PAN.  These are rare but documented as factory correct.  With a little persuasion the spring clicked into the cup and held fast.  Here is a photo of the spring/pan setup.spring in cup

Second thing we did was address removing the oil pan hole screw.   You remove this screw, put the oil pump into the underside of the engine, and then with a dowel can hold the pump in place and raise the pan. The screw is a special screw that costs $0.50 and that was stripped to the point where Len and I were almost ready to drill it out and call the day’s project un-doable.

Before we gave up, we got as far as using a hack saw blade to try to cut a better channel into the screw.  This was working, but the screw was still stuck.   Thankfully, that neighbor Scott Hanson is the guru of all tools big and small.  At 10:15 when Len and I were still fiddling about in trying to get the screw out, I went across to the Hanson House.  Within 10 minutes Scott was over with a bunch of special tools. It took him all of 30 seconds to look at the task, reaching into a bag of stuff, break out a special tool and BLAMO — the screw was out.  Scott decided to stick around and continue to impress us.

len and scott

The third task is the big one…. Raising the oil pan and putting it all back together.  First a rubbed a bit of oil all over the crank and cam shaft and elsewhere in the chamber.

We then took the oil soaked crack shaft rope packing and put it in place. We added some gasket sealant to the underside of the engine where the oil pan goes.  We carefully placed the gasket on the underside of the car with the sealant holding it gently in place. We put the guide bolts into a few holes under the car (once the pan is in place we will remove these and add the real bolts).  We added a nice bead of gasket sealant to the rim of the oil pan.  Here is where you need multiple people…. We fit the oil pump into the engine from the underside and Scott held the dowel holding it in place.  Len passed me the oil pan (I was under the car).  Len and I guided the pan into place using the guide bolts and without disturbing the gasket.  I then held the pan in place while Len added a few of the real bolts to hold it up which enabled Scott to remove the dowel (as the oil pump is supported by the spring in we put in the pan).  While I was holding the pan from tilting, Scott and Len hand tighten a bunch of the bolts. I was then able to let go of the pan and help with the bolts.   Now, there is also some controversy here.  I used gasket sealant.  Some people don’t use it.  I did.  Some people also only hand tighten the pan, other people use a torque wrench to 30 lbs or 20 lbs.  Other people insist 6 lbs is the max to use.  I hand tightened the bolts using a ratchet set to where it felt tight.

guide bolts and gaskets

We aren’t done yet.  We added the side panels on (they each 2 bolts with the engine pan on either side). We later realized that we had to remove these panels to attach the flywheel housing inspection plate (the watermelon slice piece).  You apparently need this inspection panel off to install the oil pan; however, need to put it back before you install the side panels.  Sequence can be everything.  At this point it was noon and Len had a baseball game.  I owe Len big time for his expertise.

valve chamber cover installedWe still aren’t done.  It was now time to paint some oil in the valve chamber. So you know, if you start dumping oil in the valve chamber, much will get on the ground.  Trust me.  It spills over the side, reaches the side panels and then leaks everywhere.  Aside from this mess, the installation of the valve cover went well as well.  I had to head across the street and find Scott – as I no longer had guide bolts (they left with len) and needed an extra pair of hands.  A little sealant on the block, a little on the gasket, and then two people putting it onto the car and tightening it up.  Again, how tight seems controversial.  I hand tightened with a wrench.

Do I go and now start the car?  NO!  It takes 24 hours for the silicon to set and I have to get back to the city and prepare for a Monday AM meeting.  Next weekend I have to reattach the choke rod, inspect the bolts, tighten the oil plug, add 4.5 to 5 quarts of oil, get the car off of the jack stands, hand turn the crank a few times and wait a while (to get the oil splashed around a little and allow it to trickle about within the engine), and then I can see if all this effort worked or if I am leaking oil out of the seals or left a screwdriver in the valve chamber (I didn’t).  If the oil does still leak, at least it is clean oil and not the gunk we saw in it when we started.   That alone is reason enough to have done all this work.

  1. Pat Martone says:

    Thanks for keeping us informed of your progress with your great documentation skills. Your entries make for interesting and informative reading.
    Since you were not able to gap your mains and rods, the best you can hope for is that your engine runs at least as good as before you began the project. At least you have a cleaner engine now. I am not an expert , but I wonder if it might be a good idea to change the oil quickly, say within a 50 miles, to drain out any junk that you may have dislodged during your clean out process. I assume you will be using detergent motor oil to hold newly created, and future particles, in suspension so they can be removed during oil changes?
    Keep up the good work!

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