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Old 11-23-2010, 08:19 PM   #1
scott37300
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Default chevy 3.8 oil pan gasket replacement help

My grandma has an 04 impala 3.8L that has an oil pan gasket leak. The dealer wanted 500 dollars to replace the 40 dollar gasket. I took a look at it and a couple of the bolts on the passanger side are right above the sub frame and can't get to them. I"m thinking you have to lift the engine, hoping you don't have to drop the sub frame-unless that is pretty easy?

Has anyone replaced an oil pan gasket on a 3.8L? How hard was it and what all is involved? Jacking the engine up or have to drop the sub frame or other options?

I ordered a repair manual for it but trying to do a little homework.

Thanks,
Scott
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Old 11-23-2010, 08:50 PM   #2
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Default Re: chevy 3.8 oil pan gasket replacement help

You can do it without removing the sub-frame, but I think it's quicker to remove it or at least lower it. It's not a terribly hard job, just time consuming (book time is 4.6hrs). Don't forget to remove the oil level sensor before removing the pan.
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Old 11-23-2010, 09:07 PM   #3
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Default Re: chevy 3.8 oil pan gasket replacement help

Thanks stick.

I didn't take a good look at how the sub frame comes down but will in the next couple days. Is there anything else that needs to come down to get the sub frame or pan out?

Any specialty tools I need to have, I should have most everything but just want to make sure so I can order before getting started.

Looks like a nice saturday of wrenching one of these weekends.
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Old 11-23-2010, 09:26 PM   #4
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Default Re: chevy 3.8 oil pan gasket replacement help

I lift the engine when I do them. Either way its kinda a pita. probably even more so laying on the ground.

Certain vehicles are a little more difficult than others because of clearance issues, but if I remember right the impala is one of the easier cars.
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Old 11-23-2010, 09:43 PM   #5
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Default Re: chevy 3.8 oil pan gasket replacement help

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Originally Posted by srmofo View Post
I lift the engine when I do them. Either way its kinda a pita. probably even more so laying on the ground.

Certain vehicles are a little more difficult than others because of clearance issues, but if I remember right the impala is one of the easier cars.
When you lift the engine do you undo the motor mounts? Anything else have to get undone? Do you use one of those engine support bars to raise the engine?

Thanks
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Old 11-23-2010, 10:02 PM   #6
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Default Re: chevy 3.8 oil pan gasket replacement help

Yeah the upper mount on pas side, The lower mount has to be unbolted, dog bones if equiped. I usually will go through the extra effort to get the lower completely out to avoid frustration when installing the pan. everything else is just clearance to get the mounts out.

I have the otc stinger engine support. Works great, very versatile, sturdy, not very pretty though looks like a 10 year old welded it up...oh wait
http://www.denlorstools.com/home/dt1..._otc_4324.html
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Old 11-23-2010, 10:24 PM   #7
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Default Re: chevy 3.8 oil pan gasket replacement help

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Originally Posted by scott37300 View Post
When you lift the engine do you undo the motor mounts? Anything else have to get undone? Do you use one of those engine support bars to raise the engine?

Thanks
You will need an engine support to raise the engine. Motor mounts come out (upper dogbones), you may need to remove the exhaust/cat bolts from the rear manifold to get enough lift out of the engine.
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Old 11-23-2010, 10:39 PM   #8
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Default Re: chevy 3.8 oil pan gasket replacement help

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Originally Posted by srmofo View Post
Yeah the upper mount on pas side, The lower mount has to be unbolted, dog bones if equiped. I usually will go through the extra effort to get the lower completely out to avoid frustration when installing the pan. everything else is just clearance to get the mounts out.

I have the otc stinger engine support. Works great, very versatile, sturdy, not very pretty though looks like a 10 year old welded it up...oh wait
http://www.denlorstools.com/home/dt1..._otc_4324.html

Thanks for the advice.

That OTC stinger support looks IDENTICAL to the harbor freight one.

I'll have to take a look at which way looks easier. Might have to get one of those engine supports. I almost bought one this summer when HF had them on sale for 50 bucks plus 20% off, I went and looked at it and it looked pretty nice for what it was.
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Old 11-23-2010, 10:47 PM   #9
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Default Re: chevy 3.8 oil pan gasket replacement help

Ive looked at the Hf one before and the stinger is beefier unless the have updated the HF recently. I know they have been redoing most of their tools. Same design though. Im sure the HF will work for you just as well. I only paid around $100 for my stinger on sale from the local partshouse vendor. He gives the techs great deals on tools and consumables.

this one right
http://www.harborfreight.com/1000-lb...bar-96524.html
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Old 11-23-2010, 10:59 PM   #10
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Default Re: chevy 3.8 oil pan gasket replacement help

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Originally Posted by srmofo View Post
Ive looked at the Hf one before and the stinger is beefier unless the have updated the HF recently. I know they have been redoing most of their tools. Same design though. Im sure the HF will work for you just as well. I only paid around $100 for my stinger on sale from the local partshouse vendor. He gives the techs great deals on tools and consumables.

this one right
http://www.harborfreight.com/1000-lb...bar-96524.html

Yes that is the one, when I looked at it in the store it felt pretty sturdy. I haven't felt any other brands so don't have anything to compare it to. It gets good reviews on the HF site also. I like the way the ones with the 3rd leg looks, looks like it would give it a lot more support. Wish I got it on sale a couple months ago for 40 bucks, had it in my hand but figured I have never needed one before so put it back!
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Old 11-23-2010, 11:03 PM   #11
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Default Re: chevy 3.8 oil pan gasket replacement help

You need to disconnect the steering shaft from the rack if you are going to lower the cradle so you don't damage the shaft, and if you do that, you need to secure the steering wheel so it doesn't rotate and break the SIR coil. Not a job I would want to do on my back in the driveway.
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Old 11-23-2010, 11:08 PM   #12
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Default Re: chevy 3.8 oil pan gasket replacement help

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Originally Posted by Lotek View Post
You need to disconnect the steering shaft from the rack if you are going to lower the cradle so you don't damage the shaft, and if you do that, you need to secure the steering wheel so it doesn't rotate and break the SIR coil. Not a job I would want to do on my back in the driveway.
Or just unbolt the steering rack from the subframe (two bolts) and hang it in place with a bungee cord. Much easier that way.
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Old 11-23-2010, 11:13 PM   #13
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Default Re: chevy 3.8 oil pan gasket replacement help

I charge 8 hours
you have to take the cradle all the way out and remove the horsehoe mount in front of the motor
using a WRENCH on the the tree rear bolts - trans is in the way
after you get the cradle and mount out of the way , it's damn easy , but reemove the oil level sensor
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Old 11-23-2010, 11:15 PM   #14
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Default Re: chevy 3.8 oil pan gasket replacement help

I don't really use the support fixture , just a jack under the trans - it's quicker I found through extensive study
definite on the lift job , in my driveway , dropping cradles just suck

watch the rear main too
I f the rear main and plate leak , just pull the motor
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Old 11-23-2010, 11:44 PM   #15
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Default Re: chevy 3.8 oil pan gasket replacement help

Quote:
Originally Posted by scott37300 View Post
My grandma has an 04 impala 3.8L that has an oil pan gasket leak. The dealer wanted 500 dollars to replace the 40 dollar gasket. I took a look at it and a couple of the bolts on the passanger side are right above the sub frame and can't get to them. I"m thinking you have to lift the engine, hoping you don't have to drop the sub frame-unless that is pretty easy?

Has anyone replaced an oil pan gasket on a 3.8L? How hard was it and what all is involved? Jacking the engine up or have to drop the sub frame or other options?

I ordered a repair manual for it but trying to do a little homework.

Thanks,
Scott
I have replaced a pan gasket on a GM 3800 Series II, but the motor was out of the car at the time so it was a cake walk. Never did it with the motor still in the car.
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Old 11-23-2010, 11:47 PM   #16
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Default Re: chevy 3.8 oil pan gasket replacement help

Thanks for all the good advice guys.

What is the horseshoe mount? Is this the mount on the passenger side right above the sub frame?

Looks like this is going to be a fun job. I'll get a few new tools out of the job and still save grandma a couple hundred dollars!

I think I"m going to get that harbor freight engine support since I"m going to be under the car on my back I think a jack under the tranny would be in my way.
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Old 11-23-2010, 11:49 PM   #17
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Default Re: chevy 3.8 oil pan gasket replacement help

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Originally Posted by TA^Guy View Post
I have replaced a pan gasket on a GM 3800 Series II, but the motor was out of the car at the time so it was a cake walk. Never did it with the motor still in the car.
You took all the fun out of it!
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Old 11-24-2010, 09:37 AM   #18
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Default Re: chevy 3.8 oil pan gasket replacement help

I assume I will need to support the front and middle of the vehicle when taking the sub frame out?
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Old 09-25-2011, 11:32 PM   #19
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Default Re: chevy 3.8 oil pan gasket replacement help

Any updates? Did you replace the oil pan gasket?
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Old 09-26-2011, 09:21 AM   #20
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Default Re: chevy 3.8 oil pan gasket replacement help

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Originally Posted by Stick View Post
Or just unbolt the steering rack from the subframe (two bolts) and hang it in place with a bungee cord. Much easier that way.
This is the way to do it, just be sure it's supported well
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