Subframe removal to remove oil pan. - TCCoA Forums
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post #1 of 35 (permalink) Old 02-18-2019, 03:07 PM Thread Starter
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Subframe removal to remove oil pan.

Hey there, I'm going to remove the front subframe on my 94 T-Bird. I need to remove the &%$#% oil pan... yes, I know... ... I'm so excited about this..

What would you do (maintenance wise) before putting it all back together, once I've already gained access to this otherwise inaccessible area?

I know I'll correct a very small leak on the steering rack but what else would be a good idea to look for and correct, or replace before it goes bad and you have to do it alll over?

Thanks.

(Also, any cool tips you may have for dropping the subframe, I want to lower it with as many parts still attached to it as possible, I'm using a quite strong steel "cross bar" and heavy duty chain and hardware to hang the engine from it)

Cheers every one...
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post #2 of 35 (permalink) Old 02-18-2019, 04:22 PM
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First thing that I can think of is the oil filter housing gasket, hear it's royal pain to change. Throw in a new set of motor mounts too.

Joe
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post #3 of 35 (permalink) Old 02-18-2019, 05:54 PM
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Maybe an addco swaybar?

They're a bitch to put in with the engine in; I'd expect this to be easier.

Headers would be easier. SCP has Kooks longtubes, I hear.

If I were dropping the pan, I'd consider new rings.

Red '96 Cougar XR-7 240k mi. '02 4R70W, PST DS : '03 PI engine, 04 maf, 24lb injectors, 2.5" exhaust, '02 4r70w + Jmod, DirtyD0g TC + cooler + 3/8" lines, 255 walbro fp. Alpine system.
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post #4 of 35 (permalink) Old 02-18-2019, 06:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Grog6 View Post
Maybe an addco swaybar?

They're a bitch to put in with the engine in; I'd expect this to be easier.

Headers would be easier. SCP has Kooks longtubes, I hear.

If I were dropping the pan, I'd consider new rings.
You can’t access rings from the bottom
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post #5 of 35 (permalink) Old 02-18-2019, 10:19 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Rodeo Joe View Post
First thing that I can think of is the oil filter housing gasket, hear it's royal pain to change. Throw in a new set of motor mounts too.

Joe
That one is kinda new Rodeo Joe... less than 500 miles on it. That's one of the first things I fixed when I bought the car, small leak there... thanks though... will see about the motor mounts, you're right.
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post #6 of 35 (permalink) Old 02-18-2019, 10:25 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Grog6 View Post
Maybe an addco swaybar?

They're a bitch to put in with the engine in; I'd expect this to be easier.

Headers would be easier. SCP has Kooks longtubes, I hear.

If I were dropping the pan, I'd consider new rings.

Suggestions would be great if I were into upgrading the current stuff, but this is mostly corrective maintenance (and some preventive) to get the car back on the road as it is, appreciate the reply though.

I'm just curious about the ring change, XR7-4.6 says rings can't be changed from the bottom...
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post #7 of 35 (permalink) Old 02-19-2019, 01:49 PM
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If he says they can't be changed, there's a reason.

The crank has to come out, I think is why, but IDK.

Why are you pulling the subframe, may I ask?

Red '96 Cougar XR-7 240k mi. '02 4R70W, PST DS : '03 PI engine, 04 maf, 24lb injectors, 2.5" exhaust, '02 4r70w + Jmod, DirtyD0g TC + cooler + 3/8" lines, 255 walbro fp. Alpine system.
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post #8 of 35 (permalink) Old 02-19-2019, 02:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Grog6 View Post
If he says they can't be changed, there's a reason.

The crank has to come out, I think is why, but IDK.

Why are you pulling the subframe, may I ask?
Sort of difficult to remove the pistons / rods with the crankshaft in the way. I cant imagine re-installing them would be possible either without a way to compress the rings to get them into the cylinder bore. If the piston rings are worn enough, there is probably cylinder wall wear as well .. plus its not going to be possible to gap the rings properly.

Maybe you were thinking of replacing the bearings ? Its not unheard of to drop the pan to replace rod / crankshaft bearings in some cases.


Only advice I have for re-installing the subframe is to use a 3/4" pipe through the access holes in the subframe / unibody frame for proper re-alignment.
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post #9 of 35 (permalink) Old 02-19-2019, 02:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Grog6 View Post
If he says they can't be changed, there's a reason.

The crank has to come out, I think is why, but IDK.

Why are you pulling the subframe, may I ask?
The mains protrude below the cylinders. I’m not sure there’s an engine where this would be possible

-Matt
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post #10 of 35 (permalink) Old 02-19-2019, 05:10 PM
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A ford flathead can be; from what I remember, the oil pan gasket is cheaper than the headgasket.

I've seen this done when I was little (60's); it took about 2 or three cases of beer to do, iirc.

It was done on cinder blocks, in a driveway, with a simple socket set I still have, lol.

And no torque wrench.



Or mains are in the way, so that won't work.

I started shoveling at "while I have the subframe out", lol.

I'd personally pull the engine before the subframe for most stuff.

Hell, I'd pull the engine to replace the subframe, most likely; it's not like the fenders will support the engine with a crossbar, like older cars.

You'd need a lift and a chainhoist, because a cherrypicker's feet would be in the way too much.

Jackstands aren't great where you're removing a bunch of weight, things can shift unexpectedly.


Good luck with your project, tho!

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post #11 of 35 (permalink) Old 02-19-2019, 05:35 PM
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That's probably right, Flathead Fords only used three main bearings with tiny cylinders(2&7 look tight though). Here's a nice comparison of 1932 technology to 1992



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post #12 of 35 (permalink) Old 02-20-2019, 12:45 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Grog6 View Post
If he says they can't be changed, there's a reason.

The crank has to come out, I think is why, but IDK.

Why are you pulling the subframe, may I ask?
Yes... I'm having trouble with oil pressure. It drops to zero and the valve train starts to rattle if I rev the engine past 3500ish... The funny thing is, once I turn it off and let it sit for a couple minutes before I restart it again, oil pressure comes back normal until I rev it up again.

I already went through the most common "suspects", but problem remains.

- Changed oil filter for a good quality Bosch unit.
- Made sure the sender and gauge were OK (did it just for the heck of it, if the problem was electric, the valve train wouldn't rattle two seconds after indicating loss of pressure)
- Went back to thinner oil after stupidly putting thicker oil thinking the high mileage would call for it until I learned here that that's neither needed nor recommended with these engines.
- Disassembled the front cover to check the pump. It was pristine and within tolerance. The original machined surfaces still showed the machining "criss cross" pattern on wear surfaces.

A friend of mine and I think the pick up tube "mouth" is picking up big chunks of carbon deposits from the bottom of the pan and temporarily clogging the screen and starving the pump from oil.

This would be consistent with the symptoms:

a) Oil pressure drops to zero when engine is revved past a certain critical point and a chunk (or several chunks) of carbon deposits clog the pick up screen due to suction. I've also heard of plastic pieces from chain tensioners, but mine were not broken or dented when I removed the front cover.

b) When I turn the engine off, I suppose the backflow of oil and the absence of suction lets the deposits fall to the botom of the pan again, and cycle repeats

Another importat clue is the engine walls were full of hard, insoluble (insoluble in the engine oil alone, I mean) carbon deposits when I removed the valve covers and front cover. Previous owner must've used those "magical" additives to seal leaks for years (only thing car really needed to cure the leak was a new oil filter adapter/flange gasket) So I strongly suspect the pan is full of that shit in the bottom.

Cheers.
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Last edited by Turboedmav; 02-20-2019 at 12:52 AM.
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post #13 of 35 (permalink) Old 02-20-2019, 12:53 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by dDUBb View Post
Only advice I have for re-installing the subframe is to use a 3/4" pipe through the access holes in the subframe / unibody frame for proper re-alignment.
Thanks... That's a good one
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post #14 of 35 (permalink) Old 02-20-2019, 01:29 AM Thread Starter
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Update:

Lowering the subframe was WAY easier than I anticipated. Here's what I did.

- Loosened front wheel nuts.
- Disconnected battery.
- Raised the front of the car and put on jack stands, removed front wheels and put them both under car for additional safety.
- Removed the three nuts securing the upper ends of shocks
- Removed UCA's from spindles
- Disconnected brake hoses
- Disconnected rag joint from steering rack
- Removed screws holding steering hoses to subframe, three of them, in the front.
- Placed the engine support cross bar and ran chains around the exhaust manifolds, adjusted nuts as needed to eliminate slack.
- Removed motor mount bolts
- Raised engine (by the oil pan) about one inch with jack and wooden block, adjusted the nuts on the cross bar to eliminate slack again.
- Made sure nothing was being pulled or damaged by the raised engine, then raised it another inch and adjusted cross bar again.
- Put the jack under subframe and load it very slightly
- Proceed to remove subframe bolts. 8 of them.

Here's where a tip from a fellow member (or maybe someone from Sccoa, I don't remember, sorry) came in REAL handy: Having four longer bolts with same thread as the subframe bolts to hang the subframe from them, instead of lowering the whole thing all the way down and then fighting it and dragging it out of the way and then putting it on the jack and realigning it... I figure that's a pita!!!.

This simple "long bolts" trick will make your life a lot easier if you're only removing the pan temporarily like I am.

As you remove one of the subframe bolts, then thread in a "long bolt" about an inch or so, just enough to make sure the whole thread in the nut has been engaged. Repeat in all four corners. Then remove the other four remaining bolts. If your jack was correctly positioned and the subframe is slightly loaded, the subframe SHOULD NOT move at all, even if you removed all eight bolts.

Once the four longer bolts are in and all 8 original bolts are out, start lowering the subframe litle by little as you check that the steering hoses are not being pulled along with the subframe or that nothing else is being damaged.

Don't worry about the subframe wobbling or falling sideways, that's the beauty of using the four longer bolts, they will let you lower the whole heavy thing without losing control and keeping it centered for repositioning it later, and it's WAY safer this way.

Drained the pan and that's all I did today, it was dark already.

I'll post another update tomorrow.
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Last edited by Turboedmav; 02-23-2019 at 12:26 PM.
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post #15 of 35 (permalink) Old 02-20-2019, 09:01 AM
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From the issues you're describing, have you considered rebuilding or replacing the short block? A gasket is not going to fix the oil starvation.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Turboedmav View Post
- Changed oil filter for a good quality Bosch unit.
The words "quality" and "Bosch" don't belong in the same sentence, unless you add "low" in there. Put a Motorcraft 820-S in there, they are $4 at Walmart.

Al

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post #16 of 35 (permalink) Old 02-20-2019, 10:45 AM
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From the issues you're describing, have you considered rebuilding or replacing the short block? A gasket is not going to fix the oil starvation.
OP stated a couple posts up that the PO repeatedly used that "mystery oil" stuffs to seal leaks and suspects a large deposit of the coagulated and / or carbon deposits stuff at the bottom of the pan causing the oil pickup tube to clog up with junk under higher RPM. I would tend to agree with this and am curious if this is indeed the case.

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post #17 of 35 (permalink) Old 02-22-2019, 02:11 PM Thread Starter
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Well, our suspicions were spot-on.

I don't know what kind of idiot "fixed" the car in the past but the bottom of the pan was full of what I initially thought was hard carbon deposits and the pick up tube screen was almost fully clogged.

I washed the pan (with plug still in) with a 50/50 mix of gasoline and paint thinner. I scrubbed and scraped the heck out of it, both visible and hidden surfaces and corners, I must've spent a good 30 minutes scrubbing and making sure none of that gunk remained in the lowest and hidden surfaces of the pan, especially the walls of the area where the pick up tube goes in.

The stuff I initially thought was carbon deposits, turned out to be sand-like dirt, but I mean the kind of dirt where plants grow!! like soil!!

I isolated the contaminants by running the gasoline/thinner wash mix through a disposable paint filter cause I wanted to study the stuff closely, whatever came out, and, luckily, I found NO traces of metal shavings at all, not even the very small flaky, shiny stuff. It was mainly dirt and small silicone and gasket pieces. No hard plastic from chain tensioners.

I'm saying it's "dirt" because after the stuff dried on a shop towel, it crumbled like sand and looked or feeled nothing like the tarry or thick hidrocarbon stuff I was expecting, I mean it wasn't gunky or sticky. No, this stuff was almost like the brown sand you could pick up from the roadside. The pan gasket was leaking a bit but before removal but it was a minute leak, there where no spots so big where sand or debris this coarse could enter the engine. My best guess is the idiot who once took the pan off for whatever reason or removed the valve covers was a fu...ing PIG and must've placed the pan or covers lying somewhere where they picked up this dirt and he didn't bother cleaning (or at least wiping) the surface before replacing.

Bolting the subframe back onto the car worked like a charm with the longer bolts as I explained above. I DEFINITELY URGE YOU to do it this way if you have to remove the pan. It made the daunting task incredibly easier. I didn't have to fight the subframe and suspension parts attached to it (as it would've been the case if I had to put it all back on the jack. Keeping the whole thing balanced would've been a nightmare because I was worjking alone and I only have a regular jack, not a tranny one. I just raised the frame with the jack and bolted it back on. It took just a couple of hammer soft blows in one corner to align the whole thing 1 or 2mm and it was ready for the bolts.

I put some fresh oil and new filter and started the engine, no oil pressure problems. Yay.

I will drain it again in a week or two and take a close look for more stuff, If it comes out dirt-free, I will put it back in. Seems like I will have to change this particular batch of oil in about 1000 miles, even if it comes out relatively clean after that.

I'm attaching some pictures for your dismay...

Pic 1 Shows the long bolts I used circled in red, original subframe bolt in green. The ones I didn't circle turned out a different thread than I needed, but I hadn't noticed that when I took the picture. I used two more bolts 2 inches longer than the ones in red.
Pic 2 Clogged screen
Pic 3 Initiall cleaning of screen, left it soaking in paint thinner overnight and flushed it the next morning. It looked even cleaner before the install.
Pic 4 Work clearance gained with longer bolts, shows the subframe hanging from them.
Pic 5 Stuff on paper sheet is what came off of the screen, dirt on the blue shop towel is what came out of pan.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg IMG_20190219_215421.jpg (293.6 KB, 5 views)
File Type: jpg IMG_20190220_140256.jpg (380.5 KB, 7 views)
File Type: jpg IMG_20190220_143658.jpg (385.2 KB, 5 views)
File Type: jpg IMG_20190220_130711.jpg (355.2 KB, 5 views)
File Type: jpg IMG_20190222_145436.jpg (432.3 KB, 6 views)
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Last edited by Turboedmav; 02-22-2019 at 09:23 PM.
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post #18 of 35 (permalink) Old 02-22-2019, 06:13 PM
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Dude! That is incredible what you found there! Do you suspect any damage to the engine with such large debris contaminants in your engine?
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post #19 of 35 (permalink) Old 02-22-2019, 09:09 PM Thread Starter
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Dude! That is incredible what you found there! Do you suspect any damage to the engine with such large debris contaminants in your engine?
Nothing I could notice, engine runs smoothly, no misfires, no smoke, no rattles or strange noises, no issues, spark plugs come out fine, no CE light, no codes, starts right away, idles fine and MOST IMPORTANTLY, I found no metal shavings at all in the gunk.

What I might have to do in the near future is head gaskets as piston # 4 sometimes misfires because there is a small coolant leak that gets the sparkplug well filled enough so that the spark is produced outside the cylinder. Another major surgery awaits, but the misfire happens only two or three times a year, and simply blowing compressed air in the sparkplug well cures the problem for months, so it's nothing major, I guess.

I'm hoping it will continue to run like it is now for a while more.
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post #20 of 35 (permalink) Old 02-22-2019, 09:27 PM
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The headgasket won’t fill a spark plug hole with coolant, it’s likely the intake gasket or possibly even a cracked manifold heater outlet

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post #21 of 35 (permalink) Old 02-23-2019, 10:18 AM
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Congrats on finding the problem! I agree on checking the intake manifold gaskets, I had to change them on my 95. It is a good time to also clean the EGR valve/pipe.

Al

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post #22 of 35 (permalink) Old 02-23-2019, 11:58 AM Thread Starter
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The headgasket won’t fill a spark plug hole with coolant, it’s likely the intake gasket or possibly even a cracked manifold heater outlet
Yes, you're right... I meant a gasket "somewhere" in that area

My manifold is aluminium so it's probably just the gasket.

Thanks.
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post #23 of 35 (permalink) Old 02-23-2019, 12:00 PM Thread Starter
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Congrats on finding the problem! I agree on checking the intake manifold gaskets, I had to change them on my 95. It is a good time to also clean the EGR valve/pipe.

Al
Thanks man. That I'll do.
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post #24 of 35 (permalink) Old 02-23-2019, 05:46 PM
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What's the size and thread pitch of those bolts?
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post #25 of 35 (permalink) Old 02-23-2019, 06:51 PM
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post #26 of 35 (permalink) Old 02-23-2019, 10:13 PM Thread Starter
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What's the size and thread pitch of those bolts?
I have no idea, sorry, but you can take one off, the subframe is held in place by 8 of them, so nothing will fall off if you only take one of them, use it as a sample in the hardware store I'd suggest 8' long ones... mine were about 5' or 4.5'
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post #27 of 35 (permalink) Old 02-24-2019, 05:27 AM
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I'd suggest 8' long ones... mine were about 5' or 4.5'
You mean 8" don't you? An 8 foot bolt is pretty long! Sorry, I had to do it!

Nice job!

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It's not a 97 Sport, it just looks like one!

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post #28 of 35 (permalink) Old 02-24-2019, 07:25 PM Thread Starter
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You mean 8" don't you? An 8 foot bolt is pretty long! Sorry, I had to do it!

Nice job!

Joe
Yes!... That's what I meant... I go by cms in Mexico, not inches... I've always had a hard time remembering whether it's a single or a double "quote" (or whataver that mark is called)
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post #29 of 35 (permalink) Old 02-24-2019, 08:10 PM
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Originally Posted by Turboedmav View Post
Yes!... That's what I meant... I go by cms in Mexico, not inches... I've always had a hard time remembering whether it's a single or a double "quote" (or whataver that mark is called)
We don't use the metric system here, don't change things because they are easier to understand. Even if the bolts are metric.

Its called the Prime symbol for Feet ' .. or double prime " for Inches, but yeah .. quotation marks.
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post #30 of 35 (permalink) Old 02-26-2019, 10:11 AM
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ˇNosotros en EE.UU. somos los unicos que no usan la sistema metrica, y es una cosa fregada!
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