Oil Pan change in 97 L36 Bonneville - GM Forum - Buick, Cadillac, Chev, Olds, GMC & Pontiac chat


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Old 03-09-2007, 02:10 PM   #1
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Default Oil Pan change in 97 L36 Bonneville

how hard is it..could i do it with the motor still in the car? If so is there any other recommended parts to change while i'm in there?..thanks..



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Old 03-09-2007, 02:43 PM   #2
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Not to difficult to drop the pan. Getting the gasket out is another story...

Drain the oil.
Remove the oil level sensor on the front side of the pan. Tuck the harness out of the way.
Unbolt the pan.
The gasket will not come off with the pan loose. It'* molded plastic.
Remove the pickup tube. There are 2 10mm bolts.
The gasket will then be loose.

Buy a new gasket - they're kind of pricey because of the plastic splash dampers built in. The gasket is embedded rubber in the plastic.

I had a helluva time finding a new pickup tube gasket. So, I ended up making one out of a scrap thermostat gasket. I can't recall if I used RTV or not, but it'* been fine for ~ 70,000 miles.

Retorque all the pan bolts evenly (I did mine in 3 steps, then around all of them again for uniformity). A Chiltons manual will tell you the correct spec.
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Old 03-09-2007, 02:49 PM   #3
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Great write up Mark..

One correction though, the oil pickup bolts are 8mm
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Old 03-09-2007, 02:56 PM   #4
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I replaced the oil pan gasket on my 1998 LeSabre about three weeks ago. I would assume the 97 Bonneville SE would be the same...

(I went in there to inspect for sludge and do general cleanout, as my oil always looked dark even right after a change, I had just done the LIM gaskets and wanted to get any particles out, and my oil pressure was dropping at times)

Apart from draining the oil of course, you have to:
1) Remove the plastic flywheel cover on the transaxle side of the oil pan (2 bolts, easy)
2) Unhook, loosen and pull part-way out the oil level sensor on the front-of-car side of the oil pan (large adjustable wrench, easy)

Otherwise, I had no parts obstructing pan removal; however...

Whatever hack shop monkey put the last oil pan gasket on used an entire 55 gallon drum of black RTV, fully and thickly coating both sides of the plastic gasket, so it took me about two hours to slowly and carefully cut away at the RTV with a razor blade, gingerly prying the whole time, to break the RTV loose enough to actually drop the pan without denting the heck out of it. It then took me about another hour to scrape away all the RTV on the pan, down the outsides of the pan, pooled a half inch deep inside the pan, all around the engine block mating surfaces, and running up the sides of the engine block.

I hope you don't run into the same kind of RTV problem I did...if the last pan gasket was installed right, dropping and replacing the pan is a 30 minute job. If like mine, possibly a 3-4 hour job. Be prepared.

While you're in there, change the gasket on the oil pickup tube (my FEL-PRO pan gasket kit came with one), and clean the pickup screen.
(In my case, the pickup screen was half blocked with the RTV earlier mentioned...this caused my oil pressure problem. I also had about 1/4 inch layer of sludge that I cleaned out).

I put a new FEL-PRO plastic pan gasket/baffle back on with no RTV at all, and it hasn't leaked a drop in three weeks.
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Old 03-09-2007, 05:20 PM   #5
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awesome...sounds like a winner


Thanks guys.



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Old 03-09-2007, 05:25 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by agrazela
While you're in there, change the gasket on the oil pickup tube (my FEL-PRO pan gasket kit came with one)
Ahh...that'* the difference between my experience and yours - I replaced my gasket with a GM replacement. The GM replacement gasket doesn't come with a new pickup tub gasket. I asked them for the gasket and they told me they don't sell one, and to make it myself (which I did).
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Old 03-09-2007, 09:39 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vital49
GM... told me they don't sell one, and to make it myself .
Nice.
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Old 03-09-2007, 10:40 PM   #8
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Odd..I'm fairly sure when highlander picked up from the dealer, they had it..

Although with the engine out, you don't have to remove the pickup to slide the gasket on. Not one of the engineers better days making you have to pull the pickup to change a gasket.
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Old 03-10-2007, 01:24 AM   #9
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1. Be carefull with the low oil sensor. They're delicate.

2. Don't bother with a new gasket. I re-used mine with over 100K on the car and no leaks. Besides, they're ridiculously expensive.

3. Half-hour off and on, at the max.
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Old 03-10-2007, 02:33 AM   #10
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agrazela,

I'm curious to know if your oil pressure went back up after cleaning the pick-up screen and re-installing the pan?
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