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Oil Pan Gasket Leak? Or?! Mysterious, stumped

10239 Views 12 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  145566
I've been trying to diagnose my 2000 GT Vert leak for quite awhile.

I replaced the oil filter gasket and that fixed the huge leak in the front,
I have a very small power steering leak, but so far it has stopped leaking at the reservoir after I replaced the oil filter gasket


This leak goes all over the steering rack and drips somewhere underneath the passenger side of the engine, the K member and steering rack is just coated in gunk.

I went underneath my car and from the rear of the oil pan just above the kmember I spotted oil droplets on the bolts themselves, indicated this might be leaking from the oil pan? The front and sides of the oil pan gasket (towards the front of the car) have no oil droplets on them. I figured maybe I just need to tighten the rear oil pan bolts down a little more so I gave them about a half a turn more torque

I replaced my clutch last month and the rear main seal was as dry as the sahara, no leaks



I just replaced my oil with 0w20 synth and noticed the oil puddles have gotten way bigger than before, but the weird thing is that it only leaks after it is warmed up, like when i go for a 20 minute drive and park there will be a oil puddle, it's not like a constant drip thing

I know there is quite a lot of work involved in replacing the oil pan gasket and was wondering if any stop leak products could help slow it down, or switching to non synthetic or synthetic blend, or a higher weight of oil, putting RTV on the edges of what I can reach on the oil pan

or should I just wait it out until I get get long tubes and or a tubular k member to give me reason to drop the whole front end off just to get that oil pan gasket?

Correct me if i'm wrong, but in order to reach the oil pan gasket i would need to drop the steering rack, disconnect steering shaft, drop the springs struts rotors brakes etc stuff like that and unbolt the Kmember brace underneath the pan to be able to remove the oil pan?

Thank you all for your suggestions, i can't believe there's so much work just to replace a 30 dollar part :(
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First off... if you want your motor to fail catastrophically you are doing a great job at it.. 0w-20 is no where CLOSE to being safe for that motor. Imho 5w-20 is the minimum weight i would ever recommend if you want your motor to crest 150k.. i would start with changing the oil out to a 10-30 or mobil 1 15w-50(walmart has it for like $26 here paired with an fl800s filter). I would also buy oil dye and clean off all residue oil and drive it and see if any oil dye shows. That is the only way to correctly pinpoint leaks. I would never use leak stop because it cures in the presence of air... air is inside your oil gallys and bearing caps when the engine is off.. it will close up those holes and starve your motor. Also rtv around the perimeter will not properly fix the leak.. its only a bandaid. Good luck and keep us posted.
WHOOPS, my bad I mean 5w20 synthetic w/ motorcraft fl820s as usual; I also replaced my mom's CRV oil at the same time which called for 0w20, I got mixed up.

That's a good idea about the oil dye, I haven't thought about that. I cleaned up the bottom as much gunk as I could with some degreaser and some rags, I really want to spray it down with the house or a pressure washer but i'm a bit scared if it will be bad for the suspension parts; don't wanna rust anything out; but i need to go underneath again to see if i can visually spot the oil leak.

I'm pretty bummed the leak seems a bit worse because I just changed out the oil; before this it would leak about 1 qt an oil change so by the time It was time to change oil i'd still be at 4qts or near the bottom recommended level of the dipstick;

But thank you for suggesting the oil dye that would really help pinpoint before i try and mickey mouse bandaid fix anything; i did put some lucas oil stop leak before about a year ago and i did it before i changed the oil last week to see if it would stop any leaking; it only slowed down the leak but never stopped it, i'll get thicker oil instead of trying those stop leaks next time i always felt bad putting it in.

I bought this stang at 150k and now it's 175k in one year of ownership (lived out in la for a couple years, lots of driving) and I pray no more issues come up i've changed out most of the suspension and brakes, clutch, a idler pulleys, fixed the a/c, SCT tuner, TB/Plenum, O/R pipe, replaced the convertible top ETC all myself and pretty much i brought it back to presentable and good running condition only to have the oil leak a rate i'm not comfortable at. I also need to change out the heater core one of these days it gets coolant into windshield so i just looped it , but man i'm freezing my ass off i always tell myself i'll wear 4 sweaters but sometimes it's not enough during the night.

I'll keep this post updated to see if i can find out where and so I can start saving for some long tubes and a tubular kmember and new steering rack if it does end up being the oil pan gasket; so much work for such a cheap part AGGHH

thank you for your response!



First off... if you want your motor to fail catastrophically you are doing a great job at it.. 0w-20 is no where CLOSE to being safe for that motor. Imho 5w-20 is the minimum weight i would ever recommend if you want your motor to crest 150k.. i would start with changing the oil out to a 10-30 or mobil 1 15w-50(walmart has it for like $26 here paired with an fl800s filter). I would also buy oil dye and clean off all residue oil and drive it and see if any oil dye shows. That is the only way to correctly pinpoint leaks. I would never use leak stop because it cures in the presence of air... air is inside your oil gallys and bearing caps when the engine is off.. it will close up those holes and starve your motor. Also rtv around the perimeter will not properly fix the leak.. its only a bandaid. Good luck and keep us posted.
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I would also note, 4.6 2vs hold more than 5 quarts. Their recommended oil amount is around 6qts but in a stock pan 9qts can be held. If you leak 1 quart an oil change, prior to new oil, and you have 4qts left then i believe there is some oil still missing. Good luck.

As for the heater core, pulling the dash is not that hard on these cars aslong as you have someone to help flip the dash.
As mentioned above, get everything cleaned up first. With everything covered in gunk and oil it's almost impossible to make any sort of determination on the source of a leak. I wouldn't bother with shop towels and Simple Green, you'll be doing that for days. Go get 3 or 4 or 5 cans (it's easier to return an unused can than it is to be in the middle of the job and need another can) of Gunk engine degreaser, put the front of the car up on ramps or jackstands and spray the s*** out of it, let it sit for 15 minutes and spray off with water. Then go back to regular driving for a day or so and when you take a second look it should be easier to tell where it's coming from.
I wouldn;t run anything heavier than 5w30, even with your mileage. 175k is not that much on these engines, believe or not. Run 6qts-7qts of it. Run whatever type of oil you have been running just 5w30. Motorcraft filter as well.

I would suggest thoroughly cleaning everything underneath...K-member, steering rack, block, pan, EVERYTHING. Get it spotless...drive it for a few days and you should be able to tell where the oil is coming from. My guess is it's the pan gasket from what you describe but no way of really knowing. Valve covers could be leaking as well...

6stang, heater core Removal and Re-installation on the cars suck! Period...it's easily a full days job for someone who has never done it before (which I suspect the OP hasn't done and will probably be doing it himself). This is well known...
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Hey everyone, I managed to do the UV dye test and here are my results attached.

Don't mind the non UV picture all that is not oil it's a bunch of degreaser i've soaked everything but this is how horrific the underneath looks Vehicle Auto part







it's hard to see but there is a hairline crack/ visible with die wedged between the oil pan and the steering rack. I'm assuming the crack is deeper and it leaks from there and underneath the oil man and gets all over the kmember brace thing
Blue Light Electric blue Violet Cobalt blue




here is a crappy drawing trying to explain what i see since it's hard to see in the pictures
Text Green Line Diagram Font





Also the rear oil pan bolts that i gave extra torque have developed oil on them again, but all around the gasket area between the engine block and the pan had no visible signs of UV dye, so i'm assuming I have a crack

I checked all the valve covers and the top side of the engine i could not find anything


I did notice on the driver's side header, there is one bolt with liquid around it? so i might have a very small exhaust leak on the header? will this affect anything? I need to get in there and tighten it a bit


I couldnt' take a picture but, on the clutch cable line going into the transmission/clutch fork housing, I had oil with UV detector on it; I tried looking around everywhere in that area for any more leaks but i couldn't find anything and was stumped, i'm wondering if driving the wind would splatter oil onto that clutch cable line


Rear main seal is good, i inspected the flywheel hole and it's dry up in there


I also jbwelded what i could of the hairline crack but it still leaked, I need to go underneath when i have time to give it another look around. I"m assuming the crack is somewhere on the oil pan itself wedged between the steering rack.

I remember running something over on the way to school a few months ago that I couldn't dodge; it looked like a tool or something I was hoping my lowered car + my after market lip would push it off to the side, but it went underneath and heard a nasty hit. I'm wondering if this was what cracked the oil pan; but that day i checked multiple times and the oil leak was still the same amount from what i had previously.




I plan for a temporary bandaid of jacking up the motor just a bit to separate the steering rack from the oil pan to see if i could JBweld anything more ; but i've been searching different forums that I would need a engine lift?

someone mentioned jacking it up from the crank pulley
or maybe the edge of the oil pan itself with some 2x4
would I have to disconnect the driveshaft and loosen the transmission mounting bracket , loosen the engine mounts just to jack the engine up? or is it safe to jack it up about an inch or 2 inches from the oil pan or crank pulley without disconnecting anything (or maybe just loosening the motor mounts)


Thank you all for your help if you have any suggestions feel free to leave a comment;
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Should I keep with synthetic or switch over to motorcraft synth blend or just plain ol conventional oil?

I've been running 5w20 full syn walmart brand for 14 bucks and the motorcraft fl820s since i've owned the car. I've ran 5w30 synth one oil change because I bought the wrong one and didn't notice; i think in the owners manual it said 5w20

Also i've read that the Windsor oil pan (i own a 00 vert) has about a 5/6 quart capacity ? I know the romeo pans have a larger capacity I've always only filled 4-4.5 quarts and I would be in between or over the oil dipstick reading, whenver i drain the oil i get around 4-4.5quarts in the oil change pan


this is my first mustang (my first and previous 03 coupe gt was totaled in an accident 1 month after i bought it so i couldn't do anything to it, not even an oil change lol SANTA ANA DRIVERS)

but yeah, i'm confused, i've read that the windsor oil pan only holds 5-6 quarts





I wouldn;t run anything heavier than 5w30, even with your mileage. 175k is not that much on these engines, believe or not. Run 6qts-7qts of it. Run whatever type of oil you have been running just 5w30. Motorcraft filter as well.

I would suggest thoroughly cleaning everything underneath...K-member, steering rack, block, pan, EVERYTHING. Get it spotless...drive it for a few days and you should be able to tell where the oil is coming from. My guess is it's the pan gasket from what you describe but no way of really knowing. Valve covers could be leaking as well...

6stang, heater core Removal and Re-installation on the cars suck! Period...it's easily a full days job for someone who has never done it before (which I suspect the OP hasn't done and will probably be doing it himself). This is well known...
Should I keep with synthetic or switch over to motorcraft synth blend or just plain ol conventional oil?

I've been running 5w20 full syn walmart brand for 14 bucks and the motorcraft fl820s since i've owned the car. I've ran 5w30 synth one oil change because I bought the wrong one and didn't notice; i think in the owners manual it said 5w20

Also i've read that the Windsor oil pan (i own a 00 vert) has about a 5/6 quart capacity ? I know the romeo pans have a larger capacity I've always only filled 4-4.5 quarts and I would be in between or over the oil dipstick reading, whenver i drain the oil i get around 4-4.5quarts in the oil change pan


this is my first mustang (my first and previous 03 coupe gt was totaled in an accident 1 month after i bought it so i couldn't do anything to it, not even an oil change lol SANTA ANA DRIVERS)

but yeah, i'm confused, i've read that the windsor oil pan only holds 5-6 quarts
Windor and Romeo pans are the same. All 4.6L 2Vs oil fill is 6qts (they actually hold 7+ qts without any problems). Yes your owners manual may say 5 but they changed the capacity later on and did not change pans. They only changed dipstick so it read full at 6qts and not 5.

Also, 5w20 is fine to run. I won't debate the 5w20/5w30 crap. 5w20 is perfectly fine but remember 5w30 is what was recommended by Ford on several models with 2V as well as cars shipped and sold overseas. 5w20 was to help fuel economy to appease the EPA. Again, either way 5w20 or 5w30 is fine.

You are way overthinking all of this. Wal Mart synthetic is fine. Those of us on this forum tend to over-maintenance our cars so we always recommend the best of the best most of the time. What you are running will be fine.

K.I.S.S....it helps a lot in the mustang world AND life in general.

I personally run 6.5-7qts of Mobil 1 Full Synthetic with a motorcraft FL820S oil filter.
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I really should stay out of oil debates lol. I personally run (just like Jon) 6.5-7 quarts of mobil 1 full synthetic 5w-20 with a motocraft filter. The lash adjusters and tight bearing clearances like the thinner oil and the filter has the correct anti drain back valve in it to prevent oil leak down while sitting.

Just FYI, my f250 with an npi 5.4l has 308K miles on it and I still run full synthetic 5w-20 in it. I will drive that truck anywhere right now and never think twice about making it home.
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Thanks ya'll for the information, i think 5.5-6 qts sounds like a good failsafe. I'll go about putting 6 qts in, just to make sure i have enough oil since i have a small leak, it'l be nice to extend the period of when i have to refill before the next oil change. I'll keep running 5w20 and switch to 5w30 in the summer
Definitely 6 qts, minimum. 5/20 vs 5/30, probably really doesn't matter but I've come across a convincing argument or two in favor or 5/30 over the years.
Depending on how fast the leak is or gets I'd use cheap conventional in the weight of your liking. "Regular" oil won't hurt you and as it is you're pouring the high dollar stuff on the ground.


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