Question about 1999 Ford Explorer

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1999 Ford Explorer Oil Leak

My 1999 Ford Explorer began leaking oil from the front of the car. When I took it the mechanic, they said that their was a hole in the oil pan. I asked how could their be a hole in the oil pan, and they said that something came down from the engine hitting the oil pan. But I don’t understand how something could fall down from the engine hitting the oil pan so hard that it would put a hole in it. Now is this something that could have possibly happened, or is their something else that could have cause the hole? They say that they must pull the engine in order to replace the oil pan. But later while getting my oil changed, they informed me that you would not need to pull the engine. So my question is, do you need to pull the engine to replace the oil pan and if not, how would you go about fixing it?

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  • 6 more comments 
  • a1bmxboy Aug 31, 2008

    Can you give me a high and low estimate on the repairs to fix the oil pan, and is there a way of repairing the leak without having to replace the pan?

  • a1bmxboy Aug 31, 2008

    Can you give a high and low estimat and is there a way of repairing the pan without replacing it?

  • Anonymous Mar 12, 2014

    2002 ford explorer oil pan torque

  • Anonymous Mar 12, 2014

    Sounds like something falls out from under hood and dragging on pavement and give gas and it mines 20 ft. Or so and repeats this 3-4times then drives fine for about a month then does again 2weeks later then I wk later and then fine now cam in engine is gone what would cause this, have had every oil change and mi tune up on time has 101,000 miles

  • Anonymous Mar 19, 2014

    explorer 302 V8 oolant leak front drivers side corner goes down motor to lip of oil pan and streams out when filling- not the water pump or thermost

  • Anonymous Mar 19, 2014

    explorer 302 V8 oolant leak front drivers side corner goes down motor to lip of oil pan and streams out when filling- not the water pump or thermost

  • Anonymous Mar 24, 2014

    Changing pan gasket. Need to no if I have to pull engine(pretty tight under there with all the running gear)?

  • Anonymous Mar 28, 2014

    oil pan gasket

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My answer:

It's very doubtful the AL oil pan just cracked a hole in it all by itself. That just never happens only but in a rare 1 in a Million shot or more - odds wise! Maybe it was a bullet that hit it as from bouncing up off the pavement somewhere? You live in a war zone somewhere by chance? Just kidding......

Most likely it was something road debris wise, or else you indeed overshot a concrete parking stop block and thus clipped the front of the oil pan itself. The oil pan rides pretty high to begin with so whatever hit it had to leave some mark on the AL. If you clean the oil pan thoroughly you should see the mark left.

If there is no visible damage on the outside of the oil pan then very possibly it was just a manufacturing fluke of nature as it were. One digital pix would settle that right there! That would indeed be a rarity with todays technology and casting processes though! Only FORD themselves could evaluate this, and then possibly issue a RECALL if it looks to be a production flaw, but I doubt it.

As for your mechanic saying that something on the inside of the engine hit it - VERY VERY DOUBTFUL - unless one of your piston connecting rod main-bolts has come loose and punched the pan. If that were the case your engine DEFINITELY would have excessive VIBRATION big time!!!!

Even if the oil pan oil pickup line assy were to fall off then you would see a CHECK ENGINE light possibly, or a LOW ENGINE OIL light quite possibly, or even an OIL GAUGE reading VERY LOW pressure wise!! If there's NO oil related light anything showing up then we can rule out the oil line pickup being hit by the piston connecting rod bolts!

If indeed you ran over something (or the wife or girlfriend drove the SUV over something and is now afraid to fess up as it were) and the crack damage is from the outside - it's possible the AL oil pan can be repaired without replacing it.

To first answer your ? about the entire engine on your 1999 Ford XPLR needing to be pulled to replace the oil pan - depends on which engine you have as stock power plant? I'm guessing it's only 1 of 2 anyway.

If it's the 4.0L (VIN X) engine - then YES it has to be removed/pulled AND the "oil pan to transmission SPACERS" are VERY critical if not installed properly!!!!

If it's the 5.0L engine - again YES it has to be removed/pulled as well.

So your mechanic was indeed right on that part - as to pulling out the engine to R&R the oil pan.

The only main concern I have is where that piece of AL "hole" metal went after the hole was punched in it?? If it's inside the oil pan then you have to decide if you're going to just leave it in there and do an external weld type repair, or if you're going to do a more expensive R&R of the oil pan.

There is one repair alternative to that of totally pulling the engine and doing an R&R of that damaged oil pan, and that is to try doing a successful MAGIC ROD repair on the cracked AL oil pan. Depending on just how big this HOLE is?? These MAGIC RODS are advertised on TV and can be bought at most welding supply places as well. Not sure if places like Home Depot would have them, but you can try there first. These AL repair rods you use much like that with a brazing rod only with less heat.

First - all the pan oil would need to be drained out, and then the residual oil vacuum sucked out of the oil pan using a system similar to that what they use on marine engines when doing a vacuum oil change through the dipstick port. You might have to modify the vacuum tube a bit to fit inside that HOLE you have there. The area around the HOLE has to remain clean and dry of oil as possible for the MAGIC ROD weld to be successful. This is a must!!!

Second - The AL surface has to be VERY VERY CLEAN and pre-prepped accordingly to be FREE FROM ANY OR ALL OIL RESIDUE.

The actual MAGIC ROD repairing procedure is all listed on/in the product packaging.

If it's done according to the proper steps and procedure it should work fine and hopefully the heat expansion and contraction on the oil pan won't compromise the MAGIC ROD repair. Time will tell...

Hope this gives you another option whichever route you choose to take.

Please post your decision and results here, as well as rating my troubleshooting fix.

Thx,

Frank


Posted on Sep 01, 2008

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  • Ford Master
  • 61,203 Answers

You most likely hit a curb, the pan is cast aluminum and will break like glass if you hit a curb, the pan can be changed without removing the engine, it is very time consuming, but it can be done.

Posted on Aug 31, 2008

  • yadayada
    yadayada Aug 31, 2008

    Take it to a professional welding shop, but it will have to be removed

  • yadayada
    yadayada Aug 31, 2008

    I have no idea what welders charge these day, but I would guess about $50-75

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