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Dropping oil pan on '41 Super


neil morse
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Being home with a lot of time on my hands, I've been looking around for things to do on my car.  I have never removed the oil pan to see what kind of sludge is in there and check on the oil pump, so thought this would be a good time for the job.  But when I look under the engine, I can't see how to reach the bolts that hold the pan at the very front.  I'm sure there's a way, but I need some assistance to figure it out.  Anyone out there who has dropped the pan on a '41 who can help me?  Thanks in advance.

 

Neil

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I had a '40 and I know what you mean. I tried that myself on it, and after looking up at some of those bolts in the front, and how impossible it looked to get them out, I realized that it would be much harder to get them back in. No combination of wrench extensions could do it.

 

So, I decided that would be a job for when the engine was out, and changed the oil a whole lot of times.

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I have a '38-46s' and its a bit tighter up front but you can do it.    You are supposed to be able to remove the pan.    I removed my lower shields on both sides.   This gives you room.   My opinion is that if you can not reach the front pan screws,  you might have to loosen the front motor mount bolts so you can raise the engine.    I did not have to do anything out of the ordinary.    If necessary,  use  a wooden spacer under the harmonic balancer to keep it raised.    Early in my time of Buick ownership,  I had pulled my pan several times for several check's.   (Checking / cleaning oil pump screen,   cleaning the pan bottom,  checking rod  and main bearing clearances).      My first time,  I disconnected  the tie rod to allow for ease of dropping the pan.   Later,  I learned how to drop the pan without disconnecting anything else.    I have the 248 engine so the big engine guys may have some different issues.     I bought several oil pan gaskets,  water pump gaskets,  and especially the valve cover gaskets.    JMHO.     I now have a '35-58'   and I have several gasket sets for that car.    (Pan, valve cover, water pump, etc.....   This allows me to get into the engine as necessary to keep it running in good condition.   I drive my Buick's.....

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Also,  your engine needs to be 'just high enough' so you can replace the fan belt.   If your motor mounts are old and tired to the point you can not do that,  you might have to loosen the front mounts to do that.   (time to replace them ? ).    While you are 'down there',   you might replace your belt.   I highly recommend a 'COG' style belt.   My '38-46s' uses an "Industrial" v-belt.   It is a "BX"  belt ( 5/8" wide ).   You might have the "A" belt which is only 1/2" wide (top width , 'AX' version).    The cog style runs cooler than the regular v-belt.    I keep a spare belt in a 'gallon' sized zip lock bag in my spare parts box in the trunk.  (JIC).    

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Thanks for the help, Jim.  Someone else also suggested the idea of loosening the front motor mounts and raising up the engine a bit.  I will check it out.  I have the 248 engine as well.

 

I had the fan belt off last year when I put on a new water pump and I just re-used the belt that was on it.  I don't remember what type it was, but I will check that out also. 

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Jacking up the front end a bit is pretty standard procedure. Not a bad idea to think about doing the motor mounts, but it's also easy enough to do that you don't necessarily have to tackle it all at once. You only need a little clearance, so you should be able to get the engine up and out of the way. I've always done it by using a hoist to pull it up from above (if you're working on the oil pan, you don't have much to use for a jacking surface) but you can probably jack it up from below, insert a couple of blocks of wood under the motor mounts (don't use the balancer, please!) and lay it back down while you work, then do the reverse when it's time to put it back together. That way you can still access the pan.

 

If you change the belt, don't use the cog style that the usual suppliers sell. NOISY. I put a new Gates belt with the teeth on my Limited and it goes Wrrrrrssszzzz wrrrrrssssszzz wwwrrrrssszzz every time I rev the engine or accelerate. It sounds like I have a supercharger bolted on there or something. In fact, I just got a replacement belt that I found from an industrial supplier that has none of the teeth, and I'm going to install it and see what happens tonight.

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Hi Matt,   The water pump fan makes more noise.   I sold v-belts  amongst other power transmission devices,  for more than 18 years.    The cog belt runs cooler and therefore can last longer.    Also,  the cog belt is also known as "raw edge style".    This also makes it more flexible when passing over a pulley.   If you are using an alternator you are using a small pulley which needs the more flexible belt for better contact.    I am using an alternator, that is painted black,  so it is less obvious to discerning eye.    JMHO ....

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Not to hijack Neil's thread but perhaps this is useful for him and others reading so I'll do it anyway. Ordinarily I'd agree with you, Jim, and I certainly respect your expertise. However, I embarked on a full replacement of the water pump and radiator of my '41 Limited because I thought the noise I was hearing was the water pump bearing failing. It was a loud grinding, scratching, squeaking sound that was exactly like, well, a bearing failure. I sandblasted my water pump fan and pulley and had them powdercoated and reinstalled everything with a new pump and toothed Gates belt I bought from Bob's Automobilia. And the moment I started it, I heard this weird whirring sound and assumed that my new water pump was also broken. I posted this video on my '41 Limited restoration thread and one smart reader said it was probably belt noise. So I removed the new belt and installed my old one and guess what? The old belt sounded EXACTLY the way it did before when I thought the pump was going bad. It was ALL BELT NOISE.

 

Now, that old belt was showing signs of fatigue so I reinstalled the new one, and at that point it made a whirring sound very much like the sound of the Vortech supercharger I used to have on my 5.0 Mustang. It was by far the loudest sound on the car.  Listen:

 

 

That's all fan belt noise, not fan noise, not water pump noise. I also tried a belt from another '41 Buick I have sitting in the shop which is obviously the same Gates belt from Bob's and it was pretty new, so I tried that one. Same whirring sound. It is 100% the belt, no doubt about it.

 

I'm testing a new smooth belt tonight and I'll report back regarding its sound levels. I'm not worried about heat in this particular application--this engine doesn't spin fast enough or have large enough loads on it to worry about that.

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Hi Matt,   Well I guess my old ears have not been blessed.   I guess as long as its quiet with the hood closed,  I guess I classified it an normal engine  noise.    20+ years hanging around turbine engines can create zero results in the 3-5 khz  freq. band.   Getting old sucks - - -      

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59 minutes ago, Jim Nelson said:

Neil,   Did you use SS bolts on the water pump?.     Its one of those things not mentioned but the first time you pull an old pump that won't allow you to remove the regular bolts will you say - - ya, the solution is - - -

 

I did not use SS bolts, nor did I have any trouble removing the old ones -- but I will take your advice if I ever have to do another water pump!

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Just curious.  My '53 specials both had holes in the cross member to allow a socket and extension for the previously hidden cap screws.  Does anyone know when GM smartened up?

Edited by Guest (see edit history)
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Neil:

 

I had the same issue on my 1940 248 but have removed it 3 times now so I know the tricks:

 

1. Put the car up on ramps. Also jack up the frame a bit on ea side and put jack stands in. You want max amount of height under the car. Use plenty of chocks and be safe! It is best to use a creeper and go in head first.

2. Set the engine so that cyl 1 and 2 are about the half way point. This places the crank throws appx parallel to the ground.

3. Drain the oil and pull out the dipstick so you don't get poked in the eye!

4. Remove the pan bolts on the back side between the pan and lower clutch housing. If it's been a while since any cleaning has been done on the pan it will probably be a mess back there.

5. Remove the 4 front pan bolts. There will be 4 holes in the crossmember to accomplish this.

6. The tricky part. The next 2 bolts towards the rear on each side are tough to do because of the crossmember. I found it worked well using 1/4 inch drive socket and universal to get enough angle and purchase on it. Mag inserts help as well.

7. Remove the remainder of the bolts, pry the pan loose, and lower and pull to the rear to clear the crossmember and throws. You have to kind of thread it around the oil pump and screen as well. I found it best to have my head at the rear of the engine so I could wrestle it towards me and out on the left side. You will likely come out filthy so be prepared.

8. Pound out the pan dimples while it's out.

9. Reverse order to reinstall! Heh. You want to keep the pan gasket from moving around. I use Permatex #2. Use a torque wrench set to 10 lb ft in order not to re-dimple the pan.

 

BTW I cannot raise the engine easily. I have rear motormounts on both of my cars so those would have to be undone as well. So the above was accomplished in normal configuration.

 

Cheers Dave

Edited by Daves1940Buick56S (see edit history)
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Neil,

 

Did you look for any access holes in the frame's cross members ? My '51 Super straight 8 has 4 holes in the forward cross members, 2 per side, to allow access to the 4 forward pan bolts. I used a socket and extension like Daves1940 Buick5 described above. You can't see the bolts but can feel the socket grab 'em.

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A picture is worth 1,000 words.

 

oil_pan.jpg.79fda5a9c842d1fd21c1fd9a1e8ef241.jpg

 

Thanks again for the help.  I followed Dave's suggestions.  The only problem I had was that the bottom of the pump was catching on the front baffle in the pan, and there was no way that I could get the pan off with the pump in place. (The tie rod kept the pan from dropping low enough.)  So I just removed the pump and that freed up the pan.

 

 

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Interesting how much "junk" was found in the bottom of your oil pan....   I found at least that amount.      Mine had around 20+ year of sludge after it had been rebuilt back in 1989 ish.....   check your gear to housing clearances as that will help bring your oil pressure up in a good range.  "More is better and to much is enough 
- - -  

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