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Old 06-11-2011, 05:01 PM   #1
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Location: Latham NY USA
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Car: 91 Formula
Engine: 350
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Oil leaking from oil pan bolts?

Just finished replacing the oil pan and still have leaks. When I got under to see where the leaks were I found 3 or 4 bolts, front middle and rear were leaking oil. Bolts are torqued properly and there is no oil anywhere on or above the oil pan, its definitely weeping oil around the bolts. I have never had a small block do this, I changed the oil pan, gasket and rear main on a fresh rebuild less than 100 miles, 1 piece felpro gasket and still have leaks.

Should I seal the bolts or will the oil just find another route out?
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Old 06-11-2011, 06:25 PM   #2
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Re: Oil leaking from oil pan bolts?

Even if the engine is over-filled it still shouldn't leak. When you tighten the bolts on a modern 1 piece oil pan gasket you just tighten until they stop turning and no further. They have spacers built into them that give opimum gasket crush when they bottom out. They're just hard plastic and can be cracked/broken if over-tightened. If that's the case you chuck the gasket and start over- it's junk.

The usual leak points are in the 4 corners front and rear. Why it would be weeping around bolts on the pan rails I couldn't say. I've had it happen, too, but it was years ago when those types of gaskets were new. I never did figure it out then and I've not had it happen with those type of gaskets for years now.

Old gasket gunk you didn't clean off the pan rails before installing the new gasket??
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Old 06-11-2011, 06:57 PM   #3
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Re: Oil leaking from oil pan bolts?

No old gasket gunk, replaced a one piece gasket with another. The gasket luckily uses steel spacers not plastic so they shouldn't be cracked or broken. Googling the problem turned up almost nothing, one theory was the crank slinging oil just right. Short of any other ideas I think I'm just going to loosen all the bolts and reseal it with a little RTV under the bolt heads, had to pull the transmission to get the pan out, lifting the engine wasn't enough, I'm avoiding doing that again at all costs.
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Old 06-12-2011, 01:45 PM   #4
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Re: Oil leaking from oil pan bolts?

Try just getting a whole bolt set for the oil pan and just barely tightening the bolts on a new gasket. even with the steel rings instead of plastic you cant tighten them down that much. the bolts may just be worn out from time.
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Old 06-12-2011, 05:59 PM   #5
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Re: Oil leaking from oil pan bolts?

Appreciate the ideas guys. I just finished loosening, sealing with Right stuff and re-tightening all the bolts. Ran it for a bit and so far not a drip from anywhere, hopefully it holds.
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Old 06-12-2011, 05:59 PM
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