Testing The Sump -before- dropping motor back in ...
I am just about to button up the sump on my 5VZ-FE and had a crazy random idea. Would it be possible to just heat up some old oil and pour it in to the sump through the oil filter hole and leave it hanging for a bit to see if it drips from anywhere? I've done the rear main seal and rear main gasket seal and the sump gasket and I am not to keen on the idea of having to get back in to the bell housing to snug anything up if I find a leak after it is back in and it is warmed up. That goes for some of the sump bolts to which are obviously impossible to get at without another major hassle. This will be the first vehicle I have had where it is so hard to get to the sump! What do you all do about this after a rebuild? Just drop the motor back in and pray ?
Once again replying to myself but maybe it is useful to somebody else. After doing the rear main seal and the gasket for the plate behind it this is what I did. My replacement kit came with gaskets. I was a bit dubious about just sealant everywhere in what seems to me to be a complex arrangement of possible places for leaking and I guess this is how it came from the factory. Anyway feel much better about using gaskets though I know people have opinions about that. Anyway to give it a basic check I put the motor up on the chain hanging on the engine mounts so it was leaning back a little with the rear of the sump over some clean white paper. Then I poured in just enough oil through the sump hole to fill the back up so it would cover the back of the sump. I can see how the main rear seal wears out but it also seems to me that this whole design at the back of the motor is just a license to leak everywhere and if all you did was the rear main seal you would probably still have some leaks. Maybe just not terminal ones like if the rear main seal blows out. The plate behind the rear main seal takes a bit of a careful approach to seal all this back up and I would hate to do it without the motor out. Anyway with the motor strung up on the crane and angled backwards I left it hanging for a day with a bit of oil in it. Sure enough came back to see a few drips from around the two holes on the plate behind the rear main seal where they go up through the sump. For whatever reason those open up on the inside to the sump itself ( seems a bit $##$^^ to me ! ). Anyway I made sure those bolts had permatex on em when I put em in and I snuggled up those bolts in particular since I was betting that was it. Took just a tiny bit more of a nudge. Just a snuggle. Must be really gentle with these so as not to over tighten the new sump gasket or the bolts. Put clean white paper under it again and looked today and see no leaks. Now this is not the same as it being hot but I figure it is a good start and I have not seen this little bit of detail written anywhere else. I know a lot of people probably just get to the rear main seal pull it off from the transmission side and leave the rest of the mess alone ....
Having said all that I have also seen the advice that says don't pull the motor. My lesson has been if you are going for the rear main seal go for the rest. I did it from the top down. All the top stuff off. Heads off. I figured if I was going for the rear main seal do the whole lot. Proved to be excellent plan as getting the block itself out is actually pretty painless once the heads and everything are off. You might also find something terminal on the way that makes it a good decision to chuck the motor. In future will definitely be going downwards from the top. Had to add crane to my tool set to do this but it has proved to not be at all a traumatic experience. What was a pain in the arse was the exhaust nuts. I discovered that on the drivers side it was much easier just to unbolt it from the motor and pop it sideways.
Hope something useful in my current experience helps someone else out. Oh and don't forget to mark the Flexplate when you take it out!
I forgot and now am not sure if it is still on the same alignment as when I took it out :/
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