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EFV-8 Club Forum / General Ford Discussion / 47 oil pan removal

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Posted By Discussion Topic: 47 oil pan removal

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05-05-2018 @ 7:07 PM
Posts: 13
Joined: Mar 2018
I’m making good progress getting Dads 47 road ready after sitting 12 yrs. before trying to start I drained the oil and stuck my finger into the pan and found much sludge.

So how hard is it to drop the pan to clean out the mess? Any other ideas other than dropping the pan?


05-06-2018 @ 3:43 AM
New Member
Posts: 113
Joined: Aug 2016
I know you don't want to hear this but myself would pull the engine,
any clean the whole thing out. Pulling engine is easy EXCEPT for
taking hood off pain
draining coolant and radiator pain
exhaust pipes pain I usually remove manifold bolts and leave the
exhaust pipes and manifolds in the car. sam

05-06-2018 @ 4:54 AM
Posts: 1147
Joined: Oct 2013
lance99 - I will both agree and disagree with GK1918. I have removed and reinstalled the oil pan (for the same reason as you) without pulling the engine on a '47, and as well have removed the engine from a '47 twice. The data:

1) Removing the oil pan without pulling the engine took ~two hours and a ton of patience in trial-and-error raising & lowering the front end, turning the wheels right and left with the front end raised and lowered, etc. It can be done more quickly than pulling the engine - if you fail to document the procedure that finally worked to get it out then you'll have ~two hours of the same to reinstall it and will likely scratch your newly cleaned & painted oil pan. Removing some of the steering linkage first, including freeing the radius ball to drop the arms, can facilitate a quicker process but again, it can be done without that as well as I can attest, and overall more quickly than my 2 hours - with some minimal degree of cleverness and intelligence. I could find zero documentation on a procedure for removing the pan without removing the engine beyond '...it can be done...', so armed only with that representation you can make this happen as well.

2) Even after extensive research and study (equating to maybe an estimated 8-12 hours) of readily available process documentation and information, plus securing a long-arm engine hoist, pulling the engine the 1st time from the '47 took ~6-7 hours by myself, and reinstall took about the same time as it was my FIRST time doing it AND - in my enthusiasm to get it out I failed to be patient and photograph & document the subtle things like how the radiator hardware was oriented originally and it took an hour+ on reinstall just to figure that out again. Please note I never represented any degree of intelligence here.

3) Removing the engine the SECOND time - by myself - took 2 hours and 15 minutes, but by this time I had created my own standard operating procedure with pics and had cast it to memory. Reinstall - by myself - took just under 3 hours because - Yep - couldn't get the radiator hardware in the right configuration as I'd not adequately documented that during the previous install. Intelligence deficit disorder strikes again.

Lastly - and here's the big kicker - when removing just the pan, your vehicle will only be out of action for the time it takes you to remove the pan and oil pump, clean all, replace the few parts you may deem appropriate such as the wire securing the oil pump bolt in, paint the pan and reinstall. If you are focused on all of this - perhaps 2 days tops, or at best a day or an afternoon if you have the materials you may need including a new oil pump or components to rebuild yours, and you are not painting the pan. If you pull the engine, well, gosh darn it, geesh, while it's out why not tinker with this, tinker with that, wrench this, wrench that, change the clutch, change the pressure plate, change the pilot bearing, change the front transmission seal, change the engine mounts (better research that one extensively), have the radiator cleaned, clean the engine, replace bad/aging wiring, or maybe even change front and rear main seals, clean (and paint - ? Rouge concern here) the engine/wire clamps/hood hinges/etc., rebuild the generator & starter, paint the generator and starter, send the carb to Charlie, send the coil to Hank, source and purchase all the QUALITY parts from the right sources, aw heck - let's just tear it down and go through the whole schmoo...and it goes on and on. Downtime - perhaps months if you allow yourself to get caught in this trap. You may never pull the engine again, so the urge to 'get 'er done' now will strike - and if you've a reasonably good running and healthy engine now (determined after your self-imposed requirement to only remove/clean/reinstall the oil pan and associated items) you may likely end up spending far more time & $$$'s to do things 'the right way' (or perhaps ultimately the 'wrong' way!) than if you simply spent the 3-4 hours to simply pull the pan - perhaps all that is needed for the next decade or more depending upon the condition of your engine, what you want to do with the car and how much you drive it now.

If after pulling/cleaning/reinstalling the pan you find a catastrophic problem with the engine not seen with your pre-first firing up analysis (compression test, etc.) then you've only lost a few hours. Conversely, if the compression checks out and your fuel delivery and ignition systems are in peak condition, and you generally know the history/condition of the engine when it was placed into storage, you would likely have found catastrophic issues already and know pulling the engine will be required. Not lobbying - just a consideration.

Btw - you may learn the hard way - as I did - not all clutches and motor mounts (and of course all other parts) are the same. Note the second time pulling the motor was ~30 days after the first as the clutch was not a quality unit as was represented to me on purchase. So all the time and effort on the second pulling was due to inadequate time spent researching the correct, Quality components. More time & $'s. More time required to research the research sources, then research, then think and plan.

If you do all this with the engine, is it because you just want the experience and the peace-of-mind in knowing you have a bullet-proof motor, or are you trying to (additionally) increase the value of the car (depending on condition you may never get the investment back on resale), is it an original car that a buyer looking for originality may appreciate and pay additional $'s for, or is it simply 'well, while it's out...', etc. Or fundamentally...do you just want to get it running without that gunk in there?

GK1918 is correct - all those items (and others) involved in pulling the motor are a pain, and as well have $'s & time attached to them that the first time through will be more than a bit challenging, and on the positive side, personally rewarding. If you are a wrench and love wrenching & tinkering and are patient these are overall just part of the fun. Just reinstalling and adjusting the hood...

Consider all this in making your decision on next steps, particularly if you are submitting, or planning on submitting your car for judging in any category, and acquaint yourself with the judging criteria for the category you are in or are considering. You'll be glad you did.

And in the end, even if you do not have a lift, laying on your back, having the dirt fall in your eyes (which will happen regardless of what you do), getting out from under the car a dozen times (which will happen regardless of what you do) for 2 hours on removal of the pan without pulling the engine, and for 1 hour on reinstall (assuming you are smarter than me which is a reasonable assumption) may be the best decision for you.

Or for a paradigm shift - do you really need to worry about cleaning that muck out of the pan at all to get the car running and drive it??? You sound like me - it just felt right/made sense to do it before the car was fired-up the first time after its long slumber, but down the road I received input from others here on the Forum suggesting the original Alfred E. Neuman motto applies.


This message was edited by len47merc on 5-6-18 @ 7:17 AM

05-06-2018 @ 8:04 AM
Posts: 6112
Joined: Oct 2009
I would not remove the oil pan to clean the sludge out of it. I would change the oil frequently and do it when the oil is at operating temperature. This happens after a nice long drive of at least 30 minutes. Most of the sludge will stay where it is and the stuff that moves will come out with the drain.

After you get the car running, take long trips to keep more sludge from forming and enjoy your car.


Bill E Bob
05-06-2018 @ 8:23 AM
Posts: 76
Joined: Apr 2017
Ditto to what Steve elaborated on. BTDT with Steve's encouragement and it all worked out well, plus now I have a "modern" front engine seal......and it works!! Should you decide to go that way, Felpro makes gadgets called "Snap Ups" which make installing the oil pan much easier. (also per Steve's info). I also used fine thread to hold the gaskets in place when reinstalling with no resultant leaks. Another bonus is I was able to give the "bottom end" a good check up while the pan was off.

As TomO said, fresh oil, run it and see what you have will also help determine need to remove oil pan, engine, or neither.

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