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Old 05-25-2019, 09:26 PM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: May 2019
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'95 vista oil pan removal

hey all,

yeah i'm a new user and fully intend on filling out my info but am stuck at a truck stop at the moment so time is of the essence lol

anyway, I have a 1995 Thomas vista w/ a T444e+at545 that my family and I have been wandering the country in for about a year, and yesterday the oil pan blew out going down a country highway. it had rusted around the dimpled out portion that encircles the drain plug enough so that about 1/2 of that circle (for those unfamiliar specifically, it's the diameter of a large orange) was ripped through and obviously I lost oil (and fuel) pressue.

I thumbed it to a nearby Walmart and bought some steelstik to smack on there which got me limping (along with more oil) to a small truck stop down the road.

Now normally, i'd thoroughly research a job like replacing the oilpan via youtube etc first hand no ones perfect so … I got all the bolts off, and disconnected the dipstick tube where it bolts to the valve covers and expected the pan to be able to come right down. it does not. I know that it's catching where the dipstick adapter hits the starter, and will (ugh) pull the starter in the morning to see if that clears it but everything I've belatedly read online says I have to jack up the front of the engine and remove the front crossmember to get it free and i'm hoping that isn't the case... - I will post pics as soon as the sun comes back btw it's about dark here now...

So my question really is has anyone replaced a vista/int3600 t444e oilpan? were they able to do so w/o removing the front crossmember? cause if I have to do that with no cash, no shop quality toolset, by myself, in the middle of nowhere, while my kids bounce the dang bus all around.... I want a medal or something lol


thanks and nice to meet you all in advance
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Old 05-25-2019, 09:35 PM   #2
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I've not changed one yet myself but it looks roomy enough on mine .
Been in similar predicament myself God bless
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Old 05-25-2019, 10:04 PM   #3
Mini-Skoolie
 
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yours is also a t444 vista? I thought the same, hopefully pulling the starter clears enough room. I actually might try yanking out the dipstick adapter w/o pulling the starter first cause i'd have to pull it off anyway...
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Old 05-25-2019, 10:45 PM   #4
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The pan is shot correct? Get a $10 barber freight grinder and cut the old one off if you can’t remove it. Not sure what the Vista looks like underneath but if you can get the suspension to drop maybe you can access more to put a new pan in.
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Old 05-25-2019, 10:52 PM   #5
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yeah I carry a grinder and Sawzall, that's a decent idea about being able to access more with the old pan off, thx bud
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Old 05-26-2019, 12:41 AM   #6
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where?

If you would post your breakdown location, some of us out here might be able to come to you and assist. I cant offer just yet because I have no idea where you are.

william - topeka kansas
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Old 05-26-2019, 01:21 AM   #7
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just a bit south of Wisconsin rapids, WI atm bud - probably a bit far from Kansas unfortunately, kind of you to offer though - gotta love this community
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Old 05-26-2019, 01:49 AM   #8
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can you weld?

put the pan back on...... clean out oil as much as you can....... take a sheet of clean new metal..... weld over hole, kind of like patching hole in boat hull. get bus to where you need to go.....then fix it when you have tools.... might -- this is a big might..... seam sealer, patch, rivets....... even sheet metal screws.... go around the problem till you get it home.....

hope this gives a working idea

william
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Old 05-26-2019, 01:58 AM   #9
Mini-Skoolie
 
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ahh yeah I didn't think about renting a zapper.. dang I should've thought of that before getting the pan half off and buying the new pan.. i very well might silicon the old pan back up and weld it closed... any thoughts on welding on a vehicle with diesel in the lines? i know it's generally a no-no with gassers... also with oil residue inside the pan? i haven't welded since high school, but i would think motor oil residue would present a half decent risk of combustion when exposed to that kinda heat … that's a good idea assuming the flare up risk is minimized... thanks man for sure
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Old 05-26-2019, 02:26 AM   #10
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thoughts

get two bottle of gas,,,, let one of the bottles fill up areas and purge out oxyagen, then even if the oil gets hot ... no burn....... the other used in the mig welder..... but for this road side repair at less cost


really the one i like the best is seam sealer, and a sheet of new metal.. two rows of screws around the out side......screw right through the two sheets and let sealer seal screws....... messy, least cost and pretty sure it will get you home... not silicone.... seam sealer.... however if you use silly cone... my favorite is grey permatex 599 best for use in oil locations... like oil pans.

I think they have redone the grey permatex and now may be a different part number.....

william
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Old 05-26-2019, 03:36 AM   #11
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aye riveting or screwing on & sealing a sheet would be a lot cheaper and easier, but I don't think it'd hold as the rip is on an area that already has maybe a 15% rise to it and then the bumped out portion pushed out even farther, so i'd need the sheet to conform to to great a curve for sealant to hold, like I said i'll post a pic in the AM.

yeah permetex is the way to go for sure, I think I have a tube of the black stuff around here somewhere, or maybe it was one of the other colors - was amazed at the variety last time I bought some


Most likely going to see if it comes off easily after removing the dipstick tube adapter, since that's just 1 big ol nut to get off and I have a replacement O-ring for it with the new pan. if that doesn't work, i'll likely clean it up real good and get a whole bunch of melted mig wire on there... may have to brush up on my mig gun settings though.


also, as much as I Pride myself in being able to creatively fix stuff with what I have around (ask my wife, she was there for the "learning what works phase") I gotta say I never would have thought of flooding the pan with a spare tank of argon/co2/whatever - that's ingenious bud, thanks a billion for that one most definitely. i'll update this thread once the sun comes up and the situation develops.


sure am glad my truck has my fridge, sofa, tools, and bed in it right now lol
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Old 05-26-2019, 07:39 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by superbusWI View Post
yours is also a t444 vista? I thought the same, hopefully pulling the starter clears enough room. I actually might try yanking out the dipstick adapter w/o pulling the starter first cause i'd have to pull it off anyway...
No not a Vista just a t444e motor
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Old 05-26-2019, 08:03 AM   #13
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Wow. That sucks.. The 7.3 power strokes are known for rusting out oil pans. A lot of fixes are available but the only good one is replacing the pan.

Good luck. J
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Old 05-26-2019, 09:30 AM   #14
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You may need to remove the front engine mount and raise the engine a little to get it out.
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Old 05-26-2019, 02:07 PM   #15
Mini-Skoolie
 
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yup. after wrestling around down there, pulling the starter, dipstick adapter, and getting all pan bolts out (and existing gasket broken up) it seems like an additional 3/4" of clearance (front to back wise) between the front crossmember and the … I'm tired lol trans bellhousing probably, is needed to take the pan down or up.


ATM I slapped new Permatex liquid gasket up, bolted old pan back up, put dipstick adapter back on (with new O-ring, at least the thing didn't fall in the pan lol) etc etc and the steelstik I put on originally now ringed (it had continued to leak around the perimeter of the area I putty'd) with Permatex. waiting for gunk to dry, folks at truck stop are being super cool - I'd imagine being literally coated in oil gunk helped my case


I've got 7.5 gallons of oil with me, and about hmmm 10-15 miles back to my land, and a chase car - worst case scenario I loose oil/fuel pressure and have to re-up on oil once or twice before getting there.


once there i'm gonna block up the engine and remove the front crossmember to put new pan on proper.


thanks for all the good advice folks
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Old 05-26-2019, 02:12 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by superbusWI View Post
yup. after wrestling around down there, pulling the starter, dipstick adapter, and getting all pan bolts out (and existing gasket broken up) it seems like an additional 3/4" of clearance (front to back wise) between the front crossmember and the … I'm tired lol trans bellhousing probably, is needed to take the pan down or up.


ATM I slapped new Permatex liquid gasket up, bolted old pan back up, put dipstick adapter back on (with new O-ring, at least the thing didn't fall in the pan lol) etc etc and the steelstik I put on originally now ringed (it had continued to leak around the perimeter of the area I putty'd) with Permatex. waiting for gunk to dry, folks at truck stop are being super cool - I'd imagine being literally coated in oil gunk helped my case


I've got 7.5 gallons of oil with me, and about hmmm 10-15 miles back to my land, and a chase car - worst case scenario I loose oil/fuel pressure and have to re-up on oil once or twice before getting there.


once there i'm gonna block up the engine and remove the front crossmember to put new pan on proper.


thanks for all the good advice folks
good job! - being innovative and self sufficient is necessary to survive while driving an elderly vehicle
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Old 05-26-2019, 02:12 PM   #17
Mini-Skoolie
 
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actually i'll most likely return the exorbitantly costly new pan, cut the entire square part where the rip is off, dry everything really well, and zap up a new sheet with a pansaver plug - cost of pan = 1/5th the purchase price of bus. . . .
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Old 05-28-2019, 02:42 PM   #18
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Just an update, I'm having it towed to a nearby spot to have it done right - probably cost around 1400 total, not too terrible I guess. Tried a million different ways to patch things together and couldn't hold oil pressure enough to run it, and I'm hesitant to lift the block without knowing if I'm gonna bust something else anyway. Thanks for all the help folks
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Old 05-28-2019, 04:41 PM   #19
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I can commiserate. I've had a mechanical failure I could *almost* handle but not quite and had to have it towed. Couldn't afford the fix as mine was nearly ten grand.
You'll be glad its fixed right!
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Old 05-28-2019, 04:54 PM   #20
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which part of the pan is hanging up? rear or front? with a good solid board under the transmission pan you can gain yourself an easy inch or two on the rear by going up. and by dropping down. an easy inch or two on the front without butting anything..



you'll have to drop your driveshaft and take your fan shroud loose or take the fan off but theres a decent bit of room to move around the engine within reason..


the engine will pivot on the rear mounts.. to raise the front. (lower the trans)... or you can take the bolts loose but not completely remopve them and raise the trans a little if you need rearward clearance ..


I do get it though if you arent comfortable doing it... theres a lot of weight and mass in the engine / trans combo..
-Christopher
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