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Another 5.3 oil leak

Re: Another 5.3 oil leak

Postby ccrane » Jan 19 2012, 5:27pm

Sorry, I didn't realize there where 2 pages to this post.... amateur lol. Its not that difficult to change the oil pan gasket even on a 4wd. Here are some steps:
- Take off the front plastic rock guard (5 bolts)
- remove the skid plate if equipped.
- remove the starter, 2 bolts. you have to get it in the perfect angle to get it off. You may have to loosen the plastic trans cover at this point. (1 bolt below the starter I believe 10mm)
- remove the plastic trans covers on both the drivers and passenger side (1 bolt 10mm each)
- remove the crossmember under the oil pan (4 nut and bolts 11/16 open ended wrench and socket or 2 sockets)
- disconnect the oil level sensor on the passenger side of the oil pan. The connector is in a ceramic type female connector, so you need a small screw drive to carefully pry the connector clip as you pull the connector. I used a jewelers screw driver.
- disconnect the harness carrier on the front of the oil pan. 1 10mm bolt on the side of the oil pan at the very front drivers side corner. slide the harness to the passenger side to unclip the other side. This will allow you to get to the front bolts.
- lower the front axle/diff. 2 bolts on passenger side and 2 nut and bolts on the drivers side. use a jack to hold the front diff as you unbolt. The axle will lower about 2-3 inchs before resting on the bracket the crossmember was bolted to. You may have to pull on it to slide it out of the frame. This should give you enough room to lower the back of the oil pan and slide it toward the trans. If not you could probably pull it toward the front of the vehicle around the bracket to lower it farther, but be sure to unplug the motor in the middle of the axle (if your lowering beyond the bracket). worst case remove the front wheels and remove the CV assemblies, this will allow the front axle to be removed. I didn't have to do this because I had the trans off which gave me a little more freedom at the back of the pan. Try lowering the axle to the bracket first.
- unbolt the oil pan. you will need an extension and universal socket. If the universal is to floppy wind some electrical tape around the joint to stiffen it up. I believe 10mm socket. make sure all the bolts are out, DONT PRY. I believe there are 14 bolts. I used a rubber mallet to tap it lose. It was no problem.
- tilt the large part/back of the of the oil pan down and slide toward the trans. You have to clear the siphon tube.Be gentle, the oil level sensor protrudes into the pan so dont snag the sensor with the siphon tube.
- Once the pan is removed be sure to clean the inside and both gasket surfaces. I used Lacquer thinner and mineral spirits. Brake cleaner works excellent but be sure to rinse it out good and let dry before reassembly. A flat razor works good for the gasket surfaces just be careful not to gouge the surface.
- remove the oil cooler cap and check the gasket. Mine looked good so i just added RTV to both surfaces and reattached.
- place the new gasket on the pan and place a 3/16 by 1 inch long bead of RTV on all 4 corners between the corner bolt holes.
- reassemble is opposite of the above. Buy a chiltons manual, there is a sequence to torquing the pan bolts. Screw the bolts in finger tight, push the pan toward the trans flat with trans mounting surface. there should be no or less then a .010 inch gap between the trans surface and oil pan. I used a feeler gauges to check. Check it after the first 2 bolts are tight to be sure it did not shift.

FYI, my truck is a 2000 with 220K miles and non of the bolts where ceased or hard to get loose.

I am not sure how much an oil pan replacement costs in a shop, but I have heard the rear seal is about $1000. The oil pan gasket is about $30 and the rear seal kit is around $40 on line. The rear seal is not bad, it just takes a couple guys to remove the transfer case and trans. Hope this helps!
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Re: Another 5.3 oil leak

Postby ccrane » Jan 19 2012, 5:30pm

Missed one step, there is a coolant line bracket on the passenger side of the oil pan remove the bolt
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Re: Another 5.3 oil leak

Postby country1911 [OP] » Jan 19 2012, 5:59pm

Well that doesn't sound too bad... I am very mechanically inclined, so it shouldn't be that bad, just time consuming. I also noticed a little dampness on the front diff seal in the driver side, so it may be time to tear into it and just start replacing seals. If the diff has to be dropped anyway, might as well so that too. Maybe I will tackle this myself when the weather warms up a little.

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Re: Another 5.3 oil leak

Postby country1911 [OP] » Jan 19 2012, 6:03pm

One question, I have drive on ramps, a jack and jack stands, would that be sufficient for lifting the truck high enough to work under it? I would probably drive up on the ramps with the rear tires and put the front on the jack stands.

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Re: Another 5.3 oil leak

Postby ccrane » Jan 19 2012, 7:24pm

I wouldn't worry about the back, I just put mine up on jack stands behind the front tires. I have bigger tires and can crawl under there without jacking the truck, but its not lifted or anything. Just use jack stands and block the rear tires to be safe. Use decent jack stands and a jack for safety. If you are going to do the rear seal you just need to get the trans out of the way, so you don't need to remove it from under the truck. just leave it on the jack and lower it and slide it against the rear cross member. you will have plenty of room.

Good idea on the seals, when I had the transfer case off I replaced both seals even though they didn't leak. I figure it was a good time to replace them.
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Re: Another 5.3 oil leak

Postby country1911 [OP] » Jan 20 2012, 1:09am

I did some reading about trans removal and a common theme was GM used loctite on the trans bolts. Did you run into any issues with them? Did they have to be heated? I am going to pick up a chiltons manual and start collecting parts. Hopefully within a few weeks I can tackle this project.

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Re: Another 5.3 oil leak

Postby ASTE25 » Jan 20 2012, 4:02am

I have never had any problem getting the bellhousing bolts out (if you have a good extension and an impact swivel socket).
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Re: Another 5.3 oil leak

Postby ccrane » Jan 20 2012, 5:26am

Yeah, ASTM25 is correct, no problem getting the bolts off and I didn't use an impact, just a ratchet. You will definitely need a
Universal and a long extension longer then the trans without the transfer case. Once everything is unpluged, Put a jack under
the trans pan (use a flat piece of wood or a trans jack to distribute the weight) and lower the trans and the motor will tilt with
then from the back of trans you can see the upper bolts. There is one at the very top at the fire wall you will need the univeral
To get that one, if you can see it drop the trans down a little furthe. There are 2 brackets and the filler tube are on a few of the
Bolt studs those are 13mm and the bell housing bolts are 15 mm, you need a deep socket. The torque converter bolt were a
Tight. They are a metric allen drive I can't recall the size I had to put a pipe on it to break them loose, once there free you can
unscrew them by hand. Get a white paint pen to mark the flywheel/torque converter and drive shafts, you want to reassemble
In the same position. Transfer case, get to the upper bolts the same way from the back but you need a shorter
Extension about one foot, you will see there's a body rib in the way. When you pull the transfer case from the shaft there's a seal
Grab that seal, you can reuse it. Be careful that the shaft doernt come down and break it.

Another hint, I'm not sure if the 2002s had the quick connect coolent line, if so great, my 2000 had the old flare nuts. If you have
Flare nuts they are 19mm, lower the trans slightly before removing. I had to buy a flare wrench racket head, you know, the ones
that Have the flare wrench head with a 3/8 ratchet drive . I'm not sure of the official name. If I think of any other tricks or
warnings I'll post it
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Re: Another 5.3 oil leak

Postby country1911 [OP] » Jan 20 2012, 5:47pm

This is why I love sites low this. The collective knowledge is amazing. These posts are way more helpful than any service manual. Thank you all, again!

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Re: Another 5.3 oil leak

Postby ccrane » Jan 20 2012, 6:31pm

I'm glad this is helpful. You're lucky because I just did this exact procedure on my truck in the past 2 weeks so everything is fresh in my mind. Also, I thought of a couple more issues.

On the transfer case there is a shift motor on the drivers side. you will see it protruding under the transfer case. Its held on by 3 15mm bolts. I took this off so it would'nt get damaged. If you remove this, make sure its in the correct gear, I think its suppose to be in neutral of 2wd for the shaft to line up with the motor. If it is hard to remove don't pry it off, the shaft is probably not in the correct position. loosen the bolts about 1/4 to 3/8 of an inch and see if it slides back easily if it does your good, if not, you are probably not in the correct gear. If you pry it off in the wrong gear it is a B to get back on, and you may not be able to get it on. You will have to buy a new motor. Terrible design. It is good to check the mating surfaces because dirt and salt gets jammed in-between and stresses the motor eventually it will go bad. I made this mistake and I am still trying to get the old one back on, of course I have a few more trick up my sleeve just haven't tried them yet. They is a cheap plastic gasket on it but its a POS so I will probably put some RTV in there to keep out the dirt and salt. You will not have this motor if its not push button 4wd, I almost wish mine wasn't. Just another thing to go bad.

On the trans there is a neutral safety switch. Its on the drivers side of the trans where the shift lever extends out. You have to unplug the connectors and mine where ridiculously tight, I had to use a pair of channel locks. I gimped up the connectors and broke the connector housing on the switch, and had to buy a new switch ($40). I am not sure how to get those out an easier way. Hopefully the GM engineers learned something and changed that connector on yours. its another terrible design flaw. I think GM engineers need to disassemble a truck with high mile and reassemble to go through this stuff.
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