Ford F150: How to Replace Your Oil Pan Gasket

Contrary to popular belief, your engine is not "sweating horsepower" when it is leaking oil. As is typical with seals and gaskets, years of usage and accumulated mileage sees these items become brittle and unable to fully keep the fluids contained inside of your engine. Considering the oil pan is responsible for catching and holding the engine's oil, it is common for oil leaks to emanate from this region.

By Joseph Coelho - June 1, 2016

This article applies to the Ford F-150 (1987-1996).

All of the engine oil is collected and stored in the engine's oil pan. The oil pan gasket is sandwiched between the engine block and the oil pan to provide a leak-proof seal. Unfortunately, the pan gasket will age and can eventually leak, leaving you with quite a mess under your vehicle. Most oil pan leaks are more of an annoyance than a major mechanical concern; however, if left unchecked, severe leaks can starve your engine of its lifeblood. Many times, a minor leak can be cured by tightening the oil pan bolts, but if that does not cure the problem, the oil pan gasket likely needs replacement. This article will outline the oil pan gasket replacement procedure for the 1987 to 1996 Ford F-150.

Ford F150: How to Replace Oil Pan Gasket

Materials Needed

  • Metric wrench and socket set
  • SAE wrench and socket set
  • 3/8" and 1/2" drive ratchets and extensions
  • Floor jack and jack stands
  • Torque wrench
  • Wood blocks (approximately 1.25" thick)
  • Silicone gasket sealant
  • Catch pan
  • Oil pan gasket kit
  • Engine oil and filter
  • Scraper
  • Acetone
  • Razor blade
  • Rubber mallet
  • Penetrating oil

This job is best accomplished with the front of the truck or entire vehicle lifted off of the ground. For additional info on lifting and supporting your truck, refer to How to Jack Up a Truck.

Step 1 – Drain engine oil

The first steps to replacing the oil pan gasket on the F-150 is to drain the engine crankcase of oil.

  • For safety purposes, begin by disconnecting the negative (black) battery cable.
  • Locate and remove the drain plug from the oil pan. Have a catch pan handy to collect the emerging engine oil.
  • ford f150 truck oil pan gasket DIY how to remove drop replace change
    Figure 1. Battery located on passenger side engine compartment.
  • ford f150 truck oil pan gasket DIY how to remove drop replace change
    Figure 2. Removing oil pan drain plug.

Pro Tip

Depending on the engine configuration of your F-150, you may also be required to drain the cooling system before removing the fan shroud as outlined in Step 2.

Step 2 – Remove surrounding engine components and accessories

Depending on which engine configuration your F-150 is equipped with, various components will need to be removed before you are able to drop the oil pan.

  • Unbolt the cooling fan/radiator shroud bolts and separate the shroud from the radiator. The shroud can rest on the fan itself. This will prevent the fan from breaking the shroud when later lifting the engine.
ford f150 truck oil pan gasket DIY how to remove drop replace change
Figure 3. Unbolting fan shroud from radiator.
  • If equipped with an automatic transmission, disconnect the hard line(s) running to the oil cooler in the radiator. Failure to disconnect the transmission cooler lines can result in damage when lifting the engine to provide oil pan clearance. Have a catch pan handy, as small amounts of transmission fluid will leak from the lines when disconnected.
ford f150 truck oil pan gasket DIY how to remove drop replace change
Figure 4. Typical transmission cooler line routing.
  • Disconnect the electrical wiring from the starter solenoid and remove the starter motor to allow additional clearance for exhaust as well as oil pan removal.
ford f150 truck oil pan gasket DIY how to remove drop replace change
Figure 5. Starter removal.
  • Disconnect the exhaust system at the exhaust manifold flanges. If the exhaust has never been removed, it is advisable to apply penetrating oil to the bolts several hours before removal, as they are typically rusted in place.
ford f150 truck oil pan gasket DIY how to remove drop replace change
Figure 6. Exhaust manifold flange.
  • Remove the nuts and lock washers from the engine support brackets (motor mounts).
ford f150 truck oil pan gasket DIY how to remove drop replace change
Figure 7. Exploded view of motor mount assembly.
  • Loosen the transmission mount nuts. This will allow the transmission to pivot upward when lifting the engine.

Pro Tip

While various repair manuals suggest removing the throttle body and upper intake manifold, many technicians are typically able to raise the engine enough to lower the oil pan without needing to remove these two components.

Step 3 – Remove oil pan

With the above components loosened or disconnected, the engine can be slightly lifted and the oil pan removed.

  • Position a 2 x 4 block of wood on the floor jack pad and begin to slowly lift the engine under to oil pan. Slowly lift the engine until the plenum/throttle body or carburetor comes close to the firewall.
  • At this point, place a pair of 1-1/4" blocks of wood under the motor mounts and slowly lower the jack until the engine is resting on the blocks and pressure is relieved from the oil pan (See Figure 10).
  • Remove all of the oil pan bolts and collect the pan reinforcement rails.
  • The oil pan should now drop down and rest on the crossmember. If the pan is stuck in place, gently tap it with a rubber mallet to break the seal.
  • ford f150 truck oil pan gasket DIY how to remove drop replace change
    Figure 8. Lifting engine with floor jack.
  • ford f150 truck oil pan gasket DIY how to remove drop replace change
    Figure 9. Removing oil pan bolts.

Step 4 – Replace oil pan gasket

After the oil pan has been separated from the engine, the gasket can now be replaced.

  • Clean all old gasket material from the engine block and oil pan mating surfaces. A scraper, razor blade, and acetone can come in handy to remove any stubborn material.
  • With the pan and engine mating surfaces clean, slide the gasket under the oil pickup tube and into place. Use the supplied gasket studs to keep the gasket held in place against the block until you are ready to install the pan.
  • A light dab of silicone sealant can be applied to the corners of the rear main cap as well as the corners of the front cover, as these are common areas that can leak.
  • With the gasket properly aligned, install the oil pan, reinforcement rails, and pan bolts. Tighten the pan bolts to 10-12 ft/lbs, starting with the center bolts and working outwards in a cirss-cross pattern. Finish by tightening the bolts at the front of the pan.
  • ford f150 truck oil pan gasket DIY how to remove drop replace change
    Figure 10. Gasket held in place with gasket studs.
  • ford f150 truck oil pan gasket DIY how to remove drop replace change
    Figure 11. Areas to apply silicone sealant.

Pro Tip

If maneuvering the pan gasket around the oil pump pickup tube proves too difficult, the pickup tube can be removed and allowed to drop into the oil pan to place the pan gasket into position.

Step 5 – Reassembly

With the new pan gasket in place and the oil pan tightened, proceed with reassembly.

  • Slowly lift the engine to relieve pressure on the wooden blocks and remove the blocks.
  • Lower the engine onto the motor mounts and install. You may be required to slightly shift the engine one way or the other for correct mount alignment.
  • Torque the motor mounts to 35-45 ft/lbs.
  • Tighten the transmission mount fasteners.
  • Reattach the exhaust pipes to the exhaust manifolds.
  • Install the starter motor and torque the fasteners to 18 ft/lbs. Attach electrical wires to solenoid.
  • If applicable, re-connect the transmission cooler hard lines.
  • Reattach the fan shroud.
  • Replace oil filter and fill crankcase with the specified amount of oil as outlined in the owner's manual for your particular engine configuration.
  • Attach any disconnected cooling hoses and fill cooling system with antifreeze (if applicable).
  • Reconnect the battery cable and lower vehicle off of jack stands.
  • Check automatic transmission fluid level after it reaches operating temperature.

Featured Video: F150 Oil Pan Removal

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