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Discussion Starter #1
You may not have to drop the Y-pipe.

This weekend I dropped the oil pan as part of the larger project of replacing the timing cover gasket. Member 00greenlx and I have been trading experiences (actually, he has come up with the majority of good tips) and he mentioned that a subscription service he has had a pointer to removing the oil pan without dropping the Y-pipe.

What you have to do is drain the oil (duh), remove the 02 sensor on the Y-pipe leg closest to the pan.

Then remove all the pan bolts. The pan will drop down but can't be removed because the oil pump pickup is in a baffle inside the oil pan.

However, when you have the pan resting on the Y-pipe as far as it will drop, look inside the driver side end. You will see the oil pump body and one 13mm headed bolt that mounts it to the underside of the block.

Get a 3/8" 13mm socket and a universal joint. Work the socket on to the oil pump and loosen the bolt. You may have to do what I do and use a breaker bar since leverage is limited by the u-joint and the angle you are working at. However, it will break loose and then you can unscrew it for 1/2" or more. At that point, the pan will also drop down to where it can be removed. Or, you can do what I do and unbolt the pump in which case everything will come out.

I will post pictures later this evening to show what you'll see.

My car is a California 2001 SES Vulcan. I'm not sure if the Y-pipe is different than non Californian cars.
 

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Forgot to mention you also have to remove the starter

to have access to some of the oil pan bolts (you would have figured that out). There is also a stamped metal shield that the starter pinion projects through that protects the flywheel, remove this as well (the starter bolts hold it at one end, there is a 13mm bolt that holds it to the transmission at the other end).

This is the O2 sensor that must be removed:



When you have removed the starter and shield and the O2 sensor, remove all the pan bolts. It will drop until it hits the Y-pipe. You should then be able to move it around until you can see the oil pump body and the single bolt holding it on from the transaxle end of the pan. This next picture shows how I maneuvered a 13mm socket with U-joint (3/8" drive - 1/2" is too big, 1/4" may not give you enough leverage):



Loosen the oil pump bolt until you can free the pan - or just do as I did and remove the oil pump completely. It is easily reinstalled when you put the pan back. It also makes it easier to apply the gasket to the block with weatherstrip adhesive and/or silicone. This picture shows how much of the bolt needs to be unscrewed and how the pump will then drop. This was taken after I removed the pan and before reinstalling - I just wanted to make sure there would be no problem putting it back in. This picture was actually taken as I was getting ready to put the pump and pan back on as you can tell by the new gasket.



Here is the underside of the block after the pan removal. As you can see, the Y-pipe is still in place. To the left, you can see where the oil pump mounts and the two guide pins. When reinstalling the pump, you may need to turn the hex-sided shaft and make sure it engages the drive gear when you insert it through the hole that is just above the upper guide pin in this picture. You won't be able to get it to fully engage the guide pins otherwise.



This is the oil pump and the old gasket. The long black thing is the drive shaft which is hex-sided - like an Allen key:



This is how the oil pump is positioned relative to the pan and why you need to loosen it as the circular end of the pick-up tube is constrained by that narrow channel. When you get ready to install the pan (after putting on your new gasket and/or sealant), you will need to put it thusly in the pan, raise the combo to the block and insert the pump drive shaft back from where it was removed. You can then start the bolt and while holding the pump against the block, tighten it. Make sure the guide pins are fully seated as this confirms that the drive shaft is properly in place.



It was really a lot easier than this sounds - rest assured it can be done!
 
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