Join Date: Apr 2002
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Damaged oil pan mystery........
A strange thing happened to me this weekend, and I though I'd pass it along to see if anybody has heard of such a strange event. While on the way back from some very mild 4 wheelin' on the mountain with my stock '95 YJ, driving down a smooth gravel road, the 4 cylinder started making an awful racket, and when I looked at the oil pressure gauge, it was already at zero. Now this is a residential road, so its graded regularily and there are no bumps or holes to speak of. So in the dark and the rain, I lay under the Jeep and can see that my oil pan is all caved in and that the oil is long gone. The next day, I jack it up and find out the damage is much more severe than I thought, besides the new valley down the center of the oil pan, there were two 3/4" holes, one on each side of the sump. Here's the catch, the holes were perfect hexagons, both of them, and the small little hexes were still there bent up in the pan....this is very strange and they were perfect just like the head of a bolt. Anyhow, the pan was like new and still very strong, I don't know how in the heck this could happen without feeling or hearing any bangs underneath??? Since I couldn't find a pan anywhere and I was 135 miles from home, I decide to fix my own. So I bent the little hexes back down into their holes and with a steel punch and a hammer, pounded the bottom of the pan back out flat again, this was quite a task as it was bent pretty good. After I got it all back close to normal, I brazed over the holes and gave it a new coat of black paint before reinstalling it. I also pulled all the main bearing caps off to inspect them, but they seemed OK. Filled her back up with oil and made the journey home, no problem, Jeep is working fine. We took a drive back out to where it happened and walked around for a half an hour but could find nothing that would have caused such damage, nothing. And you could see exactly where the oil came out as there was a black trail about 100 feet long, and with two holes that big, it drained pretty quickly. I'm still baffled....two approximately 3/4" hexagonal holes, about 3.5" on center driven through my oil pan, without hearing a thing. What in the heck could have been on the road that could fly up like that? And what luck to only hit the oil pan!!! Oh well, at least I didn't damage the engine, it could have been much worse. BTW, how come this thing doesn't have any oil pan protection? My '90 Toyota 4x4 has a shield over the pan, that would have protected it from such damage. Any thoughts anybody??