How to replace your leaking Oil Cooler Gasket

Discussion in 'Gen 1 & 2 - Guides (For How-to guides, NOT how-to ' started by Irish Pride, Apr 19, 2013.

  1. Irish Pride

    Irish Pride Irish Inside Staff Member

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    Whether your gasket has failed and is now leaking oil from behind the cooler or like in my case the cooler itself is damaged and no longer allowing the oil filter to seal properly, you will soon find out that replacement gaskets are long gone. Here is a step by step procedure on how to replace the Oil Cooler Gasket and make sure it seals completely.

    I recommend doing this at the same time as your next oil change so that you don’t waste good oil or a filter with life left in it.

    Needed materials – ½” drive breaker bar, 30mm socket, flat head screwdriver, 3 new 1” hose clamps, replacement coolant hoses(if needed), 2 new Motorcraft Oil Filters(very important that they be Motorcraft – if you already have a Motorcraft filter on your car only 1 new filter will be needed), black RTV, and various rags, cleaning materials, and pans for oil and coolant.

    In order to do this correct you will need to remove the oil cooler so Step 1 - is to disconnect the negative battery terminal.

    Step 2 – jack the front of the car up and place on top of jack stands.

    Step 3 - remove the starter so you have room to work.

    Step 4 – drain the cooling system.

    Step 5 – remove the oil filter and drain the oil into a pan. If it is a Motorcraft filter, remove the gasket from it and discard the filter. If not you can just discard it. The gasket from the Motorcraft filter is what you will use to replace the oil cooler gasket. Through trial and error I have found that the gasket from Motorcraft filters are the best fitting replacements for the oil cooler.

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    Step 6 – with the ½” drive breaker bar and 30mm socket, remove the bolt securing the oil cooler to the block. Have a drain pan ready to catch oil coming from behind and inside the cooler.

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    Step 7 – loosen the upper 2 hose clamps and then slide the hoses off. The upper hose slides off the cooler and the U shaped hose will slide off of the block. Have a drain pan ready to catch coolant coming from these hoses. Once the hose ends are loose, go ahead and remove the oil cooler with the U shaped hose still attached. At this point you can remove the old gasket and discard it. Now would be a good time to examine the coolant hoses and replace if needed.

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    Step 8 – if you are just replacing the gasket or if like me you need to replace the cooler, you will now want to clean and examine the cooler and make sure it is still useable and free of contaminants.

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    Step 9 – remove the gasket from one of the new Motorcraft filters and place the filter back in its box and store it for your next oil change. You can remove the gasket off the other filter and use it on this filter next time. If you place the gasket on to the oil cooler you will see that it fits if you give it a little stretch. Using the flat head screwdriver you want to very slightly pry up each of the 6 tabs on the back of the oil cooler. Be very careful that you give each tab just a slight pry. All you want to do is free up enough room so that the gasket fits without having to stretch it.

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    Step 10 – put a thin bead of RTV around the outer edge of the oil cooler paying special attention to the 2 locations where there are no tabs and then install the new gasket on to the cooler. The RTV serves 2 purposes – it helps to make sure that you get a good seal with the new gasket as well as helps secure the gasket to the cooler so that it doesn’t shift or come loose when reinstalling it.

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    Step 11 – carefully place the oil cooler gasket side down and then place something heavy on top of it to help cure it in the proper position. Now give yourself 30 minutes for the RTV to cure. Go drink a Yoo-Hoo and eat a warm Bagel or something more to your liking. Once the RTV has set you can examine the gasket and make sure that you have a good fit.

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    Step 12 – reinstallation. Be sure to use new hose clamps when reinstalling. I personally hate the crimp style clamps so I always replace them with screw drive clamps. These will also be easier to remove later down the road just in case you ever have to replace one of the hoses if you are reusing your old ones. Mount the cooler first and tighten the 30mm bolt and then slide the hoses back into place and tighten the clamps.

    **Make sure you do not over tighten the 30mm bolt. It just needs to be snug. You do not need to torque this bolt or you risk damaging the oil cooler or possibly dislodging the new gasket. The oil filter mounts to this bolt and when installed the filter adds torque to the cooler which in turn keeps this bolt from being able to back out.

    Step 13 – install the other Motorcraft oil filter on to the reinstalled oil cooler. Reinstall the starter and refill the cooling system. Reconnect the negative battery terminal and start the car to check for leaks. If you did it properly you can stand back and admire a job well done. This will probably be short lived though cause you just spent an afternoon working on a 20 year old POS Taurus and i'm sure you will need to repair something else very soon. :sun:

    -Chad
     
    trainguy1989 and SHOdded like this.
  2. SHOdded

    SHOdded SHO Member

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    This writeup was long overdue. Thanks, Chad!
     
  3. rubydist

    rubydist SHO Member Staff Member

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    I have tried Chad's method with poor success - the gasket is not really large enough in diameter to ensure seating on the seal shelf of the cooler. The oil filter seal is really 50% too thick, which makes it want to push off that sealing surface. If that gasket leaks, you have a large river of oil leaking out of the engine, and very quickly a dead engine.

    What I have found that has worked 100% of the time is the following:

    Go to NAPA and buy part # 601-1363. This is an oil seal kit for some Toyota truck, iirc. In that kit is an o-ring that is just the right thickness and diameter to replace your old, dead seal.

    When I put it together, I put just a little flexible rtv on the cooler/seal assembly - not to seal it but just to ensure the seal stays in the right place while I assemble it.

    Otherwise, follow Chad's instructions. I have done this on several engines and it has worked 100% of the time with no issues.
     
    Gen1Shogun, tompumped, Rubix and 3 others like this.
  4. Ishodu

    Ishodu Moderator Staff Member

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    Nice work
    Sticky
     

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