Welcome To V6Mustang.com!

We are the oldest and largest V6 Mustang forum on the internet. If you have any questions about your V6 Mustang or just want to connect with other V6 Mustang owners around the world, you have found the best place on the internet to do that.

Registering is free and easy! Hope to see you on the forums soon!

Steel Oil Pan for 3.8?

Discussion in '1994-2004 V6 Mustang Tech' started by ProjectVicky, Mar 28, 2017.

  1. ProjectVicky

    ProjectVicky Wrench Monkey

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2012
    Messages:
    245
    Likes Received:
    7
    Trophy Points:
    28
    Location:
    Texas
    I really hate having a cast aluminum oil pan. The one on my last engine broke after I removed it and I feel very uncomfortable having cast aluminum under the car. One hard hit and it's toast. Is there possibly a steel pan from another model (Windstar vans, Taurus, F-150s) that I can source from a junkyard? I believe there are steel pans out there new online for the Mustang but they are at least $100 and that would kill my budget build.
     
  2. ProjectVicky

    ProjectVicky Wrench Monkey

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2012
    Messages:
    245
    Likes Received:
    7
    Trophy Points:
    28
    Location:
    Texas
    So I did a little digging, it LOOKS as though a Windstar/Taurus 3.8 steel stock oil pan should work, although I have not seen anyone else attempt the swap. One thing that threw me off was the difference from 99-00 3.8 Mustang pan to the 2003 3.8 Mustang, there looks like there is some type of notch present (in orange circle) that is not present on other models. I guess my real question is -- does anyone know if the bottom end of the Windstar 3.8 (front wheel drive) is any different than a 2002 Mustang bottom end? Aren't the two identical; does the front wheel drive configuration factor in at all? Is there any reason why a Windstar/Taurus 3.8 steel oil pan and the bottom of a 2002 3.8 Mustang should not be joined in matrimony? Speak now or forever hold your peace. . . . or I'll go to a junkyard, pull one off, and be the first to find out, lol.
    Oil pan comparo.png
     
  3. KirkComer

    KirkComer 1999 3.8L 5 Speed

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2016
    Messages:
    56
    Likes Received:
    15
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Location:
    Shenandoah VA
  4. Lonnie-S

    Lonnie-S Member

    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2012
    Messages:
    49
    Likes Received:
    4
    Trophy Points:
    18
    It's hard to tell just from photos, as the scale of each one is different, I think. However, it strikes me that the Windstar 3.8 steel oil pan may not be as deep as the other two. If that's correct, and I'm not sure that it is, there might be differences in the depth of the oil pump pickup and dipstick too.

    I'd be very interested in what you find out when you get one from the junk yard. If the Windstar oil pan is shallower that my '94 Mustang (mine looks just like the 99-00 to my eyes) pan, that could be useful in my project.

    Cheers,
     
  5. ProjectVicky

    ProjectVicky Wrench Monkey

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2012
    Messages:
    245
    Likes Received:
    7
    Trophy Points:
    28
    Location:
    Texas
    Yeah, my concerns are possible scavenging issues, or drag on the crank (from the crank hitting the oil and possibly making it foam). Luckily I have a pan already off that I can compare it to, I have to find a defunct Windstar van anyway to get the throttle body and intake, if a yard will lit me remove that, I don't see why they wouldn't let me take a pan off. I won't know until I try. . . . I just can't figure out what that dip is on the 99-00 pan. I figure Ford wouldn't spend money on a new pan design for 2002 if they didn't need one, right?
     
  6. Phil II

    Phil II Cone Destroyer Staff Member

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2013
    Messages:
    1,416
    Likes Received:
    207
    Trophy Points:
    73
    Location:
    Columbia, South Carolina
    There is a windage tray attached to the main caps on at least split port 3.8s .
     
  7. Lonnie-S

    Lonnie-S Member

    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2012
    Messages:
    49
    Likes Received:
    4
    Trophy Points:
    18
    @ProjectVicky

    Do keep us updated on what you find out.

    Cheers,
     
  8. ProjectVicky

    ProjectVicky Wrench Monkey

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2012
    Messages:
    245
    Likes Received:
    7
    Trophy Points:
    28
    Location:
    Texas
    Well, I took photos of my 1998 and 2002 oil pans, compared them to steel oil pans for Windstars, Taurus', and others. They look identical save for one thing -- there are mounting brackets on the outside of the aluminum pans but not on the steel pans (see above photo in earlier post). I don't think this is vital really, I may just weld some home-made brackets on later if I think they need it. I'll be going to the JYs sometime this week, early in the morning before work. I'll also pick up a Windstar intake if I can find a decent one. I'll post pictures after I come back from the yard. Wish me luck!
     
    BertVerhoef likes this.
  9. Lonnie-S

    Lonnie-S Member

    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2012
    Messages:
    49
    Likes Received:
    4
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Yes, please do update us after your JY visit. Good luck!
     
  10. ProjectVicky

    ProjectVicky Wrench Monkey

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2012
    Messages:
    245
    Likes Received:
    7
    Trophy Points:
    28
    Location:
    Texas
    So. . . most of the junkyards do not want to sell oil pans. I can't really blame most of them. If the engine is in good shape, nobody will want to buy it after the pan is removed. Some of the yards will not admit an engine being bad and do not want to sell the pan, and some really don't want to pull the engine just for a $25 part. The one pick-n-pull I found that would sell the part wanted $30 for the pan, after a search online, I found several pans for $30 new. So I have a 1996 Windstar steel pan arriving in the mail in a few days. I think it will fit but I'll post pics when it comes in.
     
  11. Lonnie-S

    Lonnie-S Member

    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2012
    Messages:
    49
    Likes Received:
    4
    Trophy Points:
    18
    I can certainly understand not selling a pan off a working engine. But, you'd think they'd strip off the good parts (pan, manifolds, sensors, etc.) from a bad one they sent to the scrap mill. And, you know they have had some of those too. I'm amazed that junk yards in my area want about 80% of retail, and then want you to take the part off yourself. Thanks, but for the most part, I'll spend the 100% at Rock Auto for a new one, and they ship it to my door!

    Please do post the photos of you pan when it arrives, though.

    Cheers,
     
  12. ProjectVicky

    ProjectVicky Wrench Monkey

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2012
    Messages:
    245
    Likes Received:
    7
    Trophy Points:
    28
    Location:
    Texas
    Got the oil pan in. There are some differences and one small fitment issue. First, I'll note the differences that did not affect the fitment: The Windstar oil pan did not need longer bolts on the rear seal (noted in green) and lacked extra mounting points (noted in red) that the Mustang pans did. I haven't really seen a specific need for the mounting brackets. The only reason they may be there would be for the transmission's need for supported weight on the bottom since the Windstar is front wheel drive and the Mustang is rear wheel drive. I don't now if they NEED to be there or not. Also note the "hump" (noted in blue) that appears on the 1998 Mustang oil pan, but apparently was not needed on the later 2002 pan or the Windstar pan. I have no idea why that hump is there. DSC_0230.JPG Next is the oil pan mounting holes (noted in green below), there are three more present on the Windstar pan AND all 3.8 V6 engine blocks. For some reason, the mustang oil pan does not have holes for the three bolts. Then there is the "hump" noted again in blue. Now the yellow part circled on the Windstar pan was the part I was most concerned about. I was worried about the proximity of this indention to the Crankshaft when it turns.
    DSC_0231.JPG
    One more, not-really-important part is the oil pan level sensor (in red) on the Windstar pan that is not present on the Mustang pans. This will be blocked off or, if it's needed, I may use it.
    DSC_0232.JPG Here I checked the clearance of the Crankshaft (mostly the counterweights) and the bolts on the bottom of the main caps (which I was concerned about because the Windstar pan is curved in a lot of areas where the Mustang pans are boxy). This picture also shows the only clearance problem I have found so far: the oil pick-up tube is just barely too long (maybe 1/8ths inch) and hits the bottom of the inside of the Windstar oil pan. I double checked this by using a very thin layer of clay, and sure enough, that's the hitting point. So, I will be trying to see if I can shorten the pickup tube or safely bend it somehow.
    DSC_0240.JPG
     

    Attached Files:

  13. ProjectVicky

    ProjectVicky Wrench Monkey

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2012
    Messages:
    245
    Likes Received:
    7
    Trophy Points:
    28
    Location:
    Texas
    Oh, one more thing I found out, the 1998 3.8 Mustang oil pan and the 2002 3.8 Mustang oil pan weighed in at exactly 8.2 lbs each and are made of cast aluminum. The Windstar 3.8 oil pan is steel and weighs 6.6 lbs. If anyone is wondering why I am so concerned with a steel oil pan, here is a photo: DSC_0248.JPG
    After removing all the bolts and gently hammering the cast aluminum pan with a rubber mallet to break the seal, the pan cracked and part of the pan was still stuck on the block. The gasket sealer was stronger than the pan. Also, if you hit a rock going fast enough with a cast aluminum pan, it will shatter, whereas a steel pan will dent and you could probably still drive home.
     
    six gun likes this.
  14. Lonnie-S

    Lonnie-S Member

    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2012
    Messages:
    49
    Likes Received:
    4
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Thanks for the great write up with all the details. You've done an excellent job of noting the differences, and the marked-up photos are very clear, and helpful.

    An inch is a mile with my project, as the oil pan hangs 1" below the chassis rails now, and 1 inch less would get it protected, as I have a low ride height.
    DSC01284.JPG

    I have the '98-style Mustang pan and I know the bellhousing bolts to the pan at two of those lower bolt hole locations. I'll have to check my setup and see if the third bolt hole relates to the starter in some way. I just can't recall.

    I'm speculating, but I bet that hump in the early ('98) version was to put some rigidity into the pan to support the bellhousing bolts. I guess at some future point in time they decided it was not necessary?

    I'll be interested in how this turns out for you as you proceed on.

    Cheers,
     
  15. ProjectVicky

    ProjectVicky Wrench Monkey

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2012
    Messages:
    245
    Likes Received:
    7
    Trophy Points:
    28
    Location:
    Texas
    I didn't think of that, maybe later on they had better material and didn't need it like on my 02? I thought it might have been to have a smaller oil capacity, but idk. I'm not even sure it's a good idea to have a pan without the support mounts on the bottom, but I'll find out the hard way. The Windstar oil pan is a little shorter than the Mustang pans, it's hard to measure since it had curvy contours, but it's shorter by 1/2" to maybe 1", that's why it hits the oil pickup tube. If I can find time, I'll see if I can find how much shorter it is. If I make it work, I'll have to somehow shorten the pickup tube.
    I'm looking at your chassis rails. . . are you building a framed car or have a custom k member? It's hard to tell at this angle. The primer tube and box tubing and welds are definitely not stock. . .
     
  16. Lonnie-S

    Lonnie-S Member

    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2012
    Messages:
    49
    Likes Received:
    4
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Depending on your welding skills, you can cut the pickup tube and re-weld it after removing the appropriate amount of length. If you don't weld, it should be a pretty easy job for a welder who can do thin material.

    Yes, my project is a tube framed sports car (Lotus Super 7 type) that is using all Mustang running gear. In my case it's the 3.8L V6, T5 and an Auburn Gear LSD in the original 7.5" Mustang rear axle.

    The oil pan hangs down as shown in the photo I posted, but it now is on permanent motor and transmission mounts in that position. A shorter oil pan would give me a little better margin of safety, but I'd be a little concerned about not having those lower bolts in the bellhousing too.

    I'll be interested in how it works out for you.

    Cheers,
     
  17. ProjectVicky

    ProjectVicky Wrench Monkey

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2012
    Messages:
    245
    Likes Received:
    7
    Trophy Points:
    28
    Location:
    Texas
    For the mount locations, I'll have to see if they are necessary later on in my build. As for the pickup tube. . . I'm wondering if a Windstar pickup tube will work.
    Sweet.
     
    Last edited: Apr 22, 2017
  18. ProjectVicky

    ProjectVicky Wrench Monkey

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2012
    Messages:
    245
    Likes Received:
    7
    Trophy Points:
    28
    Location:
    Texas
    Just a quick update: I removed the oil pickup tube, the only other clearance problems seem to be from the RTV gasket sealer that I have not cleaned off the block yet. I think a Windstar oil pickup tube will work, you can find 'em for around $20- $30 new (CL and JY ads want about the same for a used one, it's just better to get it new). I DO know that the 1998 oil pickup is even bulkier and will not fit. I'm cheap, so I may just bend one with a tube bender to make it fit although it may not be for a few months since I am switching jobs at the moment. The mounting brace/bracket may have to be removed to bend it, and them tac welded back on. To sum it up: a Windstar 3.8 steel oil pan will fit if you slightly modify the pickup tube or get a Windstar 3.8 pickup tube.
    ALSO: try to get the steel Windstar pan WITHOUT the oil level sensor hole unless you feel like adding a sensor to the pan or plugging it (which defeats the purpose of having less weight).
     
  19. ProjectVicky

    ProjectVicky Wrench Monkey

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2012
    Messages:
    245
    Likes Received:
    7
    Trophy Points:
    28
    Location:
    Texas
    I think the steel pan will solve the clearance issue. I noticed that the volume of the pan APPEARS smaller because it's a thinner material than the cast aluminum. The bottom of the pan is about 1/2" to 1" shorter than the stock pan. It's difficult to measure the outside of the pan due to its contours but it's visibly shorter when placed side by side.
     
  20. Lonnie-S

    Lonnie-S Member

    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2012
    Messages:
    49
    Likes Received:
    4
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Thanks for the update.

    Cheers,