96 Rodeo Fell Off Jack, Damaged Oil Pan and Rear Main Seal

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96 Rodeo Fell Off Jack, Damaged Oil Pan and Rear Main Seal

Postby justjordan » Sat Apr 17, 2021 5:57 pm

1996 Rodeo V6 4WD Manual

tl;dr
My Rodeo slipped off the jack the other day. I was raising it by the front cross-member. The jack slipped out from under that and caught the truck's fall by the oil pan. Ouch. So here's my best guess at the damage: 1) The oil pan is slightly dented right by the drain plug. 2) The rear main oil seal is leaking. I'm hoping to get advice as to how to proceed. Do I necessarily need to replace/re-seal the oil pan? Or can I just do the rear main seal? Does oil leaking from the bell housing 100% indicate a destroyed rear main oil seal?

More detailed explaination:
I was lifting it up to do the ball joints, raising the front end by the middle of the front cross-member. Well, the front cross-member was covered in dirt and oil. And I should have lifted a bit, put jack stands under, lifted some more, extended the jack stands, rinse and repeat until it was high enough. But I didn't do that. And the jack slipped out from under the rear cross-member and caught my Rodeo's fall by the oil pan. As quick as I could, I set it down and began assessing the damage. I never would have been underneath the car under the circumstances, but it was a good and unnecessary reminder to be safe out there.

So, the damage: It was clear right away that the oil pan is dented. Not very dented. But a broad, shallow dent about 3" square and maybe ~1/2" deep. Then, the next morning I found a puddle of oil under the front end. It appears to have leaked out from the bell housing. So, my theory is that the impact damaged the rear main oil seal - that the force of the fall somehow ended up in part on the oil seal.

I haven't started it up since it happened. At first I was worried that I might have knocked a bunch of gunk loose off the bottom of the oil pan, and I didn't want that getting circulated around. Now I'm additionally worried that I'll start it up and the rear main will .. I dunno.. do something bad.

So, how to proceed? Replace the oil pan (this seems very difficult, much more so than I anticipated)? Replace the rear main oil seal? Almost certainly, I would think. Is it safe to crank it up/is there any reason to do so, maybe to better assess the rear main? Or should I definitely not run the engine until these two things are taken care of? And FINALLY, any general advice on tackling either/both of these very serious projects is very welcome. Thanks!
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Re: 96 Rodeo Fell Off Jack, Damaged Oil Pan and Rear Main Se

Postby Jake.Werecat » Sat Apr 17, 2021 6:45 pm

My suggestion would be to do take off the oil pan to see what have happened underneath. A dent as a result of an impact from a jack is pretty obvious; not so much for the rear crankshaft seal. For now I cannot think of any reason which could caused that... :roll:
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Re: 96 Rodeo Fell Off Jack, Damaged Oil Pan and Rear Main Se

Postby justjordan » Sat Apr 17, 2021 8:12 pm

I don't really get it either. But a not-insignificant amount of oil definitely came out of the bell housing afterwards. That's got to be the rear main, doesn't it? Maybe I will refocus efforts on the oil pan. I already have the front end partially disassembled. Sigh..
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Re: 96 Rodeo Fell Off Jack, Damaged Oil Pan and Rear Main Se

Postby Shawn Anthony » Fri Apr 23, 2021 3:06 am

The only way to damage a rear main seal this way is if the entire rear most main bearing cap ripped off. Which I assure you did not happen thus, your rear main seal is not leaking.

This is what really happened....
When the vehicles weight fell onto the oil pan it dented at the point of impact with the jack. This stretched the metal pan which would roll the weakest edge of the oil pan down and away from the engine block. The weakest section of the oil pan is the very front & rear "hoops" Replace your oil pan or reshape it once its removed.

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Re: 96 Rodeo Fell Off Jack, Damaged Oil Pan and Rear Main Se

Postby Enemigo » Fri Apr 23, 2021 11:16 am

Replacing the rear main seal is an easy 10 minute job, AFTER you've struggled for hours removing the transmission. So, I would remove and address the oil pan first and see if it's still leaking before I went after the rear main seal. I also don't understand how the rear main could have been damaged from falling off a jack.
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Re: 96 Rodeo Fell Off Jack, Damaged Oil Pan and Rear Main Se

Postby justjordan » Sat May 01, 2021 2:52 pm

Ok. Thank you all for the sanity check and reassurance! I'm encouraged that it's hopefully just the oil pan that's damaged; I'm not keen to drop the transmission if I don't have to. I haven't had a lot of time to get to work on it, but I'm hoping to make some serious progress over the next few weekends. I'll update with my progress as I go.
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Re: 96 Rodeo Fell Off Jack, Damaged Oil Pan and Rear Main Se

Postby Jake.Werecat » Sun May 02, 2021 5:19 am

Wishing you luck with the repairs!
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Re: 96 Rodeo Fell Off Jack, Damaged Oil Pan and Rear Main Se

Postby justjordan » Sat May 22, 2021 4:56 pm

Ok, I've made some progress, but I'm a bit stuck right now.

I got the front axel/drive train out successfully. And now I'm on to getting the fly wheel dust cover out of the way. Looking into that, it appears to be a good ways down the list of instructions for removing the transmission. Is that right? Do I really need to remove the front end of the exhaust system and more-or-less lower the transmission to get the fly wheel dust cover out of the way so that I can remove the oil pan? :? :(
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Re: 96 Rodeo Fell Off Jack, Damaged Oil Pan and Rear Main Se

Postby justjordan » Mon May 31, 2021 10:59 pm

I got the flywheel dust cover off! For future reference, removing it required removing two 14mm bolts from the bottom of the starter and moving the starter out of the way momentarily. I did end up removing the front end of the exhaust system before I figured that out. So I'm not sure if removing the exhaust is necessary or not, but it might be.

Now I can finally do the gd oil pan :lol:. Now that I've come as far as I have, I'm debating pulling the transmission and replacing the clutch and/or resurfacing the flywheel. In for a penny in for a pound, no?
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Re: 96 Rodeo Fell Off Jack, Damaged Oil Pan and Rear Main Se

Postby Enemigo » Tue Jun 01, 2021 12:58 am

Might as well replace the rear main seal as well while you're in there.
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Re: 96 Rodeo Fell Off Jack, Damaged Oil Pan and Rear Main Se

Postby justjordan » Thu Jun 10, 2021 12:00 pm

I think my plan of action will be:
  1. Put things back together just enough to be able to run the engine (reinstall exhaust, clamp open vacuum hoses)
  2. Fill with oil and fluorescent dye
  3. Run the engine for a while and look for leaks.
  4. If all looks good, reassemble and enjoy the vehicle, finally!
  5. Otherwise, fix what needs fixing and jump back to step 3.
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Re: 96 Rodeo Fell Off Jack, Damaged Oil Pan and Rear Main Se

Postby namealreadyinuse » Thu Jun 10, 2021 1:30 pm

Might as well do the job right since you have to go in there.
285,000 miles?
How about putting in new main and rod bearings too.
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Re: 96 Rodeo Fell Off Jack, Damaged Oil Pan and Rear Main Se

Postby Enemigo » Thu Jun 10, 2021 4:27 pm

The rear main seal is both cheap and easy to replace at this stage. It'd be silly not to do it.

EDIT: I mis-read your post. If you pull the tranny and clutch, the rear main seal is right there. If you're going to do that anyway, then get the seal.
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Re: 96 Rodeo Fell Off Jack, Damaged Oil Pan and Rear Main Se

Postby justjordan » Thu Jun 10, 2021 5:57 pm

Yeah, sorry my flip-flopping is confusing. I'm not planning on dropping the tranny for now. Now that I've removed the exhaust and cross-members, I'm not so intimidated by doing it a second time later on. I just want to clean stuff up a bit more, identify any other leaks, fix those as applicable, and put her back together.

btw, I'm fairly certain the oil cooling unit is leaking oil. Any common culprits there? Is there a gasket or o-ring or something that wears out? Or does it just need tightening up, maybe?
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Re: 96 Rodeo Fell Off Jack, Damaged Oil Pan and Rear Main Se

Postby justjordan » Fri Jun 11, 2021 10:59 pm

Fluorescent dye results are in. I have a rear main seal leak. I'm not trying to say it's new or caused by the truck falling onto its oil pan. There's a pretty good build-up of old grime back there, so I think it's been around for a while. But I am going to deal with it while I've got things half taken apart.
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