A Ford Factory Oil Pan Makes a Difference
I have searched for a good-used, original Ford factory oil pan since I first pinned the blame for my clearance issues on the Scott Drake oil pan. While I had contemplated less invasive, interim solutions such as the now-failed attempt at adding washers, replacing the bad oil pan with a factory original was the ultimate goal. The problem was, I couldn’t find one anywhere.
Mustangs Etc. said they might have one, but that they’d have to call me back. I called them three or four times over a week-and-a-half to follow-up; they never managed to get around to it. Marlon Mitchell, one of the local Mustang gurus, suggested that Bo at Mustang Service Center in North Hollywood would have one. I called and left messages but hadn’t received a call back after several days. I called again during business hours and I got someone on the phone (not Bo). He said they had new replacements, but no used ones. Craigslist was a virtual dead-end. One guy listed a 289 pan on eBay that looked worse than my original. In a pinch, one of my friends offered to swap a good pan from one of the motors in his garage.
Assessing the options…
For various reasons, including the fact I didn’t feel right trading him a banged up pan for a good one since that meant he’d end up needing a new pan when he got around to doing his motor, I’d held off on accepting his very generous offer. Eventually in desperation I texted my friend that I might need to take him up on his offer. But not long after that, Bo from Mustang Service Center returned my call from a few weeks ago. As it turns out, he’d been out of commission due to a total knee replacement and hadn’t been checking his messages. Bo felt certain he’d have a used pan in stock, but I would need to go by with my old pan to compare.
Sure enough, they did. Waiting for me on arrival was a rusty and nasty-looking, but dent-free, pan. I paid what I considered a fair price, and I was back on my way. But that left me with a few conundrums. First, the pan was rusty on the inside. That’s unusual because moisture shouldn’t be anywhere near the inside surface of an oil pan. The oil film does an excellent job of keeping the inner surfaces rust-free. Second, treating the rust would be a challenge because it obviously would need to be media-blasted. The next question was, “where am I going to get this oil pan media blasted?”
A Lucky Call
Thankfully my first call was to Ryan Peart at JGM, one of the master machinists who built my engine. I asked what he would do. His answer was simple, “we’d thermal clean it, which cooks it like a rotisserie chicken, and then we’d blast it with shot to return the finish to virgin steel.” Works for me! How much? They’d charge just under $50. Sold. I drove the pan out to JGM right after my lunch break yesterday.
Jim Grubbs himself was there when I arrived. We chatted briefly, first to catch up and then to relay my troubles. Jim suggested a time-frame (overnight turnaround!), and he made me an offer I couldn’t refuse. I can’t express how awesome an experience it was. It reminded me how much I’d loved going out there while they were building my motor. JGM is a great bunch of guys. They’re like a family, and every time I’m there they make me feel like I’m family, too.
A Little Paint and We’re Good to Go!
I picked up the oil pan this afternoon. I couldn’t wait to paint it. Several light coats of paint later, and I now have a pan that’s ready to install as soon as the new gasket arrives. And when that happens, I’ll be that much closer to closing everything up in the engine compartment. I’m excited! This is a major step forward.