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1999 Astro van had oil pan changed, 2 weeks later engine is blown, any corelation?

My oil plug had been stripped out so I bought a new oil pan and had it installed at a dealership. Did not drive the van for about a week. Drove it to work a couple days and when I got it home it was making LOUD rattling noises under the hood. Towed it back to the dealership and they said it might have dropped a rod or had a bearing going out. So, now I am wondering if changing the oil pan had anything to do with the motor going bad. In otherwords, could the dealership be responsible for the engine problems?

A number of possibilities. Could be that they did not add enough oil after re-installing the pan. Or the plug was not tightened and the oil leaked out. Or the oil pickup tube was damaged and no oil was circulated to the bearings.

In any case, I suspect strongly that the two are related and the dealership is responsible. Did you check the oil after you got the car back from the shop? Did you see and oil leaking?

+1 to Doc’s comment.
However, there are a couple of big “IFs” connected to this possibility.

IF there was an oil leak from the pan gasket or the drain plug, then there is almost surely a connection. Is/was there any evidence of an oil leak?
IF the crankcase was not filled with the correct amount of oil following the pan replacement, then there is almost surely a connection.

In regard to both possibilities, checking the oil after leaving the shop would have been very…telling.
Did you check the oil at any point after leaving the shop, and before the loud rattling noises began?
Did you check the oil after hearing the rattling noises?

Oldschool; was there any evidence that there was a leak from the plug, ie; puddle where it’s parked???

I replaced a pan years ago. I don’t remember the make.
The pick-up tube was in the way of getting the old pan off and the new one on.
You had to get the pan in place without the oil pick-up attached…let the pan hang and reach in and affix the pick-up…then raise the pan and bolt it down.
Could the mechanic have forgotten the pick-up tube and it’s laying in the bottom of the pan???

I’m not sure if an Astro Van gives you enough room ???


When it made the loud noises, what was the oil level when you checked it?

Replacing oil pans has become a gold mine for unscrupulous dealers. It’s too late for this car now, but, for future reference, there’s absolutely no reason to replace an oil pan because the drain hole is stripped. There are very inexpensive kits available to effect a permanent repair of the hole. I get angry every time I read a story like yours.

In addition to the possibilities already mentioned, if insufficient space exists between the oil pickup screen and the splash shield (or bottom) of the new oil pan, then the engine can be destroyed by oil depletion. And yes, oil depletion will cause a “dropped rod” or a damaged or spun bearing. There should be between 1/4" and 3/8" clearance between the pickup screen and the pan. I seriously doubt if these crooks even bothered to check.


You have another thread going about a 1999 Astro that had low oil pressure

If I’m correct, we’re talking about the same van

Nice catch, Bd.
Olschoolguy? The ball is in your court. Are we discussing the same vehicle?

Yes it IS the same vehicle. I just wanted to get views on the oil pan being changed and see if there was any correlation. Also, I did check the oil when I got it back from the dealership (oil was full) and again after it was making noise. (Oil pressure had dropped but was full of oil.) Of course the dealer said there was NO correlation, but it seemed very funny that it had issues right after the oil pan change.

If the two ARE related, the problem is proving it. The only possible way I know of would be to have another shop measure the pickup screen clearance. This would involve removing the pan and either taking measurements and a bit of arithmetic, or using the “Play Dough” method. The Play Dough method is simply putting a ball of Play Dough on the pickup or the screen, reinstalling the pan, then removing it again and measuring the thickness of the now-compressed Play Dough.
IF the problem was that the screen was against the pan blocking flow, that could prove it. If it were some other cause, that would only eliminate that possibility. But that is a BIG IF.

BUT, if there are other issues such as neglect, there’s no point in going through this exercise.

If for instance you find a shop rag in the oil pan then the previous repair caused the failure. Without inspection there is no way of knowing the cause of failure. If the shop that replaced the oil pan won’t remove the pan for inspection you may have to pay another shop to inspect it.

It’s definitely possible the oil pan replacement is the cause. But not 100% certain. It could just be a coincidence. So ask a different shop who has no skin in this game to remove the oil pan and inspect if everything that should be in place under the pan after a correct oil pan installation job, actually is. Also inspect that the dip tube is correctly situated.

Since the oil level was ok, and there were no signs of major oil leaks, it’s probably safe to assume the oil filter was correctly installed, and the oil filler cap was correctly installed.

Prior to repairing the oil pan it apparently leaked. Did the leak ever result in the oil pressure dropping?

I think somebody should remove the pan AND some of the bearing caps, as well

I kind of suspect one or more bearings are fried

This thread reminds me of when Tom and Ray ask “When are you going to tell us about the check engine light?” Withholding vital information is one sure way to get bogus responses.

Too many possible causes, one being the replaced oil pan. On a 15 yo car lots of things can happen for no reason at all. It’s not very satisfying lacking anyome to blame, but I suspect if you make the checks others have suggested you won’t find a smoking gun. You might, of course, but probably won’t. Even if there was something the shop did wrong there may no longer be any evidence of it.

I appreciate ALL comments. I just wish I could drive the van so I could have a few more mechanics take a look, or listen. The other problem is, it will cost several hundred dollars just to have someone actually open it up and see what really is wrong. So, it’s either a few grand for a remanufactured motor, even if that’s not actually what it needs, or trash it and buy a used car and make payments again…

If the oil pressure was low, and the engine is making noise, it’s probably on its last legs

If your engine is bad, I’d get a rebuilt engine, versus a uses engine

A used engine is an expensive gamble. What if it’s super high mileage, and wasn’t taken care of?

The vehicle had been meticulously maintained and did not leak a drop of oil. It had oil when it “broke down” and even after the pressure dropped. The pressure was back the next time I started it. Anyhow, I had a remanufactured motor installed and I am back on the road. Needs a brake job now, but otherwise I guess the problem is solved. Thanks to ALL who responded.

Congratulations on getting your van back on the road!

Just out of curiosity . . . did anybody take a look at the crankshaft, camshaft, bearings, cylinder walls, etc. ?