A slippery oil situation (96 Ford)

1996 Ford Taurus 3.0 Vulcan V6

Howdy Ya’ll! Recent events yielded an oil spot in my driveway. I jacked up the car to locate source of leak. Discovered what looks like a seal (not the one that claps flippers and barks)coming out from oil pan near front of engine, where all the pulleys are. I have a book on these cars and it seems like a pretty straight foward replacement, that is if all the bolts come along a nice-like. Here’s where my questions squeeze in like a 34 waist in 28 jeans.

In a “while I’m here” mindset, it is a good idea to replace oil pump while pan is dropped. (I posted recent discussion about wether or not to do it and responses where that car is not worth that kind of repair. I disagree. Anyway. It has been said that oil pumps can go out and with having only an “idiot” light you’ll never know and engine will lock up. Is this possible, isn’t that the job of the oil pressure switch??

Next question is: Is there any tips or tricks ya’ll have up your sleeves from experience? Is there anything I should look for while pan is down?

I’ve recently, with the help of Chilton repair manual, replaced heater core. That was a job and a half!! I don’t mind replacing these little things as opposed to car payments and my goal is to get over 250,000 miles out of this car. I’ve had it since it had 75,000 miles and it has been a superb car!!

Thank ya’ll for your time and any tips offered.

Take Care and God Bless!!


The pan gasket is not that serious a job but it could be that the leak in this case is not the gasket at all but the front crankshaft seal. This would involve removal of the crank pulley of course.

I would not worry one minute about replacing an oil pump. In spite of this “bad oil pump” diagnosis that is batted around all of the time, I think that diagnosis is often misguided.
In roughly 35 years of mechanicing I have yet to see a bad oil pump although I have seen a number of pumps replaced for no reason.

If the pan is off you could drop a couple of bearing caps and take a look at the bearing overlay. Maybe one rod bearing cap and one main bearing cap on the end of the crankshaft that is the fartherest from the oil pump.
If the overlay is gone and a lot of copper is showing, etc. you could consider throwing a new set of bearings in it but if there’s no knocking, any oil light flickers, etc. I wouldn’t even worry about it.

The 3.0 Vulcan is a great engine and the one in my old Sable was still running well at with over 400k miles when I got rid of that car.
You did the heater core so you can do anything!

The only bad oil pump I’ve ever seen was leaking around its shaft seal at ~210k miles.

I don’t think I’d open a can of worms I didn’t have to. Before you remove oil pan, run an oil pressure test. If it’s well within specs, then there’s no need to do more than reseal pan. If it’s not well within specs, then that means there is a problem developing, which chances are wont be fixed with an oil pump. Engines are built much more precisely than they used to be. If you have an oil pressure problem, it’s from excessive clearance.

Have you tried tightening up the pan bolts?? First things first…Perhaps the oil is drooling down from up above…

funny you mention that. i do see kind of a white plastic looking seal that looks like it’s slipping out at “front” of engine, so it makes sense if that would be the front crankshaft seal.

Is this a bigger deal than dropping the pan? You mentioned removing the crank pulley. I’ll have to look up crank shaft seal in my bible, I mean, book :slight_smile: to see what that entails.

What ever it is, it needs to be replaced ASAP!! I pulled into work and made a sharp left turn into a parking spot, got out to see a thin oil trail following the path I just took. So I know it’ll slosh out of the pan.

Side note: I highly recommend that if you own a car you should own the repair manual to that car. Even if you don’t plan to fix yourself you’ll have a better knowledge of the workings of it and it may even help you diagnose before headed to the shop. It has some great trouble-shooting tips in it. It’s worth the $25.00 or so!!!

Thank ya’ll for the great replies to this post!! And OK445, I hope to get that many miles out of my car. It does still run like a champ at 180,000 miles!!
Take Care and God Bless,