Oil pan gasket leaking

I recently discovered that I have a small leak due to the oil pan gasket beginning to tear. Due to my 2001 Ranger being a 4WD the quote to replace it is almost $1000 since I was told they have to lift the engine to do the job. I only lose an ounce or two a month it seems so I could just tolerate that unless someone knows a way I can safely plug the leak. It is actually pretty easy to access the leak as it is right in front of the pan as you face the engine from the front.

Thanks in advance for any help.

Have you tried snugging up the pan bolts?

These can loosen up over time and cause a pan leak.


If snugging up the bolts doesnt work, And you dont mind checking the oil level often, I say live with it. Whatever you do DO NOT add any kind of stop leak of any sort. It will just gum up your engine.

+1 to Fender’s post. No engine has ever been harmed by a slight seepage past a pan gasket. An engine only gets harmed if the level is allowed to drop too low or if you neglect the scheduled maintenance. As long as the oil is monitored and above the “fill” line, your engine will never know it has a seeping spot in the pan gasket.

One word, Permatex,
Permatex can fix a small leak like that and you won`t even have to take the pan off,squirt some permatex gasket sealer along the edge of the pan where the gasket is leaking.

One word, Permatex, Permatex can fix a small leak like that and you won`t even have to take the pan off,squirt some permatex gasket sealer along the edge of the pan where the gasket is leaking.

Only if you can clean off all the oil and have a clean dry surface for the permtex to adhere to.

Thanks for the suggestions…I have read in other forums that trying to use a sealer(especially silicone) runs the risk of getting sucked into the oil and then causing engine damage?

When you buy any sealer, look on the package and see if it say’s “Sensor Safe”. Permatex is one company that makes sensor safe sealants.

But your vehicle didn’t come with an oil pan gasket. It came from the factory with this applied between the engine and oil pan.


I haven’t had to order up an oil pan gasket in years.


I can’t see much of the sealant getting sucked into the oil. I guess there is a vacuum in that area, so it might be possible in theory to get some sealant sucked into the oil. On a 2001 Ranger, that isn’t something I’d have high on my list of worries. To minimize that possibility don’t drive the car for a week, until the sealant totally cures.

I’ll add that just b/c there is oil dripping from the pan gasket area, that doesn’t necessarily imply that is where the leak is originating. The leak could be coming from most anywhere. The wind is tremendous under the car when you are driving it down the freeway, and will blow any oil leaking all over the place. I had what appeared to be an oil pan leak on my Corolla, but I also noticed the valve cover was leaking a bit. After replacing the valve cover gasket, no more oil appeared on the pan. Another common source of oil leak is the oil drain bolt. Do you always replace the gasket with a new one on each oil change?

@Tester - not trying to be critical, and for the sake of my own knowledge, how do you know his truck didn’t come with an oil pan gasket from the factory? When I searched Rock Auto online, 3 of the 4 different engine options for the 2001 ranger had multiple oil pan gaskets to choose from.

I do know for a fact the leak is coming from there because the shop had it on a lift and it is very obvious that the gasket (or whatever it is) is starting to push out from the pan. That plus the pool of oil where it drips when parked.

I’m thinking the permatex is the way to go

As Tester mentioned, check the bolts first…There are a hundred different kinds of “Permatex”…Which one are you going to use? Personally, I always liked “Aviation Permatex”…

I’ll chime in now . . .

I’ve seen this phenomenon on Ford oil pan gaskets . . . where the gasket is being spit out

Bottom line . . . a new gasket is needed

The good news is that Ford has improved their gaskets, and the new design is not going to spit out like the old one

The bad news is it will be $1000…no thanks

Just because one shop wants $1000 does not mean they all do…Shop around…

If you don’t want to repair the problem, at least monitor the oil level regularly

As in every weekend

If the leak is that slow/small theres nothing wrong with living with it. That being said, if youre mechanically inclined theyre not super hard to do. You can buy an engine support - its this bar basically that goes across the engine compartment, you undo your alternator and connect a chain to the bolts and it basically supports the engine that way from the top. Then you take off the wheels and steering knuckles, and theres some bolts holding in the front k member which you remove and take out with a friend bc its heavy, at which point you have access to remove the oil pan. I did this on my 98 mustang. Granted it wasnt 4wd but it wasnt that bad if you have a friend to help. Or perhaps you can rent an engine puller, undo the motor mounts, and lift a few inches in order to slide the pan out.

Parts stores sell gaskets for all kinds of things that used liquid gaskets from the factory. Both of my Mopar minivans came with rtv sealant from the factory on the transmission pan but when you buy a filter for them it comes with a pan gasket.
Many do-it-yourselfers are more comfortable using a paper or cork gasket. They are afraid of applying too much or too little or missing a spot.

I wonder if the OP could drain all the oil out. And leave the engine support in place. Just unbolt the pan a little and let it drop 1/4 of an inch, enough to squeeze in some sealant (after a thorough cleaning job), then rebolt the pan in place?

On my Ford truck the service manual instructions say if you have a rear crank seal spring a leak, you can fix it using a technique like that. I think what you do is drop the crankshaft a tiny amount, like 1/32 ", just enough to install the seal, without having to remove the transmission.

Back in the 70s we would use permatex to make gaskets for everything (thermostat housing, waterpump,oil pan,intake manifold,etc) except headgaskets.iirc it said it wasnt to be used in place of a gasket only to help seal gaskets,but it held up good all on its own as a substitute for a gasket. Thats some good stuff.