The 13B Rebuild Chronicles :: Chapter 11 :: Leak Correction

29 03 2009

Early in the week I called Mazdaspeed Motorsports and ordered two oil pan gaskets (one for between the oil pan and the baffle and another for between the baffle and the engine block).  While I was at it I decided to get new motor mounts as the threads on mine were pretty much trashed.  The stock mounts were $20 for one side and $30 for the other, but for $40 each they had the competition mounts which are 40% stiffer. Guess which ones I ordered?

I also took my alternator up to a local starter & alternator shop and had them rebuild it. For $90 I got a new rotor, brushes, bearing, and pulley. A little cheaper than buying a whole new reman, but these guys stand behind their work and they got it done quick. None of our local auto parts shops had the alternator in stock and they were all about $150 anyway.

So, Saturday arrived and Doug and I hit the ground running at around 8:30 AM.  Well, not so much running as worming around on our backs. We literally spent most of the day on our backs under the car amidst oil, grease and cat litter. It was a long, dirty, and tiring day to be honest.

First, we moved the jack stands to the rear of the front wheel wheels so that we had free access to the front of the car. Then we removed the front wheels to create more elbow room, and removed the skid plate from underneath.  Next we jacked up the engine from underneath the transmission, about 4 inches up.  It was not enough to be able to remove the oil pan around the steering linkage though.

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So, we then unbolted the steering linkage on each side. The driver’s side was easy (a 19mm nut) while the passenger side needed the cotter pin removed which was no easy task. We had to make a run to AutoZone to buy a ball joint removal fork (not sure of the technical term) and then popped the joints out and dropped the linkage down to provide easy access to the oil pan. While doing the AutoZone run we had also grabbed Doug’s air ratchet from his house so removing the oil pan bolts was quick work.

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After we had pried the oil pan off, we spent a good hour or so removing the dried RTV from the pan and baffle. I worked the baffle over with a chisel to get the bulk of the RTV off and then a wire brush air tool to buff it back to pristine shape.  Doug did a similar action on the oil pan but also spent some time straightening out the pan and grinding some rough spots down. When he was done the darn thing looked almost new.

Then, after another Autozone run (forgot to get more RTV on the last trip), we built ourselves a gasket sandwich with lots of black RTV. Oil pan, RTV, gasket, RTV, baffle, RTV, gasket, RTV. Used an entire tube of the stuff!

We then got back on the floor (again) and installed the oil pan (again) and gently bolted it down all the way around. It looks good, and I am confident that we will not have any leaks this time around.

Before we dropped the engine back down onto the motor mounts we removed the existing mounts and installed the new Mazdaspeed competition mounts. We reused the underneath nuts but had to use new nuts for above (10 x 1.25 if anyone needs to know).  After that we bolted the skid plate back into place and were basically back to where we were a week ago.

I am certainly no expert, but if anyone else is doing their first rebuild my advice is this: use an oil pan gasket no matter what the guy on  the rebuild DVD says!  By the time we got done I was covered in grime, had oily cat litter in my hair, and muscle aches from lying on a cold concrete floor all day. Thankless work.

Next step: buy new or rebuild the existing rear brake caliper…or maybe not. We put the front wheels back on, removed the jackstands, jacked up the rear driver’s side, removed the wheel, and pulled the caliper.  Upon inspection we found that the caliper was not ceased. It was dry and greaseless but still operational. We pulled it apart, regreased all of the seals and plungers, and made sure everything was moving smoothly.  Later this week I will grab some new brake pads and reinstall the caliper with pads. I will also check all the calipers all the way around, grease them as needed, and install new pads.

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Then we’ll pop her on the trailer and be ready for the Thursday night shakedown run at Desoto Speedway.

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2 responses

22 01 2016
Tanner Harris

Did the build stop right here? I was really enjoying your detailed process. Hope you got everything finished!

23 01 2016
worthyking

Yes, that was the end of the engine rebuild. It didn’t go so well after that…never got her running correctly and eventually gave up and sold the car.

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