Oil cooler seal replacement

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gull
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Oil cooler seal replacement

Post by gull » Sat Jul 30, 2011 10:44 pm

(No pictures, sorry. I was going to take some but things quickly got too messy to involve the camera.)

Symptoms:

All the oil in your car just got pumped out onto your driveway.
- or -
You want to avoid all the oil in your car getting pumped out onto your driveway

Items needed:

- Ramps or jack stands
- Screwdriver
- Channel locks or vise grips (if you still have the original spring clamps on your coolant hoses)
- 27mm deep-well socket
- Sharp razor blade (if replacing the hoses as well)
- Drain pans
- Premixed coolant (I only needed 1 gallon, but it could take up to the full capacity depending on how well you drain it)
- 1 quart oil
- New oil cooler seal
- New oil cooler hoses (optional)
- New hose clamps (optional)

Procedure:

1. Get the front of the car up in the air and safely supported on ramps or jack stands.
2. Partially drain the cooling system into a drain pan. I removed the lower radiator hose at the water pump, and removed the expansion tank cap to vent. At the angle I had the car sitting, this drained just over one gallon out of the system.
3. Remove the oil filter. Position an oil drain pan under the car and have a beer while most of the oil drips out of the cooler. (Otherwise you'll be wearing it later.)
4. Disconnect the coolant hoses to the oil cooler. More coolant will gush out when you do this, so be ready with the drain pan.
5. Remove the nut that holds the oil cooler onto the threaded pipe, using your 27mm deep-well socket. You could probably get away with channel locks here, but it's a pretty awkward spot. The nut is really thin so you'll have to hold the socket dead square and firmly against it, or it will slip.
6. Slide the cooler off the threaded pipe. You may have to pull the alternator cable out of the way to get it to drop down. This part is a real pain because both the car and the cooler will be dripping oil and coolant on you the whole time.
7. Remove the old O-ring seal. It'll be stuck to the cooler or to the block mount.
8. If you're replacing the old hoses, now is the time to remove them. The three-way hose is a tight fit and I found it easiest to slice it lengthwise at the small end with a razor blade.
9. If your hoses have been leaking, you'll have some hardened coolant deposits on the hose nipples. Clean them up so the new hoses will have a nice sealing surface.
10. Put the new O-ring seal on the oil cooler. It has two tabs with holes in them; these go over two of the little teats on top of the cooler.
11. Slide the cooler into place and secure with the nut. Try to orient the cooler so it's a good match for the shape of the 3-way hose. (If you took that hose off to replace it, you may want to install the new one first as a guide.)
12. Reconnect all the coolant hoses.
13. Reinstall the oil filter.
14. Add 1 quart oil to the engine to replace what you drained out of the filter.
15. Refill the cooling system. I like to disconnect the upper radiator hose and pour coolant in there to fill up the block, then fill up the reservoir.
16. Start the car. The coolant in the reservoir will probably immediately disappear; add coolant mix until it stays full, then cap the tank.
17. Warm the car up and check for oil or coolant leaks. Top up the reservoir as necessary until all air has burped out of the system.
Last edited by gull on Sat Jul 30, 2011 10:49 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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gull
Posts: 817
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Re: Oil cooler seal replacement

Post by gull » Sat Jul 30, 2011 10:47 pm

This was purely preventative on this car, and a bit of a pain, but I'm glad I did it. My three-way hose was spongy and coming apart internally, and it turned out someone had substituted the seal from an old oil filter for my oil cooler seal! I'm slightly surprised it held as long as it did.

If you don't know when your oil cooler seal was last done, I highly recommend replacing it. It tends to fail catastrophically with little warning, dumping all the oil out of the engine in just a couple miles.
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kamzcab86
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Re: Oil cooler seal replacement

Post by kamzcab86 » Sun Jul 31, 2011 12:07 am

Nice write-up. :thumbup: I shall add it to Cabby-Info when I next update it.

I'd like to add a recommended, optional, replacement though: the oil cooler itself, if it's over 10 years old. As long as you're going to all that work, especially if you're replacing those two hoses, do yourself and the car a favor and just replace the cooler. It's not a matter of if, but when that thing will fail internally, mixing oil into your coolant (and/or vice versa); been there, done that with mine. :beer:

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Briano1234
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Re: Oil cooler seal replacement

Post by Briano1234 » Sun Jul 31, 2011 12:23 am

kamzcab86 wrote:Nice write-up. :thumbup: I shall add it to Cabby-Info when I next update it.

I'd like to add a recommended, optional, replacement though: the oil cooler itself, if it's over 10 years old. As long as you're going to all that work, especially if you're replacing those two hoses, do yourself and the car a favor and just replace the cooler. It's not a matter of if, but when that thing will fail internally, mixing oil into your coolant (and/or vice versa); been there, done that with mine. :beer:

What an ounce of prevention is worth a pound cure. :)
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gull
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Re: Oil cooler seal replacement

Post by gull » Sun Jul 31, 2011 2:34 pm

Yeah, good thought. I actually didn't realize they were a common failure item; I've never had one fail.

Mine was in surprisingly good shape inside from what I could see. I was expecting to see some scale and corrosion in the water passages, but there wasn't any.
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