Road hazard snuck up on me :(

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  #1  
Old 01-30-07, 10:52 AM
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Road hazard snuck up on me :(

I have a 99 Dodge Neon, 2.0L, SOHC.

Now for the background information... I was driving down a 60 mph highway, and the Jeep in front of me drives right over a 50 lb weight sitting in the middle of the road. With cars to the left and right of me, I had no way to dodge it and not enough time to stop, but I hit the brakes anyway. Impact was at about 30 mph. I made my way to the side of the road dragging the weight with me, the oil light came on after 5-10 seconds, shut vehicle off after about 15 seconds, maybe a little less. Got out and surveyed the damage, there was a big pool of oil under my car and a line of oil leading to another oil pool where the impact was. Also a big gaping hole in the oil pan.

My questions are:
1) Is there a chance my engine is still good? Like I said, it was on for no more than 15 seconds after the impact, if even that. Oil was still draining out of the hole after I stopped, so I'm assuming the engine still had some circulating.

2) Is replacing the oil pan a DIY job for this car for the average guy with average tools? Are there any special tools I should borrow/rent that I would need?

3) Nothing else seemed to be damaged, I checked the drive axle, the transmission, everything else under there seemed in tact. Is this even worth trying myself, shall I just start with $150 for the oil pan/gasket and see if that works?

I don't have much money but I could afford the pan. I don't know what I'm going to do if this requires a mechanic to fix, I'm new to my area and don't really know anybody I can trust.

Any suggestions would be great. Thanks guys.
 
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  #2  
Old 01-30-07, 11:05 AM
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Provided the pan took the impact and no internal parts, like the crank, I think you'll probably be okay.

Oil pan jobs are pretty straight forward. Normally the only differences are whether the pan will come away from the engine easily or if there are structural parts that interfere and necessitate either removal or sometimes removing motor mounts and jacking the engine slightly to gain enough room for removal.

Might check junk yards for a pan; might get lucky and it would be a lot cheaper than new.
 
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Old 01-30-07, 11:09 AM
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Additional info. I looked it up on autozone.com and it looks like it's not the easy access type:

http://www.autozone.com/servlet/UiBroker?ForwardPage=/az/cds/en_us/0900823d/80/19/85/85/0900823d80198585.jsp

Probably not for a novice unfortunately.
 
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Old 01-30-07, 11:19 AM
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When me and my wife first got married she had an 86 olds. There was a river rock in the middle of the road and she tried to strattle it She heard the klunk and saw the oil in the mirror so she decided she better drive back home [2 mile] Needless to say all 3.5 qts were gone by the time she got home. Because replacing the oil pan meant pulling the engine a friend of mine took his MIG and welded up the old one in place.

That was 9-10 yrs ago and I think her neice is still driving the same car. it had about 90 K when this happened and sold the car in 98 with approx 125 K
With a little luck your engine should be ok
 
  #5  
Old 01-30-07, 11:21 AM
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Wow, 2 miles was certainly stretching her luck. I towed a lady a while back who took some road debris through the pan and drove "to the next exit" which was about 5 miles. She got to buy an engine.
 
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Old 01-30-07, 03:02 PM
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Talking

A short story, I promise!

On the same subject of leaking oil, I was a young fella of only 16 yrs of age. My father was so gracious enough to let me "borrow" his Jaguar for the night to entertain a lady friend of mine. The night was going rather well! On the interstate, the oil pressure light started flashing. Ok, it's flashing, let me pull off at the next exit to check it out. Get off the exit, not even 100 ft from the service station, I hear a nice clangity clang clang, then the motor shut off. I was already thinking, that ain't good. Yea, turns out I threw a rod through the oil pan. Needless to say, my father was not happy. Luckily it was still under warranty! :-p

Sorry, this thread just reminded me of that night.
 
  #7  
Old 01-30-07, 04:22 PM
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Thanks guys... I checked that Autozone site... then I took a good look underneath the vehicle. It does look like I will have to remove a motor mount and that structural collar looks like it might cause a little problem. I once had an old Subaru that I replaced the clutch on... took me and my best friend two weeks to do it (well we did find other issues that needed addressing too which caused it to take that long). Could I support the engine/transmission with a jack while I remove that mounting bracket? And the powertrain bending strut, where would I find that and how would I remove it.
 
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Old 01-30-07, 04:31 PM
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Yes, provided you pick a spot that will properly support the weight, a jack will do the job. The car should be either on ramps (preferably) or jack stands. Looks like all you would need is enough lift to take the load off the mount. I confess I have no idea what a "powertrain bending strut" is. Sounds like a fancy name for a cv shaft, but I doubt that's what they're talking about. Anyone???
 
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Old 01-30-07, 04:41 PM
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The cv shaft is what I was thinking too, but that doesn't seem to be in the way nor connected to anything that is in the way. I've looked all over and can't find anything that looks like it would be considered a "strut" of any kind.
 
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Old 01-30-07, 08:07 PM
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Hey, ya know it's worse to have no coolant than no oil that is for a very short time so I doubt if you did any damage for the short ride to the shoulder.
I like Marksr's idea with the MIG welder and Tow Guy is right about using ramps to support the car and a jack for supporting the motor after the motor mounts have been removed. You can do this but get someone to help you.
 
  #11  
Old 01-31-07, 01:57 AM
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are you covered

just wondering if your insurance will cover this? If you have a good record dont know what your dedcuctable is but if it is low you might get a shop to do it.
Have it towed to the shop and let insurance foot the bill. That way in case you have secondary damage like a bent pickup tube or worse it will be covered.
 
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Old 01-31-07, 06:19 AM
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Originally Posted by the_tow_guy View Post
2 miles was certainly stretching her luck.
Ya, I just knew I was going to have to shell out big $'s, couldn't believe my luck when the 4 banger cranked up QUIETLY The oil trail stayed on the pavement for weeks. The same day I followed the oil trail from point of impact, where she turned around, all the way home where it disappeared about 1/2 way up my driveway.

BTW she now knows if heaven forbid this ever happens again, to park the car and call our local tow guy
 
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Old 01-31-07, 07:34 AM
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we have to keep "the_tow_guy" in business somehow!!!!
 
  #14  
Old 01-31-07, 11:36 AM
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Thank you.

Brigster, as luck would have it, I had a late model Neon on the "hook" this morning and I took a quick look underneath. I'm thinking maybe that structural member on the right side (looking forward) that runs fore & aft might be that "strut". At least it's a component that could be classified as a strut. Didn't crawl all the way under to see if that particular item would be in the way of the operation, but you should be ablt to tell. There might also be an engine mount-related strut up top (sometimes called a dogbone or similar name) that has to be removed in order to raise the engine. That could also be the mystery strut.
 
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Old 02-01-07, 08:54 PM
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Thanks tow_guy. I found that structural member you were talking about. It doesn't look like it will be in the way of the oil pan or even in the way of the bolts for it. But I can't find anything else that would be in the way or connected to something in the way. Thanks though.

Anyways I got the car on ramps that I borrowed. Using a jack to support the engine and tranny, I couldn't really find a good spot for it that would still allow me room to operate, and with being a bigger guy with broad shoulders, I found it quite difficult to work under there with the big ol jack in the way. Plus it kept slipping when I was working my breaker bar on the motor mounts. Darn bolts are frozen in there, even using that "liquid wrench" spray.

I wasted a whole day's light and wamth under there, and being exhausted after having no sleep (I work graveyards, so it would be the equivalent of everyone else working on their car at midnight after being up all day), I gave up out of frustration.

You were right, tow_guy. Definitely not for the novice. Luckily we're short staffed at work and there's lots of overtime posted. I'm thinking my local mechanic would probably do a lot better than me. Still don't want to pay too much though.

Thanks again for the suggestions, all. I tried.
 
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