Is it possible to drop oil pan without taking out reaction plate?

I was thinking of dropping the oil pan to push the pistons out of the top of the engine To check and possibly put new rings. But was in sure if I had to remove torsion bars and reaction played to drop the oil Pan

3.8, it’s definitely doable. IIRC correctly it’s a lot harder with the 4.2. I don’t think you can lift it high enough to for the pan to clear the RP.

Yes. Have done it a few times. If you have a 3.8L car you may have to take off the harmonic balancer as they’re larger than the 4.2. My car was a 4.2, I supported the front of the engine at the crank pulley and at the transmission. Disconnect the center stabilizer at the firewall. Disconnect the front motor mounts and lift the engine as far as possible, watching the tranny tunnel and every other spot where interference is possible. When you’ve reached the limit of upward travel at the tranny tunnel you can get the pan out. Most say the rear piston crank journal should be put in the 3 o’clock position to aid in removal…

Short answer: yes it is possible (on a 4.2). I have done it and so have many others. But it can be a PITA getting it to clear various possible impediments. It seems to be like childbirth. It can all happen in a few minutes, or it can take a very long time. See the many posts on this topic.

Is it easier to pull the torsion bars and the reaction plate out than to go through the contortions listed above to remove the oil Pan? By the way thanks everybody for your input I don’t know what I would do with out this forum

Having dealt with reaction plates only a few times, I’m not well practiced at it. For that reason I’ll say that I’d rather perform my own dentistry. When it HAS to be done…

It’s honestly not that hard.

  • Pull off the downpipes.
  • Split the upper ball joints
  • Disconnect the sway bar, and damper tops.
  • Jack up until the suspension hangs down and the bars are unsprung.
  • Remove the 4 rear bar bolts, and two front bolts
  • Lift control arms till they point straight out
  • Tap back on bars to disengage
  • Unbolt RP and remove

The hard part is getting them back in correctly. Therefor it is well advised to mark their positions well in relation to the arms and splined end pieces. Do not swap them side to side. You really don’t even need to remove them from the front arms if you are able to disengage the rear brackets. The plate will come off the ends of the bars once they’re loose.

If you’re taking apart the whole engine I think it’s a good idea to get all the potential sources of contamination out of the way.

Hi Charliek,
It is absolutely possible, but I would prefer to remove the reaction plate.
I actually did both as can be seen in this video on youtube: etype engine removal
Getting the sump out is one getting it leak-free in is another matter.

Here’re some photos of Dick Maury removing the oil pan from my 4.2:

He loosened the reaction plate nuts aways but left them on, also removed the big bolts holding the reaction plate to the frame:

He was then able to cant the reaction plate back just a little:

Used a jack to lift the bellhousing/engine just a bit (undid rear engine stabilizer to permit this):

Pried, tugged, swore and wrassled the pan off:

And, of course, when done he signed his work (I insisted):

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That is so sneaky. Then tap the plate back square after?


Like a secret handshake.

Thanks for your advice guys really appreciated. I think I’m going to just drop the whole motor down and have it rebuilt. So I guess I still have to take out the reaction plate Because I would like to drop it out from the bottom since the head is now off