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Emergency - HELP!!

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I just finished installation of a new oil pan gasket, since the gasket I changed last week was installed incorrectly. I wwas moving to start replacement of the intake manifold gaskets (they leaked a bit) and while removing the distributor, the spring washer used to separate the hexagonal dowel from the distributor scraped off and is now somewhere in the oil pan. The pan is emtpy.

Got any ideas as to how to remove the spring washer, short of taking the pan off?

P.S. - The dowel is stuck in the distributor. I'm going to go to the local speed shop for help there.

Getting rid of oil leaks is becoming very expensive!!!!


'66 Springtime Yellow Coupe
289, slightly warmed over
driven daily
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2,155 Posts
Ouch, damm. well you can look at it 2 ways. Yes, you can probably scrape a magnet across the bottom of the pan and get it to the inside of the drain plug and reach in with a piar of needle nose pliers and drag it out the hole by bending it. That's if it fell ino the pan and not on top of the pump. That's still going to leave you with no retainer on the drive, and will be a bummer everytime you pull the distributor in the future.

Instead, at this point I'd probably pull the pan back off and re-install the drive with the retainer. At least it's all clean and empty of oil. If it's been hours and not days since you put the pan back on, the sealer may not even be dry yet and would make the job easier.

Sorry, there is no magic bullet for this.

Love hard, drive fast, wear your seat belt.

PS, thats's my 'bird...... My Mustang is too ugly to take pictures of yet........*G*.

Gone but never forgotten
25,083 Posts
Hey, Mike, want to know where the retainer is for my oil pump drive shaft? It's in the pan *LOL*. Has been for 15,000 miles. Same thing happened to me. First time I pulled the distributor, the shaft hung onto the distributor and pulled the retainer right off the oily pump shaft. It's just not worth it to me to pull the pan for it. Those retainers are crap anyway and as you just discovered, don't work half the time.

I've had my distributor in and out 3 times since then. You just have to be real careful not to drop the pump shaft as you're taking it out.

Here's what I do: Take some masking tape, and make one wrap around the top of the pump shaft. Then shove that pump shaft into the bottom of the distributor. The tape will form a tight seal and basically marry the two together. Then I just remove/install them as a single unit. It's worked like a charm so far /forums/images/icons/smile.gif.

If you always do what you've always done,
You'll always get what you've always got

Discussion Starter · #5 ·
next time the pan is off just put alittle JB Weld on the retainer and shaft let it dry and stick it back in..... Never loose another shaft again.

68 Fastback.

Discussion Starter · #6 ·
When I was having so much trouble getting my distributor back in a few months ago I considered taping the distributor and oil pump shaft together similar to you did but I was afraid of getting tape in my oil. Have you had any problems like that?

I also vote for leaving the thing down there. Retrieve it the next time the pan is off but be careful when taking out the distributor or you may lose the shaft the next time. IIRC from the old forum some people even leave the shaft down there and get another as opposed to dropping the pan.
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