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After my previous post on the subject, I thought I should post an update. As I was mostly successful today, this post won't be nearly as humorous. /forums/images/icons/wink.gif

Got up fairly early this morning and started working on the car again. Got the car jacked up with the floor jack, put it on a couple of jack stands, and started tinkering with the idler arm, as per Gene's suggestion. As it turns out, this was indeed the magic piece I was ignorant of. As soon as I got the idler arm disconnected from the idler arm bracket (the other nut on the idler arm didn't need to be removed) the whole steering arm just dropped right out of the way. I tell you, I nearly wept with joy.

So I then proceeded to get the old oil pan off again (it was held in by two bolts at this point), bolted the windage tray back on, and proceeded to clean and degrease the underside mating surface of the block. I did a test fit of the Fel-Pro front and rear rubber seals -- the front one fit just fine, but the back one seemed too long for the job. Not sure what was up with that, but I reasoned that it was only a little bit too long, and the pan would probably press it against the curved surface reasonably well.

I then tacked the side gasket strips in place with a few dabs of RTV Black, put the front and rear seals in place with some more RTV Black, put a bead across the point where the gasket pieces met, and bolted the new chrome oil pan in. Time will tell if it holds. I certainly won't miss the oil sprayed along my passenger-side frame rail.

Got the starter put back in, bolted the steering back together, and lowered the car. It was at this point that I realized that I had forgotten to put the engine crossmember back in place. but I was tired and decided to do that another day.

No, I'm not going to drive it like that. I promise. /forums/images/icons/wink.gif

Again, thanks to all who contributed, especially Kent (for the Plastigage tip) Camachinist (for the inspection tips) and Gene_J (for making me weep /forums/images/icons/wink.gif). If I left anyone out, I apologize, but I'm pretty exhausted at this point.
 

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I'm really happy all went well today. Got a kick out of reading your troubles the day before. That's just because I've been there and done that and know what it's like.

Good luck,

Tom
 
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