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Oil Pan Leak and Gasket

My 96 Tracker (2WD convertible) has oil leaking from around the oil pan.
I plan on removing it and reinstalling it this weekend.

From what people have told me, they do not use an oil pan gasket - instead they use some kind of sealant. However, I do see some gaskets online specific for my model.

Does anyone recommend using the gasket? Or just using some RTV sealant instead?

Also - is removing / reinstalling the oil pan straightforward as just removing the screws that hold it in? Or are there any other steps involved?

Any advice would be appreciated
Thank You
first facts, no 96 ever had a pan gasket, ever. (new)
All came from the factory with RTV sealant and pressure tested in the factory (done right this)
what transmission?
fact 2, is if you use the early gaskets on 1996+, the CKP goes dead. due to the gasket causing the CKP sensor to stand off from the block and fails.
did you just get this car? just bought it? and curing leaks now, or did it leak for the last 60,000 miles.?

if yes, then I bet it's not the pan gasket, Ok?
first off all other things leak first. (they sure do)

valve cover, gasket goes hard, and leaks, on any or all 4 sides, gravity makes it go down., a 60k service point too.
where is yours leaking? now< all 4 sides of engine or just one, side? now?

the 3 distributor oil seals leak, 1 for distrib, (oiring) and 1 base seal oiring and one rear cam cap mount. (linked below)
front cam seal leaks., but is VC leaking
front crank seal leaks. but is VC leaking.
rear crank seal leaks (rare) but is VC and distrib leaking,
and last the pan, always last if not molested before.(very rare if original) blame me last, for sure.

better is clean the whole engine 100 % clean,
then drive, look , drive look, find it.
saves a bunch of hard work doing the pan then finding that now the pan really leaks and did not before.

my 96 engine leaked day one. (my story)
it seemed to leak from pan, (was NOT)
if found ,like all are now,) that all the distributor seals leaked.
and VC gaskets. (even spark wells filled with oil(look yet>)

CUred NOW, it still leaked for 6 long mounts due to the sponge effect. many things retained oil
the last to stop leaking , oddly as hell was the harness loom for the CKP was full oil and dripped from months until dry.
the harness below the intake manifold had oil in it too.,

the engine has a gravity effect and windage, effect and combine.

so even upper seals leak down and to there rear or even and a chaos way,,, fooling just about anyone, until you learn this fact.
if you did the 60k tuneup,(service point 60,000) miles with a new timing belt.
you'd see what>? front VC is no good because you had a newone in a box from Felpro, to set lash at 60k and new gates timing belt(cam)

then you'd see the VC gasket is cracker hard and brittle and if the cam or crank seals leak.( or falsely blame the seals for the so common VC gaskets bad)
The VC leaks makes 9 of 10 people here, think both seals leak and it does not, (gravity did that)

no 96 has good a VC or distributor seals never replaced , not one.
impossible to be good this old, very impossible.

front VC here

DIstrib base ring goes hard cracks (and one ring on end of distributor shaft will be hard and collapsed or cracked or both)
the head work done wrong also causes leaks on rear of head, by machnics that fail to read real service manual for suzuki
see here,
step 4 in the manual (see words sensor safe?)
pan drop 4wd


with no 4wd
then you see?
[Image: pan1.jpg]
best is to cure leaks from top down
never the reverse unless you have hard prove of that. (most times you will not)
unless you clean it first
or use the uv dye test, (a KIT OF DYE, AND UV FLASH LIGHT)
Thanks for the detailed reply! My 96 tracker 2wd is a 5 speed manual.
I'm pretty certain the leak is coming from the pan. When I look at the pan, I see oil seeping from the screws / sides.
the pan as 4 sides, which of 4 sides are leaking (L,R, F,R>?)
then is 1 side show a leak look above the that side on the main block side, is the sides of the engine wet? oil wet?

is the junction orange?
I think the RTV used in the Iwata engine factory was orange (IIRC)
I look for that first, always, to see if some one played around with the pan. (evidence matters)

the front and rear are known to leak, both, if front leaks the #1 cause is the VC gasket above, leaking down front of engine (hidden from view by belt cover)
The rear will leak oil , all sidekicks suffer (until cured) the distributor, leaks oil, and down the back of head, then to the BELL and then into the BELL (5speed) vent hole
and then behind the flywheel (unseen by you) and down rear or the block and the drips off the rear pan, screws. (like clock work this happens) all do this until you do the VIton cure
seen on my hard to find parts page.

I,m not saying the pan does not leak , what Im saying is every person here that replaced the pan sealant with a new sealant the leak remained.
if the last person put gasket there, (wrong idea) sure it can leak, sure. so look for signs of gasket there from last guy, fooling around.

The gaskets sold are for 89-95 only, some are thicnk some are thin and if thick is used the CKP fails, the CPK lands on the Pan rim and not the block so if a gasket is used, oops.

no gasket sold,proof #1


proof #2
FSM page, book 6A1, engine. page 37 step 1, GM Silicon sealant (RTV) (page 36 off, page 37 pan on)


, if the pan is still stock and not hit by rock .
removing the glued on pan is not easy at it sticks there super strong , only using metal putty knifes hit at the RTV junctions to break the seal , allowed it to come off easier.
the GM book skips the pry off pan step (GM magic) but the real suzuki book shows using a special tool to break the RTV very strong, sealant, (cutting it with a putty knife like tool ,custom)

all this complexity is prevented if you get the engine clean first.
new VC gasket too, and stop the distributor from leaking.
but you want to change that pan, so go ahead. (if it is leaking , id bet someone else had it off before and did it wrong)
good luck with leaks, some are very tricky,,,,

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