Leaking trans pan


Registered User
So my 97 tbird lx 4.6 auto I cannot get the transmission pan to stop leaking its not a bad leak but definitely coming from the rear of the pan I've tried everything different pans (in case mine was torqued too much) gaskets (3 different ones) removed the gasket all together and used gasket maker it's always the same spot rear of the pan... Anyone know a better way to get it to seal?


SCCoA Member
I don't know if they make them for that transmission but if you can find or make a set of reinforcement rails like Ford used on some 302 oil pans it might help. Example

Random thoughts:
Aftermarket pans should have thicker pan flanges on them for better sealing.
Check the transmission bolts and bolt holes if a bolt is too long or if the hole is dirty, damaged or not tapped all the way the fastener will bottom out (tighen up) without sealing the pan all the way. It would appear tight but not sealing all the way.
There could be porosity or small crack in the transmission housing casting allowing a small amount of fluid to leak out.
The transmission pan and/or mating surface might not be flat.
Is there a torqueing pattern or sequence that has to be followed?
Could the leak be coming from elsewhere on the transmission case and just collecting there?
Are there any humps or high spots around the holes in the pan?
Transmission mount and crossmember in good shape and bolts tight?
Inadequate gasket? Try a Ford Motorcraft OEM gasket for it.
Bolts backing off? Clean bolt holes and bolts with solvent before reinstalling. Use a light-duty threadlocker if needed.


Registered User
I'll check into those suggestions and thank you for them as far as what I can answer with certainty is its more than an issue with the pan I have 3 separate pans all three have had leaks one for sure had a cut in the mounting flat surface (removed from another car with a Sawzall is my assumption) mounts are in excellent shape I've followed all torque procedures and checked rechecked triple checked all the bolt holes and bolts swapped out any questionable bolts as I have 3 pans I also have 3 sets of bolts.. Definitely not the original trans I have put 3 in over the many years I've had this car which is how I have so many pans and bolts


SCCoA Member
Not sure what model trans Ford used in 97 & in a non S/C/XR-7 , but I'm pretty sure the 1 used in
Crown Vic's/Grand Marquies & 2wd F150's of this era used shorter bolts in the rear. Maybe yours are
too long & bottoming out? I


SCCoA Member
Oring on the dipstick My 94 LX did the same thing.

Replace the O ring on the dipstick where it inserts to the transmission and use an original rubber gasket, don't over torque it.


Registered User
All the bolts are the same length and I've replaced the dipstick o ring and Leake is at the rear of the pan not near the dipstick no fluid anywhere above the pan I've checked thoroughly using an inspection camera just can't seem to make it seal

Tim Groth

SCCoA Member
Might seem unconventional but I've had bad ujoints cause the issue you're describing. Never felt the harmonics of the drive train inside the cabin or while driving but after a few days a leak would return. Mine impacted the rear tailshaft flange gasket.

This was on my 95 SC...transmission. might be worth a look. My U joint needle bearings were shot.



Registered User
I'll replace the u joints couldn't hurt but honestly don't feel like it's going to help I notice the leak the most when the car is off and sitting overnight doesn't leak enough to see it in a parking lot or anything it's a very small leak takes maybe 2 months or more to loose a quarter of a quart