During the 2009 SEMA show, we spied a new set of off-road focused engine oil pan and transmission fluid pans being offered by Trans-Dapt. The Trans-Dapt Performance Slam-Guard oil pans have 3/16 in. thick skid plates to prevent damage to internal engine or transmission components.
The material, oil/fluid capacity and mounting surfaces replicate those of the stock components. That’s where stock comparisions end though because the Trans-Dapt Slam-Guard pans include the following improvements from stock:
- Slam-Guard skid plate to protect the sump of the engine oil pan
- Slam-Guard skid plate to protect the full length and width of the transmission fluid for protection of the filter and drive-body components; also adds a center-mounted drain plug
- The Trans-Dapt Slam-Guard pans come in a number of finishes including painted or chrome-plated finishes. (We chose black to match the understated approach of the Scrambler project build.)
Based on our view of these products during the SEMA show, we knew that we wanted to review the products on one of our project vehicles. Project Over Easy was a perfect test bed for these installations / reviews.
Prior to getting our grubby hands onto our Jeep Scrambler build vehicle, Project Over Easy, had seen some mild off-road use by its previous owner. During this time it had accumulated a number of hits/dents to the Chevy Small Block engine oil pan. Additionally, the centered placement of the small block Chevy engine and 700R4 transmission did not provide adequate clearance between the transmission pan and the front driveshaft. When wheelin’ the front drive shaft was slowly machining away the surface of the transmission fluid pan. Lastly, the slow leaks from both of these pans were causing a mess to the Scrambler undercarriage and the garage floor.
Due to the above issues, replacement pans were required for the engine and transmission. This build article covers the upgrade of both the stock pans with aftermarket units designed to better handle the rigors of off-road duty.
|Installation – Trans-Dapt Slam-Guard Transmission and Oil Pans
||Wrenches, sockets, ratchet, jack, jack-stand, catch-pan, paper-towels / rags. Additional parts needed: Engine oil pan gasket, transmission fluid pan gasket, high-temp gasket material (RTV)
|Prepping engine and transmission for pan installation
To make the removal of the old engine oil pan and transmission fluid pan a bit easier and to better document the installation of the Trans-Dapt Slam-Guard pans, we elected to remove the transmission / transfer case cross-member. This exposed the full transmission fluid pan for easier removal / installation. For this step, it is important to support the transmission and transfer case from the rear most mount with a jack-stand.
|Removing the old pans
With the transmission cross-member out of the way, the removal of the engine oil pan and transmission fluid pan was a snap. The engine oil pan was drained of all oil and dropped straight down (no crossmembers or any suspension components obstruct access / removal of this pan). The only challenge was with the removal of the stock transmission fluid pan due to its lack of a drain plug. You’ll want to have your catch pan well positioned under the transmission fluid pan in order to catch / drain the transmission fluid.
|Engine / Transmission mounting surface prep
Our next step was to clean off the old gasket material. This is another key step in preventing any leaks from both the engine oil pan and the transmission fluid pan. We used fresh razor blades to carefully clean any old gasket material or debris from the mounting surfaces. The gasket surfaces were then cleaned with solvent to remove any residual material / debris.
|Engine oil pan installation
The engine oil pan went into place nearly as easily as the stock pan had been removed. Our only challenge came with the installation of the Fel-Pro one-piece oil pan gasket for our mid-90’s Chevrolet Small Block engine. This gasket made for a snug fit against between the Trans-Dapt Slam-Guard pan and the engine oil pan mounting surface. Once this challenge was overcome with a little leverage, we were able to torque all fasteners to stock specifications.
|Transmission fluid pan installation
The transmission fluid pan was particularly easy to install with the extra access afforded by our temporary removal of the transmission cross-member. This was simply a replacement of the stock pan with the like-fitting Trans-Dapt Slam-Guard unit. During the removal of the stock transmission fluid pan, we observed the degree in which the stock pan had been “machined” by the front drive shaft. As seen in the provided photos, the pan was machined thin and beginning to exhibit corrosion bubbles and pin-hole leaks. Per Trans-Dapt and Hedman Hedder installation recommendations, the engine and transmission were shifted off of center to the driver’s side. This adjustment addressed the oil-pan clearance issues exhibited with the original engine conversion.
The Trans-Dapt Slam-Guard components have provided a great refresh for the underside of the Project Over Easy Scrambler. Gone were the dented, leaky stock units and in their place are new, rugged, armored pans.
The design and fitment of the Trans-Dapt Slam-Guard pans were as-stock enabling the reuse of all stock fasteners and application of stock torque settings. The engine oil pan functions exactly like the stock unit with similar drain plug placement and sealing functions but now with far more trail protection due to the 3/16 in. skid plate. The transmission pan also functions exactly as stock only with the addition of the 3/16 in. skid plate and a center-mounted drain-plug.
Our only challenge with the finished products was with the sealing of the provided transmission fluid pan drain plug. The provided drain plug was simply a pipe-plug with no sealing flange. The 4x4Review.com project team tested this sealing approach and were unable to fully seal the drain plug. Our solution was to remove the shoulderless drain-plug in favor of a traditional automotive drain-plug with a sealing flange.
Overall, we are pleased with the quality of these components and look forward to the added protection that they will provide while off-road.
|12438 Putnam Street
Whittier, CA 90602
Phone: (562) 921-0404
Fax: (562) 921-7515