Bad News Again - Oil Pan vs. Rock
In August of 2006 I went out to my favorite cliff jumping spot with a buddy. I had been going out there for 3 years, and knew the road well. It was not in very good shape, but the car could make it without too much trouble. So, I drove out there again, being sure to watch out for ruts and rocks. Well, I did manage to hit something, but when I pulled over I saw no oil leaking. So, I pressed onward to the hydroelectric plant at the end of the road. We parked and went out for 4 good hours of fun in the sun. Needless to say, the location is gorgeous. It is on East highway 4, between Angel's Camp and Murphys. Turn onto Parrots Ferry Road, and then onto Camp Nine Road and follow it to its end.
Well, we returned to the car after we had our fill of action. As I was approaching it, I noticed something glint in the light under my car. Hmmmmm. I checked the fluid...yup, oil. Hmmmmm. I push the car back and it definitely looks like 5 quarts. Uhoh. Pulling a dry dipstick further confirmed my fears. So, what to do? The location is 16km from any cell phone service, and the road is long and treacherous to walk. Luckily, there was another coulple out there with a Mercedes SUV. I caught them and asked them for a ride. They had just arrived and wanted to look around first. Being the outdoorsy guy I am, I gladly showed them the spot where we were jumping about .8km away. After exploring they were ready to leave and took us to town.
Once we were in town, I called a tow truck. Thank goodness I pay for AAA Gold service! Apparently people get stuck out there quite often, according to the driver. He took us to Angel's Camp, and then I had the car put on a flatbed to be taken to Stockton 95km away. I was going to pull the oil pan in a parking lot at University of the Pacific where I had attended college, but the campus police had nothing better to do than stop me when I almost had it off. I ended up having to use AAA to get the car taken the last 140km to San Jose. AAA must hate me. Anyway, I pulled the pan and thoroughly cleaned it. The damage was quite minor. A rock had broken through the metal, but it had not broken off from the pan. Using a hammer and punch I smacked the material back in place. Some JB Weld was used as extra insurance against a slow leak. Due to this incident, I have sold the sport springs and shocks and installed stock springs and Boge TurboGas OE-spec shocks. I also purchased and installed an OEM BMW skid plate. Why was there no oil leaking when I checked? Well, I had left the car idling, and at idle the PCV system has everything under high vacuum. With the small puncture, this pressure must have been enough to keep the oil in the pan until I shut it off. Go figure!