If you’ve been following EngineLabs (and our social media accounts) lately, you have seen something on our new small-block Ford project engine. We plan to start the project with a close-to-stock engine, with a few minor concessions for the sake of reliability, before swapping parts like we are back in the 1990s. The caveat is, that we’ll be using all of the technology available to us in the 21st century. Enter Milodon and its factory-replacement oil pan.
When we got the core engine, we were lucky enough to have it delivered by an extremely nice seller. However, it made the journey sitting on the oil pan while resting in a tire. Whether that was the cause of the dents in the pan or not, we aren’t sure, but without a doubt, the pan has seen better days. Once we ripped off the OEM Thunderbird pan (which, as far as we can tell, is identical to a Fox-Body Mustang pan, other than the color), we also found some significant sludge on the inside of the pan, corresponding to Total Seal’s Keith Jones seeing signs of infrequent oil changes.
Rather than putting all the effort into rehabbing the OEM oil pan, it was decided that a new pan was probably the wiser course of action. That left us with a couple of options. We could go with a cheap OEM-style replacement from the local discount auto parts store, or go with an aftermarket performance oil pan.
Unfortunately, we realized that a fancy, expensive performance oil pan didn’t really fit the theme of the build, especially when most of the benefits wouldn’t be realized on the stationary engine dyno. And we also realized that an ill-fitting, bargain-basement re-pop oil pan wasn’t really what we wanted for the project either. Then, we found something that met all of our criteria — Milodon’s 1979-1993 Mustang rear-sump pan.
Designed to appear stock on the outside, albeit with the company’s gorgeous gold irradiated finish, the pan is actually better than OEM, while retaining all of the OEM features. Keeping the OEM 5-quart capacity, Milodon has added horizontal baffling into the sump area to add positive oil control to the pan. Even with the baffling, it retains the stock pickup tube location, which is critical for the project as you’ll see in the upcoming short-block assembly article.
The pan uses the factory dipstick setup, has a provision for the factory low-oil-level sensor, and fits better than stock, with thick pan rails. The body itself is heavy-gauge steel, thicker than the factory unit we removed, and comes with not one, but two magnetic drain plugs to be able to drain both the small front sump and the main rear sump. Plus, the whole thing was fabricated in the USA.
This pan not only keeps the factory look of our project engine, but it also adds a little bit of pizzaz with some additional oil control. Not to mention we’re already eyeballing that low-oil-level sensor port for an oil return line for our soon-to-be-disclosed choice of power adder.