Like they say, "It is what it is." That's exactly what we said when we tried to stuff a big-block into our A-body El Camino. For a lot of us shade-tree type mechanics out there, sometimes a build or an upgrade is completed out of necessity to serve a greater goal and not out of compulsiveness. Seriously, it's no fun pulling the oil pan off of a perfectly good running and leak free engine. Let's face it, no one likes doing the same job twice. But like most builds, you've got to cut through the mess and adapt to the changes--even if that means swapping pans.
While we thought the 454ci big-block would be a sure fit, we were greeted with disappointment when we discovered that the stock truck-style oil pan hit every which way but Sunday. It was clear the oil-pan wouldn't clear the cross member no matter what angle or breaker-bar we threw at it. Our only option was a specific pan from Milo don. Ken Sink from Milo don also suggested that while we had the motor apart, we throw in the company's wind age tray kit along with its shorter-style oil pump pick-up.
Our build was simple and followed the adage "remove and replace." We prepared the engine on a stand and began the tear down. The best part? Well, we got the replacement done in a couple hours in the heart of the garage, and it only required basic hand tools and a torque wrench. Better yet, with the new pan we can hold more oil for added cooling and lubrication. Plus, the wind age tray will cut down on oil chop created by the crank spinning, potentially freeing up a few additional horsepower. Follow along as we take you by the numbers and show you the basics on swapping out your own pan, adding a wind age tray, and replacing the oil pump pick-up.
What We Did
Replaced the old oil pan with a Milo don setup
It's a painless job, and now the motor will fit into the El Camino without a hiccup
Side by Side
Once we put the pans side by side, it was clear why the old one wouldn't fit. We also noticed extra clearance on the inside of the new pan. The sump in the bottom of the Milo don pan is also enlarged, allowing more oil. Notice the two dimple spots in the pan. Those provide extra clearance for the longer main studs so they won't collide into the bottom of the pan. And as expected, the pan fit on our first try with no modifications whatsoever.