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Oil pan rusted through


Senior Member
Southwestern Pa.
Here's a new one, at least for me....

I thought I got just a little whiff of engine oil a couple times last night while I was loading the salter. This morning at one stop I noticed a couple spots of oil on the wet pavement right where I'd just driven. I backed up a few feet and sure enough there was an oil spot right where I'd just been sitting. I drove to the nearest gas station and pulled the dipstick--nothing showing!! :eek:

I put six quarts in it and drove the few miles to the service station that does our work. By the time I got there and parked the oil was running out so fast that by the time they opened the door to pull the truck inside there was a river of oil running from beneath the truck.

They put it on the rack and there are *two* holes in the pan. They're about 6 inches apart, both on the bottom.

It got there under it's own power, never showed a warning light, and still sounds normal, so hopefully it was never actually oil starved.

Thing is, this is a 1998 K3500. It has less than 30,000 miles on it.
Anybody ever hear of an oil pan rusting away so fast? :confused:

Mike 97 SS

Never heard of one rotting out so fast, nope. Have seen them get rot holes on the bottom corners from time to time but on much much older vehicles. A 98 with only 30k miles? Thats very strange, maybe a defective pan from the factory or maybe you hit something and bent it and that turned into the weak spot and then started to rust there?? Is it warrantied?? Id get it towed to the Chevy dealer and make them fix it, a pan should not rot so quickly, no way. Mike


PlowSite.com Veteran
pretty common with my experience i replaced them at one time or another on all my trucks older then 92 at this point...3 blazers and two pickups

Mike 97 SS

Keyword there or key phrase there would be older than 92. He asked if anyone has heard of an oil pan rusting away so fast, and since I am in the automotive repair business, the short answer is no, unless like stated earlier by me, it was defective from the start or you hit it in someway and made that the weak spot. Mike :)

Chuck Smith

2000 Club Member
It happened to me too. I had 1 hole (I thought) so we dropped the pan so I could MIG weld a patch over it. When we got the pan off, there was a half dozen pin holes that didn't leak yet, but that I found in the degreaser tank. I ended up welding a patch over the whole bottom of the oil pan.

What caused the problem? Me being a fanatic about keeping the motor clean. I would degrease it as often as possible. The motor had 130,000 miles on it though. When I bought it, the truck sat all summer, and was used only to plow. The previous owner never washed the salt off. Just plowed and parked it.

Now, if I left the grease and oil build up on the block and oil pan, this might not have happened to me (so soon).

I bought a truck that was used for plowing only, at a friend's gas station. I was going to sell it for a quick $500 profit in less than a week. I never even looked at it. The guy who bought it called me a week later to tell me the block was cracked, and he wanted his money back. I told him, he signed that he was buying the truck, "as is" and it was not my problem. He came with a mechanic friend to look at it. He saw the oil leak, and said he though it was the filter leaking. I offered to weld the crack for him, but he wanted me to buy a used motor and install it for him!

The long short of it, the block was not cracked, but it was rotted through. Right on top of where the oil filter screws on. The whole motor was rusty, VERY rusty. The truck was a 79 Chevy K/20, with a 350 / 4 speed. Very HD. The guy wanted it as a site truck, for 1 winter.

The station who owned it would blast the motor and undercarraige with their steam jenny after each plowing, and when they had free time.

They kept it "clean", but the problem was that there was no paint on the motor, or anywhere on the undercarraige. No paint = accelerated rust.



Senior Member
Southwestern Pa.
To the best of my knowledge it was never hit with anything. It didn't appear to be dented anywhere. The holes are close to being at opposite corners diagonally, about eight inches between them.

They're big enough that if I hadn't noticed the drip marks on the ground either one of them might have emptied the pan by the time I was finished for the day. The fact that a pan might rust through wasn't all that amazing. I am still surprised that it would happen to a 98. I was totally amazed by the fact that there were two holes that decided to show up at once. When it got up on the rack you could see it seeping from another spot or two as well.

Actually I had to put two quarts of oil in it before I started out and was mad at myself for having let it go that long without having checked it. I guess maybe it hadn't necessarily been that long.

The truck has always been used for salting. Of the almost 30,000 miles on it about 13,000 has been put on in the past year. It sat unused for several weeks at a time in the years prior to that. During snow season it was sprayed off underneath--not pressure washed but just given a quick bath at the quarter car wash--at least every few times it went out. I'm unable to say if there was ever paint on it.

Anybody ever had any luck getting the dealer to fix one under the extended warranty?


Stamford, CT
My 86 Chevy had the same problem!!!

And I have only had it 4 years

I attribute it to the truck being used infrequently last year, and sitting all summer.

I have since replaced the 305 with a 350 and intend to keep it clean and use it more often so it doesnt just sit there and rust again.

I used to work in a gas station and was always pulling my car inside at night and hosing off the undercarriage and greasing it .

That car was clean underneath right up to the day I sold it. I need to start doing that now that this truck is back in shape.

Salt gets everywhere when you're out plowing and salting, so you need to really wash the truck off top, bottom and all the nooks and crannies as often as possible.