'92 Town Car rusted oil pan, 4.6L V8

I'm looking into a rusted oil pan for my father-in-law and I'm finding that Ford has a nasty reputation for rusting oil pans. It is a 1992 Town Car, 4.6L V8. I was hoping that it was just a small pinhole but
to my amazement, the whole damn thing is corroded and there is no way of telling where the oil is weeping from! I also find it strange that the transmission pan, which is only 4 inches away, has no rust on it at all, an Ford states there is no problem?!?!? Before I actually saw it, I was hoping to just plug the hole with an epoxy, but that is not an option. I'd worry that if the epoxy peeled off it would take a large chunk of the pan with it. To replace the pan, things look tight. How much vertical room do I have? I consider myself an above average back yard mechanic, timing chains/belts, head gaskets, rebuilt an Olds 455 (waiting on a body for it), so I feel I can handle the logistics, but how envolved is it to raise the engine enough to clear the cross member? Judging from other posts in these groups the list I'm looking at is: - disconnect exhaust - remove fan shroud - disconnect drive shaft - disconnect tranny mounts - engine mounts - radiator hoses - tranny cooling lines
There is one thing I see that I'm not sure of. There is a fixture inside the engine compartment, on the fire wall in front of the driver side windshield wiper. It seems to be some sort of cavity, possibly for heat ducts? This looks like it will limit my vertical lift. But it looks like it has clips and a retaining screw, so the bottom portion seems to be able to come off, is this true? Is there anything else I need to look out for? I do not have a shop manual, but being a non-technicial repair (replacing a head gasket I feel is techincial), I feel that straight forward mechanic abilities and common sense will work well for me. But I would like to avoid any pitfalls...
Thanks in advance.. Mike...
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Mike wrote:

go to auto zone and buy a container of rust converter.. one small plastic bottle about $4.00 will cover the entire oil pan... it converts rust to a black plastic coating... i put some on an old datsun pick up truck back in the late 70's on the battery tray as it was all about rusted out and i wanted to stop the rust.. it stopped the rust and turned it black.. the metal looked pretty good until i got rid of the truck in 1993..... had the thing since 75..... 18 yrs. and the rust converter saved it for a couple of more years... you got to clean all the grease and oil off the oil pan then paint this stuff on... i might even stop the oil leak if its coming out of a rust hole.. if not then you will be able to see where its coming from after cleaning it up and then use the epoxy stuff.... sure beats the labor of removing and re-installing a new oil pan.....
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after you clean the pan off and covert the rust, to stop the oil leak is a product that has been around for ages. it works great - at least saved me from putting a new gas tank in. it is called, "seal-all" it is not an epoxy. i've used it all the way back in the 60's and it stopped running gasoline in it's tracks and sealed the hole in the tank. drove the car for two more years and sold it. it still was not leaking. it is for non-pressurized applications. an oil leak in the oil pan should qualify. if it works, it would save a lot of time and effort. seal-all is a common product. i've seen it this year.
it is made to work in gasoline and oil applications
hope this helps.
~ curtis
knowledge is power - growing old is mandatory - growing wise is optional
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Curtis, Will this stuff work to plug up small holes in an exhaust system? thanks, Tom

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