What do you consider the most important engine part for your truck? Think of a part that your truck absolutely needs and can’t survive without. There are many different answers that can be given – cylinder block, crankshaft, camshafts, flywheel, exhaust manifold, EGR cooler etc… (HINT…Oil Pan) I am sure that you can think of a few others that I haven’t listed. Pointing out one part exclusively is just too hard, so what would you list in your Top 5.
Now I ask, as you thought of your Top 5 engine parts, did the oil pan make your list?
No, why not? Is it too simple of a part for you to consider or is it because, unlike the crankshaft which has a vital role in engine movement, the oil pan just sits at the bottom of the engine block and has no “functional” use.
Myself, I would rank the oil pan in the Top 5 of the most important engine parts needed.
Even though the it doesn’t connect with any moving parts, no gears to mesh with other gears, which in turn operate other parts, the purpose of the oil pan itself is vital. It stores one of the most important fluids your engine needs, which is OIL.
Without oil, all the other parts you can think of would not work to maximum efficiency and would eventually cause the engine to seize. Engine oil lubricates metal parts in the engines, so there is no metal grinding of parts. Without oil, these metal parts would grind against each other, causing small bits of metal to break off. Without proper lubrication, parts like the crankshaft, camshaft and others would eventually seize up rendering the engine useless.
They store this crucial fluid, up to as much as 9 gallons of oil on Class 8 trucks. This much oil is needed as it does tend to breakdown and become thinner as the engine is used more. Oil pumps create a suction, pulling oil from the oil pan, running it though an oil filter, then through the engine before it ends up back in the oil pan.
If it is leaking, this could cause problems. Common leaks are gasket failure, drain plug or weld not secure causing a leak, or oil pan was hit and became cracked. Once an oil leak is discovered, then it’s very important to find the leak and fix it immediately. Sometimes this means having to replace your oil pan.
Overall, the oil pan is a very important and vital part to an engine, regardless of if it makes your Top 5 or not.
This isn’t because it’s a complex engine part with moving gears, but because the oil pan is responsible for storing one of the engines most vital fluids when it comes to function and performance.