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I am going to install a new oil pan gasket. I am not sure the exact year of my 350 block. I assume it's around a 1970's (alternator on passenger's side, dipstick driver's side). I know that there are two different thickness's of front seals (bottom of timing cover) needed depending on the application. How do I tell which one I need?(other than to look at the one that's on there, it may be the wrong one, the oil pan is leaking)
 

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Lay a straight edge across the front of the oil pan and measure the depth to the edge.

If it measures 2 1/4 inches, use the thicker gasket.
I think the new thinner gasket into effect in '72, could be wrong.......
 

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I would recommend using a 1 piece gasket that felpro makes. It's made of rubber, so it's re-usable, and you won't get any leaks around the corners. Much easier. It is quite a bit more than standard gasket, but worth it to me.
 

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The one piece Felpro gasket is great. and it can be reused several times.

One word of caution though . . . the Felpro one piece sometimes includes these little blue plastic guide pins. The guide pins screw into the four large pan bolt holes, then the gasket snaps onto the guide pins and they hold it there while you put on the pan. Works great in theory, but I once managed to snap the front two guide pins off in the block when putting the oil pan in. They stuck down too low and of course putting an oil pan back while the engine is in the car is no picnic . . . I think my neighbors learned some new words that day.

ps. Its probably the thick front seal, I think the drivers side dipstick engines are that way. The thin front gaskets came into use around the same time as the passenger side dipstick. I would still double check though.
 

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Up to and including 1974 Chevy used the thin front pan seal. In 1975 they switched to the thick front seal. Most all aftermarket oil pans use the thick front seal. The difference is in the oil pan itself.

Lay a straightedge across the pan rail from side to side and measure down to the lowest portion of the oil pan front lip. If it measures 2 1/4" (app.) you need the thin front seal. If it measures 2 1/2" (app.) you need the thick front seal.

The tip on the one-piece gaskets is a good one. From my personal experience, even though they claim you install them dry, I have to use sealer on the front and rear portions or they leak.

Jody
 

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Jody is of course right about the 74 and down factory pans using the thin rubber seal while the 75 and up factory pans use the thick rubber seal.

Keep in mind that any GM "service replacement" pan, including the available pans for older 74 and down engines will use the newer design 75 and up thick rubber seal. Confusing to say the least.

-Mark.
 

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Bugger is a good adjective. On my one piece felpro the directions said to put a dab of sealer at the front/rear two traditional spots. The gasket was a sturdy piece. I haven't fired the motor up yet but am hopeful!
 
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