01-12-2012, 08:33 PM
Join Date: Dec 2008
Ok, I'll make my own reply...
Yes, you can take the oil pan off a 2003 4.3l Chevrolet Express 1500 and get to the rod bearings without dropping the engine. Here's how you do it.
1. Don't listen to what the haynes manual says, it is useless and misleading.
2. Take off the front frame cross member that crosses under the oil pan and detach the wires running across it (not absolutely necessary, but worth it)
3. Remove the starter (2 bolts) and starter cover plate 2 bolts.
4. Remove the tranny cooler mounting bracket on drivers side (1 bolt).
5. Remove the oil pan bolts.
6. VERY IMPORTANT: There are 2 hidden bolts at the back of the oil pan. They are accessible only when you remove the 2 rubber plugs hanging at the back of the oil pan. Just pull the plugs down and they come out. Then you can put an extension in and remove the 2 nuts inside there.
7. Remove the 2 horizontal bolts from the bottom of the tranny to the back of the oil pan
8. That's it. Oil pan should come off with a little persuasion.
Took me a long time to find those 2 hidden bolts. HAynes says you have to remove the engine cover and jack up the engine, and remove the torque converter cover. What a load of BS. They obviously never did it.
In case you're also looking for the rod bearing clearance it is 0.01 to 0.025". Also not in the haynes manual. Why did they even write it?
My rod bearings are reading 0.03, so I'm going to put a 0.01 oversize bearing set in. The crank journal is a bit scarred on 2 of the rods, but I'm just doing this to keep her going for a bit. Had way worse scarring on my toyota and put oversize in and it's still going after about 40K.
Last edited by pdrayton; 01-12-2012 at 08:35 PM.