The crankcase is the housing that surrounds the reciprocating internal combustion engine’s crankshaft. Its main job is to help the crankshaft rotate without hindrance and send torque to the transmission. Other roles include storing engine oil in its lower section (the oil pan) and serving as a mount for engine accessories, such as the carburetor, oil filter, and starting motor.
The crankcase can be found between the engine block and the oil pan. Most crankcases are an integral part of the block, protecting other engine parts from contamination from dirt and moisture.
In most vehicles, the crankcase occupies the central area of the engine bay. Together with the engine block, it forms the core of the engine system.
Tips on How to Access the Crankcase
Accessing the crankcase is easy. When you open the hood of your car, you’ll see the engine block. The crankcase is usually integrated with the cylinder block. An integrated crankcase is cast from gray cast-iron, a cheap yet rigid and tough material that can withstand the intense temperature and pressure in the engine bay when the engine is running.
In general, you don’t have to fiddle with the crankcase unless you intend to rebuild the entire engine. Instead, you’ll probably find yourself working with the various parts mounted on it. These parts are either bolted or fastened to the crankcase. Or you might have to remove the oil pan, which is the bottom section of the crankcase and bolted to the underside of the engine block.
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