I've learned now the hard way about oil pan gaskets. If you own a Reatta you will face three common sources for oil leaks. Valve covers, intake manifolds and oil pans. This is a warning for anyone looking to replace oil pan gaskets. Using the Fel-Pro P/N: OS 30522 R instead of the Fel-Pro P/N: OS 30522 T could result in a leak.
After rebuilding my engine the oil pan gasket started leaking from day one. I looked into this matter and found out why. Here was my problem. The Fel-Pro P/N: OS 30522 Roil pan gasket. I had torqued the gasket to the required 13 in/lbs according to the FSM specs. You will notice in the photo below that the gasket has split from pressure, heat and vibrations and as a result it was folded out and not sealing as it should. This is because the rubber the gasket is made of has no backing and no support.
My correction for the problem was a solid plastic gasket with rubber seal running through it. It is solid just like an intake gasket. I used the Fel-Pro P/N: OS 30522 T gasket that is shown in the photo below.
How To Install The Gasket:
Clean the mating surfaces on the oil pan and the engine block.
Clean the bolt holes and the bolts with carburetor cleaner, brake part cleaner or a similar type of cleaner.
Apply a small about of Blue Loctite Threadlocker Blue 242 (or equivalent) to the bolts before installing. Blue Loctite is designed for locking and sealing bolts which will require removal for normal dis-assembly of parts in the future. Red Loctite is not recommended for this application.
Tighten the bolts with a 1/4 ratchet by hand. Torque them down by going around the pan several times until they're all snug. You will feel them get tight against the plastic. Be careful not to over tighten them.
Now I have no leaks and the engine is nice and dry!
Rubber gasket: $ 10.99
Plastic/rubber gasket: $ 29.99 as of 2/4/2012.
That is about 3x the price but it was more than worth it to do the job right. Don't waste your money on the rubber gasket, spend the extra money and get the right one to avoid the aggravations of doing the job over.
NOTE: A similar gasket with "washer" torque stops embedded into it is made for the transmission pan. It should be available from GM.
Thanks to Recian,member of the Reatta forums, for this information.