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Crank seal under timing cover - '53 Special


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Quick question about replacing the crankshaft oil seal under the timing cover.  I've got an oil leak near the front of the block on my '53 Special straight 8.  I suspect it's the crankshaft oil seal.

 

Do I really have to drain and remove the radiator?  The manual instructs to do this when replacing the crank seal, but it lumped in with replacing the timing gears.  Just wondering if I can replace this seal without having to remove the cooling system.

 

Also, will I need a special seal puller or other tool to seat the seal properly?

 

Thanks.

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I'm 99% sure you will have to remove the timing chain cover to replace that rope seal. In that case you may find it easier to do the work if the radiator is out of your way. Lucky for you there should be no transmission cooler in the radiator, which makes the process somewhat easier.  

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2 hours ago, JohnD1956 said:

I'm 99% sure you will have to remove the timing chain cover to replace that rope seal. In that case you may find it easier to do the work if the radiator is out of your way. Lucky for you there should be no transmission cooler in the radiator, which makes the process somewhat easier.  

 

Thanks, John.  I bought a rubber replacement from Bob's.  Any tips on installing these rubber ones vs. the rope seals?  Do I still need a special tool to seat the rubber seal like the manual suggests for the rope seal?

 

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I am sorry, I have no experience with the straight eight, nor the rubber seal.  I just presumed you were going with the rope seal.  If it was me I'd take that seal to the hardware store and see if I could make a driver from schedule 40 PVC plumbing parts.  A ring the size of the seal, and then a plug for the center of the ring so the seal can be driven in square.  Of course, if it was me I'd probably go with the rope seal again too.

 

It might be appropriate to ask how bad that leak is? If this car does not get a lot of run time it may be that more time running will reseal the rope that's in there. Is it for certain coming from the crankshaft seal?  I have done quite a few timing chain jobs and rarely, if ever, has there been a front seal that leaked before removal of the cover. One time I questioned if I put the shedder on the crank the right way but even that one did not leak, so I must have.  Is there any possibility something on top is leaking and running down to the seal area?  Valve cover, loose fitting on an oil filter assembly? Or bad seal on a fuel pump, if it's located on the timing chain cover, which I do not think is the case on the straight 8.

 

Has this cover been off before? 

 

Sorry for all these questions.  I just hate to see someone go through all that work to find out the real problem was not addressed. 

 

 

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9 hours ago, biodegraded said:

Quick question about replacing the crankshaft oil seal under the timing cover.  I've got an oil leak near the front of the block on my '53 Special straight 8.  I suspect it's the crankshaft oil seal.

 

Do I really have to drain and remove the radiator?  The manual instructs to do this when replacing the crank seal, but it lumped in with replacing the timing gears.  Just wondering if I can replace this seal without having to remove the cooling system.

 

Also, will I need a special seal puller or other tool to seat the seal properly?

 

Thanks.

 

 biodegraded, I have a 1950 with 248. Front end is the same as the 263. I rebuilt this engine a few years back.  I had a leak in the front and as you, I figured the crank seal. Pulled the engine recently to install the "hopped up " 263 I built. When I pulled the damper/pulley the area behind it is DRY. The leak seems to be coming from the driver front corner of the oil pan. Are you aware the timing cover bottom edge bolts to the oil pan? If the pan gasket is stuck to both, the oil pan gasket will have to be replaced. And I have never seen one that was not.

 

  Having said all that, this is what I would do. Yes, remove the radiator.  Then pull the crank pulley. If the crank seal is not leaking, check the back gasket on the plate behind the timing gear as well as the timing cover gasket. Maybe they are ok.  Then go hunting. !

 

   Ben

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Thanks, John, for the suggestions on other possible leak sources. No, I'm not positive it's the crank seal that is leaking. I just figured that since the leak was up front, that was the most likely culprit. But I'll have a closer look to see if it's coming from somewhere else. I don't see any dripping from the valve covers. The fuel pump has been replaced by an electric fuel pump and moved to the rear. I'll check the oil filter fittings. 

 

And thanks, Ben, for the warning on the oil pan gasket. I was not aware of that. 

 

Also, I realized the seal on my 263 is a spring type seal, not a rope seal. Hopefully those are easier to replace, if it comes to that. Still not sure if the special tool called out in the manual is necessary, but it just looks like a solid metal disc, so hopefully it's not critical. 

 

I drive it a couple times a week, but have only had it a couple months. Maybe I'll put in some of that sealer additive and see if that helps soften things up. 

 

Anyway, I'll get back under there and see if I can pin down the leak further. 

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This may be of interest. What type of oil are you using, conventional, synthetic,  or a blend?  I've heard synthetic and blends may increase leaks.  It is almost getting hard to find conventional oil but lately I am going back to that in my hobby cars.  I figure i just don't drive them far enough to get any real value from the new technology.  

Even if there was a 10% increase in gas milage, does that really pay on a vehicle I drive less than 3k per year?  Without doing the math I tend to think not.  Plus the conventional oil costs less to begin with. 

Edited by JohnD1956
Now the a and s are too close on that darn phone. (see edit history)
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On 1/4/2017 at 8:03 AM, JohnD1956 said:

This may be of interest. What type of oil are you using, conventional, synthetic,  or a blend?  I've heard synthetic and blends may increase leaks.  

 

John, I'm using conventional oil, but synthetic ATF.  Does that apply to both?  I also have a leak at the torque ball and thought the synthetic would be better.  But maybe I'm wrong.

 

17 hours ago, First Born said:

Here is the leak culprit on mine. The crank seal is dry. The pan gasket , I believe, is leaking at the right corner.

 

  BenIMG_5940.JPG

 

Thanks for the pic, Ben!  I'll see if I am getting something similar.  Is replacing the whole pan gasket a headache?

 

Corbin

Edited by biodegraded (see edit history)
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1 hour ago, biodegraded said:

 

 

 

Thanks for the pic, Ben!  I'll see if I am getting something similar.  Is replacing the whole pan gasket a headache?

 

Corbin

 

 

  Yes, it is.  Although, if it is the pan, and not the crank seal, that removes the need to remove the radiator.  The difficulty of replacing the pan gasket is one reason for letting the leak alone, unless it is really bad.  These old cars leaked. Not like newer ones.  It would give you the opportunity to clean the muck out of the pan. Clean the oil pickup screen. Check the oil pump. 

 

  What part of the country are you in?

 

  Ben

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3 hours ago, First Born said:

 

  What part of the country are you in?

 

  Ben

 

I'm in Maryland.  The leak is bad on occasion.  That's the weird part, some days/weeks it doesn't leak.  Then out of the blue I'll come home to fairly good size spot.  Is that any indication of what it might be?

 

Anyway, I just need to get under there and have a real good look.  It's just been so cold here I've been reluctant to crawl around on the freezing concrete.

 

Thanks for all the suggestions.

 

Corbin 

Edited by biodegraded (see edit history)
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4 hours ago, biodegraded said:

John, I'm using conventional oil, but synthetic ATF.  Does that apply to both?  I also have a leak at the torque ball and thought the synthetic would be better.  But maybe I'm wrong.

That's another question I cannot answer definitively.  The torque ball seal is an issue for many of the Dynaflows, But once again, it has been known to clear up with regular use.  If yours is used a few times a week and it is still leaking then that seal just may need to be replaced.  It's certainly been talked about a lot on this forum.  Once again, be certain just what is leaking.  My Dynaflow looks like the torque ball seal is leaking but it's coming from the two actuator housings on the sides of the trans.

 

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Bio,

Just to add my $ .02, have you considered putting a "diaper" under the front cross member.

I use 1/3 of a bath towel folded neatly and held in place between the 2 rear a-frame struts with a couple of black zip ties.

Shhhhhhhhh.

Change the diaper before every show, and I don't leave spots.

 

Mike in Colorado

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19 minutes ago, FLYER15015 said:

Bio,

Just to add my $ .02, have you considered putting a "diaper" under the front cross member.

I use 1/3 of a bath towel folded neatly and held in place between the 2 rear a-frame struts with a couple of black zip ties.

Shhhhhhhhh.

Change the diaper before every show, and I don't leave spots.

 

Mike in Colorado

 

 That is funny, Mike.  I like it!  I will have to try that if my new engine leaks.

 

  Ben

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3 hours ago, buick5563 said:

Just don't let that diaper hit any exhaust pipe.

Mike,

Mine is nowhere near the exhaust, which by the way is wrapped with heat tape from the heat riser box, all the way to the muffler.

Keeps the master cylinder very cool too.

 

As we all know diapers, like politicians need to be changed for the same reason.

 

Mike in snowy Colorado

 

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Bio,

 

Hi.

 

If you drop the pan, be prepared to spend a leisurely half hour or so flattening the flange of the pan.  These guys tend to get warped out of flat when tightened, and the careful use of a hammer and appropriate dolly will put it back in the flat again.  Watch your torque when you re-install it so you don't re-warp the flange.

 

--Tom

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On ‎1‎/‎6‎/‎2017 at 0:46 PM, trp3141592 said:

Bio,

 

Hi.

 

If you drop the pan, be prepared to spend a leisurely half hour or so flattening the flange of the pan.  These guys tend to get warped out of flat when tightened, and the careful use of a hammer and appropriate dolly will put it back in the flat again.  Watch your torque when you re-install it so you don't re-warp the flange.

 

--Tom

Tom is so right.

There was a whole thread about "flattening your pan" included with the reason to drop the pan on any old car you buy, to one, clean the crud out of the bottom, two, see if the oil pickup is still attached, and the filter screen is not plugged, and three, to check and possibly rebuild the oil pump. All of which I had to do........

 

The first and last are why I had no oil pressure. After polishing the bottom plate smooth, we now have 50 at cold start and 35 hot idle, and the oil pick up float is now attached to the tube. It was not for the 125 miles I had to drive her home. Rather be lucky than good....

 

Mike in Colorado

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Edited by FLYER15015 (see edit history)
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