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Rear main seal and other oil leaks -- tips?  Rating:  Rating
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 Posted: 10-05-2009 10:16 pm
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edward_davis
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Hello, folks.  For my winter projects, I'm tackling several oil-leak problems. I'll post questions to the appropriate forums.

I have a pretty bad oil leak from my rear main seal (and potentially other places), so I'm going to pull the transmission this winter and replace it.

Does anyone have any tips on this job that will cut down on the wine-glass rating?

Also, are there any other typical oil-leaking places I should address while I have the car up on stands and can crawl around underneath?

Thanks,

Edward

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 Posted: 10-05-2009 10:45 pm
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JodyKerr
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Edward,

One of the absolute best oil leak diagnostics is to clean your engine and undercarriage before putting it in the garage for the winter. When I'm diagnosing this sort of thing I wrap the distributor in plastic, then scrub the heck out of the engine / tranmission / undercarriage.

Once clean and dry, take it for a good robust drive. Anywhere that's leaking oil should give evidence by the time you get home.

Jody

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 Posted: 10-06-2009 12:34 am
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Judson Manning
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Edward,

Be sure to coat the threads of the flywheel bolts upon reassembly.  It only took me three transmission changes to figure that's where a lot of oil was leaking!

Judson

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 Posted: 10-08-2009 02:22 pm
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Dan (Florida)
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If you have one of the older engines, it will have a rope seal main seal that will require an engine tear down to get at.  The newer engines have a changeable seal with its own set of problems but is easier (I guess) . I have put off any projects like that as they tend to grow into complete  multi year projects  which may not pay off  at resale.

Don't pull the transmission until you know which seal you have.  It is an oily mess to deal with. If the clutch looks and feels like it is dry and working well and it is an older engine, I wouldn't pull it down. (just my opinion)

Dan

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 Posted: 03-01-2010 05:46 pm
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edward_davis
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OK, so the transmission is out, and I'm thinking, while I'm down here, should I try to pull the engine oil sump and replace the gasket/ reseal the flange? It looks like a small amount of oil is coming out around the oil pan flange, but the major leak was, as I suspected, the rear main seal.

When I had the transmission out of my Datsun pickup last winter, I went ahead and pulled the pan and put in a new gasket, and it's as tight as a drum now. But I'm not sure it's as easy to pull the pan off my Lotus engine as that nice, simple Nissan motor.

What are folks' thoughts?

Cheers,

Edward 

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 Posted: 03-06-2010 02:31 am
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Gary Martin JH 15371
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Hi Ed,

Did you determine if you had the rope rear main seal, or the later one that is a typical press in round seal within a plate that bolts to the back of the block ? I replaced one on my old engine that had the later type, and found it very difficult to install the seal in the plate. It seems the newer seals are slightly larger in diameter than the original. I had same problem with front crank seal.

As for removing the sump pan, not too difficult. I did that too, but had the engine out. Not sure how difficult with it in the car. However you might be tempted to peak at some of the bearings while it is off, and if you do that you may not like what you find. If your oil pressure was OK before, then don't look at the bearings. Try not to turn your car into a pile of parts. I'm planning on us two getting together for some drives this summer ! If you need something, I still have John's car here. I think I'm going to part it out, it's too far gone to fix.

Gary 

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 Posted: 03-22-2010 03:15 pm
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edward_davis
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OK, because the nice weather has arrived and I'm jealous of all of the other folks in Oregon who have their cars put together, I'm trying to speed up my progress.  To that end: Does anyone in the club have a clutch alignment tool I can borrow? I'll gladly pay postage.

Gary, thanks for the reality check! I don't want to be sitting on a pile of parts when the weather gets really nice later in Spring!

Thanks,

Edward

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 Posted: 03-22-2010 06:49 pm
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Gary Martin JH 15371
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Ed, I have a clutch alignment tool. I will send you a pm or you can send me one as I don't recall your address.

Gary

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 Posted: 07-29-2013 10:28 pm
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atgparker
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Why the rope seal cannot be changed to a one piece modern seal.

Attachment: WP_000467.jpg (Downloaded 110 times)

Last edited on 07-29-2013 10:34 pm by atgparker

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