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Oil pan removal, (rope seal engines)  Rate Topic 
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 Posted: 05-22-2005 11:55 pm
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Dan (Florida)
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The rear oil seal leak is getting worse and looking more toward replacement time. It doesn't look like an easy job and I was wondering if anyone has any short cuts.  I don't really want to have to pull the engine to do the job, but  not sure if it can be done in frame.  I have repair invoices from the 90's  showing where the front  end was pulled off for the purpose of replacing the rear oil seal (older rope seal) and was wondering   if this was the  easier method.

If the engine does have to come out, is it easier to pull the exhaust  with the engine or take the headers off at the head and leave the exhaust in the car.  I'd like to separate it at the bellhousing  and just pull the engine by itself if possible.

Any advice would be of  great assistance.

Dan

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 Posted: 05-23-2005 01:43 pm
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Judson Manning
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Dan,

This is precisely why I don't much care to do work on the earlier engines...

The only way to replace the rope-seal is to remove the crankshaft.  If you want to go this route, it's worth replacing the main bearings...and while you're at it....you get the idea.

Sorry, there are no shortcuts.  Alternatively, if you do wish to do this amount of work, I'd find a later engine, start rebuilding it and swap it with yours....just like we did with Hugh Furr's early '73.

http://shorpac.com/v-web/gallery/album08/Hugh_EngineBay

Judson

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 Posted: 05-24-2005 12:50 pm
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Brian Kelly
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Dan, How bad is the leak?  How much oil are you adding and at what interval? I have the rope seal and mine leaks a small bit but I can live with a few drops of oil on the floor.  After all it’s British!  Replacing the rope seal is a Job to be sure but it is do-able. I’d say the engine has got to come out.  If your oil pressure is good then your bearings may be fine.  It is entirely possible that your engine is in great shape except for the rope seal or Judson maybe right and you could be up for a rebuild as long as it is out.

If I had to do it I’d probably pull the engine, tranny and header out. One could argue weather it’s easier to line up and bolt up the tranny and header in or out but I really like to avoid lying on my back under the car so I’d rather get it all out and work on it.

Anyway, if it is a small leak and all else is well you could put a drip pan on the garage floor for now and deal with it over the winter if not you may want evaluate the condition of the engine to see how much needs to be done (2.2L conversion,  ….etc)

Brian

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 Posted: 05-24-2005 11:38 pm
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Dan (Florida)
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Thanks for the come back, The leak is up to around 2 quarts a week if I drive several times a week. Its bad enough to where I've added a 4"x"6  drip  pan under the rear main seal to hold the oil while in the garage. The choke cable lowers the rear edge to drain the pan on the road. Oil pressure is terrific and I've even removed the oil cooler without any adverse effects to lessen a few minor line leaks. I'm thinking that I could hoist the engine high enough  to remove the pan and bearing cap, but removing the top half of the seal might be  a problem with the crank in place. I'm no fan of laying on a creeper under that oily mess.  The car really isn't in good enough shape to attempt a 2.2 upgrade and if it came to that I would rather try a Mazda rotary instead. All of that empty engine bay leads to all kinds of  projects that I would rather not get into.  Cruising is a lot more fun.

Dan

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 Posted: 05-25-2005 12:44 pm
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Brian Kelly
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Dan, now that’s a leak!  Your oil catch pan is an interesting idea.  By the time you break the tranny from the engine and disconnect the motor mounts you are half way there to getting the engine out (what’s left – steering linkage, disconnect exhaust, cooling hoses, electrical….).

 

Getting the seals into their respective grooves requires a bit of force.  I found using the crank shaft as a tool to force them to the point where they are fully seated worked well.  Once seated you mark the ends for trimming (yes, they have to be cut to length).  I left the ends of each half hang out 0.01-0.02” so that when the two halves came together there would be a slight interference.  I also used a dab of high temp RTV on the back sided of the seals and at the two joints.

 

All this could be done on your back beneath the car but I would dread it.  I’m at that point in life were I am now needing bifocals to focus on up close objects so it is easier for me to be able to stand back a bit and look at it.

 

Anyway, with good oil pressure and good cylinder compression you maybe just fine going in to replace just the seal.  You could probably get it done in a good day. It's all part of the adventure!

 

Brian

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