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Thread: Front Oil Seal

  1. #1
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    Front Oil Seal

    My 34 year old V-8 has been leaking oil at the front of the engine right below the vicinity of the crank shaft pulley , lightly spraying oil on the garage floor and on the underside of the hood and inside the fender wells (?)
    I wonder how hard it is to replace the seal? Isn't this seal located directly opposite the rear main bearing seal?

  2. #2
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ChevyMan View Post
    My 34 year old V-8 has been leaking oil at the front of the engine right below the vicinity of the crank shaft pulley , lightly spraying oil on the garage floor and on the underside of the hood and inside the fender wells (?)
    I wonder how hard it is to replace the seal? Isn't this seal located directly opposite the rear main bearing seal?
    I's not too bad. A mid-range PITAS in my book. Mostly just grunt work. The pan needs to come off (or be dropped down a bit).

    A few hours' work for a DIYer at home; if you have to take it to a shop the labor cost shouldn't be too horrendous because its pretty simple and everything's fairly easy to unbolt and put back together.

    If the leak is relatively minor, you can nurse it along for awhile by throwing a piece of cardboard under the engine (to catch the drips while its parked) and top off the oil as necessary.

    But if you're losing more than about a quart per month, I'd probably go ahead and bite the bullet and have it fixed.... it's been awhile since I priced this job, but I'm guessing it'd be around $500 in parts and (mostly) labor.

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    Administrator Ken's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eric View Post
    I's not too bad. A mid-range PITAS in my book. Mostly just grunt work. The pan needs to come off (or be dropped down a bit).

    A few hours' work for a DIYer at home; if you have to take it to a shop the labor cost shouldn't be too horrendous because its pretty simple and everything's fairly easy to unbolt and put back together.

    If the leak is relatively minor, you can nurse it along for awhile by throwing a piece of cardboard under the engine (to catch the drips while its parked) and top off the oil as necessary.

    But if you're losing more than about a quart per month, I'd probably go ahead and bite the bullet and have it fixed.... it's been awhile since I priced this job, but I'm guessing it'd be around $500 in parts and (mostly) labor.
    If the oil is being 'sprayed' that would tend to make me think that it is the crankshaft pulley oil seal that is failing. Usually on the cars I worked on this just meant removing the pulley, levering out the old seal and drifting in a new seal or is the V8 a different configuration?

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    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken View Post
    If the oil is being 'sprayed' that would tend to make me think that it is the crankshaft pulley oil seal that is failing. Usually on the cars I worked on this just meant removing the pulley, levering out the old seal and drifting in a new seal or is the V8 a different configuration?

    Ken.
    Could be... it's virtually impossible to know without actually inspecting Chevy's Chevy!

    Either way, it ought not to be too big a deal except (if I am remembering it right) Chevy's no longer physically able to do the work, in which case he'll have to pay a shop. Labor rates these days are just crazy - and many dealers won't touch an older car like his, on top of it.

    He may need to find a specialty shop that handles older stuff....

  5. #5
    Senior Member grouch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ChevyMan View Post
    My 34 year old V-8 has been leaking oil at the front of the engine right below the vicinity of the crank shaft pulley , lightly spraying oil on the garage floor and on the underside of the hood and inside the fender wells (?)
    I wonder how hard it is to replace the seal? Isn't this seal located directly opposite the rear main bearing seal?


    What engine do you have? I'm thinking you've got a 350 but you might have a big block. If you have the 350, or any other small block, it's fairly easy to replace the seal but is a bit labor intensive. You can replace the seal on the engine but I wouldn't do it because of the possiblity of damaging the timing cover.

    What I would be doing if I replaced it would be remover the harmonic balancer, water pump, fuel pump and then unbolt the timing cover. With the cover on the bench, you pop the old seal out and press the new in. Now, since you're in there, I'd go ahead and put a new timing chain set in there. Especially if it's never been changed. A good mechanic can usually do this without dropping the oil pan.

    Before I did this though, I'd make sure it really is the oil seal leaking. Other things that can cause a leak like this will be a leaky gasket. A loose fuel pump, loose bolt going into the oil pan area or numerous things. Personally, I like to add UV dye and then check it with a black light. Keep in mind, labor will cost you but a Chevy small block is THE cheapest engine to buy parts for.
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  6. #6
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    Front Oil leak

    The leak is still miniscule so I'll just leave it as is until it gets worse (NOT wishing for it though). The cause couldn't be any gasket since the lightly-sprayed leak is on the garage floor directly under the crank pulley. Sometimes the leak is hardly noticeable and I've not noticed any oil sprayed on the inside of the wheel well that I previously mentioned.

    I've had the harmonic balancer replaced a few years back. I don't recall having any problem with the timing belt or chain. This is a small block 350 manufactured by Oldsmobile, if I recollect correctly.

    The main oil leak for several years going is the rear main bearing, that's easily taken care of by merely replacing the lost oil every now and then (every four-five weeks) when the oil level drops about quarter of an inch on the dipstick. I'm just hoping the leaks wouldn't get too major in the near future.

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