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    Thread: Going crazy after second rear main seal fails

    1. Member Legoguy's Avatar
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      01-24-2009 12:50 AM #1
      I just did a 16V swap recently and it has run perfectly since the swap, until I noticed that the clutch was slipping a little, eventually it got so bad that I couldn't accelerate sometimes... so I got it into the garage and concluded the rear main seal had leaked oil all over my clutch. Ok, I figured... I can fix that... buy a new clutch disc, resurface flywheel, (already talking over $100 here, with a low budget to boot), clean the bellhousing, replaced the trans input shaft bushing and seal (they were shot to heck) and replace rear main seal. I replaced the seal by prying the old one out of the seal carrier carefully without removing the actual carrier, a technique described elsewhere on the 'Tex (in the scirocco forum i believe). It all went without incident, I put the new seal around the crankshaft and in the carrier, tapped it in all around, a bit deeper than the original one was in, and put everything back together...
      A week later, or so... I notice oil dripping again, oh shi-, time to take it apart... I thought the first time maybe I didn't get the seal in straight but it has a lot of tension on the sealing surface so I was a bit skeptical of that... but anyway this time I opted to replace the thrust plate at the same time (the hardened steel bit in the center had popped away due to age). The one thing I did differently this time was take the whole seal carrier off to inspect it and replace the seal... knocked the old seal out carefully making sure not to damage the carrier and put the new one in flush like it should be... replaced seal carrier gasket too...
      put it all back together, worked great, no oil leaks for a while...
      now, about a month or two later (granted the car sat in the garage most of that time) I'm driving it and notice some minimal slipping still... mainly from 2nd to 3rd and 3rd to 4th... I get home, check the bottom of the bellhousing... oil.
      Here's where it gets interesting. When I was replacing the seal the second time I inspected the crankshaft end and it appeared there was a rough spot on the end of it, most notably, on the surface that the seal seals against, and the very very end of it has some pretty deep dings in it. Now, this could just be a manufacturing defect, as usually the pressure plate is flush against the end and nothing *could* ding it, but what could cause that kind of stuff...
      So now, what can I do... what *should* I do... replace the whole crankshaft? resurface the end of it? how do I even get the darn thing out? Would I need to pull the engine? Rebuild? Everything else except for the oil leak has been working perfect, oil pressure is good, compression is amazing... it just keeps peeing oil on my clutch. I'd rather not have to replace the crankshaft, if possible, because if I'm thinking correctly, that means a whole bunch of new bearings.
      I'm already expecting to pay for another clutch and resurfaced flywheel again... but the problem is, I need this done by the second week of March, because this car is transporting me 1,600 miles to Edmonton, Canada...
      Should I turn the job over to a shop? Or can I do this on my own without much trouble?
      tolusina, briano, Moljinar, anyone who wishes to chime in, please do... big callout for help and advice here. This is making me pull my hair out. I don't want to keep replacing the seal&clutch like this... and with this short of time, I need to get working pronto if I'm to do this myself.

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    3. Member tolusina's Avatar
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      01-24-2009 01:59 AM #2
      1st question I've got for you is, are you 100% certain that it is engine oil and not transmission oil that's soaking the clutch?

      2nd, did you happen to take photos of the dings on the crank?



      Quote Originally Posted by kamzcab86
      I hate reading: "But I bought this car for $500 and don't want to put another dime into it."
      ____(hey, it's VW AND it's electrical, what's not to fail?) neoBentley+



    4. Member iamdagerman's Avatar
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      01-24-2009 02:10 AM #3
      Does the rear main seal sit flush in the carrier or is it kinda counter sunk?

    5. Member Legoguy's Avatar
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      01-24-2009 11:00 AM #4
      I'm sure that it's oil thats dripping right now, because the input shaft seal is new and confirmed not leaking anything since the last time I took it apart.. as far as what's actually dripping on the clutch, well I can't exactly tell until the trans is off.. I certainly don't smell any gear lube (it's quite rancid stuff..)
      I didn't take photos unfortunately...
      And the last time I put the seal in, I made it a tiny bit counter sunk with the carrier, maybe 1mm or less.



      Modified by Legoguy at 10:01 AM 1-24-2009

    6. Senior Member briano1234's Avatar
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      01-24-2009 11:17 AM #5
      three quick thoughts....
      Did you prelube the seal? as in run a good coat or motor oil on the seal and the crank prior to insertion?
      Then is there a possibility that your PCV or crankcase ventilation is plugged causing over pressure and it is Blowing out the seal?
      It isn't the oil pan gasket that is leaking there is it?

    7. Member Legoguy's Avatar
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      01-24-2009 01:09 PM #6
      Yes, both times I prelubed the seal.
      I haven't checked the PCV valve but I do know that I have the hose between the ISV and the ISV itself plugged because the ISV doesn't work (wiring issue, that's next to fix, I think there's a short on the coolant temperature sensor wires somewhere, according to my multimeter)... that's just to keep the idle from going too high (isv stuck closed, but even at closed, it lets some air through.)
      My mixture is a bit off, I believe, because there is a bit of bucking with minimal throttle from about 8 minutes after the car starts to when it's fully warmed up... but none of that sounds like it's PCV/ventilation...
      The oil pan gasket is the A2 rubber type and re-sealed very well when I put the rear main seal carrier back on; I'm fairly certain that's not where it's coming from because the oil is dripping from in between the transmission bellhousing cover (that thin metal piece that covers the otherwise exposed flywheel) and the bellhousing itself through the small gap between them. The oil pan gasket never leaked before either.
      Let me restate that the marks i felt on the end of the crankshaft were there as if someone had filled a crack with something; while i doubt that's actually what it is, it feels like there's just an uneven spot on the sealing part of the crank.
      I do have my old engine still, so if need be I have a donor crank, though the block is from an HT engine, with 10:1 comp. ratio, so I don't know if the crank would be different or not. Current engine in the car is a PL. This is all a mess...


      Modified by Legoguy at 12:11 PM 1-24-2009

    8. Member tolusina's Avatar
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      01-24-2009 04:56 PM #7
      A leaking engine main seal will confirm itself once the pressure plate is removed. There will be obvious oil all around the main seal area, for as bad a leak as you've described, there should be oil 'spokes' on the block side of the pressure plate.
      A trans input shat leak will sling 'spokes' out from the seal area into the trans housing.
      A clutch pushrod seal will throw it's 'spokes' onto the clutch disc,
      Self machining syndrome will carve an arc inside the bell housing from the inside of the differential section centered on the center of the axle shaft flange.
      ----
      Is the seal surface on the crankshaft smooth? If so, a new seal should seal, unless the seal's inner lip is getting damaged on those dings during installation.
      I've got/made/collected several seal installers/protectors that are incredibly cheap (as in free or almost free from re-cyle stuff) and simple (knife and scissors) to duplicate, photos of the set will be almost self explanatory, I'll try and get some, later, possibly today.
      These installers/protectors WILL get the critical sealing lip past the dings with no damage.
      ---
      HT, PL, I can look in ETKA later, unless someone else beats me to it. I'm barely passable in ETKA, others here excel.



      Quote Originally Posted by kamzcab86
      I hate reading: "But I bought this car for $500 and don't want to put another dime into it."
      ____(hey, it's VW AND it's electrical, what's not to fail?) neoBentley+



    9. Member Legoguy's Avatar
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      01-25-2009 11:29 AM #8
      My first leak, then, was a pushrod seal (i know this for a fact, there in fact was hardly any seal there) combined with a rear main seal (oil was all around it).
      Second leak was just the rear main seal.
      This leak I'm assuming is the same, since the oil is coming from that spot. It's a pretty significant leak as I'm seeing now, I drove it to the VW dealer and back (nothing related to this problem) and afterward found a full drip ready to drop, so who knows how much it actually leaked.
      The seal surface on the crankshaft is *not* smooth in one spot, last I checked. Hence my concern with the crankshaft.
      If it's the crankshaft I need to get this to a shop or something because I don't have the resources in this garage nor the time to deal with it myself. I don't really want to take it apart because otherwise I'd have to put it together again to actually get it to the shop -- just more time wasted on my part.
      If the shop gives me an estimate over what I can feasibly pay, then I might be back home with it, and trying to do this all in my garage in 1°F weather (with a heater of course). Is it even possible to remove the crankshaft without having to take everything else on the engine apart (pistons, head, etc)?

    10. Senior Member briano1234's Avatar
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      01-25-2009 02:17 PM #9
      Is it even possible to remove the crankshaft without having to take everything else on the engine apart (pistons, head, etc)
      Yes, to a point.
      You have to remove the lower timing cover all the pulleys, the crank seal on the front.
      Drop the tranny, and then remove the PP, Cutch and flywheel, then remove the rear seal carrier drop the pan, and remove the journals.
      Leave the Pistons and rods. So if you haven't changed the water pump timing belt and front passenger mount you will be "a little closer" to get them all done.
      I did it for a Spun Crank Gear.


      Modified by briano1234 at 2:18 PM 1-25-2009

    11. Member tolusina's Avatar
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      01-25-2009 02:37 PM #10
      The seal lip HAS to run on a completely smooth surface, you know tis by now, you've seen the leak.
      ---
      You're in luck, sort of, you'll have to work your luck.
      I ETKA'd crank numbers, HT and PL engines use the same cranks, sort of the same pulleys, different belt sprockets (of course, belts are different). 16V doesn't use dampened pulleys, some HTs do.
      HT and PL were probably fitted to other models, these were the 1st I found.
      ____________
      HT
      '85 German Jetta
      crank 026 105 101 E
      toothed belt pulley
      049 105 263 C
      crank pulley
      026 105 243 A, with vibration damper, A/C
      026 105 243 B, with vibration damper
      026 105 243 C, with vibration damper, P.S.
      026 105 255 D, P.S.
      026 105 255
      _____________
      PL
      '89, U.S. Golf
      crank 026 105 101 E
      toothed belt pulley
      027 105 263 B
      crank pulley
      026 105 255 D, P.S.
      ______________

      To change out the crank, pull the timing covers, belt and crank pulleys to get down to the 'front' seal holding plate, the plate will have to come off in just a bit.
      Pull the trans and clutch down to the "rear' seal plate.
      Pull the pan, both seal plates, remove the oil pump.
      With the head on, it's tricky but do-able to get the rods off the crank, two rods will bi in one place, the other two will be 180° out. Position the crank so that you can get all 4 rods off and back on again.
      Take the rod caps off, mark them so you can get them back on to the same rods and in the same position, caps are not reversible on the rods.
      Remove the main caps, those too fit only one place, one way, they should be marked already, record the marks or make your own if needed.
      The crank should now be in your lap.
      I suggest new rod and main bearings while you are in there, the originals are not likely over or under size, there should me size markings on the backsides of the bearing shells.
      To be sure sure, measure the journal diameters of both cranks with a decent caliper at least, micrometers are better (or have a machinist measure them).
      You are obviously not going to be able to measure the rod or main bore inner diameters to find if either has been previously machined oversize (which isn't very common anymore), you'll have to trust the markings on the back sides of the bearing shells.

      ALL bearing saddles in the rods, rod caps, main caps and block MUST be clean and dry of any oil or anything else before the bearing shells are inserted.
      Get some genuine engine assembly lube to liberally coat the bearing surfaces just prior to cap assembly.
      You MUST have a torque wrench for the rods and mains, it's good to also torque the pressure plate and flywheel.
      ---
      As you work the 16V, keep in mind that those are interference engines, there is NO room for error in the timing belt set up.

      If you did the 16V swap yourself, changing the crank should be well within your skill level, while not yet in your current skill set, you can soon add cranks to your skill set. It'll be good, you'll see.
      Start by removing the crank from the HT, do it with the same care you'd use if you were planning on re-assembling the HT. You could even do a dry run on the HT of re-fitting the rods back to the journals and work out the one tricky bit you'll face on the PL.
      Aside from the one tricky bit (which won't be tricky anymore, once you've done it), the rest is nuts, bolts, torque wrench, assembly lube, gaskets, seals AND CLEANLINESS in a slimy environment.
      ---
      Oh, this should be back up there ^^ somewhere, I'm starting to ramble excessively, I'll stop soon.
      Have some hose on hand, I'm guessing 5/16" I.D., maybe 3/8" I.D.
      As you remove the rod caps, slip lengths of hose over the rod bolts. The hose will aid you in several marvelous ways. The hose will hold the upper rod shells in place, the hose will prevent the threads on the rod bolts from nicking the rod journals on the crank.
      Before you fit the crank back in the block, the rods should already be ready. After you've cleaned the inside of the rod saddles and inserted clean bearings, then liberally coated the bearing surfaces with assembly lube, lengths of hose(s) go back on the rod bolts to again hold the bearing shells in place, protect the rod journals on the crank, AND, if you've cut the hose(s) long enough, the hoses will aid in guiding the rods into place on their respective journals.

      Ok, you've got the rods ready, insert the main shells to the block and main caps, backsides CLEAN, bearing sides gooey with assembly lube, lift the crank into place, torque it all together.

      At first start up, pre-lube it!! Disable spark or fuel so it can crank but not start. Crank it until you've got oil pressure indicated. At cranking speed, you're not getting 5 BAR, don't expect it, crank at least until the low pressure switch opens, that's enough to know there is oil everywhere it's needed.




      Quote Originally Posted by kamzcab86
      I hate reading: "But I bought this car for $500 and don't want to put another dime into it."
      ____(hey, it's VW AND it's electrical, what's not to fail?) neoBentley+



    12. Member Legoguy's Avatar
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      01-25-2009 10:11 PM #11
      You know it doesn't seem all that difficult the way you describe it, just about what I thought would be involved... certainly not as mind-wrecking as the swap was..
      The old engine is an HT block with JH head, piston #3 cracked and had no compression, I don't think the actual crank had damage though (in fact I highly doubt it)... too bad the allen keys on the vibration damper etc. are stripped, time to get me some bolt removal tools...
      I'm not even sure if I've drained the oil out of that sucker... hrmph.
      I'll sleep on it and see what I'll do. I might bring it to the shop to get a quote on the work and see how much I can save doing myself. Probably a lot, but I do have a parttime job and girlfriend, not to mention packing up my belongings for the trip to canada, among other things.
      In any case, does anyone know of someone that wants a newly (3-4 yrs) rebuilt 3spd auto for A1 car? [IMG]http://*****************.com/smile/emthup.gif[/IMG]


      Modified by Legoguy at 9:13 PM 1-25-2009

    13. Senior Member briano1234's Avatar
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      01-25-2009 10:15 PM #12
      In any case, does anyone know of someone that wants a newly (3-4 yrs) rebuilt 3spd auto for A1 car

      what is the tranny code and I'll give 50....

    14. Member Legoguy's Avatar
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      01-25-2009 10:27 PM #13
      aiee, 3-4 yrs ago we spent $2500 to rebuild that...
      I'm not sure the code, it's from an 88 cabriolet bestseller, perhaps (according to cabby-info) a 010 TNA.
      It's a heavy mofo, so ...

    15. Senior Member briano1234's Avatar
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      01-25-2009 10:40 PM #14
      I have 50, and I might even be able to pick it up

    16. Member tolusina's Avatar
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      01-25-2009 10:55 PM #15
      Drain the HT's oil, flip it over and get to work. Put hoses on the rod bolts, set the crank back in the HT, see how easily the rods line themselves back up, you're ready to get after the PL.

      Note the oil holes in the main bearing shells line up with corresponding oil passages in the block. All bearing shells should have tabs so there's no other way to put then in wrong.
      IF you find a 6 piece center main bearing, replacements are usually two piece with the thrust part of the bearing built in. With no other explanation, the thrust should be readily apparent.
      BTW, only Ford calls the 'thrust' bearings correctly, they are properly 'end float' bearings. The only time they actually handle thrust loads is during clutch operation, otherwise there are no thrust loads (aside from cases of excess internal auto trans pressures that cause torque converters to swell or balloon).


      Quote Originally Posted by kamzcab86
      I hate reading: "But I bought this car for $500 and don't want to put another dime into it."
      ____(hey, it's VW AND it's electrical, what's not to fail?) neoBentley+



    17. Member tolusina's Avatar
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      01-25-2009 10:58 PM #16
      Brian keeps coolant and power steering fluid in the Dodge van so's it's always road trip ready!



      Quote Originally Posted by kamzcab86
      I hate reading: "But I bought this car for $500 and don't want to put another dime into it."
      ____(hey, it's VW AND it's electrical, what's not to fail?) neoBentley+



    18. Senior Member briano1234's Avatar
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      01-26-2009 02:31 AM #17
      what do you expect for a dodge with 300k on it.

    19. Member Moljinar's Avatar
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      01-26-2009 07:51 AM #18
      I agree with Ron that the true test of rear main seal leakage is to examine the back of the pressure plate (or driven plate depending on tranny type) . I had what I thought was a rear main seal and changed it twice before I figured out the oil sender above the bellhousing was dripping and running around and down the backside of the tranny.
      If you have a rough spot on the surface of the crank then maybe you could put the seal in but not so deep as to hit that spot. There's about a 1/4 " to play with as I remember. Also installing the seal is a pain as you can disturb the spring inside the seal if not careful. VW has a seal installation tool just for that reason. Lubing the seal can reduce that possibility.
      There is a main shaft seal and a clutch rod seal for the tranny. Both can leak. In my experience the rear main seal, if leaky, rarely does in the clutch. That's usually caused by a tranny seal.

    20. Member Legoguy's Avatar
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      01-26-2009 11:39 AM #19
      Well, I know the first time that the clutch went, it was probably the clutch pushrod seal leaking, in combination with a bad rear main. The clutch is slipping again, after I replaced that pushrod seal and rear main seal x2, and I don't smell trans lube, and i can def. see oil dripping, so I know (well, hope) at least the pushrod seal is good. I'll look at the clutch, maybe I can still use it, either way I want to make sure before we go on a 1600 mile trip...
      My local auto mechanic that I've gone to in the past for help mentioned right away a "Speedi-Sleeve" for the crankshaft end to make it smooth again. Thoughts?
      I wouldn't have to go through the trouble of replacing the whole crank or finding another sized seal, then.


      Modified by Legoguy at 10:41 AM 1-26-2009

    21. Member tolusina's Avatar
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      01-26-2009 12:22 PM #20
      Quote, originally posted by Moljinar »
      ........ VW has a seal installation tool just for that reason......


      Quite a bit more versatile, and essentially free, is the randomly fabricated and collected seal protector set shown below.

      They are simply rectangles cut out of various smooth sided plastic bottles.
      Cut enough to wrap around whatever shaft is getting sealed making a cross between a cone and a cylinder, lube the outer surface and slide the seal on over whatever sharp edges there are on the shaft in question.
      Try this just once, you'll be amazed how well it works and you'll never forget it.
      The largest one shown opened up in the photo is the one I use for L.C. VW crankshaft 'rear' main seals, it was cut out of a BG oil supplement container of some sort.

      Oh yeah, plastic bottles with their bottoms cut off make great funnels too, I've a collection of those somewhere too.





      Quote Originally Posted by kamzcab86
      I hate reading: "But I bought this car for $500 and don't want to put another dime into it."
      ____(hey, it's VW AND it's electrical, what's not to fail?) neoBentley+



    22. Member tolusina's Avatar
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      01-26-2009 12:26 PM #21
      Quote, originally posted by Legoguy »
      ..... "Speedi-Sleeve" for the crankshaft end to make it smooth again. Thoughts?...


      I don't know them by that name (I don't know them by any name, actually), but I'm familiar with the concept. I'd say your local guy has his thinking hat fully warmed up and operational!
      The big question becomes availability, can you get one? Post up your findings, this is potentially good stuff!


      Quote Originally Posted by kamzcab86
      I hate reading: "But I bought this car for $500 and don't want to put another dime into it."
      ____(hey, it's VW AND it's electrical, what's not to fail?) neoBentley+



    23. Senior Member briano1234's Avatar
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      01-26-2009 03:30 PM #22
      I have also found that PVC pipe connectors make outstanding seal insertion tools.......

    24. Member Legoguy's Avatar
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      01-26-2009 09:51 PM #23
      Well, I found the official manufacturer site of Speedi-Sleeve (it used to be called Chicago Rawhide, or CR, now merged with SKF) -- http://www.vsm.skf.com/en-US/C....aspx select '88, Volkswagen, Cabriolet, then below select Engine, and there's your Speedi Sleeve. It comes with an installation tool. My friend claims that I'd need to cut the shaft to use one but I don't think he understood correctly. Supposedly Carquest can order them, I'll be calling them tomorrow. I can also get a seal from them, too-- hit two birds with one stone. I'll compare the GAP prices.
      My local mechanic also said that I might be able to re-use my brand new clutch if I clean it with Brakleen. True? I don't think it has much (if any) oil contamination on it.
      I also don't think I'll be resurfacing the flywheel again, just cleaning the heck out of it with Brakleen once again.

    25. Senior Member briano1234's Avatar
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      01-26-2009 10:04 PM #24
      yes, you can reuse it.
      I poured 2 qts on a rabbit clutch and drove about 5 miles like that.
      I washed it with hot soapy water, followed by alcohol, hot soapy water, alcohol, then brake clean... it slipped a bit for about 2oo miles but after that it wa okay for another 100K

    26. Member Legoguy's Avatar
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      01-27-2009 11:49 PM #25
      Good to know, do you really think alcohol & soap are needed, or just in the case of having 2 qts on it..
      I'm looking at prices for a speedi-sleeve, somewhere around $50 including shipping. Still easier to do than replace the whole crank, methinks!

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