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Need advice for replace rear main seal

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Old 12-26-2010, 11:38 PM   #1
Hitchhikingmike
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Question Need advice for replace rear main seal

Which is the least hardest method to replace the rear main seal in the back of the engine? Pull the engine and place it on an engine stand? Or pull the transmission and drive shaft?

I don't have an engine hoist, stand or transmission jack.

Right now I am thinking of just buying a hoist and stand, as I don't really like the idea of wallowing around on the garage floor doing all the work.

I have helped a buddy swap a transmission, and we were wallowing around on the garage floor for four days. I have never pulled an engine before.

Suggestions appreciated.

'02 SOHC engine.




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Old 12-27-2010, 06:04 AM   #2
2000StreetRod
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no engine stand

Most engine stands are of no use when replacing the rear main oil seal because the way the stand mounts the block prohibits access to the seal. I replaced mine while the engine was hanging from the hoist.

A shop will remove the transmission to replace the rear main seal because it is faster and they have a lift to allow easy access while working under the vehicle.

Unless you use tall jack stands the transmission when mounted on the transmission jack will be to tall to slide out from under your vehicle. I got 6 ton jack stands (24 inch max height) for Christmas hoping they will be tall enough to use with my new transmission jack.

Exhaust bolts on older engines are very difficult to remove. Pulling the engine only requires the removal of the 4 exhaust bolts that attach the exhaust manifold to the down pipes.
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Old 12-27-2010, 03:28 PM   #3
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Since you're very experienced with the SOHC engines Dale I've got another question for you:

I obviously have an oil leak in the back of my engine. What do you think the chances are that the upper oil pan to engine block seal is leaking? Or is this very unlikely?

I have replaced the lower oil pan gasket and valve cover gaskets, I'm losing about .5-.75 quarts of oil every 8k miles. And I am running Amsoil 12k miles extended drain intervals. And I also just don't like the idea that my Ex is dumping half a quart of oil onto the road and environment between my oil changes.

The engine only had 83k miles on it.

If you think that there is a possibility that the rear main seal and/ or the upper oil pan gasket is leaking than I guess I should pull the engine regardless, since it would have to come out to pull the upper oil pan in the case I discover that it is leaking.

Otherwise I would hate to pull the transmission to replace the rear main seal only to have to pull the engine to replace the oil pan gasket if it is still leaking.

Or, would you even recommend replacing the upper oil pan gasket if I'm going to be pulling the engine just to do it regardless with the rear main seal.

Thanks.




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Old 12-27-2010, 03:34 PM   #4
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I thought of even replacing the chain tensioners since the engine may be out just to do it. But the engine is running great and there is no start up rattle at all so I may want to put off that preventative maintenance procedure until it reaches 130k, just so I can do one job at a time, since this would be my first engine pull.

Or do you think this is foolish and I should just replace the tensioners since the engine will be out regardless?

Thanks.




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Old 12-27-2010, 05:18 PM   #5
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What can you see?

When I had an oil leak I couldn't tell if it was from the rear main seal, the gasket between the block and the cradle, or the transmission front seal. It all runs down to the same place to drip. Sometimes the oil from a leaking oil filter wil blow back to about the same place to drip. Have you crawled underneath or checked it on a lift to make sure that's where the leak is? Are you sure you're losing engine oil and not ATF? Even after I pulled the engine I wasn't sure of the leak source.

All of the engine assembly instructions I have read emphasize using RTV or equivalent at the rear of the block and cradle union. It is much less likely to leak than the rear main seal.

If I had the engine out and still had the original timing chain parts with 83,000 miles I would at least change the rear cassette. Some members with the early timing components have experienced failures as early as 45,000 miles. All the rest of the timing chain components except for the balance shaft tensioner can be replaced with the engine in the vehicle.
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Old 12-27-2010, 07:36 PM   #6
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Thank you for your help.

Yes I have crawled under the truck multiple times to look at it. Ironic that you bring up transmission oil, because that is leaking too. But never the less I have determined that engine oil is leaking for sure. The oil is collecting at the rear of the engine. The mount for the oil filter is dry as well. The front of the engine, and for that matter the front main seal are bone dry.

I go back to school on the 18th of January. So I will be making a decision quite soon as to what I will be doing.

Thanks again.




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Old 12-28-2010, 07:52 PM   #7
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I was wrong

I was just under my truck replacing the rear differential oil when I thought I would check out that engine oil leak again. I remember you mentioning the oil filter mount so I thought I would check it out again. Upon initial inspection it looked dry, but upon further scrutiny I found oil above the upper pan and on the block itself, higher than the pan gasket or rear main seal. I took off the exhaust manifold for continued inspection and sure enough, the filter mount is the culprit.



I owe you a beer!

Unfortunately I also found on the forum that there is a TSB about this problem too where the filter mount leaks due to porosity and not the gasket. I may have to go find myself a new mount if I find that to be the problem.
I'm going back out to the garage now to drain my oil pul off the filter mount.




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Old 12-28-2010, 07:59 PM   #8
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I'm losing about .5-.75 quarts of oil every 8k miles.
Mike, while I applaud your environmental sense of responsibility, I would not even think about pulling a tranny to stem a leak of 1/2-3/4 quart per 8000 miles. Not worth the exercise in pain and aggravation for that small of a leak.

If you feel that you must do something, consider making a donation to an environmental cause that will have greater positive impact than your very minor oil leak.

BTW, are you sure that the oil loss is 100% attributable to the weepage? 1/2 to 3/4 quart is not unusual for a perfectly normal engine to burn in 8000 miles. My Ex' uses one quart in 9000 miles and it is as dry as a bone underneath. All cars put oil into the environment, as well as CO, CO2, NOx, etc.




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Old 12-28-2010, 08:59 PM   #9
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Oil adapter PN

I'm glad that you found the source of your leak! I checked the PN listed in the TSB against the Ford database ($67.56 MSRP or $33.44 online) and it only applies to 2002 thru 2010 models. I would have replaced my gasket when I had the engine out for the timing chains but I knew I would be pulling the engine again before long and there were no signs of it leaking. Be certain the valve cover above the oil cooler adapter is not leaking onto the adapter.
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Old 12-28-2010, 09:13 PM   #10
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Mike, while I applaud your environmental sense of responsibility, I would not even think about pulling a tranny to stem a leak of 1/2-3/4 quart per 8000 miles. Not worth the exercise in pain and aggravation for that small of a leak.

If you feel that you must do something, consider making a donation to an environmental cause that will have greater positive impact than your very minor oil leak.

BTW, are you sure that the oil loss is 100% attributable to the weepage? 1/2 to 3/4 quart is not unusual for a perfectly normal engine to burn in 8000 miles. My Ex' uses one quart in 9000 miles and it is as dry as a bone underneath. All cars put oil into the environment, as well as CO, CO2, NOx, etc.
I am by no means a "greeny", nor do I believe in anthropogenic global warming, nor do I believe that the Earth is over populated. Even though I am a "denier" or "skeptic", I do believe in practical environmental actions. Otherwise as a single man, I wouldn't be driving a 2.5ton SUV just for myself as I sit here typing while drinking coffee from a styrofoam cup.

Regardless, an engine oil leak no matter how small just irritates me. I like my engine to be in, and remain in tip top shape. That, and I still don't like the idea that my explorer is just dumping almost two quarts of oil on the road every year.

I appreciate you reminding me though how small my leak is compared to other explorers on the road.

I have found drips of oil on my garage floor form the explorer, and the bottom of the oil pan is all saturated on engine oil as well.




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Old 12-28-2010, 09:28 PM   #11
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I'm glad that you found the source of your leak! I checked the PN listed in the TSB against the Ford database ($67.56 MSRP or $33.44 online) and it only applies to 2002 thru 2010 models. I would have replaced my gasket when I had the engine out for the timing chains but I knew I would be pulling the engine again before long and there were no signs of it leaking. Be certain the valve cover above the oil cooler adapter is not leaking onto the adapter.
Thanks for looking up the part. Upon inspection of the mount after removal I discovered that the o-ring between the engine block and mount was flat with the mount itself, making me wonder how it even sealed at all. I also did not find any evidence of cavitation inside of the mount.

I went to O'Relieys and found a new o-ring for $6 that fit and is much more plump that the last one. The new ring also extrudes from the filter mount surface too. Hopefully it should no longer leak. The old o-ring probably shrunk and got a bit brittle from the engine heat.

Thanks again.




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Old 12-28-2010, 11:39 PM   #12
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I am by no means a "greeny", nor do I believe in anthropogenic global warming, nor do I believe that the Earth is over populated. Even though I am a "denier" or "skeptic", I do believe in practical environmental actions. Otherwise as a single man, I wouldn't be driving a 2.5ton SUV just for myself as I sit here typing while drinking coffee from a styrofoam cup.

Regardless, an engine oil leak no matter how small just irritates me. I like my engine to be in, and remain in tip top shape. That, and I still don't like the idea that my explorer is just dumping almost two quarts of oil on the road every year.

I appreciate you reminding me though how small my leak is compared to other explorers on the road.

I have found drips of oil on my garage floor form the explorer, and the bottom of the oil pan is all saturated on engine oil as well.
Mike, you gave me a good laugh lampooning me - I did not even intend to hint that you were a tree-hugging freak.

I see that your leak might even be a more minor problem, good news. Rear main seals are the total suckage for 99.9% of all cars.




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Old 12-29-2010, 06:37 AM   #13
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I went to O'Relieys and found a new o-ring for $6 that fit and is much more plump that the last one. The new ring also extrudes from the filter mount surface too. Hopefully it should no longer leak. The old o-ring probably shrunk and got a bit brittle from the engine heat.

Thanks again.
Hopefully that new o-ring is meant for the environment it will be in. Heat, oil, etc can make short work of an o-ring that's not up to the task.

If it gives out, you'll have an Exxon Valdez in your driveway!

Good luck and keep us updated.




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Old 12-29-2010, 11:35 AM   #14
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Hopefully that new o-ring is good for the environment, if it gives out, you'll have an Exxon Valdez in your driveway!
fixed it for you, Mike (couldn't resist)

(neat fix if it works, btw. If only all fixes were this simple)




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Old 12-29-2010, 02:40 PM   #15
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Old 12-29-2010, 05:27 PM   #16
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Hopefully that new o-ring is meant for the environment it will be in. Heat, oil, etc can make short work of an o-ring that's not up to the task.

If it gives out, you'll have an Exxon Valdez in your driveway!

Good luck and keep us updated.
Oh, I just now saw in your signature that you are a registered smart ass in al 57 states. You haven't registered in Hawaii or Alaska though?




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Old 12-29-2010, 05:31 PM   #17
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Oh, I just now saw in your signature that you are a registered smart ass in al 57 states. You haven't registered in Hawaii or Alaska though?
Watch it - I have the Hawaii franschise.




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Old 12-29-2010, 06:17 PM   #18
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I gave up the Hawaii one because they lost my paper work. Something about getting it mixed in with the birth certificates and the whole batch went missing.

Alaska needs no more.




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Old 12-29-2010, 08:49 PM   #19
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I gave up the Hawaii one because they lost my paper work. Something about getting it mixed in with the birth certificates and the whole batch went missing.




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Old 11-28-2011, 07:24 PM   #20
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Well over almost a year later, the engine is leaking oil again slowly from the same seal, same place...





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