[DML] Experience replacing the crank seal (behind main pulley)
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[DML] Experience replacing the crank seal (behind main pulley)

Hi folks,

I thought I'd share my experience in replacing the crankshaft 
lipseal (the seal for the crank behind the main pulley) with the 

I have been on a campaign to seal all traces of oil leaks on my 
daily driver car, and the crankshaft seal was next on my list. It 
was surprisingly straightforward with no surprises in the process.

The following are the steps I followed and some of the tricks I 

- My exhaust clamp securing the catalytic converter to the muffler 
looked like hell, so I didn't even bother trying to unscrew it. I 
just cut it off in 90 seconds using my Dremel. A new 2" clamp at 
Napa was $1.25, so there was no point in trying to put a wrench to 
the rusted piece of junk.

- The junction between the muffler and the catalytic converter has a 
spit at every 90 degrees, so I loosned the fit a little by putting a 
screwdriver in each slit and spreading a little. The muffler is 
stainless and the 175K-mile catalytic converter fitting looked fine 
as well. To my surprised, the muffler and catalytic converter moved 
freely after minor manipulation.

- I removed the muffler heatsheild (5 nuts and washers).

- Next, I removed the muffler brackets and a couple of the muffler 
bushings. The way the muffler is mounted it is captured between some 
of the bushings, so it was easier to just remove the brackets 

- I left the top passenger-side muffler bracket in place, but 
removed the bushing from it and loosened the bracket enough to get 
good play in the muffler. The top passenger-side hook on the muffler 
is helpful to keep the one end of the muffler supported temporarily.

- The muffler can now be pulled towards the driver's side of the car 
and pulled free of the catalytic converter and lifted free of the 
car. The muffler and heatsheidl needs to come out to give you 
reasonable access to the nut on the crank. This disassembly was 
really simple and took less than one beer to complete.

- In order to give me sufficient clearance to get my impact wrench 
on the nut, I did not need to remove the rear fascia. I only had to 
remove the lower reinforcement plate (not sure what it's called or 
the specific part number, but its at the very bottom of the page in 
section 1.5.0 in the parts manual) for the rear fascia since the 
bottom of the fascia is flexible enough to give you direct access to 
the nut. The 10mm nuts that areont he studs secured inthe fascia are 
often broken off, so be careful wrenching on these. Mine are all 
fine and easy to work -- I think there are 5 nuts along the top of 
the plate and 7 across the bottom. Unless your nuts are seized to 
your studs and you break them off, this is also a trivial removal. 
If you're not sure about the condition of these nuts/studs, you 
should soak them well with a penetrating lubricant since many folks 
report breaking these off.

- Now you just put your impact wrench on the nut and unscrew it. In 
my case, the size of the nut measured with my calipers as 35mm 
(1.375" or 1 3/8"). I used a 1 3/8 socket on it and it was a good 
fit. First put a breaker bar on the nut and turn the motor over 
until the top dead center mark on the pulley is pointing straight up 
so the Woodruff key doesn't fall out of its slot and into the bottom 
of the inside timing chain cover (this would be VERY BAD). The key 
must point straight up in order to avoid the potential of it getting 

- The pulley is not pressed on and slides off once the nut is 
removed. By chance I had one of the Grady stainless sleeves on
hand from when I replaced the transmission axel seal, and in a stroke of coincidence, this same sleeve will also fit the pulley
flange. In my case the flange was a bit marred, and the stainless
sleeve should provide a better surface for the seal.

- With the pulley off, the seal can be removed. It can be removed 
with a screwdriver, but I used a 3-prong seal puller since it avoids 
any marring of the surface the seal is pressed into.

- After lubrating the new seal, using a suitable diameter socket or 
other item to protect the seal, tap it into place. There is no stop 
at the bottom of the race, so be careful to tap it inot place to the 
proper depth by checking progress frequently.

- At this point just put everything back together. Use a little blue 
Loctite on the nut since it is obviously subject to vibration and 
rotation, and use antisieze on all the nuts for the bottom rear 
fascia stiffener plate.

Like I said, it was a pretty straightforward procedure with no 
particular difficulty or surprises. I hope you find the comments 
about my experience useful.


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