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TR4/4A Real Main Seal and Pulling the Engine

KVH

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I'm beginning to think it's about time to pull my engine. Each night after a drive I lose about 3 tablespoons of oil under my car. It's hard to imagine that seeping from the rear main seal, but it must be. I've tried about all I can. I

really think I might enjoy starting over on this engine, but I've got some questions as usual--sorry for so many:

a) once I pull the crank, am I "all in," with it being completely wrong to not then replace the pistons and rings, bearings, etc.?

b) why stop there; do I then take the block to a shop for replacement of cam bearings (try it myself), have the head checked and new valves added?

c) is it a must to regrind the crank (I guess I'll know once I mic the journals)?

d) new lifters, grind the cam?

Where do you stop?

e) Viton's the best for the rear main seal?

f) I'm inclined to pull the transmission separate just because I've been there and done that. Doesn't that avoid slamming into the body components while extracting a bigger mass?

g) will a cheap engine stand from O'Reilly's or Harbor Freight be good enough with the entire weight dangling on just three 5/16 bolts?

h) And finally: What kind of steel chain (strength) do I use to pull the engine?
Is a hoist leveling bar necessary?
How does the rear passenger side eye hook fasten (any further gloss to the factory manual)?
Any special steel for the eye-hook?

A friend tells me of a chain that broke. That's unimaginable.

Thanks for any help or advice.
 

bobhustead

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Whether you are all in depends on the other indications. How many miles on the existing rebuild? size and ovality of crank journals. Ridges in and diameters of sleeves (wet liners). I believe that with significant miles you should do it all if you do any. Many good mechs on this forum don't agree. Cam bearings need to be mic'd, but I understand that the older engines omitted bearings there altogether (steel on iron!). Look at the lifter bottoms. Wear wil show. If a cam needs a regring, you need a new cam. I went with the old style rear seal. Don't like drilling my main cap as the kit required. Run it a quart low (6 quarts are enough) and the leak will be minimal. Definitely pull the trans first. Harbor freight engine stand is fine. I bolted a piece of angle across the starter hole for the lower right stand mount cause I worried about stress on the casting at that point. 1/4 inch proof coil chain is fine. I bolted the chain (big washers) to the right rear lifting loop. Leveler unnecessary.
Bob
 

Darrell_Walker

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Besides the rear main seal, a leaking rear cam plug will look about the same. I sealed mine in with JB Weld to make sure it wouldn't leak again.
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TR3driver

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Whole lot of "it depends" in there. I'm just curious, what have you tried as far as improving the crankcase ventilation? Some of the racers use a setup that pulls a vacuum on the crankcase even at full throttle; which seems like it would have to pretty well eliminate leakage from the rear main seal.

a) Not necessarily, IMO. If you are happy with everything else, then leave it alone. I'd probably change the rod bearings if they have more than maybe 30,000 miles on them, but everything else can depend on how worn they are, and how soon you are willing to do the engine again, and how much you plan to drive per year, etc.

b) Same as a). If you are going to pull the head, I'd probably have a look at the valves; but there is a good chance they don't need attention.

c) No. Only regrind if it is worn or damaged.

d) Again, depends on condition. If they look fine, use them.

e) Yes, IMO.

f) IMO, it's easier to pull them as a unit. Yes, there's more weight, but the crane doesn't care. And muscling the transmission in and out through the interior is not one of my favorite operations. Let the crane get the sore back and bruised fingers!

g) Should be no problem. I've had a TR4 engine hanging on a HF engine stand for over 30 years now (it was originally supposed to go into a project that I abandoned back in 1982), even moved it that way, and it's still standing. Might have 4 bolts in it though :smile:

h) 1/4" proof coil chain (aka "log chain", available at any hardware store) will do fine, although technically it is not rated for overhead lifting. Obviously, if you are using a chain that has been used before, inspect it for damage, bent links or cracks, etc.

I'm not sure what it's like on a 4A, but you'll almost certainly want some way of controlling the tilt of the engine. I have "made do" in the past by sliding the chain links through the hoist hook and dropping a punch through a link to lock it in place. But some kind of purpose-made leveling mechanism would probably be easier.
 

TR3driver

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Don't like drilling my main cap as the kit required.
The "Mad Marx" Viton rear seal kit does not require any modification to the crank, block or main cap. He does recommend some light polishing of the (formerly unused) area on the crank where the seal rides, but usually even that is not necessary. And the modifications described to the original seal are not necessary if you get the kit with the new seal housing, as sold by TRF and A.R.E.
https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B2H2NJt34OffdUxfdUN3cGFKUFk/view?usp=sharing
https://www.the-vintage-racer.com/index.php/categoryhome/engine-components/product/53-vsk-t34
 

carpecursusII

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I did this a year ago and now have ~1300 miles on the engine.
A) Your not all in but I would strongly encourage you to go all in, new rings and a good hone job on your cylinders isn't that much money. I doubt you need all new pistons. I would highly recommend having everything balanced, it changed my engine tremendously.

B) Only mess with the cam if its worn! Replace all the timing equipment, its cheap ~$100 for the parts. Get someone with a timing wheel and beer to help you retime it, it took me 6 hours my first time. Have the machine shop give you a recommendation on the head, if they say its worn, do the whole thing (valves, seats, and guides) Should run $4-500 for the head work.

C) this must be answered by the engine shop, they will tell you if its usable as is or not.

D) as long as wear pattern is concentric on the lifters and your not flattening your cam your good to go. If you replace one, replace the other.

E) The A.R.E. seal is great and very easy to install, they come with the alignment tool, keep it! $179 and no machine work. Joe is great to chat with on the phone, TRF sells this kit but you can buy it direct from Joe and I like that better. Just check the clearance between the flywheel bolts and the seal, I destroyed my first one in 1 mile because of this and had to remove the engine all over again to replace it.

F) I pulled them separate, if you have some muscle I think it greatly reduced the possible paint damage and ease of engine removal. I chose to go out the passenger side.

G) Harbor freight for the following tools
1) engine stand
2) ring speader
3) ring compressor

H) I used a leveling bar, it made the job easy to bolt up to the lifting eyes. I would borrow it from someone as opposed to buying one for a one time job. Orielys may even loan them out. I cant speak to chain strength as I borrowed a leveler with chain on it.

I'll add this other piece of advice, send your distributor to Jeff at Advanced, that is money well spent!
 

Geo Hahn

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I added crankcase ventilation (road draft tube) to my TR4 and greatly reduced the pressure that was causing oil leaks (gear box still leaks though).

I was looking at an acquaintance's E-Type engine that is being rebuilt at a leading Jaguar restorer in Austin and noted that they use the HF stand:

61015ds2.jpg


And that is a long engine.

Do you need to borrow an engine hoist & leveler? If so, I may be able to help.
 
OP
KVH

KVH

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Thanks Geo I may take you up on that leveler. Remember my work habits, though, and brace for a 2:00 a.m. knock at your door.

By the way, I don't have a rear engine hoisting eye. Is that a Moss part to be ordered?

Also, I do have two vents--the draft tube and the valve cover vented to the ground. No PCV. The one thing the PO told me that seems 100% accurate was that the rear main seal leaks. His wife wanted it out of the garage. He did as he was told.
 

PatGalvin

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Darrell pointed out the leaking rear cam plug. I would carefully check this out. I had my engine block hot tanked. It loosened the aluminum plug on the back of the block. But, I didn't know it. Built the engine and fired her up on the bare chassis. Ran great but leaked a lot. I thought it was a bad rear seal (Land Rover seal, not Alexander's Viton seal). So I pulled engine, tore into bottom end, and replaced the seal. Fired her up and she leaked again. Boy was I disappointed at that point.
Decided to get some UV dye and the light and glasses from FLAPS. Added the dye to the crankcase, fired her up, and when dye was on the floor, I turned off the engine and pulled the tranny and clutch and flywheel. Well lo and behold, you could see the florescent snail trail from the aluminum plug (I think it's on an oil galley). So, I replaced the plug and used RTV to seal it up. That fixed my problem. You might want to check this out before you tear into the rear seal. Just in case.

Pat
 

Geo Hahn

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...By the way, I don't have a rear engine hoisting eye. Is that a Moss part to be ordered?...

Moss has it, p/n 838-550

But I don't know that it is necessary. There are certainly other way to secure a chain to the head/block including angle iron or a chain link under a bolt.

The eye:

Lifting%20Eye_zps8wfg4j9c.jpg
 
OP
KVH

KVH

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OK thx Geo. Just looking for more tips removing the engine: The manual is pretty good, and I see how removing with the transmission might be easiest as Randall says. If I remove them together will the transmission tail end be dragging along my garage floor as I'm lifting it out? Once I'm out and have the transmission separated, how much of the engine rebuilding is done on the Harbor Freight engine stand as opposed to on my work bench?
 

Darrell_Walker

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If I remove them together will the transmission tail end be dragging along my garage floor as I'm lifting it out?

There is plenty of room to remove them together with the car on the ground. You will need to remove the hood (bonnet) and radiator, which gives you quite a bit of room to go forward in the engine bay.

Once I'm out and have the transmission separated, how much of the engine rebuilding is done on the Harbor Freight engine stand as opposed to on my work bench?

Aside from taking the block to the machine shop, mine was on the stand pretty much all the time. One tip, when I put my engine on the stand, I centered it pretty close to the crank centerline. That isn't anywhere near where the center of gravity of the block is (even with the head off). First time I tried to rotate the engine, it spun around by itself, almost spilling the stand (until it slammed back down).
 
OP
KVH

KVH

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How do you rotate on the stand to avoid a spill as you mention? Maybe better to remove the head and manifolds?
 

TR3driver

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Even with the head and manifolds off, you need to mount so the pivot point of the stand is quite a bit higher than the crank centerline. But, the stand should come provided with a big lever and locking pin, so you can control the rotation even if it is way off-center. Items 2 and 9 in figs D and E at https://manuals.harborfreight.com/manuals/69000-69999/69520.pdf
 

Darrell_Walker

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Also, a bit grease on the mounting plate tube where it goes into the stand will help it rotate more smoothly. Aside from having the balance off, part of my problem was probably that I had to supply a fair bit of grunt to get the thing turning, which made it hard to control.
 
OP
KVH

KVH

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It seems clear from the pics that to work on the rear main seal the engine needs to off the stand and on a workbench, right?
 

Darrell_Walker

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It seems clear from the pics that to work on the rear main seal the engine needs to off the stand and on a workbench, right?

There should be enough space between the stand mounting plate to get the bolts that hold the seal shells in place out.

Also, the block is light enough that one person can lift/move it around, but the block + crank might be pushing it (of course all depending on the strength of the person). So you will probably want to remove the crank while it is on the stand, and not reinstall until it is back on the stand.

Though perhaps it would need to be off to use the alignment tool for the original type seal.
 
OP
KVH

KVH

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So many questions. Which bolts come out to remove the bonnet? The manual says just the side wing bolts? I was prepared to remove the bonnet ones only. Wrong?
 

Darrell_Walker

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So many questions. Which bolts come out to remove the bonnet? The manual says just the side wing bolts? I was prepared to remove the bonnet ones only. Wrong?

It's been a while, but I'm pretty sure I removed the hinges from the bonnet, leaving the hinges attached to the car. Put some tape around the outline of the hinge as a guide for putting it back on.
 
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