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Author Topic: Alert - Engine Crankshaft Lipseals  (Read 1185 times)

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Ron Hill

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Alert - Engine Crankshaft Lipseals
« on: June 29, 2008, 02:15:12 PM »

I'm in the process of writing an article for the Mainsheet Tech notes on this topic. That seal just spoiled Pete's recent sail when he found engine oil "all over the place".  It sounds like this is the second time as he pulled the engine and thought that seal was fixed.
It's ironic, but the same thing happened to me (spoiling my fall cruise this past year).  Pulled the engine, fixed the seal, reinstalled the engine and it leaked again!  In my case it was also the rear seal.  As I recall that seal is about $30(from Kubota), but a GIANT pain to get to it.  My first seal had a 1 " tear in the lip.  The second problem was that the replacement seal did not remain sealed and was coming out (not seated) on the starboard side.  I'd guess that it was just a matter of time till it would have popped  completely out. 

This past week I also got a call from a friend with a 1989 C34.  In his case the front crankshaft lip seal had a split in it, but the results were the same!  I'll go into more detail in that Mainsheet article.

I believe that what's happening is that age of our engines (20years) is starting to enter into the equation.  Even though 10,000 hours is touted for a diesel, the seals are getting old and at our usage (>200 hrs/yr) will never last to reach that number!!! The owners that use their boats all year around may get closer to the 10,000 hr number, but old age will eventually catch up with them!!

I don't believe that there is a magic preventive, but you should be alert to what's happening to your engine and overheating doesn't help matters any:
I caught my leak with a fuel diaper under the engine.  It was a small drop at first so I decided to watch it and still go on a 6 week cruise.  I check the engine every 30 min or so (religiously). It finally got to the point that we had started home after 5 weeks, but had to shut off the engine (couldn't keep oil in it) and accept a tow for the last few miles (less than 15 NM from the slip).

What to look for every 30-45 min:
Look at the raw water pump weep hole and make sure that no oil or water is coming out.  Pete would    have caught that leak had he done that check -- as I wrote in the Mainsheet Tech notes mid 90s -"Wouldn't it be a shame if a raw salt water leak that was let go caused the oil pan to rust out"!
Look thru the alternator door in the head (MK1 only) and observe the oil sender, starter and bell housing.  Also look at the alternator (a friend looked in once and the nut on the main + lead had backed off!)
Look thru the starboard access door and you can also see the packing gland and some of the white fuel diaper.  You can also see if there are any fuel leaks from the lines, injector pump, injectors and filter.
Look at the raw water strainer (MK1 only) thru the door under the head sink. Also note the racor filter
All in all, inspect your engine while it's running to make sure everything is OK.

You won't be hearing from me too much on the Message Board anymore.  Most of the questions have already been answered and they are well documented - you just have to read them. 
I plan on spending more time writing new Mainsheet Tech note articles.  So those of you that like to see what's new in the solutions area, should Join the C34IA and stop getting free info off our web site Only 700 members out of over 1700 hulls is not really a great showing!

Fair Winds, Ron   


Ron, Apache #788
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