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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Had my 454 redone as a 489. When we re-installed the engine and road tested the car, there was oil being slung onto the right inner fender from the front of the engine. A sheet of cardboard placed under the car when it was parked in the garage easily located the source, the front seal/timing cover.

Well, after replacing the seal 3 times, and replacing the timing cover gaskets, and oil pan seal twice it still leaked like there was no front seal installed. Since the engine didn't leak any oil after 2 previous builds I.E. cam change etc. I had no reason to suspect the timing cover was bad. I was beginning to suspect a bad harmonic balancer which was new for this build. So I pulled the HB off and mic'ed it against the old stock GM one. It was EXACTLY the same size in all areas. So just for jollys, I slid yet another new seal down over the HB snout while I had it laying face down on my bench. It seemed to fit fine. Then I took a mini-light I have (an LED) and placed it under the seal where it contacts the snout. I wanted to simulated the timing cover (or even the crank) being aligned off center a bit. When I barley touched the outer seal flange on the opposite side from where I had the light positioned, I could see light between the HB shaft and the seal! I figure that can't be right so I moved the light around the shaft, repeating the movement of the outer seal housing. Sure enough, EVERY time I moved the seal even .020 towards the HB shaft hub, or slightly tilting the seal a minute amount, the seal would loose contact on the opposite side of the hub and break seal.

I just couldn't accept that the seals I (and others) had been installing that were from a well known company were the problem. So I went to the nearest NAPA store and bought a BBC front seal. From the appearance, it was obviously NOT manufactured by the same company as my others had been. And, in all honestly, I had purchased one of those NAPA seals before but refused to install it because is looked so much cheaper and less well made compared to the ones I normally used. I slid the NAPA seal down over the HB hub and it fit a bit tighter. Encouraged, I set up my light again and pressed one side of the seal towards the HB shaft. NO light could be seen on the opposite side between the seal and the hub! I repeated the test in all directions and the seal never broke contact with the shaft. I then tilted the seal as much as possible and was unable to create a gap between the seal and the hub. I deflected the seal nearly 1/8th of an inch in all directions and it never broke contact the HB hub. So needless to say, I'm installing that cheap looking NAPA front seal in my engine.

BTW - the previous 4 seals, 3 in the engine that leaked and one on the bench for testing, were all FelPro seals. And the seals that I had removed all performed exactly the same when I tested them this way. And they too all leaked.

Now, I realize that the first question you might as (as many did) is if the timing cover was stamped steel vs a good high dollar billet aluminum. It is a stamped steel cover like the stock cover. Did it fit within the 10 to 20 thousandths of center that would have been required for those FelPro seals to make a positive seal? Maybe not,although it had before. But a seal that is flexible enough to maintain a positive seal with that small amount of movement or alignment is performing it's intended function is my opinion. One that can't - isn't.

Thanks for your time.
And thanks especially to Chris Straub for his help and patience.:thumbsup:
 

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Herb .......timely post I just made a cam change and decided to change the front seal ...using Cloyes alum front cover and fel pro seal started engine this weekend ......much to my disapointment my front seal leaking !!!!!!!!! never ever had this happen before should have left original seal in ....... will pick up a Napa seal
 

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Just got done reading this. . .Herb glad you found the problem. I am going to call you as I want to see if you can see some lettering on that seal. I just spoke to Bill and he said he had a drip and I asked him what seal he was using and when he said the mfg I thought they may have change suppliers since both of you were using the same seal. Glad it is fixed. . Now Bill has to pull his for repair.....
 

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FYI ......I just called my engine builder and he uses a brand I think called SCE ? anyway going to get a seal from him ......what a pain in the butt ...... but thank god you posted Herb as I pbly would bot another FelPro one
 

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Ok, Now I'm worried. Just got done replacing my Cloyes timing cover seal with a Felpro. Havent started the motor yet. The original Cloyes seal starting leaking and I got a Felpro from the engine builder. I knew everything went too easy!
 

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Ok, Now I'm worried. Just got done replacing my Cloyes timing cover seal with a Felpro. Havent started the motor yet. The original Cloyes seal starting leaking and I got a Felpro from the engine builder. I knew everything went too easy!


I should have known a problem the Felpro seal I got would not install from front of cover so had to put in from back ........did yours go in from front ? ...you may be OK but you will know immediately :mad:
 

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I have the same issue with my smallblock and I'm also using a cloyes aluminum timing cover.
 

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I pushed the Felpro seal in from the front of the Cloyes cover.
I am also using a FelPro seal with a Cloyes two piece cover. No leaks here. Is it leaking from the rubber lip that contacts the crank, or is it leaking where the seal presses into the cover? I also use a non-hardening sealer on the seal flange before I press it into the cover, fwiw.
 

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I am also using a FelPro seal with a Cloyes two piece cover. No leaks here. Is it leaking from the rubber lip that contacts the crank, or is it leaking where the seal presses into the cover? I also use a non-hardening sealer on the seal flange before I press it into the cover, fwiw.
Appears to be leaking from the lip.I use a sealer too .originally it had a Felpro seal no problems
 

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Appears that it leaking from the lip seal I use a sealer on cover too ........when engine built had a FelPro seal no problem but this new one was hard to install and now leaks ??
 

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On those seal leaks,a balancer repair sleeve is what I ended up using before,with a new seal that leaked initially.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 · (Edited)
Well, I used FelPro seals in the 2 previous timing cover R&R's and had no leaking. Then when I did this build again using FelPro gaskets and seals and front seal leaked. After replacing it twice and it still leaked, Chris Straub and I talked about putting a sleeve in to see if it would solve the leaking problem but I refused. I wanted to find out what cause of the problem really was.

BTW - those FelPro front seals were made by "National". Chris checked and found out they are made in India. It could be that they recently changed to this supplier.

And I'm not convinced that it's the timing cover that makes the difference here. I mean, I could use a good seal and a junk pressed metal cover and be fine (which I am doing). On the other hand, I can use an expensive milled cover like the Cloyes (which is made in China -BTW) and a junk seal like these FelPro's that will leak if the cover is positioned just a few thousandths off center and it will leak like a sieve. Now I'm not convinced all these stories about most 2 piece covers leaking are the fault of the covers every time.
 

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Aren't you thrilled about all the money you save with outsourced parts? That leaves you with more money to spend on things like sealers, trouble light bulbs, aspirin.
 

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Maybe this will be of help as a cure for leaking front seals I was plaged with leaking regardlessof brand. To add to the problem is line bored or honed main bores. Here is what I did #1 get an old balancer cut the hub out of it.#2 Hone the ID to aslip fit on the crank.#3 Drill dowell and bolt holes over size install seal and put cover on block loosley
slip hub on to center cover.#4 tighten cover Now seal and hub are centered with equal
preasure all the way around sure solved my problem.ED
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 · (Edited)
Thanks Ed. Good idea. Most of us hobbyists don't have that option.
It's like having a spare input shaft for a Muncie to help align the clutch. Nice to have, hard for the average guys to lay their hands on.

Unfortunately, my engine was assembled and sealed at the machine shop that did the balance and machine work. They said they don't usually have these problems. And in all honesty, since I provided the parts, it's my problem, not theirs. My expensive and frustrating problem.

Not trying to whine, but this is a significant enough problem that others need to be aware of it. As I said, I'm not convinced the covers are the cause of most leaks. And as you indicated, any cover can be installed a few thousandths off, even by just tightening the bolts. Your tip is a good one. But as I stated, I could deflect that cheap looking NAPA seal 1/8th of an inch and not cause it to break seal. Not even I could install a cover an 1/8th of an inch off.

I sure hope this string gets posted as a sticky to help others who may be unaware of this expensive and frustrating problem.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Aren't you thrilled about all the money you save with outsourced parts? That leaves you with more money to spend on things like sealers, trouble light bulbs, aspirin.
Good point......NOT:D Good thing I have a sense of humor or I'd be really upset at FelPro for all the money they've cost me on this. And of course, for all the oil slung around my newly painted engine bay, front end, frame and blown all over my undercarriage. But I'm a reasonable and understanding guy.

Anybody have a good POC at FelPro so I can thank them?
 

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can I watch while you thank them? :)
 

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I had trouble getting my FP seal into my Cloyes cover. I figgered it was cuz I am an old klutz and wasn't wearing my stupid glasses and can't tap with a hammer straight enough anymore. It just would NOT start into the recess for me... So I stuck it in my press and it went in easy. Really kinda irked me cuz I generally can tap in a 6 or 8" seal when nobody else can get it to start.

National Seal used to be a very respected name.

My front seal did fine, but I had to replace my 1 piece FP pan gasket with a cork POS because it just by gosh did NOT compress at the Cloyes cover, and it was the thick lipped one too. 4 piece cork piece of junk sealed fine. It has me wondering if the Cloyes cover isn't the problem, at least on mine because my pan and gasket used to seal together on a previous engine with a different aluminum timing cover.
 

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I have had my Cloyes cover on my engine for four years and never a problem with FP seal and I use the one piece Felpro pan gasket with no issue but when I changed cam last week l too could not get the new Felpro seal in the cover .should have left the old one in ........ended up installing from back of cover
 
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