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Megatron

5.9L Cummins Front Gear Cover and Rear Main Seal Replacement

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Hey all,

 

   Recently I did some extensive engine work to my 2006 Ram 3500 with the 5.9L Cummins engine. Before I started the work I knew I had an oil leak out of my front main seal on the crankshaft seal and I thought same for the rear. Neither were bad enough to drip on the ground when parked overnight, but there was enough to make things turn oily on the surrounding areas. I hate dirty engines and grease covered parts. Sorry that's my vice. Keep em clean. 

 

 FYI: My post is not a 100% how to, but a little reference and maybe some help to someone with similar issues.

 

 I will start with the rear main seal because it was more straight forward. I had my transmission and flex plate out of the vehicle already, so it was a no brainer to replace this seal. Now when I first started on my truck I "thought" I had a rear seal leak. Well after further understanding the Cummins adapter plate and the seal, I don't really think I did. However I had already purchased a Cummins OEM seal before the project started so it was going in lol.

 

   The new seal kit from the dealer was 100$ (give or take a bit). It comes with the new seal and the installation tool. That tool is a must have to properly complete this task. Not sure if auto parts store XY or Z sells one with the tool but it makes the install per the book if you will. I recommend this one.

 

  Removal: You need a little screw in slide hammer. I got one for like 15$ at the local cheapo depot tool shop. You will also need to drill a couple small holes in the lip of the existing seal in order to screw your slide hammer into the seal (holes need to match the screw end of your slide hammer) . I did three holes into the old seal. One at the 12:00, one at the 4:00, and one at the 8:00. I think you could do 2 holes one at 3 and one at 9 without an issue. Either way the old and new seal both have a metal inner structure that you are drilling into, once you pass through that DON'T drill any deeper, we aren't trying to drill holes in the crank to lighten it.. We just want to get under the outer layer of the rubber and through the metal lip in the seal. Examine your new seal to get an idea of the structure of the old one. Once your small holes are drilled evenly, you can screw in your slide hammer and give it a couple taps out at each location. Work your way around giving a couple taps on each hole. Within one pass around all the different holes the thing will probably pop right out. They are a tight fit but this removal process makes it very simple. Do not try to remove the seal with a hammer and a screwdriver. This is not going to end well for you...If you knock this seal in there is no way to get it back out easily...

 

  Clean up the seal area both on the crank and the block area (adapter area). It needs to be free of any contaminates like oil, dirt or debris. Check the surfaces for any scratches or wear. It needs to be dry per the instructions.

 

 Install is per the supplied instructions. In a nut shell, it goes in dry. Why?? I don't know but that's what the Cummins package said so that's what I did. The biggest part about the install is using the supplied install tool. It pretty much looks like a metal ring someone cut off of a can. The seal only goes one way (full rubber face out). This install tool does 2 things at once for you. It gives you a surface to hit with your hammer (I used a rubber mallet). This allows you to distribute the force around the seal and not distort it. It also is your install depth gauge for the new seal. Just like any one piece seal you must gently work it from all sides to get it in without damage. Take your time and don't use force. It's rubber and light framed metal. You can bend the seal if you sink one side in further than the other. Mess it up and you will have to spend your kids lunch money to buy another one. If your kids are like mine, they won't take kindly to that...

 

  Once the seal starts its way down evenly, continue until the install tool comes in contact with the crankshaft. (The tool has an inner lip that matches the crank diameter, try playing with the tool before you mount the seal to get a feel for how it works.) Trust me it won't let you go any further but you still don't need to beat on it. You will make full contact all the way around the crank with the tool. This way you know the seal is at the proper depth into the engine block, and it is not sitting crooked. Dry is the word and trust me, it will go in with ease.

 

  Now the skinny, turns out my rear main seal wasn't the cause of the leak. Matter of fact the inside of my bell housing and adapter area was really dry. My leak was coming from between the oil pan, block and rear adapter plate. For those questioning the adapter plate (correct me if I'm wrong), the Cummins engine has a rear adapter plate on the back of the block so it can be easily altered to fit a wide variety of applications. Want to put it on a Ford transmission just get the right adapter and flywheel, want to put it in your offshore power boat? No problem get a different adapter that goes to your drives. Awesome idea in my opinion, however it is another seal and a potential area for a leak, as was my issue. Now the adapter was sealed to the block properly so I didn't have to remove it, but where all three pieces meet there was a leak. Since I was a Cummins novice and well studied in the old SBC motor, I assumed it was a rear main seal leak causing this leak. I had seen this all to many times in the Chevrolet camp. I was wrong lol. Lesson learned. Experience points gained.. Should you suspect a rear main seal to be at fault, confirm your pan to block is not the culprit first. After seeing the rear main seal and its quality, I would say it's likely not to have issues for many, many miles..

 

 In the end I replaced the oil pan gasket (whole other topic) and no more leaks from the rear. Side note: a leak on the top of your engine (Like valve cover) can drip around and down causing it to look like you may have a rear seal or oil pan leak. Verify that before you go through the trouble of replacing the pan or rear main seal. Nothing worse than all that trouble and it's still leaking lol

 

Onto the front seal. With the engine work I had going the front timing cover was already removed from my truck. Removing the old seal was pretty easy at this point. I just knocked it out from the back of the timing cover on my work bench. If it were still in place on the engine I would assume the same procedure for the rear seal would work for the front, given you have the space. However I can not confirm that since I did not do mine that way. Maybe someone can add to this post for that.

 

 For this seal I went with a locally purchased seal from store X. I did not install the seal in the cover when I had it off the block. That may have been stupid on my part. This seal was a royal pain in the butt to get it started into the stamped cover. I'm sure 2 hours of my life was wasted on an unsuccessful attempt with the first seal. The seal I purchased was really kind of flimsy and I ended up bending it trying to get it to level out. They come with a sleeve that helps guide it onto the crank snout but where it seats into the timing cover is another story. So after trashing that seal I went to a different auto parts store for seal number 2. This one was more robust in design. I wish I could remember the brand so I could save you the hassle, but I don't. Sorry. This seal didn't go in any smoother, but it did keep from bending up so it was able to be installed. What a pain.

 

  Now here is the reason I started this post. I don't know if this problem is local to my truck, my model of Cummins engine or all engines. Upon removing the old front seal I noticed some pretty obvious grooves worn into the crankshaft snout itself. Right where the factory seal was riding. I find it hard to believe that a rubber seal could wear down something as hard as a crankshaft, but I suppose if you add some dirt, oil and thousands of revolutions anything is possible. For arguments sake, when I installed my new seal, I tried moving it a bit further back in the timing cover so it would have a fresh shelf to ride on. Personally I don't think it was enough to help but I didn't feel it was wise to push this seal any further back than what I did. Currently no leaks but it's not really100% dry. I feel a fix will be needed for 100% confidence.

 

 So my question is, is there a fix for this without replacing the crankshaft? Has anybody else seen or had this happen to them? Is there a special seal or kit that address this issue?

 

Any input would be great. Years ago I thought I read where someone made a repair sleeve that you fitted around the crank but I didn't have any luck finding something like that locally. I really don't recall if it was even for a Cummins engine. The idea seems plausible. Maybe someone here has more insight? 

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Megatron, I read your post with great interest. As a career automotive/truck wrench, I'm familiar with sleeve repair kits for crankshaft snouts, and they are popular for Cummins engines or any engine with seals designed to last a long time, i.e., seals with greater lip pressure and made of a stronger (higher durometer) material. There are actually two "remedies" available, and the groove in the snout is not that unusual.

Solution One:  A redesign seal specifically with an offset lip.  Quality automotive seal manufacturers often do this as a matter of course, by designing a seal with either an offset lip or a double lip, sometimes making the outer (dust) seal lip more functional.  In any case, this would be noted in the seal manufacturer's catalog or be obvious by comparison with the OEM seal.  That's a quick solution because you're simply replacing the OE seal with this improved or modified aftermarket seal. One limitation would be a seal jacket depth that is too shallow and will not allow for a significant off-set of the sealing lip. 

 

Solution Two:  A crankshaft snout sleeve repair kit.  This is a press-on or tap-on bushing/sleeve, always reasonably thin, that can be pressed or driven onto the crankshaft snout.  Depending upon the application, the snout repair sleeve kit may allow installation with the engine in the chassis.  Some sleeve kits are for the engine remanufacturing or machine shop industry and may require a press-on approach with the crankshaft removed from the engine...Knowing us, Megatron, we'd likely find an in-chassis way to press/pull the sleeve onto the snout.  I'm thinking of something like a harmonic balancer installation tool with some improvised adapters.

 

Here are some quick links to products of interest:

 

1) Here's a National OEM replacement seal with a proprietary bore seal, a nice design that would not require sealant, maybe the type you installed? https://www.rockauto.com/catalog/moreinfo.php?pk=254386&cc=1432342.

 

2) Timken's equivalent seal with a protective nylon installation sleeve, not to be mistaken for a snout repair, merely for installation without seal lip damage, the tool does not stay in place:  https://www.rockauto.com/catalog/moreinfo.php?pk=1117397&cc=1432342

 

3) This seal comes with a "wear sleeve", though the device looks more like a spacer that repositions the seal lip and maybe adds a deflector or wiper seal?  http://www.cumminspartsdirect.com/DS3802820

 

4) Rear main seal and crankshaft repair sleeve, a popular item though the wrong end of the crankshaft for what you want:  http://www.perfdiesel.com/product-detail.php?Product=1094

 

6) Here's a Speedi Sleeve kit advertised for the front crankshaft seal, perhaps what you seek:  http://www.dieselstuff.com/frmacrspsl59.html.  Verify the quality before plunging.

 

Suggestion: Cummins may have its own crankshaft front sleeve and seal kit.  I would check directly with Cummins before buying any product. 

 

I fully agree that a front timing cover seal will be much easier to install with the cover off the engine.  You can back up the seal seat in the cover and discover that the seal will actually drive into place without the cover absorbing each tap of the hammer.  You can then use the nylon protective sleeve that comes with a quality seal to install the cover and seal over the crankshaft snout.  Make sure the seal is compatible with the larger O.D. created by the repair sleeve.

 

Keep us posted on the solution you find!

 

Moses

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Thanks for the reply. As always you never fail to find the right solution. I like the one from Performance Diesel you posted. It appears to be Cummins part number so my trust factor on fit and quality is up lol. It wont be done until it warms up a bit but I will post when it gets done. Wish I could have done it 3 weeks ago, but that's how it goes. Thanks again.  

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You're welcome...Note that the Performance Diesel product is for the rear main seal.  They may also have a product for the front snout/timing gear cover seal end.  Again, I'd like to know if Cummins offers a front/timing gear seal kit.  If Cummins offers this rear repair kit, maybe it has a front crank snout kit as well!

 

Moses

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Moses, the link you posted goes to part number 3802820 and it list it as a Cummins front seal with speedy sleeve. Now I believe the speedy sleeve is just the clear plastic piece that assist in installing the seal. But the kit is like 60$ higher than just the seal so I believe it comes with the crank repair sleeve. I checked that part number out on a few other web sites and most show the picture with the repair sleeve also. I think the term is "wear sleeve" for this application.

 

 http://puredieselpower.com/dodge-products/03-07-dodge-5.9l-cummins-front-crank-seal-with-speedy-sleeve.html

 

 

Check this out and let me know what you think.

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Stumbled onto the same part number listing at this website for less than $20:  http://www.cumminspartsdirect.com/DS3802820.  From your recent project, which one of these products look like the front crankshaft size seal?   Something is missing here.

 

I'd like to know, directly from Cummins, what the 3802820 part number represents...

 

Moses

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The picture of the 3802820 is the right size on the front for sure. I ended up going with one from Advanced or Oreille's because Dodge couldn't get me this seal. At least not in a short time frame. Not sure if it was a National seal or some other off brand.. I will go back and see what one I ended up using. It may take me a few days to figure it out.

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Megatron...Please share whether this is a sleeve that fits firmly over the snout.  Curious how easily this install goes with the crankshaft in place.  A picture of the pieces would be helpful for orientation...

 

Moses

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Just to clear something up. The new seal I installed did NOT have the repair sleeve in it for the damage done to the crank. I have what I believe they are referring to as the Speedy Sleeve for install. It was just a little plastic cone shaped guide for getting the new seal over the crankshaft for an easier installation. Sorry the only picture I have is kind of fuzzy but you can see what I'm talking about.

 

post-33-0-54176300-1422645375_thumb.jpg

 

I think the repair sleeve is something different all together. I think 20$ gets you the seal and the other 80$ gets you the machined metal sleeve tat goes over the crank??

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That makes sense.  The repair sleeve must be metal, not just a nylon lip guide...When you do find a snout repair sleeve (metal), let us know what special installation tool is needed to drive or press the sleeve onto the crankshaft snout without flaring the sleeve end or beating the crankshaft against its main thrust bearing!  Maybe improvising a setup like the harmonic balancer installation tool would work?

 

It was helpful to have the Elf on the Shelf hold the Speedy Sleeve in the seal for this picture...He's doing a great job!

 

Moses

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I think I found the tool for the install of the repair sleeve portion of the front crank seal repair kit.

 

This tool is Cummins 3824500: post-33-0-56476200-1423000132_thumb.jpg

 

Appears to bolt on in place of your balancer and you can use the longer bolts to slide the metal sleeve down over the crank snout. It's suggested to lightly heat up the metal sleeve so it will slide over then it should cool in place for a pretty tight fit. I wonder if some green Loctite would ensure it stays for life?? assuming you need never repeat this again?? I don't have this planned until later this year, but when I do I will relay my findings for sure.

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Looks like this tool should do the job, I thought it would be something of this nature...Loctite Sleeve Retainer works!  It meets requirements for this application, too.  Here are the product details:

 

http://www.henkelna.com/adhesives/product-search-1554.htm?nodeid=8797931798529

 

This compound will secure, help seal and withstand the heat exposure in the application.  You can remove the parts with pre-heating to break the bond.  There are instructions for its use.

 

Moses

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