1997 Grand Caravan 3.0L Front Seal Leak - DodgeTalk : Dodge Car Forums, Dodge Truck Forums and Ram Forums
 
Thread Tools
#1 Old 11-22-2009, 05:21 PM
Mumbles
Registered User
 
Mumbles's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Posts: 8
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
(Thread Starter)
1997 Grand Caravan 3.0L Front Seal Leak

A friend brought by his 97 GCV yesterday with a massive oil leak. After wiping down the underside of the engine (there is freakin' oil everywhere) I discovered a leak at the front of the oil pan where it meets the Harmonic Balancer Pulley.

I can see part of the seal is pushed out (its orange in color) and with the vehicle running it drips like every 5 seconds or so. At first I thought this was part of the Oil Pan Gasket. But through some research I now believe (and please correct me if I'm wrong) this is the Front Crankshaft Seal. I plan to purchase a Haynes or Chiltons Manual for the vehicle so I can get a run down on what replacing this would require. By starting this thread I'm hoping someone can give me a little insight on the job as well. I'm curious about the difficulty, amount of time required, if anything else should be replaced while performing this maintanence, and/or any special tools I may need.

I consider myself mechanically enclined, (I've swapped a couple motors and trannys in my day) but I am, by no means, a professional. I'm sure I can pull this off, but I wanna be sure I have everything that is necessary, in order to keep the downtime of my buddy's only vehicle to a minimum. We plan to tear into it a week from this Saturday. So that gives me a little less than two weeks to gather tools, order and pick up parts, and familiarize myself with the process. Like I said, any advice would be warmly welcomed. Wish me luck.

Thanks in advance to all that reply.
Mumbles is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
#2 Old 11-26-2009, 06:48 PM
mastertech
Registered User
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Posts: 1,019
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
your right, its a easy fix
mastertech is offline  
#3 Old 11-28-2009, 05:38 PM
Mumbles
Registered User
 
Mumbles's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Posts: 8
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
(Thread Starter)
Mmm... ls1tech, this site is not. Anyways...

I'm not so sure about the "easy" part of this fix.

I picked up the vehicle's Chilton's Manual today. It's telling me in order to replace the Front Crankshaft Seal it's necessary to remove the front passenger wheel, inner fender well, most of the front accessories & brackets, passenger side motor mount & bracket, all three timing belt covers, the timing belt, ect., ect. Wow! On top of this, I'm to fabricate, out of a piece of angle iron, a tool to keep the crank from turning, as well as, a tool to install the new crank seal. Although, far from impossible, I would definitely not call this "easy".

As I stated in my Original Post, if anyone has any advice or insight into this process that would introduce me to a more efficient method or any short cuts I would be most appreciative. Thanks for your time.
Mumbles is offline  
#4 Old 11-28-2009, 05:49 PM
RickMN
Registered User
 
RickMN's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 734
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Yeah, you still up for this job? The front seal is located inside the oil pump case. To get to it you have to remove all those parts. The reason they don't want the crankshaft to turn is to prevent damage to the pistons since the timing belt is off.

Labor guide shows 4.3 hrs. Add .2 if it has A/C and add .2 for power steering.

And yes, you will need a special seal installation tool--one that fits over the end of the crankshaft.

All that for a stinkin seal.

I'm a retired ASE Master/L-1 Technician. I still keep current with the latest automotive technology. My blog now has over 1000 in-depth repair articles, TSB's, and wiring diagrams: Rick's Blog
RickMN is offline  
#5 Old 11-28-2009, 05:51 PM
s38638i
Boom goes the dynamite
 
s38638i's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Aberdeen
Posts: 226
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
should be easy, remove the belt and get a harmonic balancer puller, remover center bolt and pull the balancer off, use a screwdriver an pop out the seal, be careful not to scratch the crank, then use a socket and tap the new seal in and i use a deadblow hammer and hit the balancer back on an torque to spec. put the belt back on and your done.
s38638i is offline  
#6 Old 11-28-2009, 05:53 PM
s38638i
Boom goes the dynamite
 
s38638i's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Aberdeen
Posts: 226
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
whoops i misread i thought it was a 3.3 or 3.8 forget my post, still not to bad to remove the front cover.
s38638i is offline  
#7 Old 11-28-2009, 06:05 PM
Mumbles
Registered User
 
Mumbles's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Posts: 8
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
(Thread Starter)
Yeah, I'm still up for the challenge. I'm gonna use this as a learning experience. I'm just really not looking forward to pulling all the accessories off the front of a motor/vehicle thats foriegn to me. If you hadn't noticed, I'm a GM guy and obvioiusly much more familiar with them.

Thanks for the info gentlemen. I'll be sure to keep this thread updated with my progress.
Mumbles is offline  
#8 Old 12-04-2009, 08:00 PM
Mumbles
Registered User
 
Mumbles's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Posts: 8
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
(Thread Starter)
The Trouble Begins

A friend and I started on the teardown process just a few hours ago. Things were going pretty well until just about an hour ago...

Why did Chrystler place the #1 Piston on the back side of the motor? This has to be the most inconvenient place to have to access in order to reach TDC.

First, we had trouble getting the plug wire off the plug. We ended up feeding the distributor end of the wire under the vehicle and then I was able to get ahold of the boot with some pliers. Okay, one problem solved.

Next, I fed the spark plug socket, with extensions, onto the plug from under the vehicle. After about ten attempts at getting the socket on the plug, without any luck, we decided we would try to take one of the plugs, on the front of the engine, out, just to see if we could at least get one plug out. No luck there either. It seems like the socket just won't go over the plug as it should. We tried larger sockets, smaller sockets, knuckles, different size extensions and still nothing. Like I said, it seems as though the socket won't go deep enough onto the plug in order to engage the nut. We can't get a good angle to see into the spark plug hole. We also can't get our fingers deep enough into the hole to feel if something is in the way. What the Hell are we doing wrong? Are the plugs in these engines different from normal plugs? WTF?

The vehicle has quite a few miles (250k). Could there be that much corrosion built up around the plugs that it wouldn't allow the socket over the plug?

So far, we've only tried the two plugs, I guess we could take a stab at one of the other two plugs on the front side.

Is there any other way to know the engine is at TDC without pulling the #1 Plug (that is without pulling the head)? Any advice would be great. Thanks gentlemen. @#^&!!!!
Mumbles is offline  
#9 Old 12-05-2009, 12:08 AM
RickMN
Registered User
 
RickMN's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 734
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
You must be using an old style plug socket. The newer sockets are deeper. I haven't used my old sockets in years. Well, on the lawn mower and snowblower, yeah.

I'm a retired ASE Master/L-1 Technician. I still keep current with the latest automotive technology. My blog now has over 1000 in-depth repair articles, TSB's, and wiring diagrams: Rick's Blog
RickMN is offline  
#10 Old 12-05-2009, 03:13 AM
Mumbles
Registered User
 
Mumbles's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Posts: 8
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
(Thread Starter)
Okay here's the story thus far...

We figured out our spark plug dilema. We ended up moving to the #6 Plug because we could partially see it, past the manifold and heatshield. Upon observing our attempts to place the socket over the plug, we found the reason our socket wouldn't seat onto the plug. It wasn't due to the depth of my sockets, although thanks for the suggestion. It ended up being the nut on the spark plugs needed a 13/16" socket. They were even the correct Champion plugs for the 3.0L.

Seriously... what's up with that? This is where your lawn mower and snowblower sockets come into play, I guess. Automotive spark plugs are 5/8", thats why my spark plug socket is... (wait for it) 5/8". Duh.

Okay. That's outta my system.

Next we used the 13/16" deep well to remove the #1 Plug from underneath the van, with a minimal amount of cursing. I then re-read the manual and realized it wasn't 100% necessary to remove the plug to find TDC. Oh well. That's why I'm calling this little adventure a "learning experience".

We then found TDC on the #1 Piston by removing the distibutor cap and using the the timing mark in conjuction with position of the ignition rotor. Not too tough really.

Over the next few hours, we proceeded to remove the Crank Pulley/Harmonic Balancer and Tensioner Pulley & bracket, then relocated the Power Steering and A/C Compressor and their respective brackets. We then placed a jack under the Oil Pan and removed the Passenger Side Motor Mount and Bracket and the remaining Idler and bracket on the front of the motor.

So... we pretty much have everything that was in the way, now, out of the way. And tomorrow we can begin fixing what is actually broken and then start the scary process of attempting to reassemble the greasy mess that is currently on my shop floor.

As I said before, wish me luck.
Mumbles is offline  
#11 Old 12-05-2009, 08:50 AM
bw03
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Boston
Posts: 230
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mumbles View Post
As I said before, wish me luck.
Good luck.... You didn't happen to get pictures along the way, did you?
bw03 is offline  
#12 Old 12-05-2009, 11:27 AM
Mumbles
Registered User
 
Mumbles's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Posts: 8
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
(Thread Starter)
I have my digital camera in the shop and as we began, I snapped a few pics with intention of doing this for the entire teardown process.

But when we started experiencing problems, my focus shifted to solving them and I forgot to continue taking pictures as we removed parts. Damnit, right?

I have all the pieces lying on the floor of the shop, oriented in the position they sit on or in the engine bay. Bolts/nuts are in/on their respective holes/studs, as well. So I don't believe there will be a copious amount of trouble knowing where the parts go.

I have a couple things I need to get done here in the house and then its back to work.

Hopefully my buddy, Dave, comes by again to lend a hand. I don't know how I would have completed some of the necessary taskes without him there.

Thanks again to all who have commented and the well wishes. I definitely need it. LOL
Mumbles is offline  
#13 Old 12-06-2009, 12:40 AM
Mumbles
Registered User
 
Mumbles's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Posts: 8
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
(Thread Starter)
Well, here's another update...

Started out today by removing the timing covers. Pretty simple, just a few 10mm bolts. This exposed the Timing Belt, Oil and Water pumps, and the Crank and Camshaft Sprockets.

I loosened the Timing Belt Tensioner and had my brother shove it towards the firewall as I retightened the bolt to hold it in place, out of the way.

I then checked the timing marks on each of the Cam and Crank sprockets to be sure we were still at TDC. Checked out perfect, so I removed the timing belt, and slipped the Crank Sprocket off the nose of the Crankshaft.

I now had the crankshaft seal in front of me. (About freakin' time!) I'd have to say, there wasn't anything that looked obviously wrong about the seal. After a small discussion pondering whether or not the leak was actually coming from this seal, we decided to replace the seal whether it was the culprit or not.

As soon as I began trying to pry the seal from the bore, any doubt that this wasn't the correct move was gone. The seal was so old and dry, the rubber was crumbling and pealing apart as I attempted to remove it. After about a half hour of picking at it, I was able to pop it out. Tedious because of the condition of the original seal, but not too terrible of a task.

I then lubed up the new seal with some grease and used the homemade PVC pipe seal installation tool along with the crankshaft bolt and a couple washers to drive the new seal into place. Relatively simple.

I then reinstalled the Crank Sprocket and the new timing belt.

The sprocket went on without issue, but the timing belt was a different story.

Being brand new, it was a bit stiff and kinda difficult to get into place on all the sprockets. After a few minutes of struggling with it, I magically gained some slack and was able to slip it on. Well, maybe not so "magically".

What had happened was the rear cam sprocket had rotated just a bit to allow the teeth on the belt and sprocket to mesh and was now one tooth out of time with the other two sprockets. Damnit!!

Okay, so I took the belt back off and proceeded to move the rear cam to where it needed to be with a socket and rachet on the Cam sprocket. There was some resistance so I upped the force I was using. This extra force only allowed the cam to spring forward, much further than I needed. I battled this for a little bit and then was able it to place it where I need it to be.

I again slipped the timing belt back on and checked the timing marks only to have the same results. Rear cam one tooth off. Mmm...

I messed with this for a while until I realized I could set the rear sprocket just a tooth out of time and then when I slipped belt it would rotate just a bit and right into time where I needed to be. So thats exactly what I did. Kinda a pain the ass, but it worked.

I tightened the last bolt just a couple hours ago. Reinstalled the serpentine and A/C belts, and reconnected the battery. With the car still on the jack stands I turned the key forward to prime the fuel pump and then cranked 'er over...

Rrrr...Rrrrr... VROOM! The old girl started up and ran. Yes! I let it idle just long enough to crawl under it to inspect for the leak. Nothing in site, so I shut it down. I buttoned up reinstalling the inner fender well and splash guard, as well as the passenger side wheel/tire. Dropped it off the jack stands and torqued the lugnuts. After picking up all the tools, I fired the GCV back up and took it for a spin. Seems to run fine. It did give me a SES light about two blocks from home, but the scan tool indicated it was EGR related and nothing to do with oil, or timing. Sweet. Brought 'er back into the shop and checked again for signs of leakage. Still not a drop.

Perfect!
Mumbles is offline  
#14 Old 12-06-2009, 11:51 AM
Mumbles
Registered User
 
Mumbles's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Posts: 8
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
(Thread Starter)
I sent the Caravan home with it's owner's just a little while ago. All is well again.

Thanks to those of you who provided advice.

I hope this thread will help the next guy who's looking to tear into his 3.0L GCV.
Mumbles is offline  
Closed Thread


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
User Tag List

Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page


Forum Jump

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
front diff seal leak ufalco 1G Dodge Durango - Drivetrain Talk 7 09-30-2009 12:36 PM
Front Pinion Seal Leak dako81 2G Dodge Dakota - Drivetrain Talk 8 06-19-2009 11:55 PM
2000 Caravan 3.0 vs. 1997 Grand Caravan 3.8 awd greenmini Dodge Caravan General Talk 3 04-23-2007 08:02 PM
Front main seal leak? cheaderhead 2G Dodge RAM - General Talk 2 12-29-2006 07:16 PM
Front axle seal leak tguil 3G Dodge RAM - Drivetrain Talk 2 02-13-2006 06:28 PM

Posting Rules  
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

 
For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome