89 caravan 3.0l Crank Seal + Oil Pan Gasket - DodgeTalk : Dodge Car Forums, Dodge Truck Forums and Ram Forums
 
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#1 Old 04-04-2005, 11:51 AM
sbbloom69
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89 caravan 3.0l Crank Seal + Oil Pan Gasket

Hi,
I have a 89 Grand Caravan, 3.0l V-6. I've had the van since new (august 88).
In 99, my wife had the waterpump, cross-over tube, and timing belt changed (just before moving from NC to NM, I was already at work and my wife had to have someone do the work). Mechanic didn't change crank seal. A small oil leak developed in 99 on the trip out, just an anoyance. Leak got worse all this winter, it got to 1 qt every 100 miles, and big puddle.

Saturday, I pulled all the stuff from engine front, and got to the timing belt. It was saturated with oil, as was everything under the belt cover. The belt seemed to be in good shape otherwise. I got the pulleys off, and the drive cogged timing belt pulley. I got the crank seal out. It was dry, cracking and very very stiff. I did all the TDC and shaft alignment stuff properly.

Here's my questions.

Should I take the time and pull the camshaft sprockets off and change those seals too? I have no way of knowing if they were leaking too, since so much oil was slathered everywherer by the timing belt.

I'm going to change the water pump again.

I'm obviously going to replace the crank seal and timing belt.

I'm considering droping the oil pan with the engine stuff off, pulling the oil pump assembly off, and changing all those gastkets. Should I?

I guess I'm asking what else should I change while I've got the front of the engine open.

Also, my books are unclear as to whether there is really an actual oil pan gasket. My Dodge book says (install a "form-in-place" gasket per the form-in-place gasket manual (which I don't have). My Haynse book says install gasket and use RTV in certain places. I don't see a real oil pan gasket in my diagrams.

Ok you caravan guru's, is there a real gasket, or do I make one with RTV (I know how to create one, let is set up a little and then tighten it down after skinning).

Last question. Can I get the oil pan out without pulling the front and rear motormounts (the one between the oil pan and radiator, and oil pan and cross member)? The mount frames curl around a little below the oil pan, but maybe the pan can be dropped? There is no cross member in the way. I know the oil pump pickup may block me from wiggling it out from between the mount brackets. Can I??

A quick reply would be appreciated. The van is still apart, and I want to get it on the road by Thursday, 4/7. If I don't hear anything different, I'll put it back together and do the oil pan another day.

Thanks in advance,

Stu in NM.
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#2 Old 04-04-2005, 07:44 PM
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Yes change those cam seals as well. They're just as old as the crank seal. As far as the oil pan gasket goes...call your local parts place and see if they carry an oil pan gasket. OEM may have been RTV, but companies such as Fel-Pro probably make a real gasket.

Nate Breece

1994 B250 Ram Van Conversion by Elk
5.2L Magnum

2008 Grand Caravan SXT
3.8L




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#3 Old 04-07-2005, 12:39 PM
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Hi,
Success! I ended up supporting the belt side of the engine via the hoist loops with a 4x4 and some wedges. I first lifted it with my jack via the xmission bell houseing. I removed the jack, and removed the front motor mount and those angle brackets that block the oil pan.

I just bit the bullet and spent about 2 hours removing ALL engine accessories from everywhere. It sure is nice to work around the engine with some space. My engine was pretty nasty, with a long term oil leak and living in a dry dusty environment.

I took the time to scrape, clean and degrease everything. The oil pan did NOT have a gasket. It had RTV only (or something like it). I bought a FelPro cork gasket. It was a perfect fit (bent around the curves in the oil pan and all the bolt holes were perfect). I also replaced the oil pump gasket, and the main culprit, the crank seal. I decided to pull the oil pump to get access to the end of the crank shaft where the seal rides. I was afraid the old hard seal may have scored the crank. I didn't want to do all this work and still have a crank leak. It wasn't scored, but it was not perfectly smooth and shiny. It almost looked like it had a thin layer of oil sludge / stain on it (like the inside of the oil pan. I've heard horror stories of the shaft being scored and the new seal being destroyed soon after installation. I used some 800 grit paper and polished the shaft to a mirror surface.

The old seal was very hard, almost like hard plastic. Luckily, the seal/gasket kit came with 2 seals (pep boys). I made a little seal installer tool with some 1.25" PVC (matched the outer diameter of the seal. I used a big washer and the pulley bolt to set the seal. The first seal I installed got the inside seal lip caught on a burr I missed on the end of the shaft. I had greased the seal pretty well. It ruined the seal. I filed the burr down and tried again. My PVC seal installer worked great. I suggest you buy a second seal ($6.00) just in case.

I used some high-tack gasket adhesive and stuck the cork pan gasket to the engine block. I cleaned the surfaces real well and scraped the old stuff off. I put a bead of RTV around the oil pan being careful to get it into the channels stamped into the gasket surface of the oil pan flange. I installed the pan and hand-tightened the bolts to set the RTV against the gasket. This leaves about a 1/16th" to 1/8" thickness of RTV between the pan and the gasket. I let it set for about 30 minutes. This is how I was taught to "make an RTV gasket". The RTV makes a nice flat perfectly conforming gasket. If you tighten the bolts too soon, the RTV just squirts out and you end up with leaks. After it setup, I torqued the bolts to spec which is not very tight on an oil pan. The pan is easy to warp if you tighten them too much.

This project took much longer than I thought (it always does), but I took the time to clean 5 years of grease and crud off everything incase I have to do something again. Now I dont' have to keep a case of oil in the back, or a piece of cardboard to catch the puddle. I was going to dump the Caravan last year, but it's all I have to haul drums to band and orchestra practice. So, even though it's not pretty, its mechanically sound now.

Here's what you need to do this job right:
gasket / seal sets (oil pan, crank seal, oil pump, pickup tube to pump, water pump (if you change it), oil filter fitting to block (if you remove it)
Lots of tools. Extras you'll need to do the job right: chain or large strap wrench (to grab the pulley damper while you loosen the timing belt pulley bolt), 1/2" breaker bar (crank bolt and the serpentine belt tensioner), metric sockets (10mm, 13mm, 14mm, 15mm, 18mm, 19mm, 22mm), inch-lb and foot-lb torque wrenches
oil, grease, RTV, gasket adhesive, LOTS of carb cleaner and gunk degreaser, shop towels
floor jack with blocks or transmission pad
engine hoist, or at least some heavy timber / angle-iron to support engine off the motor mounts.
chain and hooks for the hoist

My A/C was already down (leaked out last year, never got around to converting), so I removed the compressor and hoses going to the firewall. I pulled the alternator (gives good access to rear spark plugs and power steering pump), power steering pump (just unbolted, didn't remove), A/C condenser fan, radiator fan and radiator (catch the coolant), battery bracket, cruise control module, coolant reservoir. Like I said, taking these out took some extra time, but my stress level sure was lower not having to bust my knuckles on the accessories. You have to pull the spark plugs to make the engine easier to turn over when finding TDC on #1 cylinder (real hard if you leave the plugs in). I needed to change mine anyway.

If you are doing this and you don't know the condition of other parts, consider changing them as well: Oil pump, water pump, water pump cross-over tube, timing belt tensioner, cam seals, valve cover gaskets (including the rubber seals on the driver's side of the valve cover).

To my surpise, even totally saturated with oil, my old timing belt still looked and felt pretty good. No cracks, no splits, no swelling. Of course I replaced it, but I'm amazed how robust the 3.0l engine is. I know the early engines had valve seal / guide problems (yeah, mine smokes pretty bad), but with the abuse I've thrown at this van since August, 1988, I've been very happy with it.

I hope all this extra information helps others.

Stu
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#4 Old 04-07-2005, 05:02 PM
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I'm glad you got it all finished.

Nate Breece

1994 B250 Ram Van Conversion by Elk
5.2L Magnum

2008 Grand Caravan SXT
3.8L




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