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VN Timing Case gasket replacement

JetJackson

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I thought I had finished messing with my VN s1 V6, but we all know what thought did. A few days after what I thought was the completion, I found there was still a slight coolant leak and traced it to the gasket between the timing case and block, just behind the water pump - bottom radiator hose.
Damn and blast! Not having done this repair before, but knowing how hard it can be to loosen the harmonic balancer set bolt, I was of cause thrilled to bits at the prospect. A few years back, my local garage replaced the harmonic balancer and told me then how much trouble they had in budging the retaining bolt. With this in mind, I checked through the posts here at JC to see how others managed doing it. I was certainly surprised and a little perturbed at some methods used to loosen the retaining bolt. I thought that none of the methods discussed would be attempted by me. I just can't imagine placing a socket and "tommy" bar on the nut and then (with fuel pump isolated) engaging the starter to attempt loosening. How dangerous and completely stupid this action must be. Anyway, those who have loosened the retaining bolt this way (and not damaged or broken anything), good on them, but there is much safer methods.

Looking at the harmonic balancer and seeing the 3 slots in the centre dish, I thought I could make a "locking bar" to hold the crankshaft still so I could crack the hold of the retaining bolt. I looked through my "stash" of off-cuts of steel bar, RHS (tubes) and sundry scrap and found a piece of bar about 25mm x 10mm and about 360mm long. My idea was to fit this bar with a dowel screwed in place and rest this bar on or against the chassis rail while I swung on a long bar on the end of the "tommy bar" and 24mm 3/4" drive socket.

I drilled a 1/4" hole in the bar and then used a 5/16" Whitworth tap and tapped a thread in the bar (actually did 2 threaded holes), then got 2 5/16 socket cap screws shortened the threaded end with hacksaw and also cut the cap head off. Cap screws or Unbrakos are high tensile (for those who didn't know) and using a cam type stud remover screwed the "dowel" into the bar.





With this tool made, I was ready to have a go at the retaining bolt. I attached the tool to the harmonic balancer and rested the other end on the chassis rail. Next I put my 24mm socket and bar on the bolt head and started leaning into it.





This seemed to work well, but the bar started "skew" so I got a big shifter and put in onto the bar so I could lean against that, stopping the bar from "skewing"



I used extension 'tubes" on both the socket bar and the shifter to give me better leverage and with a bit of muscle (and luck) the retaining bolt started to move. No skin off, no damage, no broken bits.



in this pic you can see leaking coolant on sump flange just near the CAS

With the bolt now loose I used my puller and some long 5/16" cap screws to pull the harmonic balancer. I expected some resistance, but like many of the JC forum posters have said, the balancer on s1 motors will slide without too much effort.



I have read that some guys use a 3 legged puller and pull from behind the harmonic balancer. I absolutely disagree with this method. The harmonic balancer is made up of 2 separate pieces; centre dish, and belt rim and these 2 pieces are vulcanised (bonded with rubber) to absorb vibrations etc, and if pulled from behind the belt rim, the bonding will be destroyed, resulting in having to buy a new harmonic balancer


With the harmonic balancer now loose I can start the next step and remove the timing gear case. I hope I don't get any nasty surprises when I dismantle these parts.

Stay tuned for the next exciting episode!

Cheers, Jet. :beer chug:
 

hi_ryder

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i like that locking bar you made. when i did mine i jammed some old couch cushions in and around the radiator to hold the beaker bar in place without damaging anything and just turned the engine over with the fuel pump fuse out. it cracked the nut but it was hill billy dangerous. might make one of those. loving your threads man
 

VPRob

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Yeah, great thread. Thanks for sharing this approach. I got the harmonic balancer off my old donk when it was out of the car but there was a convenient hole in the side of the block so I pushed a crowbar in there to stop the crank rotating and used a breaker bar on the nut
 

franklinfrog

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Nice!! On my VN I couldn't crank mine off, couldn't rattle gun it and couldn't get it with extension bars galore. I heated mine red hot with an oxy and chucked cold water all over it about 10 times, then rattle gun. Rubber was pretty much on fire. That's a clean lookin VN!!
 

JetJackson

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i like that locking bar you made. when i did mine i jammed some old couch cushions in and around the radiator to hold the beaker bar in place without damaging anything and just turned the engine over with the fuel pump fuse out. it cracked the nut but it was hill billy dangerous. might make one of those. loving your threads man
Thanks, I like to share what and how I do stuff. I have read many threads here and want to be able to contribute to the Forum.

Cheers, Jet.:beer chug:
 

JetJackson

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Yeah, great thread. Thanks for sharing this approach. I got the harmonic balancer off my old donk when it was out of the car but there was a convenient hole in the side of the block so I pushed a crowbar in there to stop the crank rotating and used a breaker bar on the nut
Thanks, I must admit that I did some "head scratching" trying to figure out a method of cracking that bolt without cracking myself or the car.

Cheers, Jet. :beer chug:
 

JetJackson

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Nice!! On my VN I couldn't crank mine off, couldn't rattle gun it and couldn't get it with extension bars galore. I heated mine red hot with an oxy and chucked cold water all over it about 10 times, then rattle gun. Rubber was pretty much on fire. That's a clean lookin VN!!
Thanks! I really like to have my car clean, inside, outside, engine bay. My considered opinion is that: "Oil needs to be on the inside of the engine and not outside", one good thing about many modern cars is that they don't leak much oil. The engine designers finally worked out how to keep the black gold inside and with a little care we can do our best to keep it that way. :)

Cheers, Jet. :beer chug:
 

Cheap6

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This would make a nice "How To".

hi_ryder's suggestion of padding the rail against the tool is good. Wadded rags work too.

I'm surprised more people don't make the holding tool. They're not particularly difficult nor time consuming to make. They make the job a whole lot easier and make sure that you can tighten the balancer bolt as well as undo it. A 'T' welded onto the end of the bar will stop it twisting and free up a hand for the bolt turning. A bolt 'handle' would also be effective. (The factory recommended tool has flat-bar tabs that sit in the balancer slots so it doesn't twist either.)

As you are doing the timing case cover gasket, you should really be dropping the sump also. It's pretty much a guarantee that the front of the sump gasket will stretch, if not tear, when you remove the front cover. It's very difficult to get that gasket to seal again once it has been disturbed. I have seen some people slice the gasket off flush with the engine block and replace it with silicone based sealer. It can be OK but I prefer to replace the gasket even if it is (a lot) more work.

The bottom of the front cover gasket may want to extend past the bottom of the block (it depends on where the holes are relative to the ends of the gasket). Normally you would trim those ends of flush with the block with the front cover installed and apply a very thin smear of Loctite 515 across the join before fitting the sump gasket.
 

JetJackson

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This would make a nice "How To".

hi_ryder's suggestion of padding the rail against the tool is good. Wadded rags work too.

I'm surprised more people don't make the holding tool. They're not particularly difficult nor time consuming to make. They make the job a whole lot easier and make sure that you can tighten the balancer bolt as well as undo it. A 'T' welded onto the end of the bar will stop it twisting and free up a hand for the bolt turning. A bolt 'handle' would also be effective. (The factory recommended tool has flat-bar tabs that sit in the balancer slots so it doesn't twist either.)

As you are doing the timing case cover gasket, you should really be dropping the sump also. It's pretty much a guarantee that the front of the sump gasket will stretch, if not tear, when you remove the front cover. It's very difficult to get that gasket to seal again once it has been disturbed. I have seen some people slice the gasket off flush with the engine block and replace it with silicone based sealer. It can be OK but I prefer to replace the gasket even if it is (a lot) more work.

The bottom of the front cover gasket may want to extend past the bottom of the block (it depends on where the holes are relative to the ends of the gasket). Normally you would trim those ends of flush with the block with the front cover installed and apply a very thin smear of Loctite 515 across the join before fitting the sump gasket.
Thanks for the heads-up regarding the sump, this is one of the nasty surprises I am worried about. One job always leads to more. :(

Now I have the balancer off, I will look at making a better holding tool for when I put it back on. Years back I had my own oxy gear and could cuts lumps out of anything, nowadays it's different, no oxy, but I have all my own other stuff like lathe, drill press, bearing press, welding gear, all the big boys toys. :)

Cheers, Jet. :beer chug:
 

VPRob

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the knowledge and sharing of information on this site is fantastic. It makes owning and driving my VP so much more fun. Thanks guys!
 
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