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Thread: Installing a rear main seal without special tools

  1. #1
    Tazdbs 71 Opel GT tazdbs's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Knightdale, NC ( outside of Raleigh, NC)
    Real Name
    Dick Sossomon

    Installing a rear main seal without special tools

    This process uses the flywheel attaching bolts and fender washers and shims (or more washers) to pull the seal into the engine block at an even pressure so as not to mess up the seal. You will need 3 of the flywheel attaching bolts and three 3/8 inch inside hole diameter fender washers and at least three of the 1/2 inch inside hole diameter fender washers (these need to be thicker and larger than the 3/8 inch ones). You will need about 9 to 12 more of the 1/2 inch fender washers or some shims later on to move the seal back into the engine block. The bolt goes through the smaller fender washer, then the larger fender washer then into the crankshaft flange.

    MAKE SURE YOU DO NOT PINCH THE SEAL BETWEEN THE FLANGE AND WASHER! Go easy and go slow and you should not have any problems. It does not take a lot of pressure to move the seal in and you can move the washers as needed to make sure the seal goes in evenly!

    Here is the process: first coat the edge and side of the rear crankshaft flange with grease and then push the new seal up to the engine block finger tight just so it sits there. Place the bolt and washers at the 2,6 and 10 o'clock positions and tighten the bolts finger tight and snug to hold the seal steady. I coated the outside edge of the seal with RTV and then you start tightening the bolts 1/4 turn at a time in rotation until you have the seal in about a third of the way. Then back the bolts out until you can slide two more washers under the large washer and then tighten again and repeat until the seal is all the way in.

    I attached pictures of the one I did so I hope this helps.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by hrcollinsjr; 07-26-2012 at 07:41 AM.
    P.J. Romano likes this.

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  3. #2
    Just Some Dude in Jersey The Scifi Guy's Avatar
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    Nov 2007
    Cöllingswööd, NJ
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    Nice trick!

    Thanks for sharing it with us!!!

  4. #3 Übermoderator kwilford's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    Calgary, Alberta, Canada
    Real Name
    Keith Wilford
    One VERY important thing to watch for is that the seal lip doesn't get flipped outwards. The Kent-Moore Factory Approved Tool to install rear seals has a cone (the "Oil Seal Protector") that the seal slides over, ensuring that the seal lip stays in place as the outer portion of the seal is driven into the housing with the "Installer". If the seal lip gets flipped outwards, it will leak VERY badly as soon as you start the engine.

    For a photo of the "factory" way of installing the rear seal, have a look at the figures 60-61 and 60-62 in the '71 FSM (same photos are in the other years of the FSM's)

    Last edited by kwilford; 07-25-2012 at 07:45 PM.
    Keith Wilford
    Finishing up a bare-metal, nut & bolt rotisserie restoration of my '71 Opel GT; next up is my 28,000 mile Garage Find GT, stored since 1975, which needs a LOT of love...

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  6. #4
    Join Date
    May 2017

    rear main seal trick without special tools

    Just installed by rear main seal using a clear plastic solo cup and 3" pvc pipe coupling (here in OK we improvise with whatever is laying around).
    1. cut the cup about an inch below the rim and grease the edge.
    2. Place the cup over the end of the crankshaft and slide the new seal onto the cup.
    3. take 3" PVC coupling place it on the seal, using a rubber/plastic mallet and tap around the edge until the seal is seated.
    4. slip the cup out and viola!
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