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Resolved Special tools for front case seals, balance shafts

Mech Addict

Supporting Member
1,154
545
Jun 9, 2019
Jackson, Wyoming
So I've been looking through the FSM at the special tools recommended for various seals on the front case, cam seals, and balance shaft bearings. I'm not too worried about finding a seal driver for each of those seals, as there is often a way to modify a socket or piece of pvc pipe or fittings to do those tasks. It hardly ever needs to be hard steel.

There are some slightly conical "plugs" that fit over the cam and crank ends that appear to widen the seal lips enough to slide onto the associated cam/crank surface. I already picked up one for the cams on ebay, because it was pretty cheap (actually listed for a KIA, but with the same tool #). Should I see about the one for the crank, or will a somewhat ably handed semi-hack such as myself be able to coax the new crank seal around the crank end w/o harming it?

Then there are a number of plates, pullers, and various adaptors for removing and reinstalling balance shaft bearings. All told that setup would cost $100's on top of the new bearings. Because of that, I'm inclined to leave the shafts where they are and not mess with removing them or the bearings. Getting the right micrometers and bore gauges seems equally if not more expensive, although they would at least serve future uses. The oil leaks are my main focus, and my impression of ballance shaft failures is that the balance belt is mostly the culprit, not bad bearings. While those things do spin with intentional unequal loading, their pressure-lubed bearings probably don't see anything like the uneven loading of crank and rod bearings, which can last well over 100k mi in stock form.

Any other tricks or suggestions are welcome.
 

steve

DSM Wiseman
15,001
1,802
Feb 3, 2002
Boulder, Colorado
If you get a new front case it has the new seals installed and the only two special tools I needed when changed the front case, oil pump, water pump and timing belt was the the tensioner pulley tool and a tool for the castle nut on the front case.
 

dwb

Proven Member
359
191
Sep 9, 2021
Broomfield, Colorado
I've always used various sizes of sockets to drive seals or bearings. Sometimes a little creativity is needed but I've never used a "proper" tool for this. Sometimes a 3/8" socket extension gently tapping around the circumference works. Castle nut? flathead screwdriver and a hammer is what I used. Definitely not by the book. Just go slow and make sure it drives evenly.

As far as slipping a seal over a cam or crank (or any other shaft for that matter), just lube up the seal lip with some grease or whatever oil the application uses (i.e. motor oil for engine, gear oil in trans, ATF in power steering) and work it on easy. New seals are rather forgiving in this respect if you're careful and the shaft is smooth (unlike the power steering rack).

A bit of advice on the cams. If you remove the cam caps, reinstall and torque the caps before installing the seals. Otherwise the cam cap will likely gouge the outside of the seal where the two halves meet.

FWIW, I pulled my balance shafts when I did the front case seals "while I was in there." I was able to pull both shafts and rotate the bearing with the engine still in the car.
 

Mech Addict

Supporting Member
1,154
545
Jun 9, 2019
Jackson, Wyoming
Yes, the castle plug. I have read some horror stories about removing these. I thing destroying the plug and buying a new one might be cheaper than the tool. Perhaps I will have luck with the scrediver method.
I wasn’t going to buy a new front case, but that may change after I assess the oil pump. I do have the tbelt tools already, as well as a handy crank/wheel holding tool from RTM. Works like a champ for the 100+ lbsft.
I was planning to replace and torque the end cam caps before driving the seals.
 

1990TSIAWDTALON

Moderator
9,877
5,753
Nov 14, 2013
Independence, Kansas
Go to your local pawn shop and do this.....cost maybe a dollar. ;)
Use a cutoff wheel to grind the slots in the socket after marking it with a sharpie.

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99dsmer4g63

Proven Member
173
86
Sep 20, 2022
Shippensburg, Pennsylvania
The only special tools I use for this procedure are the timing belt tools. All the seals I push in by hand or use a variety of sockets/pvc fittings to drive them in. Key is to have a clean surface and make sure you do them straight and even.

I like Marty’s castle nut tool. However I never remove the castle nut. I pull the front case and take the oil pump part and lightly clamp it in a vice to remove and install the stub shaft. With you having balance shafts I don’t think you’ll be able to pull the entire case with the balance shaft still attached though.

My first tear down I tried the flathead trick. Failed horribly and ended up taking the oil pump apart to remove the balance shaft and install the stub shaft. Motor was on an engine stand though.

-Daniel
 

CrackedDSM

10+ Year Contributor
2,277
926
Dec 17, 2009
Pensacola, Florida
FWIW, I pulled my balance shafts when I did the front case seals "while I was in there." I was able to pull both shafts and rotate the bearing with the engine still in the car.

What did you use to pull/rotate the bearings? I have always used the end of the balance itself but that’s when I’ve deleted them myself. This time they’ve already been deleted and I really don’t want to buy a bearing puller/whatever. I also really don’t want to yank this engine out if it doesn’t need it.
 

DSMPT

DSM Wiseman
2,209
1,801
Jun 12, 2014
Japan / Mexico, Arizona
As for removing/installing the balance shaft bearings (except using the OEM tools), in my experience, by using trailer's huge engine valves is the easiest way so far. Usually machine shops that rebuild cylinder heads have many valves that are taken from blown heads or old heads that they don't need anymore and they just give you free. If you find ones that fit, then weld it on a metal bar to make it extended.
 

dwb

Proven Member
359
191
Sep 9, 2021
Broomfield, Colorado
What did you use to pull/rotate the bearings? I have always used the end of the balance itself but that’s when I’ve deleted them myself. This time they’ve already been deleted and I really don’t want to buy a bearing puller/whatever. I also really don’t want to yank this engine out if it doesn’t need it.
IIRC it was the end of the shaft like you mentioned. A proper sized socket on an extension would probably work too. I believe you can push/hammer that bearing all the way through the journal and it'll fall out the back side. Then hammer a new one in, clocked so the oil galley is blocked by the bearing.

I feel like the hardest part was lowering the engine enough to get clearance to pull out that shaft on the exhaust side.

That was almost 10 years ago so my memory is a little vague.
 

Mech Addict

Supporting Member
1,154
545
Jun 9, 2019
Jackson, Wyoming
Perhaps I am thinking of the front case removal trick that has only the stub shafts (balance delete). I was also wondering if the is enough room to get the tips of needle-nose pliers on opposite sides, grip the plug, and turn the pliers with a crescent wrench. Depends on how close to the frame rail, I suppose.
Marty’s home made version looks like a very robust option, but for me the time involved might just favor buying the tool. I see these listed for $37.
 

1990TSIAWDTALON

Moderator
9,877
5,753
Nov 14, 2013
Independence, Kansas
Marty’s home made version looks like a very robust option, but for me the time involved might just favor buying the tool. I see these listed for $37.
Thanks. I had time and the tools and it works like a charm. It was when I was doing some oil pump comparisons so I needed to take them all apart. I had a new castle nut with one of the oil pumps so I could use it as a good template.
I have also taken a really big socket that is close to the size of the balance shaft bearings (again, from the pawn shop) and ground it down with my bench grinder to make a install/removal tool on the cheap. It is possible but again I had time and tools. I tore apart a block that had a socket jammed in the journal like they tried to remove a bearing or they just jammed the SB in there to block oil flow, hell I couldn't tell but I sure rolled my eyes at some "mechanics" stuff.
I can get the size for the bearing socket that still needs molded if you want it. I probably ground the size off tho LOL.
 

CrackedDSM

10+ Year Contributor
2,277
926
Dec 17, 2009
Pensacola, Florida
Thanks. I had time and the tools and it works like a charm. It was when I was doing some oil pump comparisons so I needed to take them all apart. I had a new castle but with one of the oil pumps so I could use it as a good template.
I have also taken a really big socket that is close to the size of the balance shaft bearings (again, from the pawn shop) and ground it down with my bench grinder to make a install/removal tool on the cheap. It is possible but again I had time and tools. I tore apart a block that had a socket jammed in the journal like they tried to remove a bearing or they just jammed the SB in there to block oil flow, hell I couldn't tell but I sure rolled my eyes at some "mechanics" stuff.
I can get the size for the bearing socket that still needs molded if you want it. I probably ground the size off tho LOL.


Can I just borrow it and ship it back to you? :p

Also, that socket in the balance shaft hole kills me. The engine that Stevie Miller from Miller Import Parts sold me that was “OEM freshly rebuilt” had the thinnest most pathetic rtv coat “sealing” the holes in the unflipped bearings. I would’ve at least been amused at the free socket. LOL
 

1990TSIAWDTALON

Moderator
9,877
5,753
Nov 14, 2013
Independence, Kansas
Oh it was a BIATCH to get out. Must have used a sledge.....OMG:rocks:
 

Mech Addict

Supporting Member
1,154
545
Jun 9, 2019
Jackson, Wyoming
Ditto on photos. I have a new phone that will not quit in the cold garage and I take a photo of nearly every step of the way.
It always seems to come up that someone will post a question later that I know I had figured out at one point, but didn’t take the right photo to refer back to.

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More case in point.

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Mech Addict

Supporting Member
1,154
545
Jun 9, 2019
Jackson, Wyoming
Is it necessary to remove the castle nut? I did the BSE and never touched it.
You mean the odd looking one on the front case, or the other kind that I removed to pull the axle (which is more properly referred to as a castle nut). For the first, I'm not sure. It is shown in the FSM, and I believe unless you have a BSE installed, then you do have to remove it. But this is my first go round on this procedure, so I'm not really qualified to answer yet.
For the one on the wheel hub, it seemed to be very difficult to remove the oil pan unless you pull the d/s axle first, and obviously the wheel nut must come off. The cotter pin in this case was especially stubborn, which is why I had to use a pin puller with a nail puller (which I then did some justice with a hammer). Not considering reusing this cotter pin, though sometimes they seem hardly used after removal.
I'm also going to replace ball joints while it's all tore up, but my three finger separator won't fit with the axle installed, so I actually had to unbolt the knuckle from the strut to remove the axle, then reconnect the knuckle and strut, and then pop the ball joint end from the knuckle. Trying to decide whether to drop the whole lower arm, or try to remove the ball joint with arm still on the car. Carquest will loan me the press for a day. If I take the arm off, I can probably just use a vise, plus it will give me the chance to clean off the copious volume of oil that now coats everything on that side of undercarriage.
 

1990TSIAWDTALON

Moderator
9,877
5,753
Nov 14, 2013
Independence, Kansas

Mech Addict

Supporting Member
1,154
545
Jun 9, 2019
Jackson, Wyoming
I tried that, but the Mevotech arms I purchased were not the same size as the originals in my car. Shorter front to back, so I didn't use them. I still have the ball joints that I removed from them, but not impressed by that company now, so will likely get the Moog ones that all the supporting vendors seem to sell. I replaced the rubber parts with OEM. There is still a "clunk" over bumps, and I'm hoping its not subframe bushings, as those seem much less accessible. Not wanting to remove the steering ever again if I can avoid it, unless the engine is pulled first.
 

AWD-Tony

Supporting Member
6,800
3,688
Sep 11, 2017
Cincinnati, Ohio
You mean the odd looking one on the front case, or the other kind that I removed to pull the axle (which is more properly referred to as a castle nut). For the first, I'm not sure. It is shown in the FSM, and I believe unless you have a BSE installed, then you do have to remove it. But this is my first go round on this procedure, so I'm not really qualified to answer yet.
For the one on the wheel hub, it seemed to be very difficult to remove the oil pan unless you pull the d/s axle first, and obviously the wheel nut must come off. The cotter pin in this case was especially stubborn, which is why I had to use a pin puller with a nail puller (which I then did some justice with a hammer). Not considering reusing this cotter pin, though sometimes they seem hardly used after removal.
I'm also going to replace ball joints while it's all tore up, but my three finger separator won't fit with the axle installed, so I actually had to unbolt the knuckle from the strut to remove the axle, then reconnect the knuckle and strut, and then pop the ball joint end from the knuckle. Trying to decide whether to drop the whole lower arm, or try to remove the ball joint with arm still on the car. Carquest will loan me the press for a day. If I take the arm off, I can probably just use a vise, plus it will give me the chance to clean off the copious volume of oil that now coats everything on that side of undercarriage.
The one on the front case LOL. For the ball joint, I supported the knuckle and hammered out the old ball joint IIrc.
 

DSSA

Supporting Vendor
655
485
Jul 26, 2002
Hatfield, Pennsylvania
I've had a lot of special tools over the years, but rarely use them (including Mitsu factory tools from Conicelli when they closed).

The best one I have for balance shafts is one that I made. I just took an old balance shaft, and welded an old, inner bearing on it, halfway onto the race. The beginning part of the race centers it in the hole, then you just tap the old one out with it. It helps to weld a stop on the rearward portion to prevent it going in too far, and a plate on the outer end so you can tap it back out.

If I can find it around here, I'll try to post up a picture. It's not an elegant tool, but has been literally used on hundreds of engines over the years.
 

Mech Addict

Supporting Member
1,154
545
Jun 9, 2019
Jackson, Wyoming
That's a great solution, Josh. When I was a bus mechanic we used to keep old wheel bearing races to use as a driver that we could hammer on to install a new race. The ultimate in repurpose worn parts.
Possibly swaybar links.
I put in new ones already, so that's not the issue on my car. I still have the original MB struts, and I've had other vehicles where something in the strut actually made noise over bumps. It's on my list to replace, though honestly, the car handles pretty well for 30yo struts. I'm 90%+ confident that it is the front-pass. corner. Ball joints are feeling not too stiff anymore, and under $50 for the pair. If the clunk remains, then struts and mounts are next. Ultimately I may have to do the subframe, but so much more involved. :barf:
 
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