|“Spray and Wash”
By Ray Morgan
Procter and Gamble promote a great product that removes tough stains from your favorite jeans or T-shirt but is there anything that can stop the oil that leaks from somewhere inside my engine compartment? The oil spray is everywhere and my only solution is to use some bio-degradable product to wash it away only to know that it will come back the next time I drive my 356.
I was simply tired of wiping oil from the bottom side of my engine compartment lid and decided to find the source of the leak. Since it was spraying from around the front pulley area, I began my search by tightening every fitting related to oil circulation. I even tried Teflon tape on the oil pressure switch tower and got no appreciable return for the effort.
Every time I ran the engine, oil would collect in the pulley housing, spray all over the place and leave me cleaning up the mess. So the only place left to look had to be the front timing cover seal. I changed it and the leak continued, this time worse than before. I figured I nicked the seal installing it so I carefully removed the new seal and this time replaced it with another new seal using a slight wipe of silicon to help seal any areas not conforming to the seal body itself. Damn, the leak continued.
Stoddard sells a front pulley hub repair kit that when installed slightly increases the diameter of the pulley hub. Once the repaired pulley is installed, the front pulley seal will fit slightly tighter and reportedly helps prevent leaks on worn pulleys. Of course, I tried this and the oil spray continued. I could see it on the pulley. So it is time to wash it off again and to ponder what to do.
My 356 boasts 144,000+ miles. Parts wears, some more than others. Could it be that the oil leak was from pulley wear? Well, there was only one way to find out….seal the pulley to the crank.
I began by removing the front pulley and wiping the oil from the pulley surface, washer, and crank bolt. I used lacquer thinner to remove any residual oil before beginning the sealing process. First, I installed the front pulley and added an internal bead of silicon caulk. Second, I caulked the washer and the inner surface of the crank bolt. Lastly, I assembled the parts, wiped away any silicone ooze, and allowed it to cure overnight.
The next morning I couldn’t wait to try my solution. I started the engine and examined the pulley for oil. Nothing…I mean dry…clean…no stains…no leak. So what happened? Wear from the Woodruff key over the years was enough to allow oil to seep along the keyway and out from behind the pulley bolt washer where there is no seal to hold the oil.
It has been years since that worrisome leak and my engine stays oil dry at least inside. I pass this story along because as the years go by others owners are sure to experience the same wear from the same place. Spray and Wash isn’t the answer. In this case Permatex silicone does the trick, every time.