Front Crankshaft Seal Replacement

On a '69 XKE 4.2 is it possible to replace the front crankshaft seal and distance piece as the engine remains in the car and the timing cover in place. If I remove the damper and sump do I then have access to the seal and distance piece for removal? I’d like to remove both seal and dist piece and reinstall replacements by sliding the seal over the crankshaft and forcing it up into the seal channel within the timing cover followed by the distance piece forced into the seal. Will this work? Can I use an updated teflon seal and new distance piece and O ring? If so, do I have to remove the oil slinger? I am concerned I may not have access to cut the slinger out? Or will I have to use what I envision is a softer, more plyable OEM style seal as it will be easier to force into timing cover seal channel.

I haven’t heard of anyone failing to get the 4.2 sump off but I remembering it being somewhat harder than the 3.8 where all you have to do position the crank correctly.

Mine is currently running with the later distance piece and slinger and I haven’t noticed any ill affects on the belt alignment. The reason to definitely remove the slinger is if you use the Teflon seal. It will fail badly if it’s too dry. Once the distance piece is removed the slinger will wiggle and you can get at it with something. This should help you visualize the process. Originally the seal conversion to a Teflon seal came with a new distance piece that was thicker by the thickness of the slinger.

Erica and Dick,

After removing the sump, the question is, can I replace the seal without removing the timing cover?

If it is possible, can I squeeze a teflon seal between the crank and the timing cover and position it into the seal channel or would the OEM seal be more pliable to squeeze into the seal channel? I want to avoid removing the timing cover at all cost.

If I use the teflon seal in combination with a new distance piece and O ring, do I have to remove the slinger? I am concerned that I cannot access it to cut it away.

Can I polish the existing dist piece and use it with the teflon seal and slinger in place?

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Yes with the distance piece removed and the sump off, the seal drops down and easily rotates out. You can do it with the Teflon and I’m sure the original rubber/spring type as well.

As I mentioned yes, the slinger should come out for the Teflon. It needs to stay wet or it will become grabby and try to spin, ruining it.

When you pull the distance piece, the seal will drop down enough to slide it out.

Don’t forget to put a bit of RTV on the periphery of the seal, and you can often just flip the distance piece, to provide the seal a new, unworn surface.
Make sure to lightly oil the ID of the seal.

Great write-up, Dick. Not germane to the original question but I took notice of this statement:

” The front crankshaft seal for the XK engine remained virtually unchanged in specification throughout the production run from the late 40’s through 1987. The main exception is the early XK120 engines that utilized a rope seal on the front.”

I’m under the impression that all XK120 and the early XK140 engines had front rope seals. My late ‘54 certainly has one. Stand to be corrected.

Erica, Jaguar changed the front timing cover to allow changing the front seal without removing the cover at engine number RA6420.

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Be aware that the seal runner/distance piece can be a bastard to get off sometimes and access to the back of it with a chisel is limited.

I personally have not had much luck with the teflon seals although I am the first to admit that as others do I’m sure it’s probably something I’m doing wrong.

Nevertheless you might find it easier to reinstall a traditional rubber seal and these are used on the vast majority of modern engines so it should work for you. You can then leave the slinger in place.

Indeed if the seal runner is OK you could leave it in place as well. Note that if you do choose a Teflon seal the seal runner must be replaced.

Finally you can gently relieve the bottom of the recess cast into the timing cover which will make getting the new seal in easier.

If I understand the parts we are discussing, I want to add that one must be careful that oil cannot leak out between the distance piece and the crank.

I have done the job with the engine in-situ. I used metal cutters to remove the oil thrower. A snip or two and some bending back and forth was enough for the slinger part to fatigue. I put in a teflon seal. So far so good.

Bob, Yes his is a 69 right so I think it should already be ground. Mine wasn’t but it wasn’t difficult to modify so the seal will slip out.


thanks you

good information

my engine number 7R 6976-9 should include the modification.

Thanks Everybody

Now, if I can remove the damper bolt I’ll be on my way.

Now, if I can remove the damper bolt I’ll be on my way.

From a post I made in May 2017: Use the starter motor to help you…

The 1 5/16" bolt in the crank/harmonic balancer was easy to remove after removing the locking washer device. I used a 24 inch breaker bar, the socket extension arrangement I usually use when I am turning the motor by hand, and the starter motor to provide the torque. It took less than a minute to safely set up and maybe 1.5 seconds of cranking. I placed the end of the breaker bar on a block of wood on the ground on the DRIVER’S side of the car (LHD), so that it was well away from being vertical and could not spin around and do damage. The breaker bar did not touch the car at all in this set-up. Scotty Kilmer has a video to explain the method on YouTube, just not with an XKE and he rested his breaker bar on the frame of the car he was working on. Be careful, think about what you are doing and this can save time and effort. It was surprisingly easy

I had to resort to this method 20 years ago because the engine was out of the car. So with the engine supported by a crane I bumped the starter.

I’d try it by hand first with the parking brake on, and g’box in 1st or reverse 4th gear. If that’s a no go, then bumping the starter will do the job. You need to come up with a socket arrangement that is unlikely to become dislodged, no swivel joints obviously, and the shortest extension possible. Get the bar in good contact with the ground (or wood) so it doesn’t snap down. Don’t hold the button, just bump it. You don’t want to burn the starter out or have the bolt completely unthread itself.

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Best to use fourth gear If you choose not to use the starter method. First or reverse will most likely overdrive the parking brake. It’s also easier on the transmission as there are no gears involved in fourth

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Correct, wasn’t thinking!

A quick comment in regards method and safety…if you choose to use the starter motor method it is, of course, done with the vehicle in neutral!

Thanks Erica Im a little ambivalent about the starter method, but ill try it if necessary