XK rear / front oil seal install

I should be getting my block and crankshaft back this week and have decided to keep the original rear oil seal. Since it takes the special tool to install the seal, I have called a couple of shops that deal with these engines. One says to install the crank and oil seal would take 5-6 hours at $215.00 an hour. Seems to me that’s a lot of time to simply install the crankshaft (I’m installing the new pistons and everything else). Am I wrong to think that seems excessive? If it’s going to cot over $1,000.00 to just install the crankshaft and seals, I’m going to do the conversion kit which I can do myself and the kit is about $400.00. Any thoughts?

I would install the seal myself, it just takes patience and to keep at it, you need to force as much of the rope seal into the groove, the other option as you are in the states is to see if you can hire the seal sizing tool from Coventry ?(damn brain fade)

As we’re on the XK forum here aren’t we talking about the rear crankshaft seal just being the scroll? The front seal is a rope isn’t it? Either way, those figures sound very “generous”…


Thanks, I do want to keep the crank original and according to some of the other guys, as long as the scroll that throws the oil back into the engine isn’t all gunked up, it will drip but no more than expected from an old British classic. I can live with it. Besides, it saves the $400.00 the kit costs and the cost of having the scroll machined off. But, if I can’t find the tool to borrow/rent I may have to convert it.

If we are still talking about the rear rope seal then many people have replaced it without using the sizing tool.

That’s the one. I’m not new to rebuilding engines but the rope seal is something I have never done before. I may have to try it.

homer, you’re getting us confused. Is this an XK120 or an XKE?
The XK120 has a rear scroll seal, not a rope seal.
XK120 rear scroll oil slinger 001
There is no need for any special tool here. Just clean out the scroll. The covering part is a close fit.

The rope rear seal is found on XKE and XJ6.

If you don’t know what engine it is, maybe you’d better give us the serial number, which is stamped just above the oil filter.

or failing that, the block casting number just above the JAGUAR logo.

If I misspoke, then wherever the rope seal goes is what I’m talking about. That is what takes the special tool to seat it so that’s the issue.

Better give us your engine serial number or block number.

I’m out of town in a hotel right now but the car is a '53 XK120 with the original engine. I may be thinking of the seals that go into the conversion kit sold by Terry’s parts but the tool would be used for the FRONT rope seals as I remember.

Ok the XK120 has a rope seal in the front, not the rear.
It is in two halves. Looks like square rope. You don’t need a special tool to put it in. I used a piece of pipe to push one half into the groove in the timing cover, and the other half into the groove in the oil pan (aka sump). Squeeze it in, then check the fit with the round sleeve that fits over the front end of the crankshaft. File it off if necessary.

Yes, thats it. I’ve just read that those seals have to be installed with this specially made tool that is a rare find but there are some guys like you that have done it so I’m going to give it a try. Thanks. Sorry for the misunderstanding.

Just adding my 2-cents worth…
All 1950s era XK engines - thus all XK120, XK140 and XK150 have a rear-of-crankshaft bolt on cast-iron SCROLL SEAL that has a threaded type scroll that pushes any oil back into the sump when the engine is running. It works well when bearings are all good, so crankshaft sits centrally within the close tolerance scroll. Over time, the grooved scroll can sludge up and fill, thus reducing its effectiveness. Normally when an engine is rebuilt (properly) new main bearings are fitted, and the scroll should be properly cleaned.
From the end of 1961 onwards, this scroll arrangement was revised/redesigned to now provide an ‘asbestos’ rope-seal that sat in a grooved seal housing but sealed the crankshaft by wiping. The original rope seals were accurately made in two halves (semi circles) such that when properly squeezed/compressed into the housing then the ends of both seals sat flush with the housing and should not be trimmed… Yes the Service Manual says you should use the proper Churchill tool that properly sizes the concentricity of the seals crankshaft surface, but I have to say - never seen nor used one. All my personal and friends experience has adequately sufficed hand working the seal halves with a round bar or indeed wooden handle of a Hammer (another use for the THOR Copper & Rawhide Hammer in the tool kit) . The important thing is to fully work the whole semi-circle gradually working from the center-line outwards, until the seal is fully inserted with both ends of the seal now flush with the housing ends. When bolted up over the crankshaft everything settles down and provides the required sealing. AS above, the original seals were made of asbestos, and I have a few spares to see me out - but I have no idea what any replacement ones available today are made of, and thus indeed if they fit as well or work as well as the originals…

Thank you Roger. I suspect the Churchill tool is a short length of pipe the same diameter as the C.2173 distance piece (sleeve). :grin:

But I don’t find any mention of the tool in the XK120 Service Manual.

Is it in another manual?

This internet discussion group was born in 1993 and grew out of a need to correct misinformation and confusion in the world of Jaguar repairs. We always strive for accurate information.

Have I got this wrong??? I thought the discussion was about the REAR Crankshaft seal, and not the FRONT seal. So as per previously, not relevant to XK120 Service Manual, but it is certainly in the E-type Service Manual…

It is about wherever the rope seal goes.

If everything is clean, and totally ready to assemble rear seal and crank fit? 1 hour at the most. These guys have obviously never heard of “ piece work”:joy::joy:

Yeah, seems a little much to me too.

Not used the rope seal mandrill in over 50 years! Was taught by a real old school guy at Jaguar back in the 70s, use a vice, and a 1/4lb ball pein hammer. It’s a nack that takes a while to learn but it works perfectly.


E-Type = REAR

Shakespeare could turn this forum into another Comedy of Errors.