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914 Oil Cooler Seals Replacement Tips
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Pelican Technical Article:

914 Oil Cooler Seals Replacement Tips

Demick Boyden


2 hours2 hrs






10mm open end wrench, 1/4-inch drive with various extensions and 10mm socket, 13mm open end wrench, oil drip pan, shop rags, Permatex 3H, 15mm open end wrench,

Applicable Models:

Porsche 914 (1970-76)

Parts Required:

Oil cooler seals

Performance Gain:

Rid your 914 mill of that pesky oil cooler seals leak

Complementary Modification:

Replace the oil cooler
Well, I replaced the oil cooler seals this weekend with the engine in the car so I can vouch that while it is not very pleasant, it is possible. Here are some tips that I can share.

The most difficult thing is obviously access, but not just access, but being able to both see and do at the same time. As soon as you stick your hand up to do something, it blocks most of the area that your work light is shining into so you can't see very well what you are doing. My car is a '74 2.0, but it has '75 heat exchangers on it. The heat exchangers come forward and block more of the access area than I believe that pre '75 exchangers do, so it might be a bit easier on a car with pre '75 exchangers.

  • Give yourself about 2 hours to complete the job. You will probably finish it in a shorter amount of time, but take your time and don't rush.
  • The job would be much easier if you could remove the right angle flange part that the oil filter attaches to, but I could not find a way to get access to the upper bolt so I was forced to work around this part. Anyone out there have a way to remove this part?
  • The two visible 10mm nuts (out of 3) that hold the oil cooler on come off pretty easily with an open end wrench. The 3 rdnut is quite difficult because you cannot see it, and access is very difficult. I used a '" drive ratchet, with an odd assortment of sockets, etc to get just the right amount of extension to reach the nut, but not too much that you cannot fit it into the access space. I tried a lot of different combinations before finding one that worked.
  • Now don't forget that there are two 13mm bolts which attach a bracket from the far passenger side of the oil cooler to something solid like the fan housing or something (I don't remember what). I didn't know about these and was prying on the oil cooler but it wouldn't slide back!
  • Now the oil cooler should slide back on the 3 studs that the 10mm nuts were on. I was able to get about 1 inch of clearance between the oil cooler and the block. At this point, oil will be draining out (both of my old oil cooler seals also just fell out at this point). Be patient and wait at least 15-30 minutes for all of the oil to stop dripping. You have to work with your face directly under this area and it is no fun getting oil drips in your face or eyes BTDT.
  • Like I said, my old seals just fell out, so I didn't have to try and pry them out. I just made sure that the sealing surfaces were clean. Now it is time to put in the new seals. I put a bit of Permatex 3H on them to help them stick in place while I was working - white grease and other stuff will probably also work just as well, but 'How to rebuild your air cooled VW' recommended the Permatex 3H so that is what I used.
  • This is probably my best tip: Use a 15mm open end wrench and place the seal flange in the jaws of the wrench. 15mm is just the right size to grab the seal and the Permatex sticks it to the wrench too. Then you can slide the wrench up into the clearance between the oil cooler and the engine block and slide it around until it plops into place. Then you can pull directly down on the wrench to release the seal while still applying pressure to hold it in place. The seal will stick right where you want it! It works great and is very fast! I tried to get the seals in with a number of other methods only to have the seal drop on the floor and discover that the Permatex will also attract every micron of dirt within a foot of where the seal landed - very frustrating.
  • After the seals are in, re-assembly is just the reverse of the disassembly process (sound familiar Haynes?).
  • If you are going to try it, good luck - it's a frustrating job, but doesn't take all that long.

    Now I just hope that the oil cooler seals are where that oil leak really was....

    Demick Boyden  '74 2.0L

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Comments and Suggestions:
ado Comments: I'm rebuilding my 74 2.0 and forgot about the three washers. Are they on the inside or outside of the cooler. I put them on the inside and the seals are loose,oil will leak. so i left one inside two outside and it seemed to work . Is that the proper placing ?
November 24, 2013
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: If I remember correctly, the seals all go on the outside. None go with the seals. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
TonyD Comments: Thanks for this article, It helped immensely with oil cooler seal replacement in my 1.8. Only took about an hour with your tips!
October 5, 2011
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the feedback. Glad we could help.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
oldschol Comments: thanks for post,,,wondering if its possible to bypass oilcooler on volvo,have coolant in oil, suspect this part.
isnt the cooler just for high speed driving?or for every day driving,hoping to eliminate coolant contamination and run straight pipe for antifreeze to circulate,bypassing cooler?
March 4, 2010
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I wouldn't bypass, it is there for a reason. I would replace the cooler or have it repaired. - Nick at Pelican Parts  

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