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Camshaft Oil Seal Replacement
 
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Pelican Technical Article:

Camshaft Oil Seal Replacement

Steve Vernon

Time:

2 hours2 hrs

Tab:

$15 to $30

Talent:

***

Tools:

Socket and wrench set, helper, flywheel lock, flathead screwdriver, floor jack, jack stands, wheel chocks, safety glasses, torque wrench

Applicable Models:

Porsche 944 Turbo (1986-89)

Parts Required:

New seals

Hot Tip:

Make sure engine is at Top Dead Center

Performance Gain:

Proper engine operation

Complementary Modification:

New belts

One of the many oil seals that will need attention at some point during the life of your Porsche 944 or 951 will be the oil seals between the camshaft cover and the distributor housing. This is usually one of the areas that people tend to when they are replacing the belts or water pump. These seals will leak eventually. In addition, it is a lot of work to get to them, so it really is a good idea to add this to your "while I'm in there "list.

The camshaft oil seal is actually one seal, one gasket and one O-ring, so make sure you have all the parts before you begin. There is also a single gasket at the rear of the camshaft cover that you should replace "while you're in there".

You are going to need to safely raise and support the vehicle and remove the under engine tray. You will also need to perform the work removing the distributor cap and balance shaft belt and timing belt replacement before replacing the seals. Please see our articles on those procedures before starting this work.

There are two areas on the camshaft cover that can leak; one is from the gasket on the rear (red arrow) and the other is from the oil seal and O-ring on the front (yellow arrow).
Figure 1

There are two areas on the camshaft cover that can leak; one is from the gasket on the rear (red arrow) and the other is from the oil seal and O-ring on the front (yellow arrow).

To replace the front seals you must remove the distributor housing from the front of the engine.
Figure 2

To replace the front seals you must remove the distributor housing from the front of the engine. This involves removing the distributor cap (red arrow) and the front cover and balance shaft belt and timing belts. Please see our articles on these procedures for additional assistance.

With the distributor and front cover removed you will be looking at a connector that sits inside the retaining collar for the camshaft.
Figure 3

With the distributor and front cover removed you will be looking at a connector that sits inside the retaining collar for the camshaft. The connector turns the distributor. Use a 10mm socket and remove the bolt (red arrow).

Once the bolt is removed you can slip the connector out (red arrow).
Figure 4

Once the bolt is removed you can slip the connector out (red arrow).

The retaining collar that holds the camshaft sprocket in place is a 10mm twelve point (red arrow).
Figure 5

The retaining collar that holds the camshaft sprocket in place is a 10mm twelve point (red arrow). It is a really good idea to "wake this bolt up" by inserting your 12 point socket and giving it a couple of taps with a hammer.

Removing the 12-point bolt will be the most difficult part of the job.
Figure 6

Removing the 12-point bolt will be the most difficult part of the job. The bolt is torqued to a very high value, and you cannot let the camshaft sprocket turn more than a degree or two or you will allow the valves to contact the pistons and do damage. Have a friend hold a wrench over the retainer (red arrow) and hold the camshaft still while you use a 10mm 12-point and a breaker bar (yellow arrow) and break the bolt loose. Make sure the socket is properly seated; you do NOT want to strip this bolt.

Remove the bolt (red arrow) and the retainer (yellow arrow) from the camshaft.
Figure 7

Remove the bolt (red arrow) and the retainer (yellow arrow) from the camshaft.

Slide the sprocket (red arrow) off the end of the camshaft (yellow arrow).
Figure 8

Slide the sprocket (red arrow) off the end of the camshaft (yellow arrow). Remember, you can NOT turn the camshaft while removing the sprocket or the valves will contact the pistons.

You will need to remove the Woodruff key from the balance shaft (red arrow).
Figure 9

You will need to remove the Woodruff key from the balance shaft (red arrow). I have found the best way to do this is to use a set of diagonals and gently pry the key out. Make sure to clean up any damage you do to the key (red arrow) with some sandpaper, a file or Emory cloth.

Use a 10mm socket and remove the three bolts located behind the sprocket (red arrows).
Figure 10

Use a 10mm socket and remove the three bolts located behind the sprocket (red arrows).

Slide the distributor housing (red arrow) forward and straight off the camshaft (yellow arrow).
Figure 11

Slide the distributor housing (red arrow) forward and straight off the camshaft (yellow arrow). There is a sleeve on the end of the camshaft (red arrow) that may or may not come off with the housing.

There is a very thin, clear gasket at the end of the camshaft between the sleeve that must be replaced (red arrow).
Figure 12

There is a very thin, clear gasket at the end of the camshaft between the sleeve that must be replaced (red arrow).

Remove and replace the O-ring on the rear of the housing (red arrow).
Figure 13

Remove and replace the O-ring on the rear of the housing (red arrow). Someone previously had sealed this area up with some RTV. This is not a good idea and usually just leads to RTV getting into the cam and valve train.

Replace the small gasket on the rear of the housing (red arrow).
Figure 14

Replace the small gasket on the rear of the housing (red arrow).

Pull the old seal and sleeve from the front of the housing.
Figure 15

Pull the old seal and sleeve from the front of the housing. You will need to remove the seal before you can get the sleeve (red arrow) out. Again, someone has applied a sealant to the front seal (yellow arrow). This is usually not necessary but a lot of people do this as they look at all the work needed to get this far and feel better safe than sorry. If there is nothing wrong with the housing or shaft this is not necessary. Make sure to oil the inside of the seal where it makes contact with the sleeve when installing. Also, put some oil or better yet assembly lube in the inside of the sleeve when mounting it on the camshaft. Installation of the front is the reverse of removal from this point.

The rear gasket is held in place by three 10mm bolts.
Figure 16

The rear gasket is held in place by three 10mm bolts. Note the positon of the tow support bracket and remove the bolts (red arrows)

With the bolts removed the cover will come off easily.
Figure 17

With the bolts removed the cover will come off easily. Remove the old gasket (red arrow). Clean both mounting surfaces and install a new gasket. Note: this work was done with the camshaft cover on a bench for photographic purposes but can be done while the cover is on the motor; you just need to move the wires and hoses out of the way. Installation is the reverse of removal.

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