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Your Camshaft seal worn out? » Read more about common malfunctions • Repair • Replacement manual
Hidden oil stopper: The camshaft seal ring
The cam shaft seal ring, also referred to as "shaft seal", serves to seal the camshaft as it leaves the cylinder head. Thus, it prevents the lubricating oil in the engine from leaking. A leaky shaft seal is a serious deficiency in the general inspection. Its repair requires moderate skill and is ideally performed along with a replacement of the timing belt.
Position of the shaft seal
The shaft seal is located inside the housing of the cylinder head, behind the timing belt's drive wheel. The cam shaft protrudes from the cylinder head to hook up to the drive wheel. The housing's opening at this point is sealed by the shaft seal. Thus, the shaft seal only present in vehicles that are controlled by a timing belt. In addition to the sealing ring on the cylinder head, these vehicles have an additional sealing ring on the crankshaft. This ring can also start leaking over time.
What is an "oil seal"?
Oil seals, also known as shaft seals, are specially shaped components. They are used for reliable sealing of rotating shafts. Oil seals consist of a stable rubber ring complemented by a narrow circumferential lip toward its inside. In high quality versions the lip's clamping force on the rotating shaft is reinforced by a spiral spring.
Detecting defective oil seals
The narrow lip on the inside of the oil ring is very sensitive. Overheating, aging or penetration by foreign objects can quickly destroy the sealing surface. Then the shaft seal's sealing effect is no longer intact and the lubricating oil can leak. In an engine block, this is detected by traces of an oil leak from behind the drive wheel on the cylinder head. Depending on how badly the shaft ring is damaged, the loss of oil at this point may be more or less severe. However, oil swirling around in the engine compartment is very harmful for all auxiliary units: The timing belt can skip due to this undesirable lubrication, the generator can burn out and other components can also take severe damage as a result. Therefore, repairing the shaft ring should not be neglected. However, the repair of this damage is particularly challenging in any case.
Camshaft seal ring repair
The steps outlined here for repairing a camshaft seal ring are merely a general representation of the procedure and not an instructions for installation.
There are two ways to replace the shaft seal. These are: Replacing the seal ring with or without removing the camshaft. Until a few years ago, the sealing ring could only be replaced by completely removing the camshaft. For this, the valve cover is removed, the camshaft sprocket and the bracket on the opposite side removed, and the camshaft pulled out from the side. If the vehicle is controlled with hydraulic tappets, these must also be removed under certain circumstances. It is very important that the hydraulic tappets are re-installed exactly the same way they were removed. If hydraulic tappets are interchanged, the subsequent adjustment of the valves is very difficult or even impossible. Once the camshaft is removed, the camshaft seal ring can be pushed out sideways. The new sealing ring is simply lubricated with oil and evenly pressed in. A uniform pressure over the entire side is very important. A suitable socket can be a useful tool here. Even if smooth hammer strokes are used for support, buffer piece should always be used between the hammer and the sealing ring. Otherwise, you run the risk of damaging the new ring.
The other way is replacing the seal without removing the camshaft. For this, the trade offers a special tool. This uses two small hook to get under the lip and pull the sealing ring out of the hole with the aid of a thread. This tool set also includes a special tool that can be used to insert the new seal ring. This special tool greatly simplifies the replacement of shaft seals. Sensible additional work As replacing the shaft ring involves loosening the timing belt, this is a good time to replace it as well. This is a great way to perform major maintenance on the engine with little effort. Furthermore, the crankshaft's oil ring should also be checked anytime the camshaft seal is replaced. It ages the same and is exposed to exactly the same strains. A precautionary replacement is also very useful when performing this repair. Cheap quality A brand manufacturer's camshaft seal (e.g. by Febi Bilstein) costs approx. 6 euro or more. Due to the difficult and complex installation, only the best material should be used. This ensures that you operate an oil-tight engine for a long time.