Replacing the Original Felt Timing Cover Seal- with a Modern Neoprene Seal
The original felt seal for the timing cover of a V8 Studebaker- WILL LEAK as it ages. While it's nice to keep the front crossmember and framerails from rusting- It messes up the driveway (you drive your Stude don't you?) or perhaps the garage floor. This is a common problem with the Studebaker V8s. For many years, Ingvar Vic (Western Lake Erie Chapter), would machine the hub and add a neoprene seal to the front timing gear covers. I had Ingvar do several for me over the years, and the results were excellent. However, sending the cover off- and waiting for it to return- was sometimes problematic for me and my customers. One of our NCSDC Club Members came up with the following conversion. Just about anyone can do it easily- with the bare minimum of tools. If you are skilled enough to tackle the job of assembling an engine- you can certainly handle this conversion.
What you need:
Timing cover and hub- Cleaned and free of oil/grease. Be sure to remove any burrs or rough areas from the hub- and clean the timing cover gasket sealing surfaces. It's also a good time to check the threads on the fuel-pump boss. Often they get weak from overtightening. Run a 5/16" coarse thread tap through them to clean them up- if you have any concerns.
National Seal #99200 Redi-Sleeve with Pusher tool- The package comes with a "cup-shaped" pusher tool that simplifies installation.
National Seal #472924 Oil Seal
Vice- (can use hammer and block of wood)
Red Silicone gasket sealer
Red Loc-Tite fastener cement
(Photos are hyperlinked to larger pics)
Installing the Redi-Sleeve on the hub: Use a vice and the Pusher-tool (included with the sleeve- see above photo), to press the Redi-Sleeve onto your original hub. You do NOT need to use heat or lubricant to press the sleeve on. Be sure your hub doesn't have any burrs, or rough areas on the sealing surface. **You "may" use a hammer and block of wood, but you risk damaging the sleeve. If you must go that route- be very careful to keep the wood centered, square, and flat against the pusher tool. The outer ring of the sleeve will NOT sit perfectly flush on the hub. Do not concern yourself with this- as it doesn't affect the sleeve or seal at all. The ring will bend out of the way easily when you install the hub-bolts.
Installing the seal in the timing cover: Put a small bead of Red Silicone gasket sealer- around the channel that the new seal with sit in (see pic below). Center the seal, and press it into the silicone. Place the (original felt seal) retaining ring over the seal. Put a drop of RED Loc-Tite on the threads of each retaining screw- and start ALL 4 of the retaining screws. Tighten each screw 1/4 turn each- alternating sides, until you are satisfied they will hold the seal in place. Be VERY careful not to strip the threads in the timing cover- it is made from soft aluminum, and it is easy to strip them. *** Depending on your cover, retaining ring, and the screws, you MAY have to trim 1/16" off of the steel lip of the neoprene seal (that's what the tin-snips are for). I have done 3 of these covers, and only had to trim the seal on 1 of them. This trimming will allow the retaining ring to seat against the cover better. If it looks like your retaining ring isn't seating against the cover- remove it and trim the edge of the seal. Glue a new timing cover gasket to the timing cover using contact cement. Align it properly- using a few of the mounting bolts- until the cement is dry.
Installing the Timing Cover: When you install the timing cover- you MUST NOT bolt it up BEFORE you install the hub. If it is not perfectly centered- the hub can damage the seal as it is installed. Using the correct hub-pusher set- greatly simplifies the installation. DO NOT hammer the hub on, OR use the crankshaft bolt- to "pull" the hub on. This will only damage the hub, thrust bearing surfaces, or the threads inside the crankshaft. Remember to install the bolts in the hub BEFORE you install it on the crankshaft. Be sure to lightly lubricate the Redi-sleeve and neoprene seal before sliding the new seal over the sleeved hub.
***Many people advocate heating the hub in an oven to 250 degrees before trying to install it. I have done this- and it does help. Be careful not to get it too hot- as you may damage your new seal.
***I have a pusher set for installing the crankshaft hub- so I'm rather spoiled. I slide the hub through the timing cover- then place the hub on the end of the crankshaft- with the cover hanging from a piece of wire. Install the pusher set- and begin pressing the hub on. When the hub is close to being seated, I install a few of the timing-cover retaining bolts. When the hub is seated against the oil-slinger, you can install the rest of the timing cover retaining bolts- then tighten each of them
Addendum: While you have the timing cover off- It would be prudent to check the condition of the "filler block" threads, and the front oil-pan gasket (cork). If the filler block threads are the least bit damaged, or weak, NOW would be the time to install some helicoils. I trim the front oil-pan gasket, and put a bead of red-silicone sealer over the entire surface. This seems to reduce any oil seepage from that area.