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Distributor oil seal - NOT WORN ENGINE!

Posted: Wed Aug 27, 2014 19:00
by marky
Recently noticed that my oil pressure was about half a bar lower than it has been and also it was taking several seconds for the oil pressure needle to come up first thing in the morning. Spoke to a few people about this and they all seemed to think it was engine wear.

There is definitely no money left in the kitty for an engine rebuild and wont be for a long time. I was just about to call the Samaritans when I remembered a post by Yroll re the distributor oil seal. I already had a new seal in case I ever had to remove the distributor so I thought it was worth a go!

I was encouraged when I found the old seal was flat as a pancake and stiff as a board. GUESS WHAT. A new seal sorted it - oil pressure back up to 2 bar at hot idle and half the time for the needle to come up in the morning. If I ever meet you Yroll I owe you a drink!!

Did you know that you can remove and replace the the distributor without disturbing the timing?

- remove the air box both parts - remove the distributor cap and lift it up out of the way - disconnect the wires and vacuum hose - note the approximate position of the rotor arm ( mine was pointing about north west ) the shaft will only engage in two places, one with the rotor correct and one with it 180 degrees out. - DO NOT SLACKEN THE ADJUSTER CLAMP as this comes off with the distributor - tuck the cap clips in - there is only one nut securing the distributor at the top, slacken this off and remove it - withdraw the distributor back along the engine and out - once out examine the slotted hole where the securing nut was and you will see it has left an impression - draw a circle with typex/marker/paint around the impression. When you want to replace the distributor get the rotor roughly in line ( it wont engage untill you are about 5mm from home), then replace the nut, lining it up with the circle you put on the distributor. I checked the timing a few days later and spot on! Hardest part is undoing and doing up the bottom cap clip!


PS - to get the new seal ( O-ring) into position without damaging it - put in on the end of the shaft where it is slightly narrower then hook part of it with a small screwdriver and pull it out - then with circular movements going round and round the shaft gradually move the seal up into position.

Re: Distributor oil seal - NOT WORN ENGINE!

Posted: Wed Aug 27, 2014 19:29
by MickW

Thanks for posting this info - its the kind of stuff that helps us all keep our cars running well for longer.



Re: Distributor oil seal - NOT WORN ENGINE!

Posted: Wed Aug 27, 2014 20:08
by chrisw2811
Yes, really useful. At a quid or less for the O ring, definitely a preventive maintenance job worth doing and very clear instructions. Thanks.

Re: Distributor oil seal - NOT WORN ENGINE!

Posted: Thu Aug 28, 2014 07:21
by marky
It is important to say though at this point - this is not going to solve everyone's oil pressure woes. There are several causes of low oil pressure and engine wear is definitely one of them. I know I was lucky!


Re: Distributor oil seal - NOT WORN ENGINE!

Posted: Fri Aug 29, 2014 15:25
by yroll
Really happy that it worked for you to! :D

P.S this is the most common fault when you have more oilpressure with hot engine than with cold engine.

Re: Distributor oil seal - NOT WORN ENGINE!

Posted: Wed Sep 17, 2014 08:34
by marky
Must admit that even though I now have good oil pressure again I do still have some concern.

My feeling is that when the engine starts even from cold the oil pressure should come up immediately???

When I start mine from cold there is still a delay of a few seconds before it comes up. After a few seconds the needle shoots strait up round the dial.

Would appreciate any comments from more experienced owners.


Re: Distributor oil seal - NOT WORN ENGINE!

Posted: Wed Sep 17, 2014 12:56
by fueltheburn
A couple of seconds is normal. 2 or 3 seconds.
Some people on here have found different suppliers of oil filter seem to come up to pressure quicker than others.
If you are worried about oil flowing quicker from cold then a switch to a fully synthetic with a lower first number i.e a 10/50 or 10/60 as opposed to a 20/50 would also help matters.

Re: Distributor oil seal - NOT WORN ENGINE!

Posted: Wed Sep 17, 2014 17:30
by marky
Thanks very much for that - I haven't timed it but I think it is around 3-4 secs.

Oil pressure 4-5 bar at 3000 rpm (hot or cold).
at idle after half hour run at 82 degrees is 2 bar.
at idle when hot at 92 degrees around 1.75 bar.

Oil pressure comes up much quicker when warm around 1.5 sec.

When I first got the car it used to be off the scale when cold. It had hardly been run for years though so could have been a bit sludged up.

I wondered about changing the oil pick pipe and olive but don't want to do that unless it is absolutely necessary.


PS - running Mobil 1 10/60.

Update - it seems I was worrying about nothing I have just realized there is a section on oil pressure in the cars handbook. Minimum oil pressures are a lot lower than I expected - at tick-over only 0.34 bar??, at 3500 rpm 2.4 bar and at 6500 rpm 3.1 bar. I guess this was for 20/50 non synthetic oil but still surprisingly low.