Leaky

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Leaky

Postby outdoors4evr » Fri Aug 09, 2013 7:27 am

I have a rear main seal in my 184 (R2 Retainer) that was machined and fitted to the new replacement seal.
I can't seem to keep this engine from leaking about a 1/4 cup of oil per hour of mowing. :evil: It leaks worse toward the end of the mowing than the beginning.
It is not leaking around the oil pan or front seal.
I don't know what I am doing wrong. I have cleaned up the end of the crank, used axle grease on the seal and the crank so the seal would slide on easily, and used sealer on the flywheel bolts. New gaskets with sealer on all gaskets. A little RTV used at the joint between the oil pan and the rear retainer.

The engine was freshened up with new pistons and rings, turned the crank, new rod bearings and main bearings to match. I just don't understand why the rear seal leaks and appears to have some fog at the oil fill tube. I did not have the cylinders bored as they were .020 over and measured as such and without a taper. (in very good condition)Each cylinder has 115-120 psi compression dry and 118 - 122 psi wet. Should this be higher on a freshened up engine? I have about 150 hours on the freshened engine now.

I am considering pulling the pistons again and grinding down a new set of .030 over rings to minimize ring end gap and then replacing the rear seal again.
Can a seal fail due to ring blowby? I don't feel like my compression tests reveal much blowby, but the fog at the oil fill tube suggest otherwise. Again, not sure what is acceptable since the 184 does not have a breather tube separate from the oil fill tube.
I am running straight 30 weight oil.

Do these engines just "always leak" through the rear seal?
Am I just wasting my time trying to have a non-leaky tractor?
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Re: Leaky

Postby gitractorman » Fri Aug 09, 2013 8:37 am

Double check that the crank case vent is not plugged. If it's plugged, it will cause significant blow by, and could pressurize the crank case enough to push oil out the rear seal, but it definitely will cause the blow by you're seeing at the oil fill tube. If you look at the carburetor side of the engine, looking at the valve cover, even with the top left corner of the valve cover, but around the corner on the block, there is a fitting with a 1/4" tube that runs up to the air intake. Make sure that is open and not plugged.

Otherwise, what kind of oil are you running? My father (who has been a Cub Cadet dealer since the 1960s) swears that you have to run straight 30-weight Lo-ash, non detergent oil in these engines. He says that the newer detergent oils just cause leaks. I've seen it first-hand. I was running 10w-30 regular oil in a cub that I rebuilt the engine, and it leaked oil everywhere. Switched to starndar 30w, Lo ash, and the leaking really slowed and stopped in most places. Still had a little leaking here an there, but not anything like it originally did.
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Re: Leaky

Postby Eugene » Fri Aug 09, 2013 9:04 am

If you tear the engine down, check to see if the rear main seal is spinning in the retainer.

Compression is good. There should be little to no blow by on a freshly rebuilt engine.

What was the ring end gap when you installed new rings? Ring end gaps staggered around the piston.

Check the oil filter housing cap and gasket for a leak. Leak there will drain down the side of the block and appear to be coming from the rear main seal.
I have an excuse. CRS.
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Re: Leaky

Postby RaymondDurban » Fri Aug 09, 2013 9:09 am

I've recently went through my 154 in a similar fashion as you did on your 184. I replaced all rings, bearings, gaskets and seals, but did no machine work as everything was still within specs. Mine has no oil leaks, and no blowby. I'm running 15-40 Rotella oil.
120 psi is a good number. I don't think putting .030" rings in will do you any good. Did by chance the end gaps become lined up during installation? Does your area experience good temperature changes during the day that would pull moisture into the crankcase? Is the oil milky?
If the rear main seal is leaking, something is wrong. It should not leak irregardless of the type of oil you use. Can you tell if its coming from the seal itself, or the gasket where it fits up to the block? You'll probably have to pull it off and have the retainer redone.
There is no tube that runs up to the breather on the late model engines. It was done away with earlier in production and a plug is screwed into that port. The only crankcase vent on the later engines is the oil filler tube.
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Re: Leaky

Postby outdoors4evr » Fri Aug 09, 2013 1:40 pm

The oil leak is not due to a failed gasket. Last weekend I removed the oil pan to check it out.

Regarding the rings, I was extremely careful to make sure the ring gaps were 180 degrees apart. Only the top ring was marked with a dot so the second ring "could" have been installed upside down. The end gap of the compression rings were nearing 0.090" which is larger than I would have liked. I compared them to the rings I removed and the gap was identical. (Of course, the rear seal leaked then also).
I would hope that if the ring gaps were lined up, that I'd have one cylinder showing a lower compression.

I do live in Michigan so temp's change, but the oil is changed seasonally. The oil is not milky. I just changed the copper gasket at the oil filter. It is not leaking from the filter housing, lid, or holddown bolt.

How can I tell if the seal is spinning in the retainer? Does it only do this when the engine is hot? I get a lot more leakage after 30 minutes of runtime.
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Re: Leaky

Postby Eugene » Fri Aug 09, 2013 3:02 pm

outdoors4evr wrote:The end gap of the compression rings were nearing 0.090"
.007 - .019 ring end gap is within the spec range for new installation. The source of the blow by. .090" ring end gap, or more, is what you would expect to find in a well worn engine.

Standard rings in over bore? Bore mis-measured.

How can I tell if the seal is spinning in the retainer?
Tear down and inspect the retainer.

Does it only do this when the engine is hot? I get a lot more leakage after 30 minutes of run time.
It's leaking with cold engine. Oil warms up, thinner.
I have an excuse. CRS.
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Re: Leaky

Postby RaymondDurban » Fri Aug 09, 2013 3:07 pm

I agree with Eugene.
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Re: Leaky

Postby wrink3 » Fri Aug 09, 2013 3:54 pm

Raymond, thanks for clarification on the vent tube--I went out to check for mine as I didn't think I had one and I didn't!
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Re: Leaky

Postby Landreo » Mon Aug 12, 2013 10:31 am

Not much in the back to leak, the seal, the retainer, the oil pump. Likely the seal. What seal was used and how did you install the retainer on the engine? The retainer should ideally be installed with the engine vertical. If installed with the engine horizontal then there is a specific way to install the retainer to reduce misalignment of the seal and retainer.
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Re: Leaky

Postby outdoors4evr » Mon Aug 12, 2013 12:19 pm

The seal was put into the retainer by our site professional :worthy: "seal team" :worthy: after machining the retainer flat. :thanx:
The seal and the crank end was cleaned, then greased with wheel bearing grease. A sealer was applied to the retainer then a gasket applied, then another coat of sealer on the gasket. Retainer slipped onto the crank and bolted on. Criss cross gradual tightening pattern used cautiously not to warp the retainer.

The engine was not removed from the tractor during this procedure. Don't see how this would matter much as sticky as that sealer is.

I don't believe that it is leaking around the retainer or around the oil pump.
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Re: Leaky

Postby Landreo » Mon Aug 12, 2013 1:55 pm

outdoors4evr wrote:The seal was put into the retainer by our site professional :worthy: "seal team" :worthy: after machining the retainer flat. :thanx:
The seal and the crank end was cleaned, then greased with wheel bearing grease. Retainer slipped onto the crank and bolted on. Criss cross gradual tightening pattern used cautiously not to warp the retainer.

The engine was not removed from the tractor during this procedure. Don't see how this would matter much as sticky as that sealer is.

I don't believe that it is leaking around the retainer or around the oil pump.


The seal and the retainer has changed over the years. What seal, i.e what size and steel or rubber, was put in the retainer? The original steel seal was switched to a rubber seal for a good reason, the seal boss, the hole that holds the seal, was also made larger. I expect IHC was having problems with leaking seals and went to a rubber seal and enlarged the boss slightly to reduce warping from the seal pressure. Machining the seal retainer boss takes the retainer back to the weaker size that IHC got rid of! If you remove the retainer, put the retainer in boiling water for 15 minutes then try to push out the seal with your fingers. It may pop out as the retainer expands due to heat.

How the retainer is installed is important. The seal should center the retainer not the otherway around. Some engines had a jig that held the seal centered on the shaft and held it centered while the retainer was tightened. I do not know if that jig exists for the cub retainer. Without a jig you are depending on a thin seal trying to center a heavy retainer. Easier with the engine vertical. If you install the retainer with the engine horizontal then you risk the heavy seal retainer pulling downward and distorting the seal itself. However, if you do install with the engine horizontal, install the reatiner face bolts first and the oil pan bolts last, that way the oil pan bolts will not pull the retainer off center.

Do what IHC did and the seal will not leak. A rubber seal in a correct sized retainer. If you have a steel seal then all is not lost. If the seal is loose then you may be able to salvage everything by using seal glue or high temp silicon rtv to hold the seal in place.

On a 154/185 you can see the retainer from the side while the engine is running. If that is possible on a 184 then look at the reatiner and you may see where the leak is coming from.
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