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Oil Leak. 1998 mercruiser 3.0LX (in a searay with alpha one)

and with very light use...
Oil Leak. 1998 mercruiser 3.0LX (in a searay with alpha one) and with very light use from annaul holiday and occasional weekends). I noticed a very very small oil leak in bilge a few years ago , but too small to register on any of the oil level checks and impossible to source so wasn't even convinced where it was coming from. last outing of last year, suddenly developed to serious. now know it is engine oil (bottom of dipstick), though all of the block/covers and sump pan are perfectly dry. oil seems to drip from behind rear of engine plate, hence original suspicion about source.
Is there a known suspect oil seal or gasket for this type of leak? obviously it looks like we need to pull the engine, but I have a limited budget at the moment.
I appreciate given the age that parting the engine/gear box and leg will mean quite a thorough service of seals etc. but if it is also likely to need an engine strip down, I just don't know if I can stand that at the moment and will just have to keep her off the water. Any thoughts? sad Alan
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Answered in 2 hours by:
6/29/2010
Tan
Tan, MerCruiser Certified Technician
Category: Boat
Satisfied Customers: 11,410
Experience: 40 yrs. experience with complete engine repairs both inboard/outboard and MerCruiser Certified Technician.
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Hi Alan, There are a couple of places that the oil could be coming from. Here is a diagram of the engine any one of the items in the diagram could be the source. But the engine will have to come out. There really isn't a problem with these engines leaking oil. Diagram of Mercury Mercruiser Parts 3.0LX    GM 181 I-L4  1996-1997 0F604000 THRU 0K999999 Cylinder Block, Piston and Bearings Diagram
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Customer reply replied 8 years ago

Thanks Tan, I obviously realise now that the engine has to come out. i have called a couple of local marine service centres, but they are very cagey about discussion, preferring to get the engine out and have a look! i have been unable to talk direct to a mechanic/engineer so the potential costs seem scary. They want to service the rear end anyway when taking out the engine, which is no bad thing, but having done so i am afraid that the engine will just have to be stripped down regardless, which is starting to look more expensive than I can afford at present. When you say that there are a couple of places the oil could be coming from, are these potentially solved by service seal/gaskets or are we looking at internal seals on the end things like camshafts etc.?

when i first saw a leak, I had hoped that it was as simple as a rocker cover/timing case gasket, but this is so well hidden behind the engine plate It is beyond my experience. Can you help me know what questions to ask to at least get a ball park figure on costs.

happy to accept and pay you for that, regards Alan

Alan the parts are serviceable none of the internal components have anything to do with the leak. The most likely part that is leaking is the rear main seal or the pan gasket. All the components on the engine can stay on the engine and the engine can be pulled as an assembly. If you have had the drive serviced recently you don't have to do it again they only have to take the drive off. So you are looking at about 4 hrs labor at their labor rate, engine in and out. Parts no more than $ 50.00.You said you have everything out of the way so they can't charge for that.Ask them what the leak might be and the cause and get an estimate. Make sure they show you where the leak is when they find the leak and get the old parts. Ask for a warranty on all the repairs.
Tan
Tan, MerCruiser Certified Technician
Category: Boat
Satisfied Customers: 11,410
Experience: 40 yrs. experience with complete engine repairs both inboard/outboard and MerCruiser Certified Technician.
Verified
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Customer reply replied 8 years ago

Tan, I just wanted to update you. I always keep an open mind and since our last messages, I have completely stripped all bulkheads etc to provide easy access. Lo and behold after getting the engine running again with water muffs, there was the leak dumping at great pace from the front!

Because on initial inspection the entire front of the engine was dry, I had dismissed that area. It seems to be coming from the bottom of the timing case where it meets the sump pan and dropping clean into the bilge, but only inspection will reveal what has happened . It was such a sudden and dramatic loss that I wonder if the case has rusted through, but I can't see until the pulleys are off, and I believe a special tool is required to extract the "torsional damper". I used to work on 60's and 70's engines in my much younger days (looks like the same level of technology on this lump!)and it is tempting to have a go at a full inspection (as well as satisfying).

regards Alan

 

Hi Alan, Check the circulation pump # XXXXX for leaking there is a weep hole that water will leak running down timing cover # XXXXX rusting out the cover. A standard pulley remover will work just like the old cars used.Diagram of Mercury Mercruiser Parts 3.0L    GM 181 I-L4 1 1998 0L010042 THRU 0L096999 Oil Pan and Oil Pump DiagramDiagram of Mercury Mercruiser Parts 3.0L    GM 181 I-L4 1 1998 0L010042 THRU 0L096999 Crankshaft, Camshaft and Water Pump Diagram
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Customer reply replied 8 years ago

thanks Tan, I will let you know how it ends up, but there are signs of weeping from the pump and or hose at that point, but the cover is well hidden,

regards Alan

Yes the front of the engine is pretty well covered by the front mount.
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Customer reply replied 8 years ago

Tan, just an update.

I had to modify a puller with 3x 3/8ths bolts to utilise the 3 threaded holes in the torsional damper, after a few frustrating hours of failing to get a universal puller enough grip on the hub,as there is very little to grip onto. Success ( the special tool would have been very expensive) and now we know that the timing case is shot full of rust holes where it was hidden from view. Along run at sea would have pumped out too much oil and siezed it all up, so I was lucky!

easy enough to replace, but will have to keep an eye on the water pump. I can't see where it is leaking from, as the outside of the whole pump body is quite rusted, but the bearing runs quietly, and there is no play. I plan to keep it clean after use and use plenty of water repellent in that area in future.

I hope it is of interest to see the outcome, and that it can help you to help others.

regards Alan

regards

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